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SciFi Kindle

I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.

Cheshire, CT USA | Member Since 2012

24
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 39 reviews
  • 69 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
4

  • Saturn's Children

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Charles Stross
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (74)

    In Saturn's Children, Freya is an obsolete android concubine in a society where humans haven't existed for hundreds of years. A rigid caste system keeps the Aristos, a vindictive group of humanoids, well in control of the lower, slave-chipped classes. So when Freya offends one particularly nasty Aristo, she's forced to take a dangerous courier job off-planet.

    G. House Sr. says: "Pleasent, Complicated Space Opera - Very Enjoyable"
    "Androids picking up the pieces of extinct humanity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Thrust into a widening game of spycraft, our android protagonist Freya will grow from a gutter-survivor flotsam-of-society-type to someone in command of her own destiny for a change. The villains and trusted allies swap roles several times, and personalities are likewise interchangeable among robot characters who can swap ‘soul chips' at a moment’s notice. One interesting allowance of this personality exchange mechanism for the story, is that it allows blended flashback narratives from various character viewpoints. After a few iterations, however, it begins to become difficult in telling the various players and their motives apart, and I think this is a deliberate decision on Stross’s part to make the reader identify with Freya’s solitary plight. Freya, herself an obsolete sexbot designed to serve humans who have now been extinct for three hundred years, casually alters her appearance frequently and drastically redesigns herself on multiple occasions. Such android adaptability is a theme displayed across the varied locations of the story, and is contrasted against humanity’s own inflexible nature. They exist in the memory of android society as beloved creators, but mysterious and poorly understood. The pacing and action are both healthy, and frequent satirical observations of human foibles through the eyes of our creations are also entertaining. There’s (unsurprisingly) a lot of sex included, though it never feels gratuitous as it occurs as a routine matter for the character; transactional. While the conspiratorial threads come to a satisfying conclusion, I remain unsatisfied with the long-term direction these characters and society are headed, and look forward to some insight from the sequel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Endymion

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    Overall
    (1364)
    Performance
    (764)
    Story
    (777)

    Here, Simmons returns to this richly imagined world of technological achievement, excitement, wonder and fear. Endymion is a story about love and memory, triumph and terror - an instant candidate for the field's highest honors.

    David says: "A fine Part II of the Hyperion Cantos"
    "Borrowed elements make it weaker in comparison"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This quest story set 300 years after the events of the much stronger “Hyperion” novels, was a bit of a let down. A trio of archetypical heroes flee from pursuing elements of the tyrannical empire regime across several planets which are the familiar settings from the earlier novels. While it is interesting to read the developments on those locations in the centuries of aftermath, I was reminded of the similar quest in Asimov’s “Foundation and Earth”, where the protagonist visits several worlds which were the nostalgic settings of some of Asimov’s stories set centuries earlier. Here, however, it is far less compelling as most of the spots have gone to wilderness. Also, the hero characters are a bit two-dimensional, fitting very familiar character patterns: Aenea, "The Holy One” child, who is somehow mystically important, and a threat to the authorities; Raul Endymion, “The Woodsman” guide, who uses his street smarts and survivor skills to protect her; and A. Bettik, “The Man Friday” who loyally and capably serves both.

    While the first two novels of Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos made excellent use of multi-protagonist narrative threads to tell the story from multiple perspectives, This novel instead primarily sticks to just two- Raul Endymion and his chief pursuant, Father-Captain Federico de Soya, who is an extremely sympathetic ‘villain’, earnestly carrying out his duty to his shadier superiors. I had a feeling that we’d see some redemption and rehabilitation of this character after the first few examples of his flawless moral behavior, despite his unsavory mission. Most of the evocative tech and philosophical questions lay in his portions of the novel, giving it a much stronger grounding in Space Opera, while Raul’s narrative felt more rustic and terrestrial.

    In the end, Endymion is a victim of the earlier novels success and ambition. Outside of their shadow, it might have stood as a great story, but as it happens it is merely a good one. It feels flatter by comparison with it’s fewer character narratives, it’s more linear structure, and smaller-stake drama.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nova War: Shoal, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Gary Gibson
    • Narrated By Charlie Norfolk
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (50)

    Dakota and Corso discover not only that the Shoal are caught in an aeons-long conflict with a rival star-faring species, but that the Bandati have resolved to make an alliance with this race by giving them deadly knowledge acquired from the Magi starship; forging an unholy alliance with the Shoal-member Trader. Dakota is determined to stop them - but the destruction of millions of inhabited worlds appears inevitable.

    SciFi Kindle says: "Slow start, strong finish"
    "Slow start, strong finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Gibson’s second book in the Shoal Sequence continues following its two protagonists from “Stealing Light”, Dakota Merrick and Lucas Corso, largely in two separate narratives. Having concluded their previous story in possession of the ultimate prize, a superluminal and ultra powerful starship full of technologies denied to humanity, Gibson promptly removes that advantage from them in order to ratchet up the stakes. While a good part of the first half of the book is a snail-pace chronicle of their imprisonment, it also introduced some additional characters from other species, and these were both imaginative and helpful in stretching both the perspective and focal length on the plot. The action-packed climax has a satisfying number of moving parts, although I was surprised at the amount of epilog following, which I imagine will make for a much smoother transition into the third volume.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Abaddon's Gate

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By James S.A. Corey
    • Narrated By Jefferson Mays
    Overall
    (586)
    Performance
    (548)
    Story
    (546)

    The alien artifact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has appeared in Uranus's orbit, where it has built a massive gate that leads to a starless dark. Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artifact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.

    Greg says: "The worst part is waiting for book 4"
    "Plenty of drama, even with reduced aliens"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This third novel in the jumping action-filled space opera 'Expanse' series maintains the down-to-earth dialog, humor, and the perspective-hopping narrative structure of its predecessors. Even more so than in those stories, however, we see Newtonian physics elevated to practically an additional character status; half the dangers the Rocinante crew face are acceleration related. The other half are the familiar contests between violent human groups. Although there is a continual alien presence in the background, its role is mostly an indirect one, and that allows for greater human drama. The infrequent moments of conventional Space Opera, jaw-dropping cosmic scale vistas and wonder are incidentally associated with a favorite character, Detective Miller, and promising new characters bring empathic connection with the reader. The most interesting of these is Melba / Clarissa, whose growth and progression is an interesting one to follow, with some rather extreme arcs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Incandescence

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Greg Egan
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    The long-awaited new audiobook from Greg Egan! Hugo Award-winning author Egan returns to the field with Incandescence, a new novel of hard SF. The Amalgam spans nearly the entire galaxy, and is composed of innumerable beings from a wild variety of races, some human or near it, some entirely other. The one place that they cannot go is the bulge, the bright, hot center of the galaxy. There dwell the Aloof, who for millions of years have deflected any and all attempts to communicate with or visit them.

    D says: "Incandescence – Science / fiction"
    "Two hard SF tales of outer & inner space"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The POV’s of the two alternating narratives that comprise this novel are so wildly different in style, that it feels like two separate authors are at work. One follows a restless citizen of a far future galactic civilization on a quest to discover something, anything, new and mysterious in the aseptically tame society he inhabits. The other narrative observes an alien species in an environment wildly different than our own discovering fundamental physics on their own terms under the threat of environmental disaster. Of the two, I must say I preferred the space opera former to the ‘rock opera’ latter because it offered a broader cosmic scope in dimension and more wonder. As others have noted, the alien (‘ark dweller’) storyline is incredibly thick with mathematical exposition. None of it was deep enough to completely suffocate me, but it did begin to feel like an algebraic overdose sometime in the first half of the book with the majority of it still to come. Hand in hand with the descriptions of ratios of weight measurements to angles in space-time, however, is a truly engaging story with high stakes drama and interesting alien biology and thought modes. It just wasn’t as thought-provoking for me as Rakesh the post-human’s star system-hopping and at-will body redesigning pursuit. In this half of the book, Egan’s hard SF soars like the space opera I expected, filled with concepts like mind uploads transmitted between stars to be reassembled by nano-machine, and lifetimes spent shifting between digital environments and corporeal ones over the course of millennia.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By A. Lee Martinez
    • Narrated By Scott Aiello
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1078)
    Performance
    (1003)
    Story
    (1005)

    Emperor Mollusk. Intergalactic Menace. Destroyer of Worlds. Conqueror of Other Worlds. Mad Genius. Ex-Warlord of Earth. Not bad for a guy without a spine. But what's a villain to do after he's done... everything. With no new ambitions, he's happy to pitch in and solve the energy crisis or repel aliens invaders should the need arise, but if he had his way, he'd prefer to be left alone to explore the boundaries of dangerous science. Just as a hobby, of course. Retirement isn't easy though.

    Kat Hooper says: "Hilariously wacky!"
    "Every '50s SF pulp monster included"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The ex-conqueror of Earth, super genius Emperor Mollusk, comes out of retirement to defend his helpless subjects from the threat of villain just as brilliant and squishy as himself. Fans of John Scalzi or Douglas Adams will appreciate the genre-lampooning humor of this story, with it’s character archetypes, deus ex machina tropes, and send-ups of classic 1950’s pulp SF monster rouge’s gallery. In a truly brilliant twist, the narrating first-person protagonist is the ultimate villain, strangely relatable as a bored guy who just wants to move on to the next great challenge in life. While the narrative structure gets to be a little repetitive- basically a series of location-hopping quests designed to introduce odder and odder settings and characters, but without meaningfully advancing the plot, I still appreciated every word if only for the fantastic dialog. And although the pacing did become a bit predictable, the action was quite fun, and includes something for everyone: Lizard men aliens, time-travel, rock men aliens, mutated dinosaurs, city-ravaging monsters and robots, Atlantis, history re-interpreted, and more.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Beyond the Aquila Rift

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 12 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By Tom Dheere
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (56)

    Beyond the Aquila Rift: It's shorthand for the trip no one ever hopes to make by accident. The one that will screw up the rest of your life, the one that creates the ghosts you see haunting the shadows of company bars across the whole Bubble. Men and women ripped out of time, cut adrift from families and lovers by an accident of an alien technology we use but rarely comprehend.

    Amazon Customer says: "Great story, mediocre audio book."
    "Explores mental resilience facing stellar scale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ‘Aquila Rift’ calls to mind another Reynolds story “Pushing Ice” or Frederick Pohl’s “Gateway” with its plot device- an unreliable alien FTL technology backfiring. Each of those novels are both much longer, and therefore more satisfying to those who found this story disappointingly short. One particular strength here, however, is the well researched and described stellar geography of our 'local bubble’ within the Milky Way- exactly what one would expect from a former ESA research astronomer.

    I have to agree that the short length makes the audio format suffer- it would be better offered as part of a collection or anthology edition, and not as this stand alone offering. Also, an awkward musical sample plays between certain scenes in what I imagine are the author’s narrative break points. I found it quite distracting, and each was overly long- several seconds each. They made me wonder if they were struggling to expand the final time length. At just over an hour, it isn’t worth spending an Audible credit on, but for Reynolds fans, it would definitely be worth a cash purchase.

    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
    (5848)
    Performance
    (5557)
    Story
    (5567)

    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 plainold ""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"
    "Astoundingly good- it lives up to all the hype"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Just as many have noted, it combines the best of “Apollo 13” and MacGyver and filters it through a wisecracking and down-to-earth protagonist who helps translate all the technical NASA-speak into something the layman reader can understand. The harrowing story seems completely believable due to its near-future setting, the realistic voices, and the aura of NASA to authenticate all the tech. I was completely drawn in to the main character, stranded astronaut Mark Watney, whose humor and resourcefulness will win over all readers. The roughest edges of this story would have to be all the endless math computations that Weir felt compelled to include and walk us through, but even they helped raise the stakes of the drama. R. C. Bray's narration provided various distinct character voices, and masterfully matched the wit and tone of Watney.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fuzzy Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3771)
    Performance
    (3308)
    Story
    (3307)

    In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorps headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporations headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, thats not up for discussion.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Short, sweet, and satisfying storytelling."
    "Moderately interesting story told hilariously"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story, about a rogue with a golden heart who suddenly finds both his fortunes and role reversed overnight, is equal parts courtroom drama and light sitcom. Aside from the setting- a vaguely described backwater jungle planet, and the newly discovered alien which resembles Spielberg’s Mogwai, there isn’t an awful lot of Science Fiction in the novel. Hollywood could substitute a remarkably intelligent species of primate from a faraway jungle and film the movie on the cheap. Nonetheless, the witty dialog and legal twists are entertaining enough to hold the reader’s attention through to the end. There’s a fair amount of wish fulfillment as Scalzi sets up the pins of his unlikable villain characters, only to knock them all down in the end with their deserved comeuppances. One personal pet peeve was the overuse of the dialog denoting words “He/She said”. I would have found it less distracting and more descriptive if the verb choice was more varied. This is most noticeable during rapid exchanges, and when experiencing the story in audiobook form. Wil Wheaton, incidentally, does a terrific job narrating and his performance absolutely drips with snark. Overall, I enjoyed the story quite a bit, but would recommend Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” series to those seeking thicker SF concepts, or “Redshirts” to those who want a good laugh at the genre’s many clichés.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lion of Comarre & Other Stories: The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke 1937-1949

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Arthur C. Clarke
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Maxwell Caulfield, Gabrielle De Cuir, and others
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (18)

    At the dawn of the year 2001, Sir Arthur C. Clarke cooperated in the preparation of a massive, definitive edition of his collected shorter works entitled The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke. The Lion of Comarre & Other Stories, in addition to the cover story, showcases Clarke's early writings from that extraordinary short-story collection, such as "Rescue Party", "Loophole", "Retreat from Earth", and "Nightfall", and many others.

    SciFi Kindle says: "At times quaint, others prophetic, even briliant"
    "At times quaint, others prophetic, even briliant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's fascinating to see in this collection of Clarke stories, the evolution and refinement of his work. Some of the earliest stories such as "How We Went to Mars" (1938) read like HG Wells's "The Time Machine" in that an amateur gentleman assembles a remarkable machine that resembles a Victorian sitting parlor with wings and recounts a fantastic voyage. Thankfully, this is not requiring any attention to minor details such as hostile alien environments, zero-G and high-G acceleration, etc. I can excuse this because the tone of this particular story is tongue-in-cheek humor. Other stories however, wave the magic wand of "Atomic-Power" to explain away any technological need the narrative may face- obviously anticipating much future success with the newly arrived science. The title story "Lion of Comarre" probably has the best example in the Atomic cutting instrument which is included in a list of common tools alongside a universal screwdriver. In other more serious stories, such as "Nightfall" (1947), Clarke addresses the terrifying self-destructive potential of Atomic power in the hands of mankind. The final story in the collection, "Breaking Strain" (1949) which contributed some of the ideas later seen in "2001: A Space Odyssey", makes a great bookend to "How We Went to Mars" in that it pays exquisite attention to the hard science details of orbital mechanics, the effect of weightlessness on the human body, psychological dangers of prolonged isolation, and more. The collection is at its best, however, when Clarke wrote in the freely fantastic realm of the unknown and unknowable extra-dimensional, such as "The Wall of Darkness" (1949) and "Technical Error" (1946). I found myself pausing after finishing each to wonder for awhile at the implications, as all good Space Opera SF should do.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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