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Koban, Book 1 | [Stephen W. Bennett]

Koban, Book 1

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.

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Publisher's Summary

All new narration adds sound effects and eliminates issues noted in reviews. To obtain new version, remove old one from device, download new copy at no charge.

We colonized seven hundred planets. Humankind enjoyed the benefits of expansion and the end of wars. We 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 galaxy, through annihilation or enslavement 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 are testing humans for fighting capability. We are useful only if we can fight well. If not, they will destroy us swiftly, as they have other species. They have slaves, and we’re poor tasting meat animals, so we fight or die. The Krall will use us, if worthy, seeking physical perfection through attrition of war, one planet at a time.

Growing weary of our failures in testing, the ruthless Krall are on the verge of a decision to eliminate our species. A ship carrying bio-scientists is captured for combat testing. The choice for Captain Mirikami and the scientists is simple: Prove we can produce better, smarter fighters quickly, or humanity is doomed to rapid extermination.

But the Krall are only half the problem. We must survive Koban's gravity and superfast animals. The tiger-like rippers with skin contact telepathy are predators too fast and powerful for the Krall to face. Our solution is genetic: If you can't beat them as you are, become human rippers.

The Krall will learn another species can bypass natural selection.

©2012 Stephen W Bennett (P)2013 Stephen W Bennett

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (554 )
5 star
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4.3 (525 )
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Story
3.5 (526 )
5 star
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 (132)
3 star
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2 star
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 (79)
Performance
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  •  
    Richard HOPEWELL JUNCTION, NEW YORK, United States 01-18-14
    Richard HOPEWELL JUNCTION, NEW YORK, United States 01-18-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well Developed Story Line, Well Developed World!"

    The author did an excellent job developing the characters, the story line and the world. While the story is generally military sci fi, it touches on social issues and bio ethics in a well interwoven and non preachy way.

    Many people have commented that the narration is generally flat with what emphasis there is in the wrong places. While I agree in many respects, I had a somewhat different take and I prefer to withhold or at least temper my judgement on the subject of performance. Thus the neutral rating.

    Patrick Freeman has a very good reading voice and at times, clearly demonstrates that he does indeed understand how to breath life into his reading. While many lines are delivered with an unusual cadence, others seem to be quite normal with emphasis in all of the right places. This made me wonder whether the unusual cadence in delivery was done purposely as an interpretive mechanism, perhaps visualizing the way the characters might actually speak in that time and place. While I guess I will never know unless the narrator or author decides to tell us, I decided to listen to the story as if that were case. Doing so made the unusual cadence much easier to listen to.

    This story has so many places to go in sequels that I am certain I will buy the next one (I am hoping that there is a "next one"). I very much enjoyed the insight the author provides into the though process of the Koban inhabitants (for reasons that will become obvious in the story, I would not use the word "animals"). The relationship between the humans and the rippers just begs for a follow up.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura A Azevedo 01-07-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Great Story, Poor Narration"
    What did you like best about Koban? What did you like least?

    Wonderful world building, great storyline, rich with interesting characters. I would probably loved it more in print. The narration of the story took quite a lot of getting used to.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Patrick Freeman?

    ANYONE. Seriously . . . . . learn how to pace your words and stop sounding like Captain Kirk. Because . . . I really enjoyed . . . . your voices. . . . and I enjoy . . . the timber of . . . . your voice . . . . but there . . . . are more . . . . variations . . . . to punctuation . . . beyond . . . periods. . . .


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

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    The book really is worth the effort of getting used to the narrator . . . but it may be more enjoyable to read it in print.

    25 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Boone 12-21-14
    James Boone 12-21-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    1
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    Story
    "Artificial noises expose poor storytelling"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Lose the artificial lion noises, after the first 50 times they get annoying


    Has Koban, Book 1 turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yup


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Patrick Freeman?

    Some one more interested in telling a good story rather than acting out a comic book


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

    Annoyance


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    averageconsumer 05-21-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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. So...how 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.

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trip Williams Travelers Rest, SC, United States 11-01-14
    Trip Williams Travelers Rest, SC, United States 11-01-14 Member Since 2004

    Did you know you can put in a set of Ear-Buds, slap your Hearing Protectors over them, and Mow the lawn, Weed-Eat, etc, without your book being drowned out by engine noise? I recently listened to "Augustus" while wandering through the Roman Forum. I'm on my third set of "Sleep-Phones". I've been addicted to audible since 2004... I think my friends are starting to suspect I have a problem ;)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    192
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    "New, Revamped, Narration is MUCH Better!"

    I listened to the samples of this book back when the all of the complaints were being written about the narration.. I admit, just from the sample, I passed on this audio-book the first time around because of the bad reviews on the Narration, and from the sample I listened to (Even the sample was enough to let you know how bad it was).

    I stumbled back onto the first book of this series the other day, read the reviews as late as just a few months ago, and thought "Yeah, I remember this one", and started to click my "Back" button on my Browser... THEN I saw the New note from the publisher saying the Narration had been redone, and even sound effects added.

    ...So I took a chance...

    The NEW Narration is VERY good!!! The background sounds are subtle, and don't come anywhere near being a "Performance", and they ADD TO the book, rather than distracting from it! I started hearing this slight "Rumble" early in the book and at first thought "Oh no, Bad recording with a hum in it", but then I realized it was just the low background Hum of being inside a Spaceship! The Low "Spaceship Hum" (MUCH lower than the Noise inside a large Commercial Aircraft that you learn to tune out), drops out when the People hit Planet-Side! The Low Hum lets you know each time you're on a space craft.. along with lightly hearing digital buttons being pressed, "Acceleration Gongs", "pops and pings" as metal cools, the noises made as enemies cut into a space craft hull, etc... ALL of which are LOW in the background so as not to be annoying, and DO compliment the overall story.

    The Narrator does SUCH a much better job doing THIS book, than he did previously on the first attempt... I was impressed by such a radical turn-around in the Narrator's style.

    As for the Writing of the book itself, it's kinda long winded in some places, and slows WAY down in many action scenes when you really want the speed to pick up and get on by the sections that clearly have WAY too much unimportant detail...

    Overall I enjoyed this book highly with the new narrator, and I think any flaws in this Audio-Book now have to be laid at the writer's feet... But it's well written except for the Constant (out of place) chuckles and the CONTINUOUS forced laughter when it's not Really appropriate, and the delays in "Getting on with the action" by putting too much unimportant trivia in SOME of the action scenes.

    In the Future, the Gender Roles are reversed since men become nearly extinct in the past a few hundred years before this Book's Time Period takes place... Females may squeeze a Man's Butt, or "Pat his Package", by surprise, as has LONG been the case with men doing the same to Women in Sexual Harassment matters... Not to mention Men hitting "The Glass Ceiling in their Careers" due to their Gender... That whole concept is VERY well done! It gives men a glimpse of the CONSTANT crap that women are often forced to "just deal with".

    If you listened to this book with the old Narration and couldn't get through it, or HATED IT, yet you still have in your library, just delete THAT copy, and download the new one.. According to Audible, replacing the old version with the new one is absolutely free!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Clovis, CA, United States 01-07-14
    Douglas Clovis, CA, United States 01-07-14 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating Story and Interesting Premise"

    The publisher's summary generally describes the thrust of the story. The Krall have a spiritual mission to dominate the galaxy through competitive, brutal breeding. Only their very best warriors are allowed to survive and breed in a complex social hierarchy. How do they become the best? By finding other species and battling them. Through battle test, the Krall hope for physical and spiritual perfection. And so, they discover humans. Humans are weak, pathetic prey. The story goes into great detail in many scenes, giving us a rich experience on a hostile, alien planet. The ingenuity, intelligence, leadership, and luck it takes the captured humans to survive is remarkable and realistic. The back story is just as interesting as the main plot. The morality of human gene modification is a central dilemma cast in the history of a devastating clone war in the human past. That war wiped out 98% of all human males, which led to some interesting changes in male-female relationships.

    The downside of this interesting story is the narrator. He has what sounds like a slight Candadian accent. His inflections, pauses, and emphases are all wrong. You just have to get used to it and get past it. Despite that, I had a hard time putting this one down. It pretty much consumed my New Year's holiday. Sounds like there will be a sequel, and I will snap it up if it arrives.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Long Columbia, SC, USA 07-20-14
    Long Columbia, SC, USA 07-20-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Story is ok but narrator totally ruins the book!!!"
    What did you like best about Koban, Book 1? What did you like least?

    The story was fresh but went into too much detail about every nuance of speech and body motion of each character in every dialog scene.The Narrator was awful. I have listened to almost 200 books and this guy was by far the worst. He put unnatural pauses in every sentence and emphasized the wrong words for effect. He paused after every 6-8 words, regardless of the flow of the sentences. It was almost like listening to the William Shatner Star Treck character over acting while reading the book.

    I ended up listenning to the book at 3x speed and skipping many chapters to finish.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Get a different narrator. I'm avoiding this narrator from now on- no matter how much i like a book, this narrator will ruin it. I can't believe the producers of this audiobook allowed this to happen.


    Any additional comments?

    The book is O.K. Avoid this narrator.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 08-18-14
    James 08-18-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Good story and concept"
    How could the performance have been better?

    This is a pretty good book. The overall story and concept behind the plot are put together very well. I wish, though, that I had read some of the reviews before I purchased this. There is no kind way of putting it; the narrator for this story was terrible. I have purchased and listened to well over 100 books from audible with narrators of varying degree of quality. In all of those I had never run into a narrator who as distracting to the story as this one. The pauses in speech and odd word emphasis make this a hard listen.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Big Daddy JMC 12-07-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    4
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    "Slow to start but this book hooks you."

    This book was very slow to start. I was tempted to give up on it several times in the beginning. I was glad that I stuck with it because it started to get better and better as the book went on. By the time the book was over I was hooked and couldn't wait to get onto the second book. You really get hooked into these characters and just want more.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mikael 08-20-14
    Mikael 08-20-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Good story, terrible narration"

    I can only parrot everyone else and exclaim how poor a job the narrator does here. I'm sure he's a wonderful person and great fun at parties, but someone really should've either allowed him to do this one over or simply found someone else to do it. Closest comparison I can make is William Shatner, and not in a good way.

    If you can get yourself to ignore the crazy cadence and tumultuous tempo, however, you'll find a delightful story that takes a few twists seldom seen in other science fiction. For the novelty, I think this deserves a listen, and the narration gets better in the second book. Sure, there are some corners cut and sometimes the Big Bad Ugly comes across as a bit too stupid to live, but I was entertained.

    A good suggestion might be to read the first book and listen to the second, if you're so inclined.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 89 results PREVIOUS129NEXT
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  • Mr. R. Chvapil
    UK
    4/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Harry Harrison feel"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I liked the story line. As hinted in the headline this book recalled memories of Deathworld Pyrrus. This book however adds more ideas and twists. Due to it's length (excellent) the author covered many side stories that helped paint the picture but never losing the sight of the main storyline. I also liked the characters and clear effort that went into creating the social relations in post gene war society. And of course I will never get bored of the old line of humans as underdogs fighting against the odds and standing triumphant in the end(?)...hopefuly in future books.......fingers crossed


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Koban?

    Mental shift of all the Primes and newly arrivals becoming Kobani. .....United we stand.....


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Many scene were enjoyable. There isn't a favourite one but I liked the moment when the native tigers established mindlink with their human victims. The potentional richness of what could develop from this in future books is obvious and I can't wait....


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    the beast within


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed the narration once I got used to it. However I think few characters, mainly the the women and characters in charge were little unnatural. Overall good and enjoyable performance. Thank you

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
    8/1/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Recomend this book and series"

    I started this series a week ago and cannot wait for the rest of this series to come along, I just hope that Audible keep the series coming.

    I would recomend these stories to other listeners.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • a j kember
    12/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "If you like having your intelligence insulted...."
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Young teens could enjoy this book


    What was most disappointing about Stephen W. Bennett’s story?

    The pace of the plot line really drags. There's nothing surprising or unexpected in the story direction. It's all very clunky.


    What didn’t you like about Patrick Freeman’s performance?

    It's like having a 'voice over man' reading to you. The phrasing of the sentence is repetitive, and rarely matches the actual world being said.


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

    I was disappointed, and slightly amazed that this had got good reviews.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm obviously not the target audience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I. Fenton
    Cardiff, Wales
    12/14/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I was hooked from chapter one."
    What made the experience of listening to Koban, Book 1 the most enjoyable?

    The sound effects enhanced the great storyline.


    What other book might you compare Koban, Book 1 to, and why?

    I'd compare this to David Weber's writings because of the detailed descriptions and in depth analysis during the narration. Just my kind of reading.


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

    I had a visceral reaction to the fighting etc. and loved the detailed descriptions of the dangers the characters faced.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    Lower Earley, United Kingdom
    8/4/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable for the most part"

    The basic story is interesting well written with good character development. The gender role reversal is interesting but really is just a side note and a bit of a distraction. The arrogance of a conquerer race is well done and the idea of the survival of the fittest carried to an extreme is logical.

    The narrator generally does a good job but for one of the main female characters decided to use an odd speech pattern with pauses and tonal inflections that is very annoying and as it is a main character you come to dread her lines.

    Overall the story was enjoyable to listen to and is recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr Anthony Geoghegan
    Kenmare, Co.Kerry Ireland
    7/8/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I'm bored with it already"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A less hackneyed plot and a narrator who can enunciate more than 6 syllables without pausing for his reading to catch up would have really improved this read for me.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Stephen W. Bennett? Why or why not?

    I'd be dubious now as I've been burned.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Patrick Freeman’s performances?

    Not a chance.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Koban, Book 1?

    The Krall are boring and predictable. I find it completely unlikely humans would colonise some 700 worlds and end up in a state of internal peace. Talk about not understanding human nature.


    Any additional comments?

    I like escapism, it's not the escapist nature of the book I have an issue with. I'm just bored and not interested in finishing it. Plus the tiny hint of lisp the narrator has is starting to bug me. His characterisations are good though.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Rachel Norton
    Northern Ireland
    2/15/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant"
    Any additional comments?

    This is a great book but I have to take one star off performance because the audio gets suddenly a quieter in places.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • William
    COLWYN BAY, United Kingdom
    3/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Book that never gets going"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This book promised to get going so many time in so many cases but never did. just as you settle down for the action you are sure is coming another lull happens.


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

    Men when threatened react with violence or fear, the charters are so unbelievable it makes it feel like children are playing in a school field. especial the captain who is an army veteran but constantly seek approval from a council of grandma's


    Would you be willing to try another one of Patrick Freeman’s performances?

    No, his voice is monotonous and dose not have the variation needed for this book


    Was Koban worth the listening time?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    there are better sci-fi out there

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • George
    Aldershot Hants, United Kingdom
    2/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An excellent story, but."

    The story was great with plenty of action, although occasionally it did tread water a few times by having the story summarised every so often. It was as if the author was trying to catch his own breath and order his thoughts for the next bout of action.

    The story was spoilt by the narrator who tried valiantly but his voice and manner was a little too staccato for me, not quite getting the punctuation right.

    But I will purchase the next instalment when it becomes available

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    Rochester, United Kingdom
    9/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "geat book shame about the narration"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and immediately bought book 2, excellent plot and very original storyline. the only downside is the narrator who frankly is dreadful, he makes it sound like half the characters are either addled or drunk but even that didn't spoil a really good book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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