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Randall

Houston, TX, United States | Member Since 2007

28
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 51 ratings
  • 319 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • The Foundation Trilogy (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov, Maurice Denham, Prunella Scales
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Beevers, Lee Montague, Julian Glover, and others
    Overall
    (274)
    Performance
    (219)
    Story
    (218)

    The opening episode begins on Trantor, capital of the Galactic Empire, with the meeting of Seldon and Dornick, their trial, and their exile to Terminus. The action then jumps forward 50 years, to the first Seldon Crisis, where the repercussions of the recent independence of the Four Kingdoms of the Periphery are being felt on Terminus, and are handled by the first Mayor, Salvor Hardin....

    James says: "How can you go wrong with a must read book for $2"
    "Terrible Sound Quality"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Foundation Trilogy is one of the great, classic sci-fi series from one of my all time favorite authors, but this was a terrible production. I can see why I paid less than $2.00.

    The performances may have been great & the adaptation to the form of a radio drama might have been excellent, but I had a hard time hearing it due to the sound quality. The "sci-fi" sounds were extremely loud while the spoken words were very soft. I'm relieved that I was listening to this over speakers instead of on headphones or my eardrums would have blown when I turned it up to hear what was being said.

    I would not consider recommending this version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Koban: The Mark of Koban, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Stephen W. Bennett
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (334)
    Performance
    (313)
    Story
    (315)

    Already faster and more powerful than the last 17 species that they have destroyed or subjugated, the Krall have set their sights on humankind. After testing humans on their future home world of Koban and finding them worthy opponents, the Krall start a war of slow extermination with the rest of humanity. The war is intended to last generations as they apply their own version of "natural selection" to cull their weaker warriors in combat, purifying the Krall gene pool with their finest warriors for breeding.

    mike says: "A light read"
    "Good Sequel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Koban: The Mark of Koban, Book 2 again? Why?

    Yes
    It's a good follow-up to Koban.


    What did you like best about this story?

    My favorite parts were with the people who were marooned on Koban in the 1st book. Learning about the 1st generation born on that world was interesting.


    Which character – as performed by Eric Michael Summerer – was your favorite?

    Captain Mirikami & the kids were my favorites.
    However, Summerer was not as Freeman (the 1st book) at making the voices distinctive enough. With Freeman, I never had trouble telling which character was speaking. I got confused a few times with Summerer. Summerer was good at making it interesting, but most of his characters sound the same.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Watching the kids grow was occasionally funny. Bennett has obviously spent time around smart, hyperactive children.


    Any additional comments?

    My only complaint is that Audible doesn't have more books in this series yet. I want to know what happens next, & I want to know now!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Koban, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen W. Bennett
    • Narrated By Patrick Freeman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (453)
    Performance
    (430)
    Story
    (428)

    We colonized 700 planets. Humankind enjoyed the benefits of expansion room and the end of wars. We even disbanded our military. Then the Krall found us. The Krall have used thousands of years of combat to select the genes of the strongest and fastest warriors. They are a species determined to dominate the entire galaxy, through destruction and annihilation of every opponent.

    Koban is an uninhabited high-gravity planet with impossibly fast savage animals, which employ organic superconducting nerves. This deadly world is where the Krall tested humans for war capability.

    Laura A Azevedo says: "Great Story, Poor Narration"
    "Survival Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Koban, Book 1?

    Though this is classified as military science fiction (& I love a good military sci-fi story), I think that this 1st book is more of a survival story. Several of the characters are geniuses, but they are not perfect.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The world building. Three centuries prior, humanity was almost wiped out when a plague killed off most of the men, so society has undergone a shift in gender roles. Men are only just beginning to regain some of their equality with women. I like the way that Bennett thought through how a society would change under such circumstances.


    Which character – as performed by Patrick Freeman – was your favorite?

    It is too hard to pick just one character. Captain Mirikami gets the most air time, but there are several engaging characters including the aliens.
    One of the things that I loved about Freeman's narration is that you RARELY have any trouble telling the characters apart, and this book does have a fairly large cast. Not having to wonder who is speaking at any given moment is a relief when you are in traffic!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Adapt or go extinct.


    Any additional comments?

    I usually listen to books in my car. This is one of those rare books that I bring into the house &/or sit out in a hot car listening to until I reach the end of a chapter.Koban is cinematic in scope. If a network wants a good sci-fi action series, it could do a lot worse than Koban.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • World of Ptavvs

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Larry Niven
    • Narrated By Andy Caploe
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (101)

    A reflective statue is found at the bottom of one of Earth's oceans, having lain there for 1.5 billion years. Since humans have recently developed a time-slowing field and found that one such field cannot function within another, it is suspected that the "Sea Statue" is actually a space traveler within one of these time fields. Larry Greenberg, a telepath, agrees to participate in an experiment: a time-slowing field is generated around both Greenberg and the statue, shutting off the stasis field and revealing Kzanol.

    Billy says: "Early Niven but still good."
    "Fun, if Dated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First of all, I have been a fan of Larry Niven since the mid-80s. I don't know how I managed to go so long without reading this book. I knew the basic story from mentions in other Known Space stories.

    The basic story idea is awesome. The time frozen last survivor of an ancient, extinct species that used its powerful mind control abilities to control much of the galaxy is released upon the Solar System, & a mad race is on to stop him before he can reclaim a tool that could enable him to enslave all of humanity. It's a fun little romp that feels like a short story. (I mean that as a complement because it just seems to fly by.)

    In my opinion, what dates this story the most is the almost constant smoking. I'm convinced that, if all references to smoking were removed from this book, you would loose about 45 minutes. I found myself wondering if this book was originally sold with packs of smokes.

    Read this if you like a light sci-fi adventure with a heavy dose of tobacco. :-)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The March of the Ten Thousand

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Xenophon
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (292)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (117)

    Translated by W. E. D. Rouse, The March of the Ten Thousand is one of the most admired and widely read pieces of ancient literature to come down to us. Xenophon employs a very simple, straightforward style to describe what is probably the most exciting military adventure ever undertaken. It is an epic of courage, faith and democratic principle.

    Benedict says: "An intelligent leader"
    "Ancient Warfare Comes Alive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'd known the basic story for years, but hearing Xenophon's personal account really brought it to life in a special way. I listened to this in my car on my long drive to & from work, so I often found myself rushing to my computer when I got home to look up what is known about the various peoples encountered along the army's march. Xenophon seems to have been a careful chronicler even if he did write about these events several years after their conclusion.

    If I had a complaint it would be that, in listening to this story, I found myself wanting a cheat sheet & a map for all of the places visited.

    Charlton Griffin is a good, scholarly sounding performer. He made me feel like it really was Xenophon doing the speaking.

    Listen to this if you are even remotely interested in Ancient Greek culture.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (943)
    Performance
    (848)
    Story
    (861)

    Captain Ivan Vorpatril is happy with his relatively uneventful bachelor's life as a staff officer to a Barrayaran admiral. Cousin to imperial troubleshooter Miles Vorkosigan, Ivan is not far down the hereditary list for the emperorship. Thankfully, new heirs have directed that headache elsewhere, leaving Ivan to enjoy his life on Komarr, far from the Byzantine court politics of his home system. But when an old friend in Barrayaran intelligence asks Ivan to protect an attractive young woman who may be on the hit list of a criminal syndicate, his chivalrous nature takes over. It seems danger and adventure have once more found Captain Vorpatril.

    Barbara M. Sullivan says: "We are finally allowed to see Ivan without Miles."
    "IVAN!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    No spoilers here other than I think that Bujold decided to dedicate an entire book to torturing Miles' cousin/best friend/frequent victim, Ivan Vorpatril.
    This may not be the best of the Vorkosigan books, but it was a lot of fun. Many parts had me laughing aloud. It is fun seeing many of the usual characters from a different perspective. Heck, the capitol city's most infamous landmark is good for a laugh.
    Grover Gardiner does his usual great job.
    Listen to this book if you like Bujold in snarky mode.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Warrior's Apprentice: A Miles Vorkosigan Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (1635)
    Performance
    (773)
    Story
    (782)

    Miles Vorkosigan makes his debut in this frenetic coming-of-age tale. At age 17, Miles is allowed to take the entrance exams to the elite military academy; he passes the written but manages, through miscalculation in a moment of anger, to break both his legs on the obstacle course, washing out before he begins. His aged grandfather dies in his sleep shortly after, for which Miles blames himself.

    Readalot says: "What a great character!"
    "Miles is My Hero"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This isn't the 1st Vorkosigan book, but it works as the beginning of its own series. It's a smart, fun action series. You will laugh & cheer for Miles.

    Miles isn't always the smartest guy in the room, but he's so good at faking it on those rare occasions when he encounters someone more intelligent, that you'd never know. Bujold has created a character that keeps you coming back for more.

    Listening to this I find myself thinking that they need to find a younger clone of Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones) to play Miles. Both are characters that live in societies that disparage them for their appearances that become massively important people due to their wits.

    Thanks to other readers for the rest of the series in order:

    - The Warrior's Apprentice
    - The Vor Game
    - Cetaganda
    - Ethan of Ethos (No Miles, but important for later stories)
    - Brothers in Arms
    - Mirror Dance (1994)
    - Memory (1996)
    - Komarr (1998)
    - A Civil Campaign
    - Winterfair Gifts
    - Diplomatic Immunity

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Glory Road

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (400)
    Performance
    (366)
    Story
    (374)

    . C. “Scar” Gordon was on the French Riviera recovering from a tour of combat in Southeast Asia, but he hadn’t given up his habit of scanning the personals in the newspaper. One ad in particular leapt out at him: "Are you a coward? This is not for you. We badly need a brave man. He must be 23 to 25 years old, in perfect health, at least six feet tall, weigh about 190 pounds, fluent English with some French, proficient with all weapons, some knowledge of engineering and mathematics essential...."

    ShySusan says: "Heinlein's only fantasy"
    "A Fun Classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is Heinlein's only fantasy, & it's been on my list of books to read for over 20 years. I can't say why I never got around to reading it before downloading this. It's a fun, light story. It's fun, but you can see that Heinlein wanted there to be a scientific explanation for everything. This did not take away from the story, rather, it only added to the charm.
    You can tell that it was published in the early 60s both because of Heinlein's disdain for the post-WWII generation & his writing style. Heinlein changed over time, & this feels like the author from that period. He was fun throughout his career.

    I didn't even look at who the narrator was, & I was shocked when I heard the name Bronson Pinchot. BALKI FROM PERFECT STRANGERS?!?! I'm pleased to say that my initial reaction could not have been more wrong. Pinchot's performance is perfect. The man is a great voice actor. This book is told in the 1st person, & Pinchot gives Oscar a low, confident drawl that makes you think that this guy could be both your best friend & someone who would take on a small army if there was no other choice. I look forward to hearing more by Mr. Pinchot.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Tarnsman of Gor: Gorean Saga, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By John Norman
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (370)
    Performance
    (274)
    Story
    (276)

    Tarl Cabot has always believed himself to be a citizen of Earth. He has no inkling that his destiny is far greater than the small planet he has inhabited for the first 20-odd years of his life. One frosty winter night in the New England woods, he finds himself transported to the planet of Gor, also known as Counter-Earth, where everything is dramatically different from anything he has ever experienced.

    Craig Walker says: "A good yarn But..."
    "I Liked Gor Better When It Was Called Barsoom"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What was most disappointing about John Norman’s story?

    I read this back in the early 90s, & I had fond memories. However, I've since read the Barsoom books (John Carter of Mars for those of you who don't know), & I realize that Norman stole liberally from Burroughs.
    1. An intelligent, athletic man finds himself upon another world in our solar system where wars are fought with swords in the skies despite advanced technology.
    2. He meets & falls for the most beautiful woman in the world who happens to be the princess of a mighty city-state.
    3. Medical technology allows people to live much longer than on Earth.
    4. Mysterious gods pull the strings in the background. (Barsoom calls them Therns, & Gor calls them Priest Kings.)
    I could go on, but...

    A major difference is that the characters in this book spend a lot more time boasting of their exploits than in Burroughs' book. The major role of slavery on Gor is the defining trait in later books. I remember that they almost read like sci-fi version of "Fifty Shades of Gray."


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance wasn't 1/2 bad. You're only as good as your material. I wouldn't mind hearing him read something better. I might be great.


    Did Tarnsman of Gor inspire you to do anything?

    Go back & read the original Burroughs.


    Any additional comments?

    I recommend you read the old Barsoom books instead. Burroughs style may be old & a bit cliche at times by today's standards, but they hold up better than these books that were written after Burroughs' death.

    I've heard that Norman is still writing Gor books, & that the series has over 20 books. If memory serves, they get steadily worse more repetitive the further that you read.

    This is not a series for anyone who is easily embarased. You don't see it in this book, but it will come later. Women are treated worse on Gor than in just about any sci-fi/fantasy book that I've ever read, & I've been a fan of the genre since I was a kid in the early 80s. I'm embarased that I ever read these books. I won't be going any further.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5929)
    Performance
    (5524)
    Story
    (5523)

    Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

    Paige says: "Not his Wheal-house"
    "Read This if You Like Star Trek"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Redshirts the most enjoyable?

    1. I enjoyed seeing what life could be like for the "disposable" characters on a show like Star Trek. It makes you wonder why there was never a real mutiny on the Enterprise.

    2. Few people can write as funny a nervous breakdown as John Scalzi. These characters are thrown into a situation that would drive any rational person completely nuts, and they still manage to function. There were parts that made me glad that I wasn't in heavy traffic because they were so funny.

    3. Wil Wheaton. The only casting that could have been as appropriate as Wil would have been Sam Rockwell because Rockwell played an actor who had played a "redshirt" in Galaxy Quest. There was one twitchy ensign that bought it that I imagined looking like Rockwell. However, as good an actor as Rockwell is, I think that Wheaton might have a better feel for this medium because he is himself an author & John Scalzi is his friend.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Redshirts?

    Too many to list, & it already looks like I'm gushing here.


    What about Wil Wheaton’s performance did you like?

    He was believable. When the characters were angry, scared, frustrated, &/or confused, you believed. I especially loved when a character went on a rant.There was a long section that was basically a long rant, and Weaton was in rare form.Again: Perfect casting.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Scalzy played it smart and did not write this just for laughs. Is it a comedy? Yes! What makes this book so good is that the comedy comes from these people who might be normal to you (or as normal as people on a space ship could be) react to a truly insane situation.


    Any additional comments?

    As much as I love Galaxy Quest, this is a better loving parody of Star Trek & other sci-fi TV shows. I'd love to see this made into a movie. It would be hard to fit the wonderful Codas could fit into a motion picture, but I'd love to see a good screenwriter & director try.

    Cast Wil Wheaton in one of the lead roles!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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