The Chrysalids is set in the future after a devastating global nuclear war. David, the young hero of the novel, lives in a tight-knit community of religious and genetic fundamentalists, always on the alert for any deviation from the norm of God's creation. Abnormal plants are publicly burned, with much singing of hymns. Abnormal humans (who are not really human) are also condemned to destruction - unless they succeed in fleeing to the Fringes.
I really wanted to like this book. Then, as it started to move, it then descended into the worst kind of political stereotyping.
I voted in 1980 and 1984. In 1980, I held my nose and voted for Reagan because Carter was a terrible president who seemed to think platitudes were more important than food, and the US was finished, was over, and we all had to just “tighten our belts” and realize it would never get better. Whether he meant this or not, this is what came across to voters.
In 1984, I refused to vote a second time for Reagan. I didn’t like him, didn’t agree with many of his ideas, ESPECIALLY where science was involved. But, contrary to the caricature of Reagan and his supporters drawn within this book, most were decent people who cared about people, about conditions, and wanted this country to thrive. They were not vile warmongers looking for an excuse to drop nukes on the world.
If I want to deal with that type of narrow-minded stereotyping, I’d just watch CNN.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
It was supposed to be an easy job: find the Dark Star Revolution Starships, destroy them, and go home. But a booby-trapped vessel decimates the Meridian Alliance fleet, leaving Serengeti - a Valkyrie class warship with a sentient AI brain - on her own, wrecked and abandoned in an empty expanse of space. On the edge of total failure, Serengeti thinks only of her crew. She herds the survivors into a lifeboat, intending to sling them into space. But the escape pod sticks in her belly, locking the cryogenically frozen crew inside.
The synopsis of this book sounded like it might be a fun listen. It started rather unoriginally, but was occasionally interesting, and the narrator did a fine job. It then devolved into cutesy and silly, and finally into blatant, emotional manipulation that only served to deepen the tedium.
I stuck with it, hoping it would lead somewhere interesting with something that would make persistence worthwhile. It didn’t.
Photography is one of the most fulfilling, creative, lucrative, and challenging art forms. While cameras come in all shapes, sizes, costs, and capacities, digital cameras have the potential to make any novice photographer seem like an expert with a couple of adjustments. While photography is art, there are still scientific rules that apply to its expression. While the artistic side of photography can be achieved by the photographer's creativity, passion, and personal expression, the technical side has to be learned.
The usefulness of the narrative is limited, as it generally provides a catalog description of devices and techniques, but without usable detail for someone who wants to learn.
But the narrator consistently mispronounced critical terms, demonstrating that, like a TV journalist, a pleasant voice is no guarantee the reader has the slightest clue what the text is about. 'DLSR', indeed.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
For 1,000 years, mankind has lived under the threat of invasion from an alien race. After the oceans rose and the continents were reshaped, people divided into guilds - Musicians, Scribes, Merchants, Clowns, and more. The Watchers wander the Earth, scouring the skies for signs of enemies from the stars. But during one Watcher's journey to the ancient city of Roum with his companion, a Flier named Avluela, a moment of distraction allows the invaders to advance. When the Watcher finally sounds the alarm, it's too late: the star people are poised to conquer all.
First, let me say that I like Stefan Rudnicki. He has a deep, expressive voice and is an excellent narrator. I have other audiobooks he has narrated that I thoroughly enjoyed.
However, his distinctive, baritone voice is often inappropriate for most women's voices, and at worst, as in the character Avluela, distracting and annoying.
Still, the tale was worthwhile, and, so long as Avluela was absent, a good listen.
Birds are astonishingly intelligent creatures. In fact, according to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence. Like humans, many birds have enormous brains relative to their size. Although small, bird brains are packed with neurons that allow them to punch well above their weight.
I enjoyed most of the book, with its fascinating insights into the study of avian intelligence, and liberally sprinkled with fun anecdotes, such as New Zealand sparrows that have learned to open automatic doors into a cafe. Most is based on scientific studies.
Sadly, the final chapters descend into preaching about climate change. Life on earth has survived far greater climate change than we are now experiencing, and anyone who has studied paleoclimate and paleontology would understand that. There are far greater challenges to avian species survival than minor climate change, and they are all directly tied to human activities, over hunting, commercial collection, pollution, and habitat destruction. That's where we should be focusing our attention.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
After spending four years on death row for the brutal murder of her husband, Sophia Dennison takes her final walk in the Mountain View Facility in Gatesville and is put to death by lethal injection at 12:00 a.m. Several hours after Sophia's execution, FBI agent Mark Armitage is called to investigate a serious disturbance at the prison. Upon arriving he finds the place a war zone. After being debriefed by his friend and partner, Dustin Mercer, he views the videotapes and learns that the source of the destruction is Sophia.
I enjoy good tales about superheroes. This one had a decent story, generally well told, except for a few large and serious flaws.
The characterizations were generally good for the good guys, but cardboard cutouts for the bad guys. I particularly liked the protagonist. She was everything I like in a hero. Her evolution from terrified victim to reluctant hero is worth reading.
Unfortunately, there were significant flaws. The first I've already mentioned: the villains had no redeeming values. They were cardboard cutouts with no morals.
The second flaw is the writing itself. While the story was generally well told, the writing itself was problematic, although most of it could have been fixed by a decent editor. Grammar and word choice were often jarring, especially when incorrect, though similar sounding words were used. Incorrect jargon was also problematic, because it, too, jars one out of the story. (e.g., as a minor example, one never says "oh-five-hundred-a-m").
The final problem was one of physics. Yes, superheroes usually violate known laws of physics in stories by their very existence. But that doesn't mean the author should go overboard. The hero became too powerful. Like Superman, she could do things that go beyond super human and into the realm of the gods.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
When she's not digging up bones or other ancient objects, Ruth Galloway lectures at the University of North Norfolk. She lives happily alone in a remote place called Saltmarsh overlooking the North Sea and, for company; she has her cats Flint and Sparky, and Radio 4. When a child's bones are found in the marshes near an ancient site that Ruth worked on ten years earlier, Ruth is asked to date them.
This is, at its heart, a mystery story, and a quite enjoyable one. The characters are well drawn, including the salt marsh, which is a character in its own right. The plot has numerous twists and turns, befitting its genre. The performance, by Jane McDowell, is excellent. In my mind it loses points only for one serious flaw: the solution to the central mystery telegraphed itself not a quarter of the way through. After that and despite plot twists intended to divert and misdirect the reader, no other solution seemed viable.
Despite this, I enjoyed the book very much.
Welcome to a safe and secure new world, where beauty is bought and sold, and freedom is the ultimate crime. The Registry saved the country from collapse, but stability has come at a price. In this patriotic new America, girls are raised to be brides, sold at auction to the highest bidder. Nearly 18, beautiful Mia Morrissey excitedly awaits the beginning of her auction year. But a warning from her married older sister raises dangerous questions. Now, instead of going up on the block, Mia is going to escape to Mexico - and the promise of freedom.
I'm always fascinated by negative Utopias, visions of how, without vigilance, things can go so terribly wrong. This tale began interestingly enough. But as it wore on, it changed from a young girl naively wishing to run away from sexual slavery, to a young girl obsessed with forbidden romance. Some will enjoy it.
They came, but not in peace. They came to destroy us. Our cities crumbled. Our people died by the billions. Their weapons were sophisticated beyond our worst nightmare. In this chaos, a teenage boy must get his sister to safety and, in doing so, become a man.
The story was interesting and original. The invaders weren't evil, they weren't stereotypical alien invaders. The characters were decently fleshed out for the most part, except for a few bad guys, who, in fact, were paper cutouts. Overall, quite enjoyable, except for the narration.
The narrator, Zachary Liebenstein, had a very pleasant voice, and he should have been easy to listen to. However, he had two flaws that caused problems while listening. His delivery was rough and halting, with a sing-song aspect typical of someone who has relatively little experience reading aloud. The story was interesting enough, I could get past this. Unfortunately, his mispronunciation of many words kept pulling me out of the story, as I mentally corrected him. These weren't regional or national differences in pronunciations; these resulted from the narrator's unfamiliarity with vocabulary.
Sadly, this detracted significantly from the listening experience.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful
The mining ship El Cavador is far out from Earth, in the deeps of the Kuiper Belt, beyond Pluto. Other mining ships, and the families that live on them, are few and far between this far out. So when El Cavador’s telescopes pick up a fast-moving object coming in-system, it’s hard to know what to make of it. It’s massive and moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light.
El Cavador has other problems. Their systems are old and failing. The family is getting too big for the ship. There are claim-jumping corporate ships bringing Asteroid Belt tactics to the Kuiper Belt.
This is supposed to be a mostly hard science fiction, as were the original Ender's Game series by Card. Subjects such as relativistic speed and time dilation effects were intrinsic to the tales.
But in this one, forget relativistic issues, the understanding of simple, Newtonian physics seems to be beyond the author, which, based on the flat, expositional style and low def characterizations, does not appear to be Card. How does one come to a "full stop" in space? Why would one need to "full stop" to do repairs outside the ship? Why would ship's velocity have any effect on a person outside? How can one get from the Kuiper Belt to Earth in 5 months at a speed of 100,000 mph? Simple math shows a time of more than three years to make that journey at that speed...traveling at 36,000mph, New Horizons took nine years to reach Pluto, which is barely at the edge.
Is this nitpicking? Yes, and no. When the story is flat, characters are uninteresting, AND the science is appropriate to early grade school understanding, one has to wonder: where was Orson Scott Card, and why didn't he even read this before putting his name on it?
BTW, the performances were fine, I think. I was so distracted by issues that I don't really remember.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful