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Steven

Science Ficition / Philosophy / Social & Political Commentary nut!

Hillside, NJ, United States | Member Since 2013

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 12 ratings
  • 70 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • Antares Victory: Antares, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Michael McCollum
    • Narrated By Gavin Hammon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (92)

    After a century of warfare, humanity finally discovered the Achilles heel of the Ryall, their xenophobic reptilian foe. Spica - Alpha Virginis - is the key star system in enemy space. It is the hub through which all Ryall starships must pass, and if humanity can only capture and hold it, they will strangle the Ryall war machine and end their threat to humankind forever.

    Colin says: "the 3rd book 15 years after the first 2"
    "Antares VictoryThe Book Where Everything Goes Well"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Antares Victory? What did you like least?

    I liked Antares Victory, a good cap to the series. All the characters come in to their own and play a role. The battles are well described, thought out and detailed. The space travel is very 'realistic'.
    My main point that I love about McCollum, is that he is "fair". What I mean by this is that he doesn't give the bad guys superior advantage or have the hero's do stupid things to progress the plot. Both sides are well balanced. A lot of books give handicaps to the protagonists to make it exciting. In this book, the humans are just as likely to win the day as the enemy.

    What I liked least is actually connected to the above... It goes a little too well for humanity. This book is really fun to listen to, but it seems to go all in humanities favor. No main characters die off, and by the end of it, I'm thinking, "oh new space battle! how is humanity going to kick butt this time??" instead of "oh new space battle, how is humanity going to faire?"

    Overall though, I think this book is very fun.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character is most likely Adimiral Gauer. A hard steadfast, and unsung hero of the Sandar fleet.


    Did Gavin Hammon do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    A very good job. While I think he comes off sounding a bit creepy when doing women, they all sound different. I can recognize who's talking just by listening to them speak.


    Do you think Antares Victory needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    It would be nice! It leaves you with a good feeling, but still open ended


    Any additional comments?

    Found this book thanks to Steve Gibson's Security Now! podcast!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17709)
    Performance
    (13823)
    Story
    (13859)

    A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

    Alisha says: "Good listen, but what's up with the chapter set up"
    "A Good Book, Wrapped in See Through Writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about A Clash of Kings? What did you like least?

    Okay, so yes, the game of thrones series is very good. We know this. My main issue with Martin's writing style is thus... I enjoy when there is a realistic sense of human limitation. What I mean by this is that too often when writing, Martin's characters are unrealistically exaggerated. For example Tyrion in this book was suddenly elevated to near god-like status. He's a good character but for the sake of making it interesting, Martin makes Tyrion untouchable, invincible and just too all knowing. Each character, like someone in real life, should have weaknesses, and should not be so unrealistically clever and always one step ahead of everyone.


    ***SPOILERS****



    **SPOILERS**

    I don't like when things happen for the sake of story. Another example of this is the night before battle with King Renly. Renly should have won against Stannis with ease. But he is murdered the night before.

    Again this happens during the sea battle. Joffrey's small fleet is able to hold and stave off Theron's entire armada several times vaster than his own. \

    And once again, when ser Roderic is about to reclaim Winterfell, suddenly the bad guys get the jump on them, and kill everyone.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Nothing extraordinary, the standard fare. It was good.


    Do you think A Clash of Kings needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Of course, and there is one.


    Any additional comments?


    Using this writing style, of having the under dog always somehow manage to outsmart and defeat the protagonists, is tiresome. By the end of the book, I KNEW that winterfell wasn't going to be saved.

    There is a HUGE difference in writing an entertaining well planned story, and writing something for shock value. I enjoyed this book, but I can't take it too seriously, because of the way Martin gives such unrealistic odds to one side, just to keep it 'interesting' and to propel the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gibraltar Earth: Gibraltar Earth, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Michael McCollum
    • Narrated By Ramon De Ocampo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (205)
    Performance
    (181)
    Story
    (186)

    It is the 24th Century and humanity is just gaining a toehold out among the stars. Stellar Survey Starship Magellan is exploring the New Eden system when they encounter two alien spacecraft. When the encounter is over, the score is one human scout ship and one alien aggressor destroyed. In exploring the wreck of the second alien ship, spacers discover a survivor with a fantastic story.

    Richard says: "I couldn't have asked for more!"
    "Typical McCollum....Darn Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Gibraltar Earth?

    If you have read McCollum's Antares series, this is definitely up your alley. Same writing style, very similar characters, and even similar plot. What I liked best is McCollum's sci fi action style. Lots of fun moments, interesting character situations and some twists!


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The relationship between the capture alien and the main female protagonist. No spoilers, but a lot of things change by the end of the book...


    What does Ramon De Ocampo bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He actually can give a VERY unique voice and accent to all characters. Even women which is hard to do. All of the accents sounds very real, if maybe a bit exaggerated.


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

    Maybe not in one sitting, but going towards the end, was riveting!


    Any additional comments?

    Good, fun book, if you liked Antares series, this is really a good read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (18163)
    Performance
    (16163)
    Story
    (16122)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "JFK's Life Hangs in the Balance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up 11-22-63 in three words, what would they be?

    Suspense, Obdurate, Consequences


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Deek Simmons. Few allies were around for Jake Epping. I really liked the fact that Deek, while older was always on the side of Jake and his love, Sadie. He really watched out for them.


    Which character – as performed by Craig Wasson – was your favorite?

    His impression of JFK was pretty damn good! But I suppose the character of the janitor (henry I think) was the most dramatic.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not really moved, but really gave me chills, was seeing the immediate reaction to JFK's life being saved. the motorcade breaking formation, and them escaping...What could have been...


    Any additional comments?

    Ok, so the idea of this book is what got me reading, not that it was Stephen King. But wow, what a concept! Not spoiling anything by saying this, but the time travel aspect was really wild. This was a very unique book. Perhaps it was the reader (I listened to it on audiobook) but all the characters felt very real. I really liked them. The last few books I've read have sported very bland, dull characters so this was a refreshing bonus.

    I honestly don't have a lot of complaints here. The setting of Dallas in the late 1950's early 60's fit. I mean I wasn't around then, but the way King wrote this, seemed spot on as to how I'd imagine it.

    The aftermath of our protagonist's attempt to save JFK (trying to tread carefully no spoilers...) seemed a bit of a stretch, but it's all in good fun. This was a really fun, if a bit *too* long book to read. Some parts I could have done without, but those were few and far in between. There were parts that reminded me heavily of Back to the Future, and American Graffiti. The book has a real gritty feel as well. Usually when media relives the 50's it's all polished cars, smiles, and sunshine. King was careful to make each town that Jake visited feel very distinct, and memorable. Not every area was nice and bright. Parts smelled, looked horrible, and were filled with a very conservative and bigatory peoples.

    The events leading up to Jake's saving of JFK, proves long and hard. As King notes through the book, the past is obdurate. It resists change. So our hero is challenged literally up to the moment of the assassination to hurdles to over come. A trail of aftermath is caused because of it...

    I won't get into details, but it's really fun if a tad too long at parts. But I really enjoyed this one. Another S. King book on the shelf!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blade Runner

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Philip K. Dick
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (880)
    Performance
    (524)
    Story
    (533)

    It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill. Somewhere among the hordes of humans out there lurked several rogue androids. Deckard's assignment: find them and then..."retire" them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn't want to be found!

    Muddy says: "Pleasantly Surprised"
    "What Could Have Been...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Blade Runner better?

    When Rick is tricked into thinking his department doesn't exist, and his life is actually an android.. That would be been a great twist, one I wouldn't have seen coming, yet it detours around it. This would have been really a good twist in the story, something to change up the pacing.
    Also less 'flat' characters. Besides Rick, I didn't really care for any of the characters here...


    Would you be willing to try another book from Philip K. Dick? Why or why not?

    Perhaps, but I'm not really into short stories, I like my books longer, more character involvement.


    Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favorite?

    Hmmm I suppose the "chicken head", John Isador. He really makes you feel like he's a partially slower person..mentally.


    Any additional comments?

    Scott Brick does a great job with this. All of Mr. Brick's books are superbly read. His women sound like human beings. So other voice actors try to make themselves sound like women...it comes off annoying, creepy, and laughable. Scott Brick does a great job

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Atlas Shrugged

    • UNABRIDGED (63 hrs)
    • By Ayn Rand
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (5514)
    Performance
    (3466)
    Story
    (3490)

    In a scrap heap within an abandoned factory, the greatest invention in history lies dormant and unused. By what fatal error of judgment has its value gone unrecognized, its brilliant inventor punished rather than rewarded for his efforts? In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, one man sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike.

    Mica says: "Hurt version decidedly superior"
    "A pretentious Book that COULD have been...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    There's something to be said about tackling big idea's in writing. I think Ayn Rand had an ingenious idea, and a topic that could have been easily one of the greatest stories ever told. I like to think of Rand as the anti- Marx. She holds capitalism up to be a near perfect form of government. Unfortunately, he task of telling us this tale is marred by her own faulty, clumsy, boring, and utterly unneccessary writing. This book would have been perfect if it were literally 1/3 the size.

    Seriously there are pages...and pages...and pages of long winded diatribes by characters, that gloat on and on about how they know 'the truth' or about how they are the smartest thing to walk to earth. This gets VERY tiring to read when each character pats himself on the back time and time again.

    The story starts off very interesting. It genuinely captivated me. But the story trips over itself after this by Ayn's obsession with showing that her characters are god's gift to the world. All of the characters with the exception of James Tagart, are all VERY flat, and all appear the same. If the narrator hadn't said who was speaking, I'd have no idea who was talking and when. Each character sounds like a repeat of another character.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story and theme behind this could -be- epic, is wonderful. What happens when the country we live in, begins falling apart, things stop working, and the leaders and pioneers of the world begin taking a leave of absence? How could you mess up something so politically charged, and important. Ayn Rand provide snippets of great writing and interesting plot, surrounded by boredom, and pretentious writing.


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

    My first Scott Brick performance. He did an OK job. Nothing to write home about, but it did the trick.


    Do you think Atlas Shrugged needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Time Traveler's Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Audrey Niffenegger
    • Narrated By Fred Berman, Phoebe Strole
    Overall
    (4399)
    Performance
    (1748)
    Story
    (1774)

    Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36. They were married when Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

    Scott says: "Epic Drama & Love Story through Time Travel"
    "Sentimental...if not predictable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Time Traveler's Wife? What did you like least?

    A well thought out time travel love story. I like the pacing of the book. It bounces back and forth between Claires, younger self to her middle aged self. You think something like this would be confusing but it turns out to be a pretty pleasant read. It's not too convuluted where you don't know what's going on, but there are things hinted at in the beginning that will keep you guessing until resovled later on. The ending is very touching, and very girly. As a guy reading this, I was smirking at the pure romantic girliness. But it was a good read.

    One of my favorite idea's is that he goes back in time...and influences people to do things. But it begs the question, if he didn't go back, would they still have done them? It reminds me of the great scene in the matrix where Neo visits the Oracle and standing in her kitchen, she tells him, "don't worry about the vase", Neo looks around and questioningly asks 'what vase?" in doing some accidently knocks over the vase.

    My biggest complaint is that during all of this time traveling, no really 'weird' events take place. You'd think that a guy time traveling around would have had some interesting oppurtunities for going to different places, but these aren't explored. Generally he only time travels back to his future wife's house.


    Would you recommend The Time Traveler's Wife to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would....but mostly to my friends that are female. It's an interesting story, kept me engaged, but I can't say it was a must read. For those who like time travel, and the idea of loops, and predetermined fate, and destiny, check it out.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Hmm... I'd have to say when Henry's previous girlfriend is pretty much lost, and she's about to kill herself. Henry pleading with her not to do it...but because he's in the past, he knows no matter what he says she's going to anyway. That predetermined destiny is pretty hard to deal with...


    Did The Time Traveler's Wife inspire you to do anything?

    Not particularly, if anything it makes me want to go find another time travel book


    Any additional comments?

    Read it if you want a romance story with a time travel twist. Expect some emotional scenes, sex scenes, and a ton of drama.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 1Q84

    • UNABRIDGED (46 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (translator), Philip Gabriel (translator)
    • Narrated By Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4141)
    Performance
    (3618)
    Story
    (3583)

    The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

    A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question....

    Dr. says: "Slow, Strange, and (ultimately) Satisfying"
    "Part Brilliance Part Unnecessary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does 1Q84 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Definitely up there in scope and story. One of the books I'll say that is solid, good, but could have been better if cetain things removed. In that way it reminds me of Cloud Atlas. Really reaching for an epic, sweeping story...almost got there...but just shy...


    What was one of the most memorable moments of 1Q84?

    SPOILERS!!!!


    When I realized that something was amiss... Tengo was living in Aomamme's world, or the other way around?? A really good idea


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

    No, this narration was good. but the guy who voiced Ishukwa's part was a bit excessive. It sounded like Ishikawa smoked 30 packs a day, and was trying way to hard to make him sound like a bad ass.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Ehhh not really... The death of Tengo's dad was pretty sad, I even felt bad for the death of ishukawa, even though by the end he was pissing me off...


    Any additional comments?

    A pretty long novel that easily could have had a lot of the scenes chopped. A lot of un-neccesary lesbo, and explicit sex. The author seems to take a weird creepy joy in describing women's bodies. Seriously, everyone woman is painstakingly described by how busty she is. And of course we can't forget( the author reminds us constantly) about the main character's small chest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Tale for the Time Being

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ruth Ozeki
    • Narrated By Ruth Ozeki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (516)
    Performance
    (460)
    Story
    (460)

    In Tokyo, 16-year-old Nao has decided there's only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates' bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who's lived more than a century. A diary is Nao's only solace - and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox - possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami.

    Karen says: "Engaging story beautifully read"
    "A Philosophical, metaphysical book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up A Tale for the Time Being in three words, what would they be?

    Three words? Reaching..Across...Time


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character was Ruth. I can relate to her, very down to earth. I like characters that are driven to something, but they don't really know why, but must piece things together. Ruth has her own problems that some how manifest themselves to her reasons to reading the diary...


    What about Ruth Ozeki’s performance did you like?

    Ruth's performance was good, She gave each character a life, and a place.


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

    *SPOILERS*I"M WARNING YOU!!!I very...very rarely ever feel emotionally distraught..but the scene of them cremating and burning the body of Jiko...really hit me hard...


    Any additional comments?

    A very good book. Starts out a bit slow, but it really comes into it's own when Nao meets Old Jiko. I love this book. The interplay between Ruth's world and Nao's world is just so touching... They reach across to each other and it really seems like they effect each other. I love that idea, of two people from two different times, reaching across the void to interact with each other, and effect the outcome of each other's lives.

    If you want a quiet book, that isn't action based, and scandelous, and you like the theme please check it out..

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Antares Dawn: Antares, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael McCollum
    • Narrated By Gavin Hammon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (132)

    When the supergiant star Antares exploded in 2512, the human colony on Alta found their pathway to the stars gone, isolating them from the rest of human space for more than a century. Then one day, a powerful warship materialized in the system without warning. Alarmed by the sudden appearance of such behemoth, the commanders of the Altan Space Navy dispatched one of their most powerful ships to investigate. What ASNS Discovery finds when they finally catch the intruder is a battered hulk manned by a dead crew. That is disturbing news for the Altans....

    Marc Phillips says: "I enjoyed it, but it was terribly out of date."
    "A great SciFi book..mishandled.."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Antares Dawn again? Why?

    I don't know if I'd listen to it again...I rarely re-read a book. But it was a VERY good story. Engaging, and very thoughtful.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story was very deep, a bit cliche at points, but that's scifi! The main character is of the type that he always knows what going to happen before anyone else, and is always right.. That gets a bit annoying, as it takes away from the humaness of Drake. But the story was very well thought out. I didn't get attached to the characters until late in the story...It didn't really "grab me" until late, but once it did, I was really into it.


    What didn’t you like about Gavin Hammon’s performance?

    This was my biggest gripe with the story. The actor really really botched this performance up.. He made all the characters sound very whiney (except the Sanderians). His woman voice just sounds creepy.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not really moved me..but there were some great moments that made me smile.


    Any additional comments?

    I was refered to this book by the Security Now podcast I listen to. A great science fiction story, but a distracting performance by Gavin..

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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