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Spencer

Media, PA, United States | Member Since 2013

7
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 39 ratings
  • 162 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015
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  • Doctor Who: Harvest of Time (3rd Doctor Novel)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Beevers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (59)

    After billions of years of imprisonment, the vicious Sild have broken out of confinement. From a ruined world at the end of time, they make preparations to conquer the past, with the ultimate goal of rewriting history. But to achieve their aims they will need to enslave an intellect greater than their own... On Earth, UNIT is called in to investigate a mysterious incident on a North Sea drilling platform. The Doctor believes something is afoot, and no sooner has the investigation begun than something even stranger takes hold: the Brigadier is starting to forget about UNIT's highest-profile prisoner.

    Robert Eric Koch says: "Excellent Third Doctor Story"
    "Best Who and Reynolds I've Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Doctor Who: Harvest of Time (3rd Doctor Novel) the most enjoyable?

    The rich thematic parallels and the way some very plausible alien enemies and tech issues grounded the more fantastic elements.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The manager of the rig, because of her poignant backstory and power as a non-companion human lead.


    Which character – as performed by Geoffrey Beevers – was your favorite?

    Performance-wise, I loved the sild most.


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

    The sild are an amazing menace, not super-beings or death-mechs, but a physically weak species that has found a couple of really potent technologies and perfected their use. They are a devestating army that regards seagulls as eldritch horrors.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Third Floor

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By C. Dennis Moore
    • Narrated By Gary Tiedemann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (125)
    Story
    (125)

    Welcome to Angel Hill, Missouri, a town that shot blood from the ground at its own groundbreaking. There are only two roads in or out of town, and everything within those borders is subject to the whims of reality. Those who grew up here are immune to the town's peculiarities. But Jack and Liz have just moved here, and for their young son, Joey, it's almost like coming home again.

    J. Dugan says: "Great Scary Story"
    "Dad is the problem"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Third Floor better?

    Increasing the subtlety of the supernatural events or toning down the dad character's blockheaded stupidity.


    Would you ever listen to anything by C. Dennis Moore again?

    I'd only listen to another of this author's works if I got a strong recommendation from a friend.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The kid's voice was the biggest earsore. Trying less hard to sound like an adorable child and taking a more naturalistic approach would have helped.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    There were some good, spooky moments, which is really what I came here for. I just got weighed down by the burden of Implausibly Skeptical Dad. He manages to surplant the ghosts as the real antagonist of the story.


    Any additional comments?

    The "whose hand was I holding?" thing can be good, but it was really overused here.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Voices of the Ghost III: Wicked Wraiths - "Ghost stories by M. R. James and Henry James"

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 9 mins)
    • By Henry James, M. R. James
    • Narrated By Susie Berneis, Robert Bethune
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Here are two terrifying and sobering stories of ghosts who will stop at nothing. In Henry James' "The Romance of Certain Old Clothes", a woman's envy of her dead sister threatens to destroy her. In "Lost Hearts", three children learn that a classical scholar's love of the past has led him into a terrible and bloody delusion.

    Spencer says: "Two Weak Entries by decent authors"
    "Two Weak Entries by decent authors"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Really it just comes down to poor story selection. In the Henry James story, it's funny and clever, but the ghostly element doesn't come into play until the final few sentences. The M R James story "Lost Hearts" is possibly his most overrated work ever.


    Has Voices of the Ghost III turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Of course not! I love a good ghost story and will continue trying to find them. If anything, I feel cheated because the Henry James tale was barely a ghost story at all, more a mundane family drama with a little Boo notice tacked on the end.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    It's hard to tell, since I kept waiting for the supernatural of the first story to manifest.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Voices of the Ghost III?

    A good eleven twelfths of the Henry James tale on offer.


    Any additional comments?

    Lost Hearts is a pathetically transparent ghost story, with a blatantly obvious setup that all the characters are too dense to penetrate, and its resolution has nothing to do with the actions of the protagonist.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dark Matter

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Michelle Paver
    • Narrated By Jeremy Northam
    Overall
    (253)
    Performance
    (200)
    Story
    (198)

    January 1937. Jack Miller has just about run out of options. His shoes have worn through, he can't afford to heat his rented room in Tooting, and he longs to use his training as an specialist wireless operator instead of working in his dead-end job. When he is given the chance to join an arctic expedition, as communications expert, by a group of elite Oxbridge graduates, he brushes off his apprehensions and convinces himself to join them.

    Madeleine says: "Incredible!"
    "Bleak, Beautiful Terror"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Dark Matter to be better than the print version?

    I haven't tried it in print form, but the reader brought an incredible richness to the experience. Aside from the excellent voice, Jeremy Northam worked it so you could feel the dry cold in every breath.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Dark Matter?

    When the pole he definitely cut down and destroyed is back.


    What about Jeremy Northam’s performance did you like?

    He has a rugged sharpness to his voice that fleshes out the atmosphere.


    If you could rename Dark Matter, what would you call it?

    A Cold Post


    Any additional comments?

    The atmosphere here is thick enough to float rocks in. The setting of the story is wonderfully bleak and vivid. I also like that it makes use of a rather underutilized monster of nordic folklore.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Creatures of the Pool

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Ramsey Campbell
    • Narrated By Andy Rowe
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    A brilliant mixture of paranoia and Lovecraftian horror from one of today's most decorated and well-respected authors of horror/dark fantasy. When his father disappears, Gavin Meadows’ search uncovers a race of semi-human beings that have existed in—and under—the city for centuries.

    Madeleine says: "Very Slow Going"
    "A Frustrating Experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Creatures of the Pool better?

    I think if there was more true fear and paranoia, and less daily irritation. The hero spends most of the novel being worked up and pissed off, and not enough being truly afraid.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Ramsey Campbell again?

    I'm not sure I'd like to visit his works again. If you've ever read the "How many male novelists does it take to change a light bulb?" series, he gives off a very strong vibe like that.


    Which character – as performed by Andy Rowe – was your favorite?

    I think he delivered the cruel police duo with a very vivid voicing and small-minded suspiciousness.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Really, frustration was the biggest reaction. I nearly got halfway through it, but I kept having to stop. There were hints of horror, but mostly it was a very well-crafted literary delve into the feeling of being at the DMV on a bad day.


    Any additional comments?

    The author can evoke some good images, but I think he hits the "water imagery" too heavily here.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sailors' Yarns: Stories of Sea Dogs and Shipwrecks

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Edgar Allan Poe, W. W. Jacobs, Rudyard Kipling, and others
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    A splendid collection of seafarers' tales. "Choice Spirits", by W. W. Jacobs; "A Descent into the Maelström", by Edgar Allan Poe; "Pickled Herring", by W. W. Jacobs; "The Secret Sharer", by Joseph Conrad; "Mixed Relations", by W. W. Jacobs; "The Upper Berth", by F. Marion Crawford; "The Finest Story in the World", by Rudyard Kipling; and many more.

    Spencer says: "A poor mix of mundane tales"
    "A poor mix of mundane tales"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I'm a bit biased, because I went into this expecting a bit more ghost stories, tales of phantom ships and drowned men that walk and eerie lights at the head of an unnatural storm. If I encountered just a few more good sea-fairing horror tales, it would have richly improved my experience.


    Would you ever listen to anything by the authors again?

    I enjoyed a couple of the offerings, so I'd go for something else by Marion Crawford, for example. Most of the tales were as enjoyable and memorable as a ration of hard tack without grog to wash it down.


    What aspect of Cathy Dobson’s performance would you have changed?

    The performance wasn't markedly bad, so much as it lacked much to make it special.


    What character would you cut from Sailors' Yarns?

    It's hard to pin down individual characters, but the offerings from Ambrose Beirce were as underwhelming as ever, and good standbyes like Saki and Poe left me joyless.


    Any additional comments?

    The world needs more nautical horror. A collection of ghost ships and sea monsters pains the genre with its absence.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Who: Dead Air

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 12 mins)
    • By James Goss
    • Narrated By David Tennant
    Overall
    (1397)
    Performance
    (1204)
    Story
    (1197)

    This is an exclusive, original adventure for the 10th Doctor, read by David Tennant. Featuring additional music and effects, Doctor Who: Dead Air has never been previously published. Hot on the heels of a creature that exists through sound, the Doctor lands on a pirate radio station boat in the late 1960s. The creature has already killed some of the DJs, and the Doctor befriends the survivors. But then the lights go out, and a desperate race for survival begins.

    Paul says: "Brilliant story and well crafted audiobook"
    "Vague Monster and neat frame device"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from James Goss and/or David Tennant?

    I love David Tennant's reading, and I read this story because I enjoyed one of his other works.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I'm trying to find new authors to follow in speculative fiction.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed the David Tennant in stereo at the ending.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Really, this would lose all the charm it has in a visual medium.


    Any additional comments?

    The monster just doesn't work. It's too hazy and generalized to have cohesive internal logic.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Upper Berth

    • UNABRIDGED (52 mins)
    • By F. Marion Crawford
    • Narrated By Jack Benson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    A gentleman decides to take a sea voyage to calm his nerves. But he encounters an eerie creature on board that has anything but that effect.

    Spencer says: "Nautical Ghost Story-dun right"
    "Nautical Ghost Story-dun right"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Upper Berth in three words, what would they be?

    Classic ocean ghost.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The doctor, for his almost cynical certainty.


    Have you listened to any of Jack Benson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't listened to any other works read by him.


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

    The spook factor here was delightful and chilling, in the classic, good old british ghost story way. I liked the odd familiarity developed by the crew with the patterns of the apparition. The opening periods were just delightfully familiar in their Jamesian comedy.


    Any additional comments?

    I wanted a nice spooky sea-faring yarn. This delivers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Who: The Last Voyage

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Dan Abnett
    • Narrated By David Tennant
    Overall
    (282)
    Performance
    (200)
    Story
    (199)

    The TARDIS materialises on board the maiden voyage of a pioneering space cruiser, travelling from Earth to the planet Eternity. The Doctor has just started exploring the huge, hi-tech Interstitial Transposition Vehicle when there is a loud bang, a massive jolt and a flash of light. Shortly afterwards, he discovers that nearly all the passengers and crew have disappeared. Unless the Doctor and flight attendant Sugar MacAuley can take control and steer the ship, they could crash-land or keep slipping through space forever.

    J.A. says: "Fun Listen - Good Narrator"
    "Eerie Otherly Incursion"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Doctor Who the most enjoyable?

    I absolutely love Incursion stories, where some other realm is percolating into the world we know and love. This premise is what really hooked me.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The subject of another cosmos leaking into ours was the best bit, although David Tennant's spine-chilling loin-warming brogue is a close second.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The "Stop shouting my name!" scene at the fountain.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This is the kind of book that was so gushingly intense and fun I had to pause it to recover my breath and savor the experience.


    Any additional comments?

    The eldritch and un-knowable atmosphere of this story was great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Who - Dalek Generation

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Nicholas Briggs
    • Narrated By Nicholas Briggs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (32)

    "The Sunlight Worlds Offer You A Life of Comfort and Plenty. Apply now at the Dalek Foundation." Sunlight 349 is one of countless Dalek Foundation worlds, planets created to house billions suffering from economic hardship. The Doctor arrives at Sunlight 349, suspicious of any world where the Daleks are apparently a force for good - and determined to find out the truth. The Doctor knows they have a far more sinister plan - but how can he convince those who have lived under the benevolence of the Daleks for a generation? But convince them he must, and soon.

    Mary says: "The best story yet from Briggs--a great premise!"
    "Dalek Dystopia with Straw Humans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Better reasoning for the Daleks keeping humans alive, and more plausible systems of control for the Dalek empire & PR spin would have helped.


    What was most disappointing about Nicholas Briggs’s story?

    My disappointments are balanced between the lack of rational for keeping humans alive (without spoilers, I just need to say that the Sunlight Worlds are needless for the long-term goal the achieved and a convoluted way of reaching it, even by dalek standards) and just how little effort was made to get the dystopia to work.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The narration was really rich, but Nicholas Briggs's quality as a narrator was in inverse relation to his writing.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Doctor Who - Dalek Generation?

    I would have cut out a lot of what I took for social commentary and attempts to show how naive and brainwashed people are to provide better looks at how the Daleks keep the a grip on their Foundation.


    Any additional comments?

    The alien race introduced here is rather well-done, and the scenes with the reporter were nicely chilling. I just wish that this Dalek's-pretending-to-be-Nice scenario made more sense.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Who: The Ghosts of N-Space

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Barry Letts
    • Narrated By Jon Pertwee, Elisabeth Sladen, Nicholas Courtney, and others
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    Jon Pertwee, Elisabeth Sladen, and Nicholas Courtney join forces once more for a specially written Doctor Who adventure.

    Spencer says: "Too Ridiculous even for Who"
    "Too Ridiculous even for Who"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Barry Letts and/or the narrators?

    I'm not sure I trust Barry Letts with doctor who material. Really, I can accept a lot of so-soft-its-runny scifi from Doctor Who, but a scientifically established afterlife? That's too much for me.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I'm going to think about giving the radio collections a miss. There just wasn't enough visual idea of the Fiends for them to engage me and bring me into the setting. I wanted to get them in my head.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrators?

    The narration was not the problem here.


    What character would you cut from Doctor Who?

    The woman with the shrill imitation-new-york accent.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a concept that just didn't play out well. I don't understand how the guy achieved bodily immortality, and what that meant in context. How did he get out of the wall?

    And, really, doctor who with a proveable afterlife and pratical alchemical sorcery? Maybe somebody else might like this, but it was too much for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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