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Thomas

Member Since 2018

15
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 88 ratings
  • 210 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2018
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  • Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By H. P. Lovecraft
    • Narrated By William Roberts
    Overall
    (2028)
    Performance
    (1843)
    Story
    (1845)

    At the heart of these stories, as with all the best of Lovecraft’s work, is the belief that the Earth was once inhabited by powerful and evil gods, just waiting for the chance to recolonise their planet. Cthulhu is one such god, lurking deep beneath the sea until called into being by cult followers who – like all humans – know not what they do.

    Katherine says: "Required reading"
    "Creepy, Found-Document Style Stories."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While HP Lovecraft was a man of his time ie xenophobic isolationist beliefs that all out America and Europe are savage and prey to sordid beliefs, the Found-Document method in the style really of Edgar Allan Poe albeit without unreliable narrators, his characters speak of hidden horrors in various parts of the world and in derelict hamlets of New England. Not too long and perfect for Halloween season. I think his standalone story The Hound is probably the most effective although the Madness from the Sea part of the first story arc is good and great fun with an even better payoff than At the Mountains of Madness (not included here).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Console Wars : Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Blake J. Harris
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2288)
    Performance
    (2130)
    Story
    (2123)

    A mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the video-game industry. In 1990, Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video-game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was just a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But all that would change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a former Mattel executive who knew nothing about video games and everything about fighting uphill battles.

    Shane Snyder says: "My Childhood: Explained"
    "So One-sided it's Hilarious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a very difficult book to rate. First, the good.
    Console Wars is written in a novel-like structure based on the result of over 200 interviews. This varies from the documentary-like structure of the standard, objective, and excellent "The Ultimate History of Video Games," which, despite its rather pretentious title serves up a holistic scope of computer games, console and handheld games, up to the demise of Sega's Dreamcast. It let each side tell its tale without adding an opinion other than those quoted in the interview. Here in Console Wars, we see everything basically through Tom Kalinske's eyes via the third person although the perspective changes to others at times. This story structure makes it fun to listen to the awkward beginnings of the Toy Industry legend's story. And it's a compelling story. Unfortunately after enough time has passed, we begin to doubt the reliability of the narrative style. Which brings me to the bad.
    This was a biased, unbalanced, hilariously one-sided book. When I say one-sided, I don't just mean Sega Vs. Nintendo. It's like episodes of Twenty-Four where Jack Bauer can do no wrong. Everyone is against Tom Kalinske: Sega of Japan, Nintendo, retailers, marketers, Walmart, Toys R Us, the American people, the Japanese people. There is so much use of hindsight that the writer rearranges as foresight by Kalinske that one would think him to be chosen by God to lead Sega to victory. And gosh, he would be able to do it if Sega of Japan wasn't so conservative, so controlling, so out of touch, if the games they made weren't so great. The innovation by the Sega tech crews in Japan is given a slight mention and it's usually blindsided by Prophet Tom's "you missed a spot" comment which is the "truly" important part of the innovation and the "true" secret of its success. An openly racist character, Steve Reyes is quoted openly calling Japanese "Japs" and calling a Sega of Japan executive a banana "yellow on the outside and white on the inside." to which Tom remains commiserating as "mirroring his own frustration." He calls Nintendo's practices un-American at one point, lambasts the admittedly horrible Super Mario movie. The biggest piles of BS were Tom Kalinske giving a proposal to Sega of Japan executives to which apparently they cussed him out calling him crazy. I have lived in Japan for 15 years and in every single business situation I have ever been in, there has been no yelling save for Parliamentary proceedings. That is a sign of weakness. Showing any sort of open emotion especially to your inferiors is an easy way to lose face. Another BS story was the one where another Sega of America exec goes out with Sega of Japan employees to a Fugu or Japanese puffer fish restaurant. They dare the American to eat it and he does but then they refuse to for fear of death. This is utter BS! Fugu is among the most expensive and delicious foods out there. Japanese sushi chefs have to undergo rigorous training for all possible foods to grace a bed of rice. Fugu isn't the only potentially poisonous one. Eel blood is poisonous so eel must be thoroughly cooked before. There is no way Japanese people would be afraid of fugu if prepared in Japan by a qualified chef. The last was the hilariously "high moral ground" Sega took when it decided to establish a rating system which wasn't expected to be enforced by stores at all, it was just backpedalling to save it's own ass when Senator Joe Lieberman began looking into violence in video games. The letter Kalinske wrote to Nintendo to also "take part in this effort to shield our children from violence" was so hypocritical I laughed out loud. Sega lets utter smut like Night Trap and Sewer Sharks and the original bloody version of Mortal Kombat onto its consoles, which is fine. However, it did nothing to rate these titles then until they felt they might get in trouble and them claim the high ground against Nintendo? who cut out the bloody scenes at great financial loss? BS!

    Despite these BS parts, it is a compelling read. Prepare to wince at the Japan hating, the constant marketer-like appeal to make every sentence overly snappy, the outright BS.
    But also prepare to marvel at the journey of Sega of America, which really made a poignant effort to combat Nintendo not always cleanly but always in a determined fashion. Tom Kalinske, despite the writer's hero-worship of him is actually a great guy who really did turn around things at Mattel and Sega and who despite all the exaggerations in this book, deserves our respect and gratitude for helping, through his battle with Nintendo to up the ante for video games worldwide.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Replay: The History of Video Games

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Tristan Donovan, Richard Garriott
    • Narrated By Gary Furlong
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (93)

    A riveting account of the birth and remarkable evolution of the most important development in entertainment since television, Replay is the ultimate history of video games. From its origins in the research labs of the 1940s to the groundbreaking success of the Wii, Replay sheds new light on gaming's past.

    Thomas says: "A Wonderful and Thorough Companion to Video Games"
    "A Wonderful and Thorough Companion to Video Games"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Focuses on all video games but covers the computer angle more thoroughly. Great narrator.
    It's not as thorough on all the game consoles as "The Ultimate History of Video Games" but it branches more into computer games in the U. K. and many parts of Europe and gives a more thorough background into how computer culture influenced second generation consoles and on. Brings video games up to 2012 and the advent of indie games on Steam. "Ultimate History" ends with the death of Sega as a console producer. The two books complement each other nicely.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Chimes

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Richard Armitage
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6713)
    Performance
    (6025)
    Story
    (6021)

    A haunting tale set on New Year's Eve, The Chimes tells the story of a poor porter named Trotty Veck who has become disheartened by the state of the world, until he is shown a series of fantastical visions that convince him of the good of humanity.

    Gillian says: "Best Version of "The Chimes" on Audible!"
    "Depressing Hiding of a Poor Man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Imagine A Christmas Carol but with Cratchet visited instead and shown the Future. Great narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Dome: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Raul Esparza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16057)
    Performance
    (10526)
    Story
    (10569)

    On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when - or if - it will go away.

    Kim says: "Kaptivating King"
    "Faster Steph!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Under the Dome?

    The performance by Raul Esparza and the cautionary tale of Americans in crisis situations.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have edited the last two hours to match the (seemingly) suspenseful situation in took place in. Imminent life-threatening situations are NOT the time to have a slovenly snail paced chat peppered with tangential anecdotes. It's time to break out the plan and act on it.


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

    This was my first experience with his excellent narrations. He does an exemplary job of juggling the plethora of character voices from lispy kids, to menacing police offers, to drawling Big Jim to the perfectly individually identifiable female characters, quite a feat for most male narrators whose women all sound the same.


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

    At 34 hours, no but I did listen for 7 hours straight at one point. It was more thanks to Esparza's performance than to King's writing but the latter was a little better paced thanks (according to the author's afterword) to his daughter-in-law's advice while marking in the margins of the original manuscript "Faster Steph!"


    Any additional comments?

    I like Stephen King's non-horror books better than his horror ones. "It" was terribly overwritten and had dual unsatisfying ends for both of its timelines. The thing with horror is, you don't where the narration is leading until it gets to a death or a horrible revelation so you're more likely to listen along to tens of minutes of character background despite the fact that they die immediately after. 11/22/63 and Under the Dome are more what I would call suspense novels wreathed in whatever SciFi the dressing has. Will JFK's assassination be averted? Will the problem of the Dome be solved? These pressing themes carry the whole novels as long as they are and Mr. King would do well to continue getting his novels edited by that wonderful daughter-in-law of his mentioned above.

    FASTER STEPH! It's suspense not a Fireside Chat!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Good Omens

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14106)
    Performance
    (11803)
    Story
    (11828)

    The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.

    Amazon Customer says: "As good as ever!"
    "Delicious Delivery of Heaven,Hell and Earth"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Good Omens the most enjoyable?

    The writing is so full of references to the Omen, Rosemary's Baby, and most other Biblical End of the World films and books as well as insights into modern belief and demoniacal/angelic intervention in late 20th Century life channeling everyone from C.S. Lewis to the silly Televangelists who get "Words of God" from their earpieces. I enjoyed Marvin Jarvis in his role as Rossi etc int he abridged version of the Historian and here, his talent is shown even further as he enacts demons, Satanic nuns, renegade angels, and English children with a sweeping range of voices.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Good Omens?

    The birth and mix-up in the beginning and the Witchfinder Corps were pretty amusing but mostly the many jokes scattered throughout the book are truly fun.


    What does Martin Jarvis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    As mentioned above, his various accents and even his singing voice all lend themselves to the comedy. I feel there are a few references made clearer by his performance than I missed when I read the book beforehand. There's something about his voice for the AntiChrist boy that sounds like it was supposed to mean something but I couldn't catch it.


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

    I was laughing for most of the time due to the many jokes and references to various films and general supernatural, angelic and demoniac behavior.


    Any additional comments?

    The ending is a bit underwhelming what with the big set-up and everything but it was a fun ride overall mostly thanks to Marvin Jarvis.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dracula [Audible Edition]

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Bram Stoker
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10387)
    Performance
    (9578)
    Story
    (9586)

    The modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.

    Jim "The Impatient" says: "IS THAT NOT SO?"
    "A Bit Disappointing Despite the Hype."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    It's a nice retelling of Dracula but I just wished it could have made more of its full ensemble cast a la The Historian and His Dark Materials Trilogy i.e. each character's voice being performed by a different actor.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Dracula [Audible Edition]?

    Jonathan Harker's account of Castle Dracula in the beginning. I was expecting MUCH MORE from Tim Curry as Van Helsing. He seemed to be a bit bored with the role. He read it quite slowly with none of the energy I have associated with the role.


    What three words best describe the narrators’s performance?

    Professional, Variety, but Limited


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

    It is a movie and I have seen it. Coppola's was the best if not for the unnecessary love story.


    Any additional comments?

    If only each letter had assistance from each characters voice when they had a line, it would be better. Also, I thought Mina and Lucy's voices should have been switched.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stolen Souls: A Jack Lennon Investigation

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Stuart Neville
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (281)
    Performance
    (251)
    Story
    (255)

    Galya Petrova travels to Ireland on a promise that she will work for a nice Russian family, teaching their children English. Instead, she is dragged into the world of modern slavery, sold to a Belfast brothel, and held there against her will. She escapes at a terrible cost - the slaying of one of her captors - and takes refuge with a man who offers his help. But her savior is not what he seems....

    Deborah says: "Strong Third Chapter"
    "A Come Down for the Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Stolen Souls? What did you like least?

    As usual, Neville has action and well written, suspenseful passages but without Gerry Fagan, the series has really lost its steam.


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

    If this is the last book of the series, I'm really going to be disappointed. However, I'm not sure if I'd want to continue the series unless something really unexpected happens.


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

    He's always awesome in whatever he does. I've never had a complaint about him and I probably never will. His accents, inflections, and voice ranges are all magnificent.


    Did Stolen Souls inspire you to do anything?

    Not really. It's a bit of a downer especially with the Christmas setting and all.


    Any additional comments?

    Neville should break free of his series and write something new and cool and original like Ghosts of Belfast.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Historian

    • ABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Kostova
    • Narrated By Joanne Whalley, Dennis Boutsikaris, Rosalyn Landor, and others
    Overall
    (125)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (94)

    To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of-a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.

    Meg says: "Dracula revisited"
    "Great accents, wonderful background music and more"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Historian the most enjoyable?

    The use of different voices for the reading of different letters. Each character is voiced by a separate actor or actress performing with a different accent. As I am a fan of all accents, it made the story very pleasant to listen to.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Historian?

    Rossi's missing letters meant to be sent from Romania. They reveal SO much about the historical Dracula as well as the story's plot.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    As mentioned before, the accents. The best was the guy who did the man with a mixed Scottish/Romanian accent. It was superb and an excellent example of hard work and top-notch voice acting.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Historian and why?

    Perhaps Rossi himself but each plot line has its own quirks. The unnamed narrator's recounting of her trip to Italy and Slovenia has its own charms too.


    Any additional comments?

    I've listened to this recording many times. It is fitting when the Autumn chill fills the air and you want something intellectually satisfying yet a bit dark.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cryptonomicon

    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6356)
    Performance
    (5353)
    Story
    (5376)

    Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.

    Rob J. says: "Fixed!"
    "Cracking Cryptonomicon"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes but with guarded words. Prepare to commit to over 40 hours of intense mathematical and historical discourse told with a lot of wit but seemingly without any direction until the last 3 hours or so.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Not really. It's not that kind of book. In Stephenson's first two SciFi masterpieces he makes use of his creativity for imagining a possible technological dystopia but as the two time periods in this novel are the (then) present of the late 90's and WWII era America, The Philipines, Japan, China, Europe and all the seas in between, he has to rely on actual math and while some of it is over the head of most (or at least this) listener(s), he also makes use of his remarkable wit of which we have only heard snatches of up to this point. There's no real suspense although there are a few suspenseful situations. Stephenson's unique outlook on the world and his remarkably well-realized characters reminds me of John Updike for some reason, perhaps for the fact that they seem like real people who think about real things rather than just some made-up characters.I found myself laughing like crazy for seemingly no reason just for the "oh so ordinary but so true" way some of the characters talk. Stephenson is certainly one of the most versatile writers out there. There is so much here and , as someone who majored in East Asian Studies and lives in Japan, he hit the nail on the head at least as far as Japan is concerned but he steers away from just idolization/damnation of other cultures but sees them from a basic human standpoint without being either cynical or preachy. You don't really realize he is toeing this line but he is. I think the expression "Nips" was used a bit much but it gave a sense of period and albeit it a terrible slanderous word, it is marginally less grating on the ear than the more common slur "Japs." Interestingly enough, I don't think the German equivalents were used even once. Fancy that.


    Which character – as performed by William Dufris – was your favorite?

    Probably Randy although his German accents are pretty interesting as he demonstrated in another book "The Murder of the Century." His Japanese accents sound strangely Native American and his Filipino accents sound Mexican but his basic dry wit narrator's voice is probably my favorite. The narrators for the audiobooks must be handpicked by Stephenson himself because after listening to each I couldn't imagine a better reader for either one. He has decent variations and his Douglas MacArthur and Ronald Reagan voices had me laughing with incredulity. His Shaftoe voice took a while to get used to because he sounds just like a mindless grunt which, although his behavior over most of the novel reflects as much, it cheapens him a bit.


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

    I laughed at some of the asides such as General Mills calculation of making Cap'n Crunch nuggets the same size as teeth so as to be ergonomically eaten and Randy's ex-girlfriend's research on "shaving pornography" as a sort of indirect hint to get him to shave off his beard not to mention the absolutely batsh*t ridiculous handling of the furniture-to-be-bequeathed using an interactive x y graph in which hopeful relatives of Randy (all genius IQ mathematicians and scientists) lug the items they want all over the parking lot comparing monetary and emotional value with the x and y values. Basically, half the time, you're thinking, "Where the heck is he going with this?" It's a fun and geeky ride but a long one and there is a payoff but it doesn't come until about the 37 hour mark. For me, it was worth it but I can see how some might see it as a "too little, too late" sort of deal. On the bright side, without revealing any spoilers, the ending is the most clear cut of all the Stephenson SciFI novels so far.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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