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Mark Patterson

  • 79
  • reviews
  • 189
  • helpful votes
  • 290
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  • The Dream of the Iron Dragon

  • An Alternate History Viking Epic (Saga of the Iron Dragon, Book 1)
  • By: Robert Kroese
  • Narrated by: J. D. Ledford
  • Length: 14 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 66
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62

In the 23rd century, humanity has been hunted to the verge of extinction by an alien race. When an exploratory ship accidentally travels back in time to Viking-age Scandinavia, the human race is given a second chance. Pursued by the power-hungry King Harald, the four surviving crew members join a ragtag band of Vikings as they pillage their way across Europe. To save humanity, they must somehow return to the stars. Thus begins a decades-long effort to teach the Vikings to build a craft capable of reaching space - a ship that will come to be known as the Iron Dragon.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Huge Kroese fan. I approve.

  • By clayton p michaud on 08-17-18

Vikings and Lost in Space... on Earth

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

Reviewed: 11-13-18

Iron Dragon is fun and well-researched at the same time. My only gripe is that the set up for how and why our heroes are on their quest is a bit thin, but it's not a barrier to enjoying the story. It's not a standalone book though-- the end is a clear prelude.

Ledford's narration is excellent... with one grinding exception: nautical terms. She worked hard to manage old Norse words but totally dropped the ball on words like "coxswain," "gunwale" and "starboard." Being that a big chunk of the book involves traveling in boats, this is kind of a frustrating omission. Still, an easy listen overall.

  • Seeker

  • By: Douglas E. Richards
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pariseau
  • Length: 13 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 323
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 296
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 295

When an interstellar probe lands in the heart of the Amazon jungle, powerful nations around the world will stop at nothing to retrieve it. Because the unoccupied alien craft is sure to contain revolutionary technology. Technology that will allow the country that controls it to dominate the globe. With the probe hidden within the densest rain forest on Earth, traditional military power is useless. So the US chooses to send in a single operative, a man who’s been enhanced to the limits of current technology.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another solid from Douglas Richards

  • By Freel on 08-19-18

Same Game, Different Names

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

Reviewed: 10-21-18

"Seeker" is the same Douglas Richards novel you always get-- harried special forces guy paired with a brilliant female scientist. Lots of clever ideas and a fair amount of philosophical extemporizing. That said, it's a great deal for the money.

  • The Moons of Barsk

  • Barsk Series, Book 2
  • By: Lawrence M. Schoen
  • Narrated by: J. G. Hertzler
  • Length: 14 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 22

Years after the events of Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard, the lonely young outcast and physically-challenged Fant, Pizlo, is now a teenager. He still believes he hears voices from the planet’s moons, imparting secret knowledge to him alone. And so embarks on a dangerous voyage to learn the truth behind the messages. His quest will catapult him offworld for the second time is his short life, and reveal things the galaxy isn’t yet ready to know. Elsewhere, Barsk's Senator Jorl, who can speak with the dead, navigates galactic politics as Barsk's unwelcome representative.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Aesop's Science-Fable

  • By Mark Patterson on 10-09-18

An Aesop's Science-Fable

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

Reviewed: 10-09-18

The depth and humanity of characters shine, even as they come forth in uplifted "lower" mammal bodies. If anything, with "Moons," Schoen has dug deeper into issues of prejudice, memory and vision all the while telling a great story. There are times he gets a bit too metaphysical for my taste, but not for long. Hertzler is a talented and engaging narrator. He inhabits the two books' many characters well.

  • Extracted

  • Extracted, Book 1
  • By: R. R. Haywood
  • Narrated by: Carl Prekopp
  • Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,992
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,786
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,778

In 2061 a young scientist invents a time machine to fix a tragedy in his past. But his good intentions turn catastrophic when an early test reveals something unexpected: the end of the world. A desperate plan is formed: recruit three heroes, ordinary humans capable of extraordinary things, and change the future.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fast-Food Science Fiction

  • By Kurt Schwoppe on 04-07-17

Great Heroes Story

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

Reviewed: 09-26-18

the premise may seem a little shallow but the characters are well-developed and varied, the reader is very good with characters and the action is compelling. it does end quite abruptly so.

  • The Calculating Stars

  • A Lady Astronaut Novel
  • By: Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Narrated by: Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 485
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 463
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 461

On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the East Coast of the US, including Washington, DC. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the Earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space and requires a much-larger share of humanity to take part in the process. Elma York’s drive to become the first lady astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Close to perfect

  • By Alex Levine on 07-27-18

An Exploration of Sexism Wrapped Up in Alt-History

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

Reviewed: 09-11-18

I found myself gritting my teeth at the grinding sexism endured by Elma, "the Lady Astronaut," but I found I couldn't disagree with what she portrayed. Kowal balances the social issue with great storytelling and likable, well-developed characters. And the story is hopeful, despite the terrifying premise. She even manages to take on racism well, to a lesser degree. One gripe: a jarringly abrupt ending.

Kowal as a reader has good pacing and consistent, subtle voice variations. I wouldn't mind her reading someone else's book, in fact. But she's especially good with her own material-- no one can deliver nuance like a reader/author.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Screaming Eagles

  • The Front, Book 1
  • By: Timothy W. Long, David Moody, Craig DiLouie
  • Narrated by: Todd Menesses
  • Length: 5 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 32

Private Franklin Grillo is a fresh-faced infantryman in the 101st Airborne. He's been dispatched to the Ardennes Forest outside of Bastogne to assist Baker Company against a surprise attack by the Germans. Outgunned, low on ammo, food, and supplies, the men along the new front are up against an army 10 times their size.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?

  • By Jim "The Impatient" on 08-06-17

Nazi Zombies at Bastogne

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

Reviewed: 07-30-18

Imagine the last 20 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan" were stretched to five hours... and you added Zombies. That's pretty much the sum total of "Screaming Eagles." There's really no character development (although there are a lot of characters) and little suspense. There is nonstop fighting though. Did I mention that? The narration is gritty and okay, but could've benefited from some pronounciation help. Some pronounciations even changed from wrong to write to wrong as the book progressed.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection

  • By: Alexander C. Kane
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,366
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,190
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,184

Andrea Vernon always thought she would spend her life living in Paris writing thought-provoking historical novels all day and sipping wine on the Seine all night. But the reality is she's drowning in debt, has no prospects, and is forced to move back to Queens, where her parents remind her daily that they are very interested in grandchildren. Then, one morning, she is kidnapped, interviewed, and hired as an administrative assistant by the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection. Superheroes for hire, using their powers for good. What could possibly go wrong?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Normal Life in an Abnormal World

  • By Arthur D. Rich on 08-26-17

Frothy SciFi with some Intelligent Marshmallows

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

Reviewed: 07-18-18

This was pure silliness start to finish, but the characters were engaging and I couldn't predict how the hero (a plucky first-gen Haitian-American administrative assistant) was going to save the world... and resolve her commitment issues.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Black Chamber

  • By: S. M. Stirling
  • Narrated by: Todd McLaren
  • Length: 16 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 60
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 57

 In 1912, just months before the election, President Taft dies suddenly, and Teddy Roosevelt wastes no time in grabbing power as he wins another term as president. By force of will, he ushers the United States into a new, progressive era with the help of the Black Chamber, the mysterious spy organization watching his back.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • a new old world

  • By Sean Dustman on 07-17-18

Typical pretentious Stirling... still a good read

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

Reviewed: 07-13-18

SM Stirling always loves to show off his research and love of strong, iconoclastic women and "Black Chamber" is no exception. Still, the premise of a more muscular WWI-era United States under TR versus Wilson is irresistible. Stirling does not address the dangers of an authoritarian, expansionist US government in this book, but he at least hints that it may be considered in subsequent installments. McLaren is passable as a reader, though his female voices sound a bit breathy and silly, especially for the characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • This Is Your Brain on Parasites

  • How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society
  • By: Kathleen McAuliffe
  • Narrated by: Nicol Zanzarella
  • Length: 8 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 746
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 681
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 682

A riveting investigation of the myriad ways that parasites control how other creatures - including humans - think, feel, and act. These tiny organisms can live only inside another animal, and, as McAuliffe reveals, they have many evolutionary motives for manipulating their host's behavior. Far more often than appreciated, these puppeteers orchestrate the interplay between predator and prey.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A parasitologist view of the world

  • By Colin Mc on 10-25-16

Parasites Rule!

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

Reviewed: 07-03-18

The author is not shy about hypothesizing broad impacts on human behavior and even society from microbes and other parasites. In most cases, McAuliffe acknowledges her biases and ignorance. There are two areas she does not that some readers may be put off by: law and religion. For the former, she flat out does not understand the difference between guilt and sentencing or even the purpose of the criminal justice system. For the latter, she basically assumes that something "caused" religion to arise. She does not acknowledge the possiblity that a Supreme Being or beings help people navigate a difficult world, or at least that some rational people might believe as much. These are only two negative observations that might affect some readers. It is overall a fascinating book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Once There Was a Way

  • What If the Beatles Stayed Together?
  • By: Bryce Zabel
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11

Once There Was a Way: What if The Beatles Stayed Together? is a story of another reality, the one we wish had happened, where the Fab Four chose to work it out rather than let it be. This book is no mere fairy tale but a chronicle crafted from the people and events of our own history, shaped to create a brand-new narrative in which John, Paul, George, and Ringo find a way to stay friends and keep the band together. Imagine there was more. Lots more. It's easy if you try.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If You Love The Beatles, You’ll Love This Book!

  • By Anonymous User on 11-04-18

Peace and Love to The 21st Century Beatles

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

Reviewed: 06-15-18

I read a lot of alternative history, and was skeptical this 50-year retrospective on a Fab 4 that never broke up could work. But Bruce Zabel pulled it off. The point of departure (Jonny Carson returning to New York for John and Paul's appearance on the Tonight Show) was imaginative and effective. Zabel wasn't afraid to speculate but kept the flights of imagination grounded in plausibility (mostly). At the end, I found myself genuinely feeling nostalgic for a vivid exit from a 1975 stage that never happened! A clear sign of effective Alt-Hx. Note: it does help a good bit to be a solid Beatles fan.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful