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Philipp Marian Selman

Fort Wayne, Indiana | Member Since 2014

  • 12 reviews
  • 560 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2015

  • Twenty Years After

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Twenty years later, time has weakened the resolve of the Musketeers and dispersed their loyalties. But treasons and stratagems still cry out for justice: civil war endangers the throne of France, while in England, Cromwell threatens to send Charles I to the scaffold. Dumas brings his immortal quartet out of retirement to cross swords with time, the malevolence of men, and the forces of history. But their greatest test is a titanic struggle with the son of Milady, who wears the face of Evil.

    Nathan says: "Dumas YES, Narrator NO"
    "This Version Isn't Good."

    It is far from lost on me that Fredrick Davidson put a great deal of effort and enthusiasm into this production. That said, his attempts at characterization, while spirited to say the least, were so very awful that I decided to spend the money on a different rendition of the story instead of suffer through the remainder of his performance. For instance, he portrays d'Artagnan with a caricature of a voice that might be appropriate for a stuck-up British dandy, similar in tone to Peter Sellers' role of Mandrake in the 1964 film "Dr. Strangelove." I kept expecting him to say "aHmmm... jolly good, yes" at any moment. His other character voices are bad, but d'Artagnan is insufferable. In addition to this, Davidson's pronunciation of French (as well as those words borrowed from other languages which frequently come up) is simply awful. Even the humblest actor should know better than to approach such a role with little or no preparation.

    This story is a classic and my one star rating is solely based on the unacceptable voice acting. Please, get a copy of this amazing tale of adventure and gallantry. But DO NOT choose this one.

    18 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (translator)
    • Narrated By Bruce Locke
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The new novel - a book that sold more than a million copies the first week it went on sale in Japan - from the internationally acclaimed author, his first since IQ84. Here he gives us the remarkable story of Tsukuru Tazaki, a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. It is a story of love, friendship, and heartbreak for the ages.

    Pamela J says: "We're all victims of our youth"
    "Not the Murakami I Prefer"

    If you loved Norwegian Wood, then you're going to enjoy this. I didn't, so this wasn't my favorite Murakami novel. That said, the narrative flow was enjoyable, the story had its moments, and the characterization was on par with the rest of the author's work. Bruce Locke did a fine job with the narration, especially given the challenges that this particular book posed. In summary, if you enjoy Murakami's characteristic writing style, but you're not interested in his usual surrealism, then this isn't a bad choice, even if it wasn't my personal favorite.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cell: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Campbell Scott

    The cause of the devastation is a phenomenon that will come to be known as The Pulse, and the delivery method is a cell phone. Everyone's cell phone. Clay and the few desperate survivors who join him suddenly find themselves in the pitch-black night of civilization's darkest age, surrounded by chaos, carnage, and a human horde that has been reduced to its basest nature...and then begins to evolve.

    chris says: "Entertained"
    "Contrived and Terribly Disappointing"

    I like Steven King. A lot. That's why I regret having to pan this book. Although the story starts out strong, with the detailed narration and initial character development that King is so well known for, the plot arch quickly peters out. What, at first, promised to be a unique zombie story turns into a drab and un-engaging treck through thick prose. What's worse, King has obviously stopped caring about investing even the smallest modicum of research into his fiction. Virtually every reverence to modern technology and pop culture read with the sincerity of an aging parent trying to appeal to a hip teenager.

    Although the beginning of the story promises deep character development, it doesn't deliver, and the characters (aside from the main character) remain cardboard cutouts. After the initial excitement of the zombie story fades away, this weird, nebulous psychic nonsense tangent ensues, which could have been a fun twist, but never develops. [Spoiler alert] Then this kid comes up with a far-flung hypothesis that only an old man who knows nothing at all about computers could come up with, and there you have it: instant denouement.

    The climax of the action doesn't really make sense either, but even that would have been forgivable if the end of the story had been rewarding. It isn't. Instead, King pulls a poorly-veiled version of the ending of IT out of his bag of tricks and grafts it on. I'd recommend King to any reader, but not this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Infection

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Craig DiLouie
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim

    Five ordinary people must pay the price of survival at the end of the world. A mysterious virus suddenly strikes down millions. Three days later, its victims awake with a single purpose: spread the Infection. As the world lurches toward the apocalypse, some of the Infected continue to change, transforming into horrific monsters.

    wayne says: "worst narrator, I've heard so far"
    "Awful. Simply awful."

    I love zombie stories. In fact, I'm the webmaster of a major zombie-related website. This was just plain unlistenable. The story was completely 2-dimensional and the characters were both predictable and hard to sympathize with. Add to that some of the hands-down worst narration I've ever hear (for goodness sake, the guy sounds like he's narrating a movie trailer the whole time), and you got a recipe for pure shlock.

    9 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • A Fraction of the Whole

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Steve Tolz
    • Narrated By Colin McPhillamy, Craig Baldwin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Stewing in an Australian prison, Jasper Dean reflects on his relationship with his dead father and recounts the many zany adventures they shared together.

    Nancy says: "Beautifully written, wonderful characters"
    "A Funny and Thought-provoking Tale of Human Nature"

    Okay, I know this might sound weird, but if Dostoyevsky were alive today, Steve Toltz could probably teach him a thing or two about the nature of misanthropy. Still, A Fraction of the Whole manages to push the envelope of absurd to the very limits of transgressional fiction, while remaining humorous enough to sustain most reader's attention spans. The thing is, Toltz's characters are so incredibly hard to sympathize with, that you're likely to find yourself trying hard to understand how they are a reflection of humanity as a whole. And from this effort, the truth of their "every man" identities becomes glaringly obvious.

    Anyone who reads this story is likely to be both disgusted at the characters and reflected within them, all the while laughing despite this. Oh, and if you only like stories that wrap up nice and neat and fall into your lap during the death throws of their denouements — don't read this. However, if you're comfortable with the fact that life doesn't resolve itself like a Polaroid picture, then sit back, strap on a comfy pair of headphones, and enjoy one of the quirkiest tales you're likely to feast your ears on told by a pair of truly talented narrators whose performances are of rare quality.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Inherent Vice

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Thomas Pynchon
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It's been awhile since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly out of nowhere she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. Easy for her to say. It's the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that "love" is another of those words going around at the moment, like "trip" or "groovy", except that this one usually leads to trouble.

    Philipp Marian Selman says: "If you enjoyed The Crying of Lot 49..."
    "If you enjoyed The Crying of Lot 49..."

    If you enjoyed The Crying of Lot 49, then Inherent Vice is right up your alley. It follows the same kind of surreal yet linear structure of Pynchon's more accessible works, and, like The Crying of Lot 49, you will probably find that several passes are required to digest the novel. The best description I can give of the nature of Inherent Vice is that it is the kind of book you could imagine Hunter S. Thompson writing if he had any gift for fiction. It is an excellent piece of literature.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Manchurian Candidate

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Richard Condon
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Buried deep within the consciousness of Sergeant Raymond Shaw is the mechanism of an assassin, a time bomb ticking toward explosion, controlled by the delicate skill of its Communist masters. Shaw returns from the Korean War to an idolizing and unsuspecting country. What follows is at once a spy story, a love story, and a sobering, yet outrageously funny satire on demagoguery in American politics.

    Hunter says: "What a wonderful title!"
    "A Production Worthy of Repeat Listening"

    Condon's novel is a classic that will surely stand the test of time and enter the annals of American Literature as one of the definitive examples that reflects the culture of the United States during the epoch of technological advance and sociopolitical unrest known as the Cold War. On top of that, Christopher Hurt's expressive and engaging narration style only adds to this magnificent production.

    On a personal note, I found myself sneaking off with my iPod, unable to limit myself to listening only during my commute. My only complaint is that I wish the novel had been longer so that I could have drawn out the pleasure of the experience a bit longer. I'm already looking forward to revisiting The Manchurian Candidate, and with so many audio books at my disposal, I rarely listen to any more than once.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Replay

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Ken Grimwood
    • Narrated By William Dufris

    In 1988, 43-year-old Jeff Winston died of a heart attack. But then he awoke, and it was 1963; Jeff was 18 all over again, his memory of the next two decades intact. This time around, Jeff would gain all the power and wealth he never had before. This time around he'd know how to do it right. Until next time.

    Tim says: "Groundhog's Day, It's Not!"
    "Slow to start, but not bad."

    At first, I did not like Replay. The exposition of the protagonist's past life and first Replays develop slowly and drag out at times. The problem with the story's development is that it relies on the plot device of the protagonist "replaying" his life to sustain the audience's attention. The effect of such a plot device is to be sensational enough to carry the story for a while, but not indefinitely. Unfortunately, it took five hours before the plot germinated as a result of the introduction of the second major protagonist and the resulting thematic device. After that, Replay picks up considerably. The cycle of physical and spiritual rebirth reminded me of Ursula K. LeGuine's The Lathe of Heaven. Some of the description was a bit dense and on the long side, but where the writing style succeeded, the composition flourished. Ultimately, I'm glad I gave Replay a second (or maybe third) chance and absorbed what it had to offer.

    -Phil Selman

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Neverwhere

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Richard Mayhew is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but shrewish fiancée. Then one night he stumbles upon a girl lying on the sidewalk, bleeding. He stops to help her, and his life is changed forever. Soon he finds himself living in a London most people would never have dreamed of: a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels. It is a world that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations.

    Thomas says: "Neverwhere is Great"
    "I couldn't stop listening."

    I couldn't stop listening. This is the story I've always been missing. Like Stardust, Nevewhere retains some of the qualities of a fairy tale while appealing to adults. Anyone who's ever felt too deeply "stuck" in reality can relate to Richard's serendipitous quest in London Below. And, not to spoil anything, but I believe that Neverwhere has one of the best executed conclusions I've read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stardust

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester. One crisp October night, as they watch, a star falls from the sky, and Victoria promises to marry Tristran if he'll retrieve the star and bring it back for her. It is this promise that sends Tristran on the most unforgettable adventure of his life.

    R. BREEN says: "Witty and magical"
    "A Charming Story Narrated by a Master Storyteller."

    As a recording engineer, produce, writer and self-styled coniseaur of audio books myself, I tend to be on the critical side. Very few productions achieve five star ratings by my hand, as, in order to earn such an accolade, they must excel equally in the fields of writing style, production quality and narrative performance. On the subject of the latter, because I have worked with voiceover talent for several years, I know how rare it is for an author to effectively and forensically deliver his or her own work. In fact, it is rare for an individual to be truly talented in one, let alone both of the disciplines involved. That said, it is without any reservation whatsoever that I recommend Stardust. There are few authors who can claim peership with Gaiman's narrative brilliance. Add to that his superb delivery and you cannot deny him the title of "Master Storyteller."

    -P. M. Selman

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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