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Rick Kintigh

Chicago, IL USA | Member Since 2011

ratings
90
REVIEWS
38
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
5

  • At the Mountains of Madness [Blackstone Edition]

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By H. P. Lovecraft
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (612)
    Performance
    (566)
    Story
    (569)

    This Lovecraft classic is a must-have for every fan of classic terror. When a geologist leads an expedition to the Antarctic plateau, his aim is to find rock and plant specimens from deep within the continent. The barren landscape offers no evidence of any life form - until they stumble upon the ruins of a lost civilization. Strange fossils of creatures unknown to man lead the team deeper, where they find carved stones dating back millions of years. But it is their discovery of the terrifying city of the Old Ones that leads them to an encounter with an untold menace.

    Jeffrey says: "Not for everyone"
    "Thematic predecessor of the "found footage" genre."
    Overall
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    The text is written as a combination of a letter to scientific peers in the small community of early twentieth century explorer scientist and a scientists journal. Lovecraft writes with a poetry and scientific rigor missing from Verne's work. To the modern reader many of the "reveals" are seen from far off, i am sure this is partially due to the influence of this book and author on the genre. Interestingly, Lovecraft anticipates and acknowledges that the reader, from their vantage point will likely have reached many conclusions faster than the narrator, and also acknowledges that the reader would quite likely have responded differently if in the same situation as the narrator. It is a small gesture to engage the reader in this way and did allow me to engage the story as presented without second-guessing and cynicism.

    While definitely must be viewed in the context of the era in which it was written, it was a very enjoyable read. Posing unique divergences from standard assumptions of sentient life, and insight into their motivations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6782)
    Performance
    (6455)
    Story
    (6468)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Science! Intelligent, funny and thrilling."
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    I love this book. One of my pet peeves is when we are smarter than our character (when perceiving knowledge obtained through the character). That never happens here. These are smart people making smart choices. In fact, this is probably the “hardest” “hard sci-fi” book I have read. Mark Watney (the primary character) is part Wall-e, McGuyver and John McClane rolled into one. He (and others) utilizes chemistry, mathematics, physics, botany and engineering to overcome the many, many obstacles of which they are confronted, but it never feels like a lecture. This is a page-turner, edge-of-your-seat, [insert your own cliché] thriller. It is also very funny. Both through the personality and dialogue of the characters, but also through the pacing and transitions; this will definitely end up as a film. It jumps off the page. I love that this exists; a thriller where a gun is never fired and the greatest weapons are ingenuity, courage, determination, patience and a positive mental state. It amused me that when thinking back over the book, how it achieved my every metric, that it actually fails the Bechdel test. But if you factor in that while the two women are discussing a man, they are themselves badass astronauts discussing how to rescue the man through feats of incredible daring, intelligence and resolve; I think Alison Bechdel would approve.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dust: Silo Saga, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (878)
    Performance
    (804)
    Story
    (811)

    Wool introduced the silo and its inhabitants. Shift told the story of their making. Dust will chronicle their undoing. Welcome to the underground.

    Tango says: "Meanders, then races to a satisfying conclusion"
    "Satisfying conclusion to an uneven series."
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    Hugh Howey was able to draw the series to an end nicely with optimism and closure. A lot had to happen in a short book, but it felt like all the key points were touched on. The ultimate condition of the wider environment is still left open, but there is enough to provide hope and chance for a better life. What I find most surprising is Howey's ability to take what was clearly a short story then expand the world in geographic, political and historic scope. He then provided multiple points of view throughout time and station and wrapped it back up with such a lean word count. It may lack poetry, but The Silo Saga is well executed and managed world building with a beginning, middle and end (although not necessarily in that order).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Timebound

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Rysa Walker
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (440)
    Performance
    (403)
    Story
    (407)

    When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence. Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and her genetic ability to time travel makes Kate the only one who can fix the future.

    Adam Shields says: "Nicely handled time travel book"
    "A good YA Soft Sci-Fi with twisty paradoxes"
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    Timebound is a young adult sci-fi/fantasy, which I think is important to note for a few reasons. The science fiction aspect is time travel and handled adeptly with complex parallel realities and paradoxes, but the mechanism of time travel is left (at least to Clarke's supposition) as magic. I like that it has an implied technology (similar to the recent Thor films) that would allow scientific explanation. By keeping science light it opens the book up to a broader young adult audience and still gives plenty of meat to the inquisitive mind in following the non-linear timelines. Rysa Walker provides a rich background and sets large enough goals to open up the world for future stories. I wish more was discussed regarding geographic in addition to temporal teleportation, but at least for this book it accepted without explanation. I wish more time was spent at the Colombian Exposition. It is a perfect backdrop for time travel stories, but was somewhat wasted on a story which was tasked with establishing the world, technology, characters and stakes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hard Magic: Book I of the Grimnoir Chronicles

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    Overall
    (5412)
    Performance
    (4901)
    Story
    (4914)

    Jake Sullivan is a licensed private eye with a seriously hardboiled attitude. He also possesses raw magical talent and the ability to make objects in his vicinity light as a feather or as heavy as depleted uranium, all with a magical thought. It's no wonder the G-men turn to Jake when they need someoneto go after a suspected killer who has been knocking off banks in a magic-enhanced crime spree.

    Clinton says: "Not what I thought it was going to be."
    "Justice League meets Dirty Dozen"
    Overall
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    The description of this book is a bit off. It describes Jake Sullivan as a hard boiled detective, which he may become in future novels, but at this point he is a convict strong-armed by Hoover into government service. He gets pulled from that role (just as it starts to take shape) into a "dirty dozen" type unit working for a secret society. It all ends up being fun stuff, but the blurb writer set me up for a completely different genre then the book actually delivers.

    The other primary character is Faye, a simple farm girl who happens to be the most powerful "active" in our little band. I have concerns, but to describe them would be spoiler-y or at least reveal-y, and that is simply not how I roll.

    I feel like Larry Correia didn't know how to get into the action. The run-up, especially for Sullivan, felt chaotic. Once the team is assembled and he could unleash his vision of how these powers work and can be wielded, it really takes off. The kinetic energy and spacial language deliver exciting battles. The ultimate stakes are still a little hazy and the system of magic is somewhat loosely defined, but it appears to be in step with the characters similarly vaguely defined understanding. There is enough here to bring me back for future stories in this world. (I also bought the books 2 and 3 before I bought book 1, so Larry Correia was going to get the benefit of the doubt regardless.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By Kenneth Branagh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1429)
    Performance
    (1175)
    Story
    (1177)

    A Signature Performance: Kenneth Branagh plays this like a campfire ghost story, told by a haunted, slightly insane Marlow.

    Harold says: "From Civilization into Darkness"
    "Great prose, lacking in the Kurtz department."
    Overall
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    Conrad's prose is gorgeous. It has a lyrical quality and is hugely satisfying, but other aspects range from uneven to inadequate. There is such an imbalance between Conrad's progressive views against colonialism and treatment of indigenous people to his blatant dismissal of women. Similarly the attention to describing the exact circumstances and intentions of the narrator, but poorly rendering Mr Kurtz. This last is the most troubling because the character (Kurtz) is absolutely revered by all the of others characters, literally idolized by several. The physically and mentally diminished Kurtz we interact with is a shadow of legend and the deeds are too thinly detailed to engender similar awe in the reader.

    Side note: The value of ivory has always escaped me and shades the reading with a gaudy, gory connotation. I wonder how my experience would have been altered if the precious resource was sapphires or similar precious stones which while still not personally valued would carry less baggage.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Classical Mythology

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Elizabeth Vandiver
    Overall
    (180)
    Performance
    (160)
    Story
    (157)

    These 24 lectures are a vibrant introduction to the primary characters and most important stories of classical Greek and Roman mythology. Among those you'll investigate are the accounts of the creation of the world in Hesiod's Theogony and Ovid's Metamorphoses; the gods Zeus, Apollo, Demeter, Persephone, Hermes, Dionysos, and Aphrodite; the Greek heroes, Theseus and Heracles (Hercules in the Roman version); and the most famous of all classical myths, the Trojan War.

    Michelle says: "Great"
    "A more complex view of Oedipus."
    Overall
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    Any additional comments?

    Elizabeth Vandiver's lectures focus on why we create myth, and what we can infer and deduce from from the historical and contextual references within classical mythology. Through the lectures she does outline several examples of specific myths, traces ancestry of both fictitious and historic persons, and the psychology of myth-making. This was all fun and educational material, but the clear take-away was that I need to read some works by Ovid. He was the Oscar Wilde of ancient Rome and a total badass.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Year Zero: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Rob Reid
    • Narrated By John Hodgman
    Overall
    (1061)
    Performance
    (969)
    Story
    (967)

    Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it's a prank, not an alien encounter, when a redheaded mullah and a curvaceous nun show up at his office. But Frampton and Carly are highly advanced (if bumbling) extraterrestrials. And boy, do they have news. The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on humanity's music ever since "Year Zero" (1977 to us), when American pop songs first reached alien ears. This addiction has driven a vast intergalactic society to commit the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang.

    Robert says: "Fantastic Performance by Hodgman"
    "All your drum-and-bass, are belong to us."
    Overall
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    If you aim for Douglas Adams, you are going to miss, but not necessarily land in a bad place. In this case Rob Reid landed in John Scalzi's backyard, the obscure genre of "science fiction legal comedy". For the most part it all kinda works. There are quite a few loose threads and dead ends which don't fold back into the narrative as they might in more practiced hands, but as a first science fiction effort it is quite clever and enjoyable. The only glaring miss-step was the epilogue section's lengthy interview with one of the nine undocumented aliens hiding on earth. This equestrian necro-fu is so tone-deaf that it taints the otherwise good energy and good will of the actual conclusion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gun Machine

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Warren Ellis
    • Narrated By Reg E. Cathey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (189)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (167)

    After a shootout claims the life of his partner in a condemned tenement building on Pearl Street, Detective John Tallow unwittingly stumbles across an apartment stacked high with guns. When examined, each weapon leads to a different, previously unsolved murder. Someone has been killing people for 20 years or more and storing the weapons together for some inexplicable purpose. Confronted with the sudden emergence of hundreds of unsolved homicides, Tallow soon discovers that he's walked into a veritable deal with the devil.

    JunkyardMessiah says: "Perfect marriage between writer and narrator"
    "se7en turned up to e11even."
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    Gun Machine is a dense and fast-paced work, which is perhaps expected from a author who traditionally writes comics and graphic novels, but what most struck me was how complex the characters were and the attention to agency and venue (how they modulated their personalities based on their company, location and situation). It really became apparent in Talia's house, but is seen throughout and is quite remarkable. Similarly this story is a great example of umwelten (overlapping, unique environments created by the perceptions of the characters). Serial killer novels rely heavily archetypes and Warren Ellis does a superb job rendering both the damaged hero and killer's method, mythology and madness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Currents of Space

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (396)
    Performance
    (291)
    Story
    (296)

    High above the planet Florinia, the Squires of Sark live in unimaginable wealth and comfort. Down in the eternal spring of the planet, however, the native Florinians labor ceaselessly to produce the precious kyrt that brings prosperity to their Sarkite masters. Rebellion is unthinkable and impossible. Living among the workers of Florinia, Rik is a man without a memory or a past. He has been abducted and brainwashed.

    thomas says: "Good Solid Asimov"
    "Typical Asimov for good or ill."
    Overall
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    Nice stand alone story which still interacts with the Asimov universe. The Currents of Space has all the hallmarks of Asimov works. Good science foundation, interesting science speculation, social commentary, awkward dialog, too many characters without arcs, overlapping and convoluted agendas, and reveals which alternate between obvious and unguessable based on information given. The good out weighs the expected and the speculative aspects ended up working for me. I recommend as a quick read if you are feeling sentimental for classic science fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3632)
    Performance
    (3472)
    Story
    (3450)

    Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day.… Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful. He doesn’t know the half of it… Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains - led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone - to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

    D says: "Hold onto your staff; Harry’s back."
    "Worthy addition to an increasingly landmark series"
    Overall
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    Harry's character arc is one of the most impressive feats in genre fiction. It is why I adore this series, and Skin Game is no exception. Harry continues to develop as a man, father, friend, mentor, leader, and protector. He continues to learn from his mistakes, learns to trust others, begins to allow others into his life and become vulnerable to them. Jim Butcher does a superb job reweaving aspects of previous stories into the narrative, enriching the fabric. The majority of this story is a caper which is seemingly divorced from the primary foreboding conflict in the series, but does serve to complete Harry's return to Chicago, friends and family and to acknowledge and nudge the story back toward the conflict revealed in Cold Days. Butcher gives each character a moment to shine, to reveal themselves and the growth they have experienced since we last saw them. No one is static in this universe, and that is unique and rewarding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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