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James E Bauer

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  • Alien: River of Pain

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Christopher Golden, Dirk Maggs
  • Narrated by: Anna Friel, Philip Glenister, Colin Salmon, and others
  • Length: 4 hrs and 52 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,477
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,205
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,191

Ellen Ripley finally returns to Earth, only to discover that LV-426 — where the crew of the Nostromo first came into contact with the deadly xenomorphs — has been renamed Acheron. Protected by Colonial Marines, the colonists seek to terraform the storm-swept planet against all the odds. But in the face of brutal living conditions and the daily struggles of a new world, there is humanity and hope.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Please make more of these! These are excellent!

  • By Brian on 04-28-17

Cheaply made, severely flawed

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

Reviewed: 05-06-17

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Aside from the voice acting being distressingly bad, I feel like this story had nowhere to go.

I mean, we all knew how this was going to end, right? The entire book is just a drill-like formality to get to a point where Newt is hiding in the air ducts and Ripley lands on the planet.

In the story, some amount of extra attention is given to the relationship between Weyland Yutani and the colonial government, which is interesting to explore. But when it comes down to the meat and potatoes of the story, it is all the same tired tropes that most of the Aliens universe stories boil down to.

Evil, but endearingly bumbling corporation Weyland Yutani tries to experiment with dangerous alien lifeforms for... Umm... Reasons? Anyways, the evil scientist bad organization lies and puts everyone in danger, and then the aliens break loose and murder everyone, and then people break out the pulse rifles and the motion trackers and the door welders and yadda yadda yadda.

Seriously, can an author give me just two or three lines of dialogue to flesh out just what Weyland Yutani is trying to get out of the xenomorphs? If it is military research, how do they plan on using it? What war are they going to employ the aliens in? If it is other research, what is it? Do they think aliens will cure cancer? How is this corporation planning on making money from these things, because they seem to expend an awful lot of resources for absolutely no gain. Please, just give me something other than "Weyland Yutani are the bad guys because that's just how it works in the Aliens universe".

What do you think your next listen will be?

More audio dramas.

Would you be willing to try another one of the narrators’s performances?

I love audio dramas, and I crave more of this stuff. That said, this was not a solid attempt at a radio play. It feels extremely cheap and half-baked. The production quality and voice acting are startlingly low quality.

In the B-movie universe there used to be a trend of filming your movie in Eastern Europe (typically Bulgaria) to save money. You can always tell when a movie is filmed in Bulgaria, because aside from the main star and maybe their co-star being recognizable (if washed up) actors, everyone else in the movie will have strange, undefinable, English-as-second-language accents.

What I'm getting at is that this audio drama feels like it was recorded in Bulgaria, with cheap local Bulgarian talent doing most of the voices. It is distracting when a character comes in with an incredibly forced American accent, which then morphs from one Eastern European country accent to another like a nickel tour through the Slovic nations over the duration of the play.

Of special note are the children and the actress who plays Anne Jorden, who give about as stiff of a performance as can be imagined. They sound like they are reading off of cue cards that are slightly too far away from them so every new word is a struggle for them to sound out.

Also, they got an actress who sounds just like Sigourney Weaver to play Ripley, and she is great. Why would they then decide to get a guy to play Carter Burke who sounds absolutely NOTHING like Paul Reiser. That is such an iconic character from the films, how can you mess that up? Worse yet, the actor that they DID get sounds just as stiff and bored as everyone else in the cast. Ripley even remarks that Burke is being a disingenuous slime ball. But she is wrong! Burke is SUPPOSED to be a disingenuous slime ball, but here he just sounds like an emotionless bored guy,

What character would you cut from Alien: River of Pain?

Ripley has no business being in this book. Her segments are distracting from the main plot, and they don't add anything to the mix. It is as if they felt obligated to throw Ripley into the story just because that's what you do if you make a story in the Aliens universe. Luckily, we get a spinoff by the end of things. Maybe the future won't be so Ripley-centric.

Any additional comments?

I like that these things are being made. I just don't think this one panned out.

  • The Eaton

  • By: John K. Addis
  • Narrated by: Jeff Hays
  • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,236
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,154
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,153

Spanning over 100 years of mid-Michigan history, The Eaton tells the story of Sam Spicer, a young entrepreneur who purchases the dilapidated Michigan Central Railroad Depot in Eaton Rapids with the dream of opening a hot new martini bar. But when he and his friends discover an abandoned underground hotel directly beneath the property, they must discover what happened to the original guests—before their own time runs out.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Scary but explicitly gruesome

  • By AnnM on 10-09-16

Flashbacks within flashbacks within cliches

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

Reviewed: 06-01-16

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

The pacing is utterly schizophrenic. Every chapter ends in a cliffhanger, and the next chapter begins, annoyingly, with some kind of flashback. There are so many flashbacks, that at one point a flashback actually starts flashing-back in on itself. All characterizations are done through these interminable flashbacks. Rather than having the characters grow naturally throughout the course of the story, we only get to know about them through boring, monotonous flashbacks. So if you are into flashbacks, this could be for you.

Would you ever listen to anything by John K. Addis again?

No. Addis doesn't know how to give characters motivations without employing flashbacks. The creature, who doesn't have the benefit of flashbacks, goes without any meaningful motivation throughout the entirety of the book, making his actions puzzling and ultimately pointless.

What about Jeff Hays’s performance did you like?

There is some decent production value behind the audiobook. Each character gets their own unique voice, which is appreciated.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Eaton?

As a general rule, I'd cut out every flashback that isn't to the original opening days of The Eaton hotel. I'd especially remove the particularly hammy flashback to Sam witnessing animal cruelty as a child (a cheap attempt to get some emotion, any emotion out of the reader).

I'd also remove the rape flashback. You knew there was going to be a rape flashback, as the strong independent female heroine of the story never stops talking about that one time she was raped, and how it made her a strong independent female heroine. Naturally, she is raped by a fraternity guy, who is from a rich, conservative republican family. Why are we told this rapist is a rich, conservative republic fraternity guy when we are told almost nothing else about him? I guess to John K. Addis being conservative must be all a character needs to have motivation to rape. Nice.

Any additional comments?

The Eaton boasts a cool concept in a unique, creepy setting. It is just a shame that the story is told so awfully, through an overuse of flashbacks. Moreover, by the end of the book I was so annoyed and disgusted by all of the main characters that I was rooting for the mysterious evil to eviscerate them all.

46 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Alien: Out of the Shadows

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Tim Lebbon, Dirk Maggs
  • Narrated by: Rutger Hauer, Corey Johnson, Matthew Lewis, and others
  • Length: 4 hrs and 28 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,396
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,713
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,650

As a child, Chris Hooper dreamed of monsters. But in deep space, he found only darkness and isolation. Then, on planet LV178, he and his fellow miners discovered a storm-scoured, sand-blasted hell - and trimonite, the hardest material known to man. When a shuttle crashes into the mining ship Marion, the miners learn that there was more than trimonite deep in the caverns. There was evil, hibernating and waiting for suitable prey.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • a work that I highly recommend

  • By AudioBook Reviewer on 05-02-16

I love that this was made

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

Reviewed: 04-29-16

If you could sum up Alien: Out of the Shadows in three words, what would they be?

Nihilism in space

What do you think your next listen will be?

Another horror audio drama.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

This is an audio play and the performances are really well done. The voice of Ellen Ripley in particular sounds spot on.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Nothing matters: The movie.

Any additional comments?

I love that this audio drama was made. It has great production values, great acting, and the story is okay. The big problem is that they wrote themselves into a corner immediately by centering the story around Ellen Ripley post-Alien and pre-Aliens. It basically means that from the get go you know how this thing is going to end (after all, she has to end up safe and sound on her way back to Earth so that Aliens can happen), and it robs the rest of the story of consequence or drama. There is also a pervasive theme of nihilism running throughout the story, which makes it hard to care about the characters when they talk about themselves and what they are doing as pointless all the time. That's a minor gripe though. I hope more stuff like this gets produced.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful