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Andrew Pollack

Cumberland, Maine USA
  • 90
  • reviews
  • 680
  • helpful votes
  • 223
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  • Mars One

  • By: Jonathan Maberry
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 69
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 63

Tristan has known that he and his family were going to be on the first mission to colonize Mars since he was 12 years old, and he has been training ever since. But knowing that he would be leaving for Mars with no plan to return didn't stop him from falling in love with Izzy. Now, at age 16, it's time to leave Earth, and he's forced to face what he must leave behind in exchange for an uncertain future. Then the news hits that another ship is already headed to colonize Mars, and the Neo-Luddite terrorist group begins threatening the Mars One project.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfection

  • By Ryan Hooey on 04-09-18

A very different Maberry - NOT HORROR

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-11-18

This is a sweet, sappy, adventure story spiced lightly with science. There's a little bit of violence in it but not much. I'd almost have to put in the YA category. It was good, if a bit too sappy at times. The science and the rigors of travel were over simplified a bit and overall plot a bit predictable, but it's a good story and well told.

Just don't expect this to be "Rot and Ruin" because it's definitely not that.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Galaxy's Edge

  • By: Nick Cole, Jason Anspach
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 17 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,290
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,065
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,057

On the edge of the galaxy, a diplomatic mission to an alien planet takes a turn when the Legionnaires, an elite special fighting force, find themselves ambushed and stranded behind enemy lines. They struggle to survive under siege, waiting on a rescue that might never come. In the seedy starport of Ackabar, a young girl searches the crime-ridden gutters to avenge her father's murder; not far away, a double-dealing legionniare-turned-smuggler hunts an epic payday; and somewhere along the outer galaxy, a mysterious bounter hunter lies in wait.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • bit of a disconnect between parts

  • By Amazon Customer on 03-10-18

Decent military sf, a bit jumbled

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-03-18

First, RC Bray does his usual great job in the narration. Without that, this wouldn't have been as good a listen.

The story starts with an exciting military adventure that is well told and feels ripped from the deserts of Afghanistan. While listening I was left wondering if the author had been in the military and active in that conflict. *Since I have no personal experience, I could be totally wrong about that, but it felt that way to me. The the story jumps to what seem to be loosely related adventures that only really come together fully at the very end. Overall, I could see what the authors were doing, but the execution wasn't quite there. Still, the adventures were interesting and a fun listen. It was good, just not great.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Quantum Space

  • Quantum Series, Book 1
  • By: Douglas Phillips
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 128
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 118
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117

High above the windswept plains of Kazakhstan, three astronauts on board a Russian Soyuz capsule begin their reentry. A strange shimmer in the atmosphere, a blinding flash of light, and the capsule vanishes in a blink as though it never existed. Daniel Rice is a government science investigator. Marie Kendrick is a NASA operations analyst. Together, they must track down the cause of the most bizarre event in the history of human spaceflight. They draw on scientific strengths as they plunge into the strange world of quantum physics.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great - Hard Science

  • By C. Hartmann on 04-02-18

Good old fashioned hard sf

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-03-18

Lots of great real science background in this one, and with just a bit of science technobabble on top to stretch concept into the real of fiction. The author takes the time at the end to detail which bits are made up nonsense and which bits are accepted science.

The writing is solid, and in fact I appreciated a few places were some standard plot tropes were avoided. If those common paths had been taken -- and there were obvious places to put them -- it would have been a lesser book.

The narration was okay but not great. It wasn't annoying in any way, but the voices weren't really very different from on another and the tone was a little dry. It didn't get in the way of the story, but it did make it a bit easier for the mind to wander and lose track.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Robicheaux

  • A Novel
  • By: James Lee Burke
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 13 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,560
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,460
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,449

During a murder investigation, Dave Robicheaux discovers he may have committed the homicide he's investigating, one that involved the death of the man who took the life of Dave's beloved wife. As he works to clear his name and make sense of the murder, Robicheaux encounters a cast of characters and a resurgence of dark social forces that threaten to destroy all of those whom he loves.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Modern Day Master Work

  • By Margaret on 01-05-18

A good continuation, revisiting old friends

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-15-18

If you're this far into the series you don't need to hear about the plot or who is who. All your old friends are here and they all do what you expect of them. This book didn't really advance any of the big overall themes all that much, but it continued them in a fond way. It was as well read as always. I have no real complaints, but it did feel like a "middle" book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Collapsing Empire

  • The Interdependency, Book 1
  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,689
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,037
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,005

Our universe is ruled by physics, and faster-than-light travel is not possible - until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transports us to other worlds, around other stars. Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It's a hedge against interstellar war - and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not the best of Scalzi

  • By Gonzalo on 05-11-17

Great fun, a classic space romp

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-15-18

Just don't take it too seriously and have fun with it. There are great characters, spaceships, explosions, pirates, and simplistic dynastic politics. Other people will write plot summaries, but they're not really important to this. Have fun with it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Midnight Line

  • A Jack Reacher Novel
  • By: Lee Child
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 13 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,017
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,307
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,272

Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Reacher doing what Reacher does!

  • By shelley on 11-07-17

Deeply sensitive to a tough topic, less violent.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-25-17

Lee Child's "Reacher" books are usually just a kind of mind-candy. They're not meant to be great literature, and if you're a stickler for technical details and perfect complex plotting they probably aren't your thing. In this one, however, Mr. Child takes a great deal of care portraying the terrible consequences of war on our bravest sons and daughters. I don't want to give away much here, but I do want to say that there's respect paid to a couple of subjects we really need to be thinking about more deeply in this country.

As to the rest, Reacher is Reacher and standing in his way continues to be a bad life decision. The dialog is clever but Child uses the same tricks of wordplay for all the characters, as if they all speak in the same kind of riddles. That isn't great, but at least the dialog is fairly clever.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Artemis

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: Rosario Dawson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50,658
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47,266
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 47,137

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A ferrari with no motor

  • By will on 11-18-17

Fits well into the "Stories About Science" cateogy

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-22-17

Reviewing Artemis, by Andy Weir, is difficult because it needs its own category. I’m going to summarize it this way first, then get into detail.

1. As an Andy Weir Book (4.5 / 5)
2. As a science fiction novel (4 / 5)
3. As a YA SF novel (4.5/5)
4. As a general work of fiction (3/5)

Why the difference? Andy Weir kind of gets his own category. What he really wants to do is tell you about how a world not too far in the future might work. The world is the most important character. The characters exist to do stuff that lets him explain the science. The plot exists as a reason for the characters to do stuff. From that perspective, it’s not as good as “The Martian” but it’s still very good.

As far as the rest goes, many of the plot points are pretty contrived and overall unsophisticated. Nothing is ever really introduced that isn’t later important to the resolution. If there’s a sword on the wall in act 1, it will be used by the end. It reads very much like a YA book, though some of the themes may be a bit more mature than is acceptable there. I’m an old guy so maybe I’m wrong about that. There are no graphic sex scenes but there is plenty of frank discussion of it. The main character is fun and peppy – just the sort of ideal YA female character you’d expect. Most of the others are largely archetypal.

If you’re reading this book because you like books in the “Andy Weir tells a story about science” category, you’ll have fun with this one. If you’re looking for great literature... well, at least it’s better than Dan Brown.

10 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • The Cuban Affair

  • By: Nelson DeMille
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 14 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,355
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,054
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,030

Daniel Graham MacCormick - Mac for short - seems to have a pretty good life. At age 35 he's living in Key West, owner of a 42-foot charter fishing boat, The Maine. Mac served five years in the army as an infantry officer, with two tours in Afghanistan. He returned with the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, scars that don't tan, and a boat with a big bank loan. Truth be told, Mac's finances are more than a little shaky. One day Mac is sitting in the famous Green Parrot Bar in Key West, contemplating his life....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fun read with a continuous build, ok finish

  • By Virgil on 09-22-17

Great adventure - very close to plausible, snarky.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-13-17

If you like DeMille's other work, particularly his snarky characters, you'll love this. The essential conflict isn't as broad as the end of world scenarios in some of his other series, but this is a fun stand alone novel with an interesting plot and great dialog -- some of which is internal.

Is it plausible? Well, I've never been to Cuba but I bought a lot of it. Not all of it. There were some key problems with the "plan" that I think made the whole thing much harder than it needed to be, but hell, where's the fun in making it too easy?

Obviously Scott Brick is brilliant as a narrator.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Late Show

  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Katherine Moennig
  • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,588
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6,986
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,946

Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none, as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she's been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor. But one night she catches two cases she doesn't want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Flattest narration ever. Ever.

  • By C. R. Witzel on 08-12-17

Not as deeply compelling as other Connelly work

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-03-17

I realize Connelly is probably worried that his tried and true series are getting a bit long in the tooth and wanted to try something new, but I'm not sure he's found the best way to do that here.

First of all, his attempt at a woman character seems to fall down in the classic way. She's a man with breasts. If you weren't told she was a woman, nothing about how she acts or thinks would be different. Many very good male authors do this.

Second, the author goes back to the same stomping grounds already very thoroughly explored by his other series. A detective with the somewhat troubled LA police department. The thing is, all his best "tricks" area already owned by his other characters, so this ends up being a very dry and methodical read.

Third, and maybe the biggest disservice, was Katherine Moennig's reading which is a sort of crisp monotone with little character differentiation and no accent of any kind. I think that had it been read more richly, some of the first two criticisms might be reduced.

Overall, this was good but not great. It passed the time the way a book you pick up at the airport does.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.

  • A Novel
  • By: Neal Stephenson, Nicole Galland
  • Narrated by: Laurence Bouvard, Shelley Atkinson, Laural Merlington, and others
  • Length: 24 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,259
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,877
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,864

From best-selling author Neal Stephenson and critically acclaimed historical and contemporary commercial novelist Nicole Galland comes a captivating and complex near-future thriller combining history, science, magic, mystery, intrigue, and adventure that questions the very foundations of the modern world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really, really fun

  • By Lovisa on 08-05-17

Blah. Stephenson no longer impresses.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-27-17

Cryptonomacon was amazing, if verbose. Snow Crash was great fun. As he's written more, Stephenson's work is less and less impressive. His last book, "Seveneves" was an absolute disaster. This one isn't as bad as all that -- clearly Nicole Galland did the heavy lifting here. Stephenson's heavy handed hipster irony and endless anti-bureaucratic rants were tiresome. This was a good concept that could have been half as long -- the half Stephenson didn't write.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful