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Rick Kintigh

Chicago, IL USA | Member Since 2011

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 48 reviews
  • 100 ratings
  • 325 titles in library
  • 88 purchased in 2014
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  • Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
    • Narrated By Jim Donaldson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (134)

    Frankenstein is infused with some elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement and is also considered to be one of the earliest examples of science fiction. Includes introduction and commentary by Mary Shelley. Required reading for any fan of science fiction and horror genres. A classic.

    Darwin8u says: "A Monster of Fiction"
    "A letter, of a tale, of a tale of woe and wonder."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Frankenstein is a classic novel, that could have been immeasurably improved by being a classic short story. There are aspects i have problems with. Victor Frankenstein is impossibly brilliant, but a painfully forgetful and self-deluded man. I cannot help but wonder where the story could have gone if he had remained engaged in the implications of his creation. The creature himself is astoundingly well-spoken and far more astute than the tremulant Frankenstein. With his inexhaustible capacity for self awareness and self improvement i would hope that he would sequester himself in some Swiss cabin and become a philosopher or poet rather than a murderous wretch. I also cannot think of a more distanced POV than having a meaningless frame story where the actual narrative is told as a dictation. This steals all the immediacy and energy out of the telling. What Shelly did masterfully was create a thought provoking investigation into the custodial relationship man has to life on this planet as we begin to impose mastery over the natural world. Advancements in genetic and surgical capability make the implications bare even greater weight today then she could have envisioned at the time of the writing. This work is exceptional if for no other reason then the generations of writers, philosophers, and scientists it affected, inspired and enriched. For all its flaws Frankenstein is an astonishing accomplishment and a foundation of science fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John Irving
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3693)
    Performance
    (2604)
    Story
    (2608)

    Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended. In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys – best friends – are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying.

    Alan says: "Outstanding"
    "a story told as a memory"
    Overall
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    Story

    A Prayer for Owen Meany is told like a memory. Out of sequence and not all at once. Memory as fragment intermixed with correlated memories and current observations. Like harmonics. Like arpeggios. It is a story about faith from the point of view of someone without faith. The layer upon layer of odd specificity of actions and characteristics can be somewhat irksome. It's like when reading Atlas Shrugged and each retelling of story doesn't actually add anything, but underlines it again and again. We see the predestination and the all the glaring oddity. It is obvious that these are not just character traits but cogs in a specific machine. A Rube Goldberg contraption which will damage each character in a specific way. Leave familiar scars. But it is our memory so it is perhaps obvious that we would remember the man he would be and underline again and again the harmonics. The omens. I don't know exactly how I feel about this book. I love when a story is told in pieces and I can assemble them and solve the story. But there was nothing to solve here. There are specifics that elude us until the end, but the clues are remembered over and over and underlined again and again. The outcome was never in doubt. We know the end before we ever remember the beginning. I don't think John ever finds faith, but it is obvious he still tries. John is an incomplete man. He was essentially created by Owen and left incomplete. That yearning plagues the reading. It is a little too long, too many memories, then ends all at once. I imagine that is how John feels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Oryx and Crake

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Campbell Scott
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1863)
    Performance
    (1013)
    Story
    (1024)

    As the story opens, Snowman is sleeping in a tree, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief.

    Doug says: "Very Scary Stuff"
    "definitely a dark dystopic world"
    Overall
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    I think I liked this book, or maybe just wanted to like it enough that it kinda stuck. The biology, sociobiology and psychology is interesting. Marget Atwood has some interesting ideas about the psychological pressures behind the shortcomings of mankind and the traits we can graft from other species to overcome our deficiencies. She also has an absolute fixation on transactional sexuality and the myriad ways one can use/abuse sex. I mean she really digs it. We got a taste in The Handmaid's Tale, but here she super-sexualizes a seven year old (say that five times fast) and has a character that obsessively recount the abuse every few pages. Its totally unnecessary for the reader, or maybe once if that is the lever to the abused characters mind and a second time to reveal the narrator's discomfort, but after that it just feels like the author is trying to be "edgy" or confrontational and not in service to the story. Beyond the sexual disfunction most of the characters fall flat. The Crakers are actually kind of great. Their society, ritual and biology is interesting and well described. Oryx (the sexy child) is at her best in our limited observations of her with the Crakers and Crake himself is mostly a sociopathic cardboard cut-out. We are limited in our understanding of the other principal characters because our narrator is helplessly self absorbed. His interest in Oryx and Crake are simply as a reflection of his own needs, doubts and desires. Jimmy (the narrator) does offer some fun word play and all of his best moments are punctuated with his collection of under-utilized or otherwise enjoyable words.

    I have a curiosity which may prove enough to continue with the series. This is definitely a dark dystopic world, but the science is interesting and the Crakers have significant potential. Jimmy may not be beyond redemption, but it will require him embracing his role in society. He has shown signs, which is all I can ask.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lock In (Narrated by Amber Benson)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Amber Benson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (299)
    Performance
    (269)
    Story
    (277)

    Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

    Anthony says: "Love Amber's Narration"
    "investigation into transferable consciousness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Lock In is sort of a prequel to Old Man's War. It continues Scalzi's fascination with the mind, identity and how humans will begin to physically interface with technology. It is interesting to see how an idea germinates within an author and manifests throughout his career with a multitude of facets. Like all true SciFi Scalzi probes the implications of dislocated/transferable consciousness from many angles. What separates this from The Surrogates or the Matrix is the implication of race, sexuality, gender, and self when a significant portion of the population is disembodied from birth or at least early development. The audio book is sold in two versions. One read by Wil Wheaton and another by Amber Benson. This is possible because the story is told in first person and the gender of the narrator is never revealed in the text. It's a little bit of a magic trick, but not a gimmick. The gender of the character is never pertinent to us or the other characters. The race of our character is not even approached or implied until the final third of the book, and in general race itself is not character trait. This is science fiction done well. They are always telling us gender and race are not important in the societies of the future, but it is in the telling that undermines the point. The omission is powerful and successful.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Watership Down

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Richard Adams
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2881)
    Performance
    (2183)
    Story
    (2198)

    Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren; he felt sure of it. They had to leave immediately. So begins a long and perilous journey of survival for a small band of rabbits. As the rabbits skirt danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band, its humorous characters, and its compelling culture, complete with its own folk history and mythos.

    B. Cable says: "Still one of the best!"
    "beautifully conceived and crafted folktale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Watership Down is a tremendous work of imagination. All great writing is an exercise in empathy and Richard Adams transforms the reader into the mind, culture and body of a rabbit. There is so much careful work done to keep the physical actions and limitations of the rabbits true while opening up the interior landscape of the characters. They have honor, history, fear, bravery, duty, humor and cleverness. Their social interaction and structure is believable and mirrors how you would expect a warren to work. The myth making and history is pitch perfect; an oral tradition of cleverness and bravery. The language of the rabbits and their patois with the other animals, and the onomatopoeic nature of human and dog naming are another example of rich world-building. Watership Down is beautifully conceived and crafted folktale.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Treasure Island

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Jasper Britton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (352)
    Performance
    (201)
    Story
    (203)

    Treasure Island must be the most enthralling adventure book ever written. As we listen to the voice of Jim Hawkins telling his extraordinary tale, and later that of his companion Dr. Livesey, we are plunged into a world of pirates, buried treasure, mutiny, and deceit.

    Jason says: "Rousing tale"
    "Tremendous fun and a great listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The narration by Jasper Britton is spectacular. He captures the young fresh voice of Jim Hawkins, regal voice of the doctor, measured voice of the captain as effortlessly as he drawls the gravelly melodic tones of Long John Silver and his sea dogs. This is a classic story of murder, mischief, mutiny and daring do all in the name of buried pirate treasure. The pacing is superb, the action thrilling, but never beyond belief. With Jim as our guide we get to experience the best of all the awe and fear while maintaining our sense of adventure. Tremendous fun and a great listen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (934)
    Performance
    (883)
    Story
    (886)

    Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

    Alexis says: "Fun! Things you might want to know:"
    "investigation into transferable consciousness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Lock In is sort of a prequel to Old Man's War. It continues Scalzi's fascination with the mind, identity and how humans will begin to physically interface with technology. It is interesting to see how an idea germinates within an author and manifests throughout his career with a multitude of facets. Like all true SciFi Scalzi probes the implications of dislocated/transferable consciousness from many angles. What separates this from The Surrogates or the Matrix is the implication of race, sexuality, gender, and self when a significant portion of the population is disembodied from birth or at least early development. The audio book is sold in two versions. One read by Wil Wheaton and another by Amber Benson. This is possible because the story is told in first person and the gender of the narrator is never revealed in the text. It's a little bit of a magic trick, but not a gimmick. The gender of the character is never pertinent to us or the other characters. The race of our character is not even approached or implied until the final third of the book, and in general race itself is not character trait. This is science fiction done well. They are always telling us gender and race are not important in the societies of the future, but it is in the telling that undermines the point. The omission is powerful and successful.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11531)
    Performance
    (10478)
    Story
    (10500)

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Magpie says: "Super solid listen!!"
    "Fun sci-fi / fantasy mystery."
    Overall
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    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoy when a book knows its audience. All the little winks and nods to sci-fi, fantasy, geek and pop culture don't feel forced. It feels like references and conversation you would have with your friends. Each character has their own dreams and skills, and they share a common lack of funds and an odd living situation. I should caveat when saying "knowing your audience" that most people have categorized this as sci-fi, and while it is about sci-fi it is really more fantasy. The exact means and methods of the weirdness is not the point, it is a plot and character driven story, and the building is definitely one of the characters. Packed with mystery and thrills 14 is a lot of fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (134)

    Hailed as one of the world’s masterpieces of psychological realism, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high-court judge who has never given the inevitability of his death so much as a passing thought. But one day death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise he is brought face-to-face with his own mortality. How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth?

    Alexandria Milton says: "Elegant, simple, and true"
    "scathing look at the upper-middle class society"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    When I read a translated novel I question if the voice I am reading reflects the author's subtlety and nuance. Constance Garnett's translation is exquisitely descriptive in tone and texture. I am unable to verify its literal accuracy, but translation or not the writing is masterful. The Death of Ivan Ilych tells the story of a man who had a successful life by all outward metrics, but was driven by perception, vanity and ego. Always doing right and the expected, but never being guided by his passions. He reflects upon his life through the stages of his illness. The emotions and realizations reflect the stages of grief and give him a vantage point to analyze his society. The 'beat' writers would later tread similar ground, but for 1884 it is a compact and scathing look at the upper-middle class' society of ambition and perception.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Red Rising

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Pierce Brown
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (935)
    Performance
    (867)
    Story
    (875)

    Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet.

    Charles says: "It Got Better and Left Me Wanting More."
    "great read and a strong debut"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I received this book free from the publisher at C2E2, and it came recommended by my brother, but for some reason I didn't carry a lot of enthusiasm into picking this up to read. I guess I feared it would be derivative. You can see the bones of The City of Ember and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress as it starts then The Hunger Games and Foundation when it gets going, but no matter how I tried to pigeon-hole Red Rising it exceeded the sum of its parts. There is a sense of culture and history that none of the others can claim, and an anger that fuels this story to depths its predecessors can't touch. The brutality and degradation are offset with loyalty and love. You can feel the engine inside Darrow. Fury and sorrow. But, then as the game develops you understand how his friendships and alliances forge. You can taste the conflict within him. This is great writing and great world building. The challenge in the second book will be to re-kindle the history and connection to his past. It will be Darrow's challenge as well, to not lose himself in his new environment. To remember who he is, why he is. This a great read and a strong debut for Pierce Brown. Can't wait to see what happens next

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Moby-Dick

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Herman Melville
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1256)
    Performance
    (974)
    Story
    (978)

    Labeled variously a realistic story of whaling, a romance of unusual adventure and eccentric characters, a symbolic allegory, and a drama of heroic conflict, Moby Dick is first and foremost a great story. It has both the humor and poignancy of a simple sea ballad, as well as the depth and universality of a grand odyssey.

    Alice says: "I felt totally swept up in this world"
    "more than a simple revenge story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Moby Dick is a many faceted novel. It has long sections which serve solely to educate the reader about the taxonomy and anatomy of whales and reads like a naturalist’s field book for an audience which would have no other means to visualize these enormous creatures. There are historical and economic essays on the role of whaling in society. Essays on vessels, equipment and crew with long passages about the life and duties of the whaler. Exacting strategies of landing a whale and method of processing its bulk, along with yields, storage and maintenance. But intertwined with all of the exposition, Herman Melville has incorporated a philosophical, introspective, adventure story with some surprising social commentary for a book published in 1851.

    In the tenth chapter we have the marriage of Queequeg and Ishmael, both male characters. Some passages are merely suggestive, such as their union in the Innkeepers wedding bed, and some of the more genial bed play. Some are more overt.

    “He seemed to take to me quite as naturally and unbiddenly as I to him; and when our smoke was over, he pressed his forehead against mine, clasped me round the waist, and said that henceforth we were married…”

    After which Queequeg divides his belongings and gives half to Ishmael. And again,

    "How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts’ honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg – a cosy, loving pair."

    Melville also interjects some surprisingly subversive religious opinions. When trying to convince the Quaker owners of the Pequod to allow Queequeg on board, Ishmael argues:

    "I mean, sir, the same ancient Catholic Church to which you and I, and Captain Peleg there, and Queequeg here, and all of us, and every mother's son and soul of us belong; the great and everlasting First Congregation of this whole worshipping world; we all belong to that; only some of us cherish some queer crotchets no ways touching the grand belief; in THAT we all join hands."

    Or this curious portion of their wedding where Ishmael considers his participation in idol worship.

    “I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this wild idolator in worshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I… to do the will of God--THAT is worship. And what is the will of God?--to do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to me--THAT is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow man. And what do I wish that this Queequeg would do to me? Why, unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form of worship. Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn idolator. So I kindled the shavings; helped prop up the innocent little idol; offered him burnt biscuit with Queequeg; salamed before him twice or thrice; kissed his nose; and that done, we undressed and went to bed, at peace with our own consciences and all the world”.

    Finally, and perhaps my favorite rumination concludes several reflections on man’s violence to one another.

    "Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure. Consider also the devilish brilliance and beauty of many of its most remorseless tribes, as the dainty embellished shape of many species of sharks. Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began. Consider all this; and then turn to this green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself?"

    Herman Melville’s work is full of complex and beautiful prose, and so much more than the simply revenge story I assumed it to be. Moby Dick is an accurate depiction of the knowledge of the natural sciences - and a window into social and religious consciousness of the 1850s.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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