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Robert

Best-novel Hugo and Nebula Award-winning science-fiction writer. Audie Award winner for CALCULATING GOD. Author of FLASHFORWARD and 20 more.

Mississauga, ON, Canada | Member Since 2001

34
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 49 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 44 purchased in 2014
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  • The Maltese Falcon

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Dashiell Hammett
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    Overall
    (790)
    Performance
    (317)
    Story
    (314)

    Hard-boiled detective Sam Spade is hired to locate a client's sister by tailing the sister's companion. Spade's partner Miles Archer takes on the assignment, and quickly both Archer and the man he was shadowing are murdered. As Spade pursues the mystery of his partner's death, he is drawn into a circle of colorful characters, and they are all after a legendary statuette of a falcon that had long ago been made for King Charles of Spain. Encrusted with jewels, it is worth a fortune.

    Jim says: "A little overacted"
    "Perfect match of text and narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    THE MALTESE FALCON is a fabulous book, and the Humphrey Bogart movie version is, of course, a classic. Here, William Dufris does an amazing job bringing each character to life. He wisely doesn't imitate Bogart for his Sam Spade, but there's a lot of Peter Lorre in his Joel Cairo and more than a dollop of Sydney Greenstreet in his Kasper Gutman. He brings all the overwrought duplicitousness to his Brigid O'Shaughnessy, and the other female characters -- especially Effie Perrine -- are handled well. Hammett was a master of dialogue, and the lines crackle in this terrific reading by Dufris. An absolutely first-rate production of one of the greatest noir novels of all time. Five stars across the board.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • WWW: Wake

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy, Jennifer Van Dyck, A. C. Fellner, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1567)
    Performance
    (836)
    Story
    (838)

    Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a genius at math - and blind. Still, she can surf the net with the best of them, following its complex paths clearly in her mind. But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. So when she receives an implant to restore her sight, instead of seeing reality, the landscape of the World Wide Web explodes into her consciousness, spreading out all around her in a riot of colors and shapes.

    'Nathan says: "Fantastic."
    "Firmly grounded in accurate science"
    Overall

    On the premise of WAKE and the science behind it:

    (1) see the article in the May 2, 2009, New Scientist entitled "Could the net become self-aware?" (also online at their website), which quotes among others Ben Goertzel, who is in the acknowledgments of WAKE;

    (2) one might also find edifying the nonfiction book "The Web's Awake: An Introduction to the Field of Web Science and the Concept of Web Life" by Philip D. Tetlow, from IEEE Press;

    (3) check out the acknowledgments in the printed version of WAKE for the list of experts who consulted on and/or reviewed my manuscript, including top people from Google, Sun Microsystems, and IBM (acknowledgments also online on my website);

    (4) check out the June 2009 issue of the "Communications of the ACM" (publication of the Association for Computing Machinery, the world's largest educational and scientific computing society), in which I have a commissioned piece on the science behind WAKE;

    (5) visit my website soon for the podcast of the invited talk entitled "Webmind: When the Web Wakes Up" I gave about the science behind WAKE on May 6, 2009, at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania;

    (6) have a look at my editorial on robotics/AI in the November 16, 2007, issue of SCIENCE, the world's leading science journal; and

    (7) be cognizant of the fact that prior to book publication, WAKE was serialized in ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT, the top-selling English-language SF magazine, and the world's leading hard-SF publication, a place where stories not firmly grounded in accurate science simply don't get published. -- Robert J. Sawyer

    21 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • Letting Go of God

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Julia Sweeney
    • Narrated By Julia Sweeney
    Overall
    (1517)
    Performance
    (418)
    Story
    (419)

    Julia Sweeney says she was a "happy Catholic girl" when, one day, she walked into church and signed up for a Bible-study course. "What an eye opener that was!" she says. Equally comedic and insightful, Letting Go of God is Sweeney's brilliant one-woman show about her struggle with her faith.

    Mark says: "A Brilliant Personal Journey of Discovery"
    "Brilliant, charming -- sheer genius"
    Overall

    Letting Go Of God covers all the bases: the journey from childhood religious indoctrination to freethinking adulthood, the contradictions in the Bible, the silliness of New Age thinking as a substitute for reason, the prejudice against atheists, and, most of all, shows that you can be a good, kind, loving person without God (indeed, it's hard not to be totally in love with Sweeney by the end). It never sneers, never uses condescension, and never once tells anyone else what to think -- it trust that the members of the audience can find their own way. A tour de force; I recommend it highly and wholeheartedly.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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