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  • Embassytown

  • By: China Mieville
  • Narrated by: Susan Duerden
  • Length: 12 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 840
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 679
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 684

China Miéville doesn’t follow trends, he sets them. Relentlessly pushing his own boundaries as a writer—and in the process expanding the boundaries of the entire field—with Embassytown, Miéville has crafted an extraordinary novel that is not only a moving personal drama but a gripping adventure of alien contact and war. In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • must hear to fully appreciate.

  • By Don Gilbert on 01-05-12

Jaw dropping

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-21-11

This listen is truly amazing on several different levels. The mind expanding sci fi imagery is accessible and believable. It is an achievement because there is none of the explanation of the technology like most hard sci fi fans demand, but is well integrated in the plot, above and is satisfying.
The exploration of language as a main theme would generally not draw me in when I want to listen to sci-fi, but in this novel, it is brilliantly done.
Finally, it is almost an evolution of the literary sci-fi of Dan Simmons, but not as dependant on reworking older styles and themes, although there are plenty of allusions.
Before I listened to this I liked but didn't love China Mieville, but after this!
And don't get the impression the this will be an ethereal, high brow, listen. It's not. But the fact that it is so multi layered is what makes what will be a sci-fi classic.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Terminal World

  • By: Alastair Reynolds
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 19 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,189
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 899
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 898

Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different---and rigidly enforced---level of technology. Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This ain't your fathers Alastair Reynolds

  • By DAVID on 09-10-10

Worthwhile slightly lacking

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-17-10

I give this offering from Mr. Reynolds four stars based on his masterful writing style as well as the narration of John Lee.
However, the listener should be aware that this is a marked departure from his previous works, which many people list as genius among British space opera.
This story is more of a quest novel, and the story flows more from the setting and the character responses to cataclysmic changes, rather than deep character development.
Also, the main character has many similarities to the main character in Chasm City, i.e., mysterious past, assumed identity, and what will happen when the main character's true nature is revealed.
That being said, if you are a fan of Reynolds, than it is a worthwhile use of a credit. And although this review may seem to focus on the negatives, I think understanding the book's shortcomings will actually increase enjoyability, because the listener will not anticipate familiar plot points and can appreciate the book on its on merits.

32 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Redemption Ark

  • By: Alastair Reynolds
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 27 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,102
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,688
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,697

Late in the 26th century, the human race has advanced enough to accidentally trigger the Inhibitors---alien-killing machines designed to detect intelligent life and destroy it. The only hope for humanity lies in the recovery of a secret cache of doomsday weapons---and a renegade named Clavain who is determined to find them. But other factions want the weapons for their own purposes---and the weapons themselves have another agenda altogether.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stick with this series!

  • By Michael on 05-22-10

Stick with this series!

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-22-10

I've gotten the three books in this series as well as Chasm City, a stand alone novel in the same universe. When reading these reviews, I notice many negative comments, and I actually, at one point, probably written the same.
However, after quitting the first book, and focusing on books by other "british space opera" writers such as Peter Hamilton and Richard K. Morgan, I went back to give it another try.
I think what makes these books great is probably the same thing that turns some listeners off. The mythology of the universe is so deep, that until you are familiar with it, it is overwhelming with the references to the different factions, planets, aliens, etc.
But once that familiarity is gained, the stories are so rich, that I am disappointed that I have finished.
And as far as the narrator goes, it seems as though people either love or hate John Lee. But he is incredibly talented with a unique style and once you get use to him, his narration is addicting.

46 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Anathem

  • By: Neal Stephenson
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman, Tavia Gilbert, William Dufris, and others
  • Length: 32 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,128
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,868
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,876

In celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fras and suurs prepare to venture outside the concent's gates - opening them wide at the same time to welcome the curious "extras" in. During his first Apert as a fra, Erasmus eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was "collected". But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the perilous brink of cataclysmic change.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Unparalleled

  • By Baron on 11-25-08

Great listen...but caveat emptor

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-14-09

I loved this book for most of the reasons others have posted, including those who didn't like it. Stephenson writes speculative fiction, but is really a literary genius whose writing transcends the genre.

It is heady, full of subtle or not so subtle references to literature, contemporary culture, and innovative ideas concerning consciousness and time. For me, part of the enjoyment in listening were the moments where "i got it".

It also pokes fun of religion, but at the same time, recognizes its importance in society.

But at the same time, you can't purchase this thinking it is going to be a space opera. The technology is not innovative, and often times involves common items given different names. But that is key to the plot.

So if you are buying it for light, action-packed entertainment, then you may be one of those who were disappointed.

But if you want to be challenged, this is a great choice.

34 of 37 people found this review helpful