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thomas

I work full time in Financial Services, teach part time, listen to music (a lot) and love Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction.

charlotte, NC, United States | Member Since 2012

86
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 75 reviews
  • 75 ratings
  • 149 titles in library
  • 37 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
11

  • Quest for the Well of Souls: Saga of the Well World, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jack L. Chalker
    • Narrated By Peter Macon
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (46)

    Mavra Chang was once a master criminal, notorious throughout the galaxy. But for 11 long years she has been trapped in a nonhuman body on the Well World - the master control planet for the universe, where untold numbers of strange races exist, separated by barriers erected by the mysterious, vanished race that built the Well World billions of years ago. Orbiting the planet is a planetoid concealing Obie, a supercomputer that could restore Mavra Chang to her original form - if she can reach it. Unfortunately, the only spaceship on the planet is hidden in the northern hemisphere, a place no living creature can survive.

    Bruce says: "Book 3 of Jack L. Chalker signature series."
    "I am Mavra Chang, Bride of the Stars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Quest for the Well of Souls?

    The best part is the zany world that Chalker has created. It's sci-fi, fantasy and a mind boggling display of creates and world building. Amazing.


    What other book might you compare Quest for the Well of Souls to and why?

    I can only compare this to other Chalker books. He is a very unique author. I can only remotely compare him to John Varley in terms of his imagination and scope of the worlds he creates. Some readers might not like him though. He sometimes provides alot of detail on items that never come into play. That doesn't both me. To immerse yourself in Chalker is to take a leap into the unknown. Its escapist entertainment at its best.


    What about Peter Macon’s performance did you like?

    He really grew on me. In the first Well World book I thought he was so droll I would fall asleep. Then I realized he was playing many characters and that droll delivery was the narrator, so it was at some level comforting. I think he did a fantastic job and would not trade his performance with anyone.


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

    Interesting. This book was one where i did. I drove a long distance and listened to to at once. It was fun.


    Any additional comments?

    There is something about Chalker that harkens back to a time in Sci Fi that was not dependent on snappy plots or fighting/action. He builds complex worlds that are intent on opening your imagination up to new ideas...some of which are philosophical and some are decidedly not. I wish Audible would make the entire Well World Series available, if you read this review let them know! I have....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pandora's Star

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4332)
    Performance
    (2634)
    Story
    (2672)

    The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some 400 light-years in diameter, contains more than 600 worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over 1,000 light-years away, a star...vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears.

    Devin says: "Great Epic Scifi"
    "Boy, Was I Wrong"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Pandora's Star in three words, what would they be?

    Science Fiction Masterpiece


    What did you like best about this story?

    Several things....First it is complex with at least 8 different story lines running parallel and inter-weaving with each other. This makes the narrative interesting and requires a level of attention that engrosses the reader into the Commonwealth Universe. Second, Hamilton's writing style is very straightforward, which supports a style where the narrative is the star. And finally it combines hard science, politics, detailed description, action, interpersonal relationships and philosophy. Similar in sweep to Dan Simmons's Hyperion Series but more straightforward in terms of exposition.


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

    Great job, A plus. At times some of the characters sounded similar and I have to make sure I was keeping track. However with this many characters I am not sure how he could give each one a memorable voice. There must be at least 50 characters within the 8 stories. He does a great job.


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

    Impossible but I have one minor quibble. Within a chapter there may be 4 separate story lines. Audible should have taken a 5 second pause between these. It requires additional attention to make sure you are shifting your attention from the Ozzie narrative to the Second chance narrative (for example). This is not a show stopper but listeners should be aware so they don't get confused.


    Any additional comments?

    I am hooked. I will finish this series, but I realize its a lot. Possibly the best contemporary Sci Fi I have read/listened to date. I was initially scared off by the size of this book thinking it must be over bloated. Boy, was I wrong. This is a complex interesting story that entertained me for hours on end. I cannot wait to get to the rest of the series. Great stuff.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1230)
    Performance
    (576)
    Story
    (581)

    Neanderthals have developed a radically different civilization on a parallel Earth. A Neanderthal physicist, Ponter Boddit, accidentally passes from his universe into a Canadian underground research facility. Fortunately, a team of human scientists, including expert paleo-anthropologist Mary Vaughan, promptly identifies and warmly receives Ponter. Solving the language problem and much else is a mini-computer, called a Companion, implanted in the brain of every Neanderthal. But it can't help his fellow scientist back in his world, Adikor Huld, when the authorities charge Adikor with his murder.

    Scott says: "Scicen Fiction Can Be Literature"
    "My Universe is Better Than Your's..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Hominids to be better than the print version?

    Probably. Audible does a great job here. I have not read the book, but his might be a good example where the audible version is better than the print version.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I could say the lead character. I found him engaging and interesting. He reminded me of the primary character in the Ursula LeGuin book, The Dispossessed. He had a sanguine approach to the difficulties he was faced, yet did so with courage. I wonder if Sawyer was influenced at all by LeGuin.


    What does Jonathan Davis and Robert J. Sawyer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I had not read Sawyer before and I think many readers will enjoy him. The story is fast paced and elements of it were like a TV show or movie. The narrator did a great job conveying this sense of action and kept the story moving.


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

    Portions of the book reminded me of Asimov and "The God's Themselves". This story and Hominid is essentially a backdrop for a discussion of quantum mechanics and elements of string theory. I found this interesting. The hard science elements of this book were not over wrought, and made it intelligent writing on many levels.


    Any additional comments?

    Sawyer is a popular author and far be it from me to criticize him. At times I felt like the book was careening to a climax, something which I find to be a contrivance in a lot of current science fiction. My guess is the modern reader compares these types of stories to TV and will be bored., I my opinion it felt a bit rushed. A considerable amount happened in a short span of time. So the net here for the reader considering this book is if you like a story that is terrific, fast paced and non-stop you will be rewarded. If you like a story that provides backdrop, characterization and more depth this might not be right for you. I don't say this in a dismissive way. I personally enjoy these types of books occasionally and I enjoyed Hominid very much on this occasion. I am glad I read it, I found it interesting and it was worth the credit. I am just not sure I will return to Sawyer's universe in the short term.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Heechee Rendezvous

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Frederik Pohl
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (90)

    After millennia had passed, Mankind discovered the Heechee legacy (an alien culture that fled to the relative safety of a black hole) - in particular an asteroid stocked with autonavigating spacecraft. Robinette Broadhead, who had led the expedition that unlocked the many secrets of Heechee technology, is now forced once more to make a perilous voyage into space - where the Heechee are waiting. And this time the future of Man is at stake....

    thomas says: "I Enjoyed It ..."
    "I Enjoyed It ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Heechee Rendezvous rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Probably in the middle. This is more of a traditional space opera story, and fits neatly into that genre. Pohl was an editor before becoming a writer and his familiarity with the genre shows here. This is a tightly plotted story that moves along nicely. Parts of it are a little "wordy' but overall it is traditional Sci Fi and a good third book in the series.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Understanding the Heechee, their intentions and the reasons for their retreat was interesting.In many ways the story is a backdrop to Pohl's fascination with physics and I enjoyed the argument between a pro-Einstein version and a pro-Quantum version of astrophysics.


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

    I thought he was great. He has done all three int his series and I thought it was interesting how he made Robin "sound" like he had aged (from the first book). Also his representation of Albert was great.


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

    No I rarely do that, but it doesn't diminish that this was a good book.


    Any additional comments?

    The first book in this series was a ground breaking book, no doubt about it. The second and third books are more conventional in their plot and storyline.Some readers might not like this, adn stopping after the first book might make sense. I enjoyed finding out what happened to Robinette after the first book, and adjusted my expectations during books two and three. It doesn't mean they are not as good, just that they are different in narrative, story and tone. Pohl is a traditional Sci Fi writer like Clarke and Asimov and readers of those authors will enjoy this book and this series.It is entertaining and interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beyond the Blue Event Horizon

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Frederik Pohl
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    Overall
    (178)
    Performance
    (160)
    Story
    (160)

    Frederik Pohl was on a streak when this Hugo Award-finalist novel was published in 1980. Now back in print after an absence of nearly a decade, this unique science fiction novel is as fresh and entertaining as ever. The story begins when the hero of Gateway finances an expedition to a distant alien spaceship that may end famine forever. On the ship, the explorers find a human boy, and evidence that reveals a powerful alien civilization is thriving on a transport ship headed right for Earth....

    Jim "The Impatient" says: "SHE SURPRIZES ME MOST WHEN I LEAST EXPECT IT"
    "Terrific Extension of Gateway"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely! Pohl is an underrated author. He comes out of the classic Sci Era of Asimov and Clarke and I think compares favorably to both. This is big concept Sci Fi, without a lot of action relative to fighting or horror. Much of the narrative is similar to Asimov (logic and plot conveyance) but with a significant amount of hard science. Astrophysics is at the heart of this second novel in the series and I thought it was terrific. I do not understand why Pohl is to regarded more highly, maybe because the novel format moved away from these internally driven narratives to more outward, action based stories at home in the movies or TV.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Well Robin is the star here but honestly I thought Albert Einstein was just as engaging as Siegfried Von Shrink in Gateway. This is not as heavy of a novel and Albert adds some coif relief and is a great device to explain astophysics. Very clever of Pohl.


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

    Well his work in Gateway was tremendous, this is just as good. His voice for Robin shows his advanced age and the other characters are great.


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

    "Hope you paid attention in high school physics"!


    Any additional comments?

    This is a solid series. Because Gateway was such a classic book, some readers might be put off by this second installment. It is a much different narrative and style. Don't compare the two, Pohl is moving the story forward and to do that he needed to tell the story differently. After a bit I got used to it and I was rewarded a story that I very much enjoyed. I plan on finishing the remaining books in the series. If you like Asimov, Clarke and Bradbury you will enjoy this book. Its clever, a little corny and educational.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gateway

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Frederik Pohl
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman, Robert J. Sawyer
    Overall
    (834)
    Performance
    (617)
    Story
    (625)

    When prospector Bob Broadhead went out to Gateway on the Heechee spacecraft, he decided he would know which was the right mission to make him his fortune. Three missions later, now famous and permanently rich, Robinette Broadhead has to face what happened to him and what he is...in a journey into himself as perilous and even more horrifying than the nightmare trip through the interstellar void that he drove himself to take!

    Ryan says: "A human-focused SF classic"
    "Sigfried Von Shrink at Your Service..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Gateway to be better than the print version?

    Yes. Great job, one of my all time favorites on Audible.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Gateway?

    The ending is very, very well done. But the juxtaposition of Robin's sessions with Sigfried vs. his memory of what happened is so well done that the entire novel is memorable. This won a Hugo Award for good reason. It is a terrific sci fi novel.


    What does Oliver Wyman and Robert J. Sawyer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I read Sci Fi to be entertained, a break from my work and life itself. But elements of Gateway are pretty heavy, since much of the novel is an indictment and an endorsement of psychological counseling. The readers made it interesting but not overly dramatic. Parts of the novel deal with sex, sexual norms and it was done in a way that was not lecherous. Overall they did a great job and I cannot imagine it being done better.


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

    No I never do that... but I listened to it pretty quickly. Although Robin is not an entirely likeable characters, I found myself wanting to know what happened. That is ultimately what a good story is to me, investing in the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    Great job Audible!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By Kenneth Branagh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1549)
    Performance
    (1285)
    Story
    (1290)

    A Signature Performance: Kenneth Branagh plays this like a campfire ghost story, told by a haunted, slightly insane Marlow.

    Harold says: "From Civilization into Darkness"
    "I am Glad I Listened to It.."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh again? Why?

    One of the great things about Audible is that we can get around to reading books we either ignored as younger people or glossed over in school This is a great example. I am glad I read it, and it was well done. I am not sure I would listen to it again, but I rarely do that with Audible titles, there are just so many new ones out there I want to get to...


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Well Kurtz is obviously the centerpiece of the story. An enigmatic figure who haunts everyone who meets him.


    What about Kenneth Branagh’s performance did you like?

    Great job, maybe the best I have heard on Audible (Tony Roberts was also great in Cat's Cradle). His reading showed a familiarity with the text that can only come with reading a classic book. This was evident in his performance.


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

    I rarely do that, but this is a very short book, and many readers might do that on a rainy day or on vacation.


    Any additional comments?

    British literature from this time period is very unique. Flowery language where symbolism and description trump the narrative and story line. The enigmatic Kurtz was fascinating, and has become archetypical for many other subsequent characters in literature and popular culture. Overall I highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I, Robot

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1647)
    Performance
    (616)
    Story
    (636)

    They mustn't harm a human being, they must obey human orders, and they must protect their own existence...but only so long as that doesn't violate rules one and two. With these Three Laws of Robotics, humanity embarked on a bold new era of evolution that would open up enormous possibilities, and unforeseen risks.

    Herb says: "Forget the violence - Read this one for the humor"
    "Written in 1950, Still Relevant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I sure would. I would recommend it especially to readers of Asimov who are interested in his early work, which servers as a precursor to the Robot, Galactic Empire and Robot Series. Good stories, that are a foundation (no pun intended) to later work.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Susan Calvin is alluded to in the Robot Series often, here we find out how elemental she was in robot development. The psychology angle plays an important part here and in later works. This thread was fascinating, and is woven through all the stories.


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    Scott Brick does his usual fine job. Part of me likes the fact that sometimes he goes a little over the top in his performance. It adds to the Sci Fi Theater element to some of the stories here and in later performances. Well done.


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

    I have said it before...Asimov does not translate well to movies. Many of these stores are "thought puzzles" that are based on interior action. Audible is the right delivery method for this materiel, a movie could never compare.


    Any additional comments?

    There are short stores, hence my 4 star review. This is not to diminish the short story model. But Asimov weaves these basic concepts into later, more complicated and ultimately more satisfying material. These stories are great, and I recommend them to any fan of Asimov or early Sci Fi. But read them as an appetizer to later material, or background information on characters and stores you love in the later works.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Prelude to Foundation

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (440)
    Performance
    (393)
    Story
    (396)

    It is the year 12,020 G.E. and Emperor Cleon I sits uneasily on the Imperial throne of Trantor. Here in the great multidomed capital of the Galactic Empire, forty billion people have created a civilization of unimaginable technological and cultural complexity. Yet Cleon knows there are those who would see him fall - those whom he would destroy if only he could read the future.

    Svenghali says: "Trantor, capital of a galactic empire!"
    "Fits Neaty into the Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Prelude to Foundation in three words, what would they be?

    Harry Seldon Begins...


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Prelude to Foundation?

    This book is consistent with Asimov's writing style throughout his career. There is a nicely tied up ending, that begs another question(s) ... if you liked his other books, you will love this one as well. I would say the ending was terrific, but the scenes in the region where hair was unacceptable were priceless...


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    Scott always does a great job, I wish he did the last 2 books in this series, but that should not stop anyone from reading this book. Scott does great job.


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

    No, too long, but that is not a negative. These books become companions, and spending time with them is time spent well.


    Any additional comments?

    Asimov is a unique writer. There is depth but this is not over philosophical. The characters are developed but these are not character studies. These are old fashion stories, meant to entertain, challenge your ideas and keep you involved. They are based on logic, not fighting or sex or melodrama. The story evolves, reveals itself and enthralls you until the end. I always suspect Asimov wrote these to primarily amuse himself, and the reader is invited into that approach. I highly recommend this book to any Asimov fan or fan of the Foundation Series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Caliban's War: The Expanse, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By James S. A. Corey
    • Narrated By Jefferson Mays
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1136)
    Performance
    (1043)
    Story
    (1046)

    James S.A. Corey’s best-selling hit Leviathan Wakes earned Hugo and Locus Award nominations. In Caliban’s War, the second chapter of Corey’s Expanse series, a desperate Earth politician works tirelessly to prevent war from reigniting. Meanwhile, upheaval takes root on Venus and Ganymede. And amidst this tumult, James Holden and his crew on the Rocinante are charged with the impossible task of saving humanity from a terrifying fate.

    Ethan M. says: "No sophmore slump as both plot and writing improve"
    "Sophmore Slump"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Caliban's War in three words, what would they be?

    A little more dialogue and space opera elements than previous installment.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Holden. Great character in the Indian Jones vein, good characterization./


    Which character – as performed by Jefferson Mays – was your favorite?

    Jefferson Mays does a great job overall....Holden is my favorite


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

    No way too long....


    Any additional comments?

    This is a solid series, the second book is pretty much a set up for the third installment. Sometimes it gets a bit mired in politics, but the reader should hang in there...there are necessary plot installments here that will pay off in the third book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gods Themselves

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (94)

    Only a few know the terrifying truth - an outcast Earth scientist, a rebellious alien inhabitant of a dying planet, a lunar-born human intuitionist who senses the imminent annihilation of the Sun... They know the truth - but who will listen? They have foreseen the cost of abundant energy - but who will believe?These few beings, human and alien, hold the key to the Earth's survival.

    thomas says: "Asimov's Best Stand Alone Novel"
    "Asimov's Best Stand Alone Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Science Fiction. Asimov is the master and this is him at the top of his game. Intrigue, imagination, cleverly written and thought provoking


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Gods Themselves?

    I found the depiction of the creatures in the parallel universe very touching. It was an interesting way to comment on humans, but in an indirect manner.


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

    I enjoy Scott Brick. The Asimov series used William Dufris for the Robot Series and he did a good job as well. Scott has done most (unfortunately not all) of the Galactic Empire and Foundation Series and he does a superb job. His strength is not in performing different characters but in adding gravity to the dialogue. You will have to keep track of the characters closely, but overall Scott is excellent.


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

    No way too long.


    Any additional comments?

    This is my last book in my re-read of the Asimov Series after many years, and it dawned on me why he is not given more credit as a writer. These stories are intended to entertain. They are detailed, clever and help you escape into another world. Although they have commentary on the human plight and our interaction with each other there is no pretension of climax or overly dramatic ending. Unlike much of what we see on TV and movies, the stories are more to be savored than change your life. Asimov wrote these to amuse himself primarily, and as a reader you almost wish they would never end. I cannot recommend them highly enough for someone looking to escape into a place that makes you forget about the everyday. To me that is what entertainment ultimately is, and why I think Asimov is underestimated and not given enough credit. Kudos Audible, great job.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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