World War III explodes in seconds when a resurgent Russian federation launches a deadly armored thrust into the heart of Germany. With a powerful blizzard providing cover, Russian tanks thunder down the autobahns while specially trained Spetsnaz teams strike at vulnerable command points. Standing against them are the woefully undermanned American forces. What they lack in numbers, they make up for in superior weapons and training.
Honestly, I'm not finished with this book only about 3 hours into it, but so far it sucks.
The backstory is rather lame. It is about as believable as the Count and Bert teaming up to take over Seasame Street. Actually, that would be more believable.
In a nut shell, this book is set in the near future. Not sure how near, since they are holding "SALT VI" talks (in reality SALT II was held in 1979 and never ratified, it was superseded by the START I and START II and the New START talks). It may be in the next few years, since the combatants are using a good bit of present day equipment, like T-80 and T-90 tanks, but not using the T-14 that the Russians are introducing now. Oh, and they are still using T-62 tanks that the Russians stopped using about 20 years ago.
The setting for this book seems to be a hodgepodge construction taken directly from the mind of kid who got a 'D-' in 20th century history because he sat in the back of each lecture snorting bath salts and/or meth. So, in this universe Germany is back to being divided between East and West, with sectors occupied by the US, British, Soviets, and maybe the French (or the Canadians, possibly French Canadians). Yeah, I know, Germany has been unified and unoccupied since 1990. Anyway, who cares because the Nazis are back in power. Yes, the Nazis.
Outside of Germany this time traveler's buffet persists. Apparently the Warsaw Pact did dissolve (just like it did in 1991), and the Czech Republic was formed (just like it did in 1993), but the gang has got back together. The Warsaw Pact is back, I guess all of its members quit NATO, but I think that I must have blanked out on that part. Oh, and the Russians are communists again and are called Soviets again. Yeah, I know, the Russians as Soviets in the modern day using T-90 tanks that weren't introduced until 2-3 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But who cares about details, the Nazis are back and on our side.
Ok, so if you are a better person than me and can beat down that little voice from your hind brain that keeps screaming "WTF!!!!" and listen to the rest of the story, that sucks too. The characters are pretty unbelievable. The scenario is pretty unbelievable. The dialogue between the characters, yeah, can't believe that either...it is pretty stiff. And the narrative...it seems to have been written with with a thesaurus in one hand with the other hand free to pick at the keys. It takes at least 90 words to move the story two words forward.
The narrator does an okish job, but he really does not have much to work with.
So far what I'm liking best about this book is that is really is a sleeper. Seriously, I set my iPhone on the bedside table, set the sleep timer, and so it is nappy time. This is better than Ambien. The only distraction is that voice in my hind brain that keeps screaming "WTF!!!" but after a bit the voice just starts to cry and sob and that is pretty soothing too.
Truthfully, I think that this might have been a good book if it was written in 1987, where it belongs, instead of 2017. This book feels more like the wet dream of someone who was disappointed that the Russians never did come through the Fulda Gap and decided to write this book to resurrect glory day dreams. This book is not a Team Yankee or a Red Storm Rising, and it is kinda demeaning to compare it to those works.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
The long-dreaded nuclear conflict arrives. The city is torn apart, shattered, its people destroyed or mutilated beyond hope. For just a few, survival is possible only beneath the wrecked streets, if there is time to avoid the slow-descending, poisonous ashes. But below, the rats, demonic offspring of irradiated forebears, are waiting. They know that Man has weakened, become frail - and has become their prey.
This is a way to pass some time, but so is Scrabble.
The storyline, the characters, the dialogue is all unbelievable. Unbelievable and tedious.
The zombie plague unleashes its horrors on the suburbs of Atlanta without warning, pitting the living against the dead. Caught in the mass exodus, Lilly Caul struggles to survive in a series of ragtag encampments and improvised shelters. But the Walkers are multiplying. Dogged by their feral hunger for flesh and crippled by fear, Lilly relies on the protection of good Samaritans by seeking refuge in a walled-in town once known as Woodbury, Georgia. But Lilly begins to suspect that all is not as it seems....
Is there anything you would change about this book?
I would correct the inconsistencies with reality that detract from the substance and flow of the story.
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
Bob, one of the main characters, is frequently referred to as having been a medic in the Marines, as having been a member of the Marine Hospital Corps.
Marine do not have medics. Marines do not have any medical staff. There is no enitity such as a "Marine Hospital Corps."
The U.S. Marines are a part of the U.S. Navy and rely upon the Navy to provide medical services. The medics that serve with Marines are actually sailors and are proud of that. They have to complete a totally different indoctrination than the Marines that they serve with, and then must be accepted by those Marines. Marines generally love and respect their "docs," but they would never refer to them as belonging to the "Marine Hospital Corps," other than in jest, and every sailor knows the medics belong to the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps. Corpsmen are very proud of this fact as the Hospital Corps is the only corps composed solely of enlisted members in the U.S. Navy and has a very proud history.
To say that a person was a Marine medic and belonged to the Marine Hospital Corps shows that not even the slightest attempt at research was done. Ever hear of Google?
There are a lot of other glaring errors. So, Woodbury plundered a National Guard armory and got a lot of weapons. Good. One of those weapons is an RPG? How the hell would that happened? The RPG is a weapon of Soviet design, like the AK-47, and I can't fathom why a working RPG would be in a Georgia National Guard armory. It doesn't even sound reasonable. Why not research what weapons are actually used by the U.S. military and have the characters employ a LAW or AT-4? It would have been nice if they would Google.
I am really big on details, and there are a lot that are just wrong in this book. It is hard to get into the book when every few sentences there is something glaringly wrong. By the time you try and wrap your head around it the story has carried on, you have lost the train of it, and might as well go and scrub your toilet or do your laundry or trim your dog's nails.
Which character – as performed by Fred Berman – was your favorite?
I enjoyed the zombie circus dwarves.
Do you think The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
Odd question, seeing as this book already has three sequeal books printed/recorded.
John Birmingham is the master of alternate history adventure - and now he's mastered a new genre with the volcanically fast-paced and wildly inventive Dave Hooper urban fantasy series. The series is anchored by a thrilling high concept: An oil rig opens a rift deep in the ocean that unleashes terrifying monsters into the world. But perhaps its coolest asset is its hero, Dave Hooper, a tough, bleakly funny, down-on-his luck oil rig worker with an unlikely destiny as a monster-slayer and world savior.
Would you try another book from John Birmingham and/or Mark Zeisler?
Yes, I actually like John Birmingham and have read (both as paper books and audio) several of his books. True, the quality of his writing is declining, but one can have hope he will spring back.
What could John Birmingham have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
Written a story that was a bit faster paced. The story, the dialogue, everything was too drawn out and stilted. I don't have ADD, but after reading this book I can imagine what those people must feel like. If I saw the whole world like this book was written, I would need to take amphetamines too.
Oh, and Birmingham could have written some more believable characters. I am from Louisiana. I used to work in New Orleans. I have family in the oil field industry, including one that was a rig's safety guy (the occupation of the story's protagonist). I simply can't image one of them flying two prostitutes in from Las Vegas to have a weekend of cocaine fueled fun with them. They don't make that kind of money. It would be much more believable if he flew himself to Las Vegas and picked up two prostitutes there: only have to buy one round trip ticket, only have to pay them for their working time and not travel time too. This is a recurrent plot device in the book and it doesn't make any sense. Even if the guy did get that much as a bonus, he could have used it to get another prostitute or so.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
The narrator was too slow. OMG, the narrator was too slow. He didn't have much to work with, but he could have picked up the pace some, and maybe dropped the monotone.
I was serious about changing the narration speed. I had never purposely done that before while reading a book and honestly thought it was a stupid feature. We listened to this on a road trip and wanted to find out how the story ended, but if we listened to it anymore we were going to crash into something. Faced with plowing into a van load of nuns, I hit upon the idea of adjusting the narration speed and it worked! At 1.25 or 1.5 x normal speed the story line and narrator both seem to suddenly start going at normal speed. Any faster, and it gets squeaky. The narrator's lack of intonation works to an advantage at these speeds: everything is in monotone and you don't have to worry about missing inflections that would add to the story because they just aren't there.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Emergence?
Not sure I would have cut any scenes. I would like to rewrite them, but the scenes weren't the problem. The details, the dialogue, the characters, the plot....the big and little stuff were the problem.
Any additional comments?
Not sure that I will be finishing this series. Good chance I won't. But please don't judge all of John Birmingham's books from this. His other series are quite good.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful
Master Sergeant Reed Beckham has led his Delta Force Team, codenamed Ghost, through every kind of hell imaginable and never lost a man. When a top-secret Medical Corps research facility goes dark, Team Ghost is called in to face their deadliest enemy yet - a variant strain of Ebola that turns men into monsters.
What disappointed you about Extinction Horizon?
I'm a details guy. In friction I really like a story written so that all of the characters are believable, someone that I might meet on a street or such. I like it when the science has enough of a foundation in reality that I can follow it and believe it. You know, where everything is just as you can believe it is until, blam, the bad thing happens, or such. I didn't find that with this book.
What was most disappointing about Nicholas Sansbury Smith’s story?
USAMRIID. The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases. It is a real enitity. They really do research to counter biowarfare, as well as natural diseases.
USAMRIID. It is pronounced: YOU-SAM-RID. if you don't believe me (I never worked there or anything, but I did watch their training videos while in the military) then read the Hot Zone, or one of Richard Prestons other books, watch Outbreak, Google it. It is YOU-SAM-RID. JUST READ IT STRAIGHT ACROSS.
What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?
I liked when I got down to about an hour left in the book and the ordeal was almost over...but then I could stomach it any more and stopped listening anyway.
I disliked just about everything. In every third sentences some character says "U S A M R I I D." Not one of the characters thought to just read it across...they just had to speak every letter? All 8 each time?
What character would you cut from Extinction Horizon?
Probably most of them. Some of the zombies were believable and well written, and their dialogue was much less stilted than that of the living characters.
Any additional comments?
I started listening to this book while working on my mancave. I will be blaming this book on my inability to paint a straight line.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful
It's Change Year 25, a generation after high-energy technology died in a catastrophe most of the human race didn't survive. The children born after the Change are now starting to take center stage - and Whoever or Whatever was behind the Change itself may be taking a hand in their rivalries. An expedition has travelled to Nantucked across a strange and hostile continent to find some answers.
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
First off, I love S. M. Stirling and have greatly enjoyed many of his other books. This one, though, I did not enjoy. The story was too stiffing, and the manner in which he had the story jump from one time line to another was very confusing...perhaps straight forward for a book reader but as an audio reader I found the oscillations bewildering. I can understand why he wrote this book, to tie the story together, but it felt like a boring old patchwork blanket, like the one that grandma always had on the back of her couch that smelled of mold and mildew.
This book did not engage me as many of S.M. Stirling's books have. In fact, it was so dull that my mind frequently wandered. Just as I was about to blow it off and listen to something else, something more interesting (like Barney or the Muppets) I decided to try and stick it out in hopes that it would get better. Just as I thought that I would be rewarded, just as the characters were girding up for the final climatic battle, the book ended.
Bummer does not begin to describe it.
What do you think your next listen will be?
I listened to Stephen King's 11/22/63 after Tears of the Sun, and it was great.
Have you listened to any of Todd McLaren???s other performances before? How does this one compare?
Todd McLaren's performance in this novel was excellent.
Did The Tears of the Sun inspire you to do anything?
No, not unless you mean instilling a desire in me to never listen to another book in this series. This desire is similarly tempered by my desire to find out how this will all end.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Bizarre illnesses and plagues that kill people in the most unspeakable ways. Obsessive and inspired efforts by scientists to solve mysteries and save lives. From The Hot Zone to The Demon in the Freezer and beyond, Richard Preston's best selling works have mesmerized readers everywhere by showing them strange worlds of nature they never dreamed of.
I could not get through the first hour of this book. Maybe it is different further on, but this is not at all like The Hot Zone or Demon in the Freezer. This book is about Preston writing those other books. It is basically a trip down memory lane for him, with loads of tips for aspiring authors. Perhaps it gets better, but I could not finish it.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
In a future uncomfortably close to the present day, the apocalypse has surpassed all expectations. Hideous demons roam the streets in an orgy of terror, drawing pleasure from torturing humans as sadistically as possible. Ira, a young San Francisco artist, becomes involved with a strange group of scientists and philosophers desperately trying to end the bloody siege. But the most shocking revelation is yet to come.
This book sounded pretty good from the blurb, but when I started to listen to it I kept hoping for the good parts to come around. If they did, I never heard them. This book is horrible and nearly put me to sleep while driving. I tried twice to listen to it before I gave up.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Both a dystopian masterpiece and a timely cautionary tale of what could happen if the powers that be monkey around with the food chain for their own ends, "Meat" breaks new ground in horror fiction.
What do you get when you mix Mad Max with Soylent Green with Jimmy Swaggert and a hefty helping of amateur porn? Meat. The book is weird, but not horrible. It did take me awhile to get into it, but once I did I listened without issue to the rest of it.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
America faces a full-scale socioeconomic collapse in the near future. The stock market plummets, hyperinflation cripples commerce and the mounting crisis passes the tipping point. Practically overnight, the fragile chains of supply and high-technology infrastructure fall, and wholesale rioting and looting grip every major city.
Much of the information listed in this book is great (except for the medical info, skim over that). The scenario presented is initially well thought out and scarily real. Then the storyline drops like a rock. The characters are not believable, the dialog is horrible, the details conflict like mad, and the narration could be a good bit better. The story line for the last half of the book is frankly weird. The information presented in the book is great and I learned a lot from it, but it was hard to make it to the end.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful