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Brian Abel Ragen

St. Louis, MO USA
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  • The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 2-A

  • The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time Chosen by the Members of The Science Fiction Writers of America
  • By: Theodore Sturgeon, Ben Bova - editor, Lester del Rey, and others
  • Narrated by: Chris Andrew Ciulla, Kevin T. Collins, Mark Boyett, and others
  • Length: 24 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 329
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 298
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 298

This volume is the definitive collection of the best science fiction novellas published between 1929 and 1964, containing 11 great classics. No anthology better captures the birth of science fiction as a literary field. Published in 1973 to honor stories that had appeared before the institution of the Nebula Awards, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame introduced tens of thousands to the wonders of science fiction and was a favorite of libraries across the country.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 'Greatest' is the word...

  • By dutch wolff on 06-21-18

Classic Stories, Some Dated, Some Not

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

Reviewed: 03-08-19

The stories collected here show what science fiction was. Some still hold up, some don’t. They are all though, a chance to travel in time—not to the future, but to the past. The world they present is that of America (mostly) before the 1960’s. The futures they imagine are hardly more different from our present!

  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

  • By: Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 3 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,307
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,057
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,068

When a brute of a man tramples an innocent girl, apparently out of spite, two bystanders catch the fellow and force him to pay reparations to the girl's family. The brute's name is Edward Hyde. A respected lawyer, Utterson, hears this story and begins to unravel the seemingly manic behavior of his best friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and his connection with Hyde.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • excellent story superb reader

  • By Jessica on 08-26-15

Excellent Reading of the Classic Story

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

Reviewed: 01-22-19

Everyone should READ Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, because, though we all know the story, Stevenson’s work is much more subtle and insightful then any summary can suggest. Scott Brick’s excellent reading reveals all the story’s subtlety and power while also showing it to be a gripping yarn.

  • Heaven's Command

  • An Imperial Progress - Pax Britannica, Volume 1
  • By: Jan Morris
  • Narrated by: Roy McMillan
  • Length: 20 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 254
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 208
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 208

The Pax Britannica trilogy is Jan Morris’s epic story of the British Empire from the accession of Queen Victoria to the death of Winston Churchill. It is a towering achievement: informative, accessible, entertaining and written with all her usual bravura. Heaven’s Command, the first volume, takes us from the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1837 to the Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The story moves effortlessly across the world, from the English shores to Fiji, Zululand, the Canadian prairies and beyond.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Vignettes, Good Overall Story

  • By Wolfpacker on 06-06-12

Excellent Reading of a Book that Makes the Empire Come Alive

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

Reviewed: 01-13-19

The Pax Britannia trilogy is great reading for anyone who wants to understand the British Empire, not just to condemn (or to celebrate) it. Morris works from the assumption that the empire was made by, and made up of, people who, wise or foolish, good or bad, acted for understandable reasons. The people he describes are memorable—funny, tragic, inspiring, repulsive. Any student of the histories and literatures of nations that were and are influenced by the British Empire will find Morris’s book illuminating and entertaining. And in Roy McMillan, Morris’s distinctive literary voice find the ideal aural embodiment.

  • Christmas Eve, 1914

  • By: Charles Olivier
  • Narrated by: Cameron Daddo, Xander Berkeley, Cody Fern, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 13 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,803
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,679
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,631

In 1914, the war which was to have been wrapped up by Christmas had - in reality - only just begun, as all sides entrenched themselves deeper into the Great War. Christmas Eve, 1914 follows one company of British officers as they rotate forward to spend their Christmas on the front lines, a mere 80 yards from the German guns. Upper- and working-class men and boys are thrown together into one trench and struggle to survive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully "illustrated"

  • By anonymous on 12-25-14

A disappointment.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-16-18

There are much better accounts of the Christmas truce of 1914. This one doesn’t allow the events, which are interesting enough in themselves, to be the central focus of the story. Instead, we get a portrait of a martinet kept going only by morphine-laced tea undergoing a Scrooge-like transformation.

  • 'Crooked House' & 'Endless Night'

  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
  • Length: 11 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 792
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 727
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 725

Two standalone novels from the queen of mystery, Agatha Christie. From the sprawling Leonide family to dark moors, no one can spin a mystery quite like she can. In Crooked House, the Leonides are one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That is until the head of the household, Aristide, is murdered with a fatal barbiturate injection....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Typical VS Unexpected

  • By Tomsde on 01-17-13

Where Gone, Girl Went for Plot and Character

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

Reviewed: 01-20-18

Listening to these two books reminds me that much that seems innovative in recent mysteries and thrillers is cribbed from the “Queen of Crime.” Unreliable narrators, partial perspectives, and sexual manipulation were Christie’s stock-in-trade.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Turtles All the Way Down

  • By: John Green
  • Narrated by: Kate Rudd
  • Length: 7 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,867
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,261
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,259

It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly small amount of actual turtles.

  • By Meg on 11-03-17

A touching, original novel

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

Reviewed: 01-03-18

This is a wonderful book—not a wonderful YA book, a wonderful book, period. It doesn’t follow a conventional plot, but it feels complete nonetheless. It lacks sex and violence, but deals with the most serious issues. Its main character, with the possible exception of Daisy, do little beyond texting, worrying, and picking at their food, but seem engaged in a courageous struggle all the same. Bravo!

The narration is very good, though there are places where Kate Rudd oddly over-stresses prepositions. That, however, is rarely a distraction from the text.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Murder on the Orient Express [Movie Tie-in]

  • A Hercule Poirot Mystery
  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Kenneth Branagh
  • Length: 6 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,167
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,086
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,079

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best Possible Version of the Classic Whodunit

  • By Brian Abel Ragen on 11-10-17

Best Possible Version of the Classic Whodunit

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

Reviewed: 11-10-17

Don’t be misled by the “Movie Tie-In” in the title. This is not a novelization of Branagh’s movie of Murder on the Orient Express. It is the original novel read by the best possible reader, Kenneth Branagh. As those who have listened to his version of Heart of Darkness know, Branagh can handle both narration and a wide variety of characters with absolute clarity and profound expression. This is a light work, but it is great fun, and Branagh performs it flawlessly.

61 of 62 people found this review helpful

  • Martin Chuzzlewit

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 33 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 262
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 256

The Chuzzlewits are a family divided by money and selfishness; even young Martin, the eponymous hero, is arrogant and self-centred. He offends his grandfather by falling in love with the latter’s ward, Mary, and sets out to make his own fortune in life, travelling as far as America - which produces from Dickens a savage satire on a new world tainted with the vices of the old. Martin’s nature slowly changes through his bitter experience of life and his enduring love for Mary.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It's worth the wait

  • By Deborah on 04-18-11

An ideal reader for a sprawling novel.

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

Reviewed: 10-28-17

Martin Chuzzlewit It’s not Dickens’d best novel, But it is among his most memorable. The passages set set in early 19th-century America are especially interesting, and the novel introduces some of Dickens is most memorable characters. I cannot imagine a better reader for this work then Sean Barrett. He really brings Dickens’s characters in all their variety to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Vietnam War

  • An Intimate History
  • By: Geoffrey C. Ward, Ken Burns
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders, Ken Burns, Brian Corrigan
  • Length: 31 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 549
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 500
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 498

More than 40 years after it ended, the Vietnam War continues to haunt our country. We still argue over why we were there, whether we could have won, and who was right and wrong in their response to the conflict. When the war divided the country, it created deep political fault lines that continue to divide us today. Now, continuing in the tradition of their critically acclaimed collaborations, the authors draw on dozens and dozens of interviews in America and Vietnam to give us the perspectives of people involved at all levels of the war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Breathtaking In Scope; Heartbreaking In Reality

  • By Gillian on 09-14-17

An Excellent Extension of the TV Series

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

Reviewed: 10-19-17

There is much that is hard to bear in this book, but I can’t think of anything that did not seem to need to be said or that was put in a way
that seemed unfair to me. I wish American presidents didn’t come off so badly—but it is their own words that convict them. There are, on the other hand, many moments that move one to admiration for those who did what they saw as their duty. This is a just and compassionate book. It it also very well read. I am glad no attempt was made to introduce the sounds and music that help make the film so powerful. Watch the film for that. This book will give a fuller, more detailed view.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Turn of the Screw

  • By: Henry James
  • Narrated by: Emma Thompson, Richard Armitage - introduction
  • Length: 4 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,482
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,326
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2,313

Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Emmy winner Emma Thompson lends her immense talent and experienced voice to Henry James' Gothic ghost tale, The Turn of the Screw. When a governess is hired to care for two children at a British country estate, she begins to sense an otherworldly presence around the grounds. Are they really ghosts she's seeing? Or is something far more sinister at work?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great, but Mightn't be the Best on Audible

  • By Gillian on 03-16-16

A great story brought to life by brilliant actress

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

Reviewed: 10-11-17

Emma Thompson makes this classic story come alive. Her work here is good as anything she has done on film.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful