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Member Since 2011

  • 3 reviews
  • 3 ratings
  • 178 titles in library
  • 28 purchased in 2014

  • Cibola Burn: The Expanse, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By James S. A. Corey
    • Narrated By Erik Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    An empty apartment, a missing family, that's creepy. But this is like finding a military base with no one on it. Fighters and tanks idling on the runway with no drivers. This is bad juju. Something wrong happened here. What you should do is tell everyone to leave. The gates have opened the way to a thousand new worlds and the rush to colonize has begun. Settlers looking for a new life stream out from humanity's home planets. Ilus, the first human colony on this vast new frontier, is being born in blood and fire.

    Striker says: "Decent Story, Lacking Good Narration"
    "Bookwreck: How to Sink a Stellar Story"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I can't imagine anyone enjoying this presentation. (Note to fellow sufferers: Jefferson Mays was not available, and the authors have no say in choosing narrators.)

    There are many ways listeners can often adjust to less-than-wonderful narration. Audiobook fans have to learn these things, or be reduced to listening to a few books a year by the short list of readers they find great. And over time our tastes often change, so there is a large grey area of what "bearable" comes to mean to individuals. And with skill, listeners can increase their tolerance levels. The trouble is: this takes effort, and at some point rebellion sets in. We buy audiobooks for sheer enjoyment- not to have to work like the devil in hopes of tolerating a very bad narrator.

    After expending too much effort to bear with it, I had to abandon this one. Worse luck: after a couple of years of not returning any audiobooks, I had to return the first Koban book for the same grim reason, so I can't return this one. Now my policy of tolerance is running headfirst into the poor business practices that allow awful narrators to read otherwise good books. Audible needs to find a sizable group of unbiased and reasonable listeners to weed out the worst of the worst.

    Now I'm reading the ebook in peace and quiet, and enjoying every minute of it.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cibola Burn?

    The most memorable moment was when realizing the audiobook sample does not reveal what the listening experience is going to be. Going by the sample, Erik Davies sounds quite bearable. I thought I could easily tolerate him, and that's why I ordered the book. After the bad surprise of Koban, I didn't want to take any chances and waste an order. But being careful was not enough.

    What didn’t you like about Erik Davies’s performance?

    Others have explained the gory details very well.

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

    Disappointment on the behalf of the authors, whose story-telling skills certainly deserve much better treatment. And annoyance that I wasted time and money--- when Audible could have and should have seen this disaster coming miles away.

    Any additional comments?

    Stop offering great stories by narrators almost no one can listen to, no matter how much they want to. It is as if no one on your staff (with any say in the matter) can tell the difference between great, OK, and insufferable. This is the very heart of your business, and you ought to know the difference.

    It is not ultimately more profitable for you to let real stinkers loose on the world in hopes that: 1. Maybe this is not so bad. 2. It's bad, but maybe not too many people will notice. 3. It's bad, and people will notice, but our high volume sales will cover the financial loss.

    The truth is, many people are loyal to audiobooks only to the point they are not subjected to too many experiences like this one.

    37 of 41 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

    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 plain old "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"
    "Brilliant Crowd-Pleaser"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Martian to be better than the print version?

    Oh yes. The narrator is ideal for this excellent piece of very clever and finely polished fluff. There are good reasons why so many different types of minds relish Andy Weir's story-telling gifts. For instance. It is easier to write a highbrow critic's darling of a novel (I mean the sort that relatively few will ever read) than it is to write The Martian- which nearly everyone enjoys unreservedly. I don't know why it is so. But every year a number of not-very-pleasant "masterpieces" are published for the literati, and but very few highly enjoyable and engagingly intelligent tales for the rest of us. I think the secret is that Andy Weir never overreaches, but quite firmly restrains a considerable creative power. Outwardly, The Martian is "just" a great summer movie of a story. I mean that in the best possible way, since superior popcorn is difficult to come by. Yet somehow the writing is also better than that too. It is unique without being too eccentric for its own good, and deeper than it looks while never weighted down. Every level of story-telling has its masterpieces, from Homer to Dickens to comic books. The Martian is a genius-level example of pure fun.

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

    I can't answer that question. I found this book to be seamless and spinning out from beginning to end with a smile.

    Have you listened to any of R. C. Bray’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I will keep a lookout. To my mind, he is perfect and positively disappears. It can never get any better than that.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Books are the subtlest theaters of the mind, and I never like the way my favorites are presented in film. But I do understand the need to eat, so I wish good writers all the best in survival.

    Any additional comments?

    Andy Weir's very short story "The Egg" is a very different and to my way of thinking equally interesting side of his creativity. Last time I looked it was still available to read for free. If that time has come and gone, then just keep an eye out for it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Koban, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen W. Bennett
    • Narrated By Patrick Freeman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    We colonized 700 planets. Humankind enjoyed the benefits of expansion room and the end of wars. We even disbanded our military. Then the Krall found us. The Krall have used thousands of years of combat to select the genes of the strongest and fastest warriors. They are a species determined to dominate the entire galaxy, through destruction and annihilation of every opponent.

    Koban is an uninhabited high-gravity planet with impossibly fast savage animals, which employ organic superconducting nerves. This deadly world is where the Krall tested humans for war capability.

    Laura A Azevedo says: "Great Story, Poor Narration"
    "Great Story/Deadly Narration"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Koban to be better than the print version?

    To put it mildly: no. I read all the reviews here before I bought this eagerly-awaited audiobook. After seeing opposing reactions to the narrator, I decided to accept him in the spirit of the positive reviews. I listened several times to the sample and thought I could live with any imperfections. But it didn't take long before I had to stop listening simply to escape surprising extremes of mental suffering.The narrator reads this excellent story in the gruesome meaningless cadences one would employ for doggerel.

    There are indications of a very nice speaking voice and an intelligent mind behind the voice. can this happen? Did the narrator never listen to a decent reader? Has he never listened to himself, made extensive comparisons, and asked a selection of people to respond with useful criticisms? I believe that the problems of chronic tonal and rhythmic meaninglessness can be fixed. And they had better be. Somewhere within himself, the narrator has the makings of actually being good at his job. Meanwhile however, he is very far from inadequate- and well into the realm of downright excruciating.

    What did you like best about this story?

    I didn't get far enough to know what I will like best. But right from the beginning, I found the quality of the writing and thinking behind the story intriguing, creative, and original.

    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He strangled this worthy book, one bizarrely contorted paragraph after another. Other than that...

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I wouldn't. In my view there has never yet been a film better than a very good book.
    In theory of course, it should be possible.

    Any additional comments?

    Yes. The world needs more good audiobook narrators.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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