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Zap Smith

  • 85
  • reviews
  • 23
  • helpful votes
  • 86
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  • Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets

  • An Audible Original
  • By: John Woolf, Nick Baker
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,545
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,926
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,896

On the surface, the Victorian age is one of propriety, industry, prudishness and piety. But scratch the surface and you’ll find scandal, sadism, sex, madness, malice and murder. Presented by Stephen Fry, this series delves deep into a period of time we think we know, to discover an altogether darker reality. The stories we’re told offer a different perspective on an era which underwent massive social change. As education, trade, technology and culture blossomed, why was there an undercurrent of the ‘forbidden’ festering beneath Victorian society? 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating content with noisy background sound

  • By Wayne on 11-12-18

A Fun Listen

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

Reviewed: 12-12-18

A well-produced program narrated as only Stephen Fry can, Victorian Secrets unravels a few interesting tidbits of history. The background music is a little annoying but the sound effects and production value that went into it is very well done.

  • The Godfather

  • By: Mario Puzo
  • Narrated by: Joe Mantegna
  • Length: 18 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5,694
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,252
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5,255

More than forty years ago, Mario Puzo wrote his iconic portrait of the Mafia underworld as told through the fictional first family of American crime, the Corleones. The leader, Vito Corleone, is the Godfather. He is a benevolent despot who stops at nothing to gain and hold power. His command post is a fortress on Long Island from which he presides over a vast underground empire that includes rackets, gambling, bookmaking, and unions. His influence runs through all levels of American society, from the cop on the beat to the nation''s mighty. Mario Puzo, a master storyteller, introduces us to unforgettable characters, and the elements of this world explode to life in this violent and impassioned chronicle.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Huge fan of the movie, loved this audiobook!

  • By Dana on 10-04-13

Phenomenal listen

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

Reviewed: 12-11-18

These were perhaps the fastest 18 hours I spent listening to an audiobook and I was left wanting more. Joe Mantegna is perfectly suited to reading The Godfather and does a fantastic job of bringing Mario Puzo's bestseller to life. Here's hoping some of Puzo's other titles in the same circle eventually get similar treatment and respect.

  • Twain’s Feast

  • By: Audible Originals
  • Narrated by: Nick Offerman
  • Length: 4 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,433
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,002
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,974

Mark Twain, beloved American writer, performer, and humorist, was a self-proclaimed glutton. With the help of a chef and some friends, Nick Offerman presents the story of Twain’s life through the lens of eight of Mark Twain’s favorite foods.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Audible Recycling

  • By Greg Hill on 11-17-18

Not exactly narrated by Nick Offerman

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

Reviewed: 12-11-18

This is an interesting way of looking at some of Twain's writing, although the presentation is a little misleading:

- Nick Offerman is one of many narrators in this title, with several producers being the primary narrators.
- Food is a jumping off point for most of the program, which listens more like an NPR program on various historical and ecological differences between how things were in Twain's time versus now.
- Some background and insight on Twain's life.
- Extremely limited contributions from the other guests at the table, a trope introduced at the beginning of the program which is barely mentioned or returned to throughout the rest of the episodes.

All in all an interesting idea but not very true to the packaging.

  • Edgar Allan Poe

  • The Complete Audio Collection, Vol. 1
  • By: Edgar Allan Poe
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne, Ray Chase, Donald Corren, and others
  • Length: 44 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 39
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34

Gothic master Edgar Allan Poe's complete works are collected in this multivolume set by Blackstone Audio. Here are his short stories, detective fiction, and poems in all their mysterious and macabre glory. Also included are Poe's literary reviews and editorial musings, comprising an often caustic analysis of the poetry, drama, and fiction of the period.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • 44 hours and No table of contents

  • By Mark on 08-02-17

Complete, for better and worse

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

Reviewed: 11-03-18

A complete collection of Poe is unfortunately a better idea than it is a book. Everything is here, so if you are trying to get a "greatest hits" summary of classic Poetry and Tales they are here but you have to dig for them. Each entry mercifully has its own chapter but for every golden oldie and hidden gem are tedious short poems and stories that make no sense. Many of the narrators, Grover Gardener aside, don't seem to understand what they are reading either and seem like they are struggling just to make it to the end. If you want The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, etc., then go for a shorter collection. This is really intended for a Poe purist (and may be even a tad tedious for them).

  • Pet Sematary

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Michael C. Hall
  • Length: 15 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 8,282
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,710
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,677

When Dr. Louis Creed takes a new job and moves his family to the idyllic, rural town of Ludlow, Maine, this new beginning seems too good to be true. Yet despite Ludlow's tranquility, there's an undercurrent of danger that lingers...like the graveyard in the woods near the Creeds' home, where generations of children have buried their beloved pets.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An excellent vocal performance

  • By Amazon Customer on 09-16-18

Finally, on audio!

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

Reviewed: 10-30-18

Pet Sematary is a long overdue addition to the audio King library, and the producers could have done a lot worse than Michael C. Hall. He is an excellent narrator and brings an interesting twist/level of humanity to even the most ancillary characters. Interestingly enough, his rendition of Louis Creed is where I found him a little off - not in the performance of course, it was just very difficult to divorce the idea of smart alecky and aloof David Fisher or Dexter to the more relatable intellect of Louis Creed. Still, a great performance of a long overdue masterwork - bravo!

  • The Invasion of the Body Snatchers

  • By: Jack Finney
  • Narrated by: Kristoffer Tabori
  • Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,495
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,271
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,269

On a quiet fall evening in the small, peaceful town of Mill Valley, California, Dr. Miles Bennell discovers an insidious, horrifying plot. Silently, subtly, almost imperceptibly, alien life-forms are taking over the bodies and minds of his neighbors, his friends, his family, the woman he loves, and the world as he knows it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • GOOD READ

  • By Randall on 04-25-09

A classic delivers

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

Reviewed: 10-14-18

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is delivered in a fast paced style and it is a nice touch that it is performed by Kristoffer Tabori. He runs some sentences together sometimes and sounds a little old for the character, which sometimes distracts from the story and makes it difficult to follow action and progression of plot but it delivers as a well performed piece of classic sci-fi. The brief interview at the end was a nice touch.

  • The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas, Volume 2

  • By: Rod Serling
  • Narrated by: full cast
  • Length: 3 hrs and 53 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 178
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 159
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 157

This collection of episodes is fully dramatized for audio and features a full cast, music, sound effects, and narration by some of today’s biggest celebrities.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good smattering of Zone stories

  • By Zap Smith on 09-23-18

Good smattering of Zone stories

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

Reviewed: 09-23-18

this is a solid collection of stories from The Twilight Zone, although none of them fall into the scary and few fall into strong science fiction. Most of these episodes are overly comic but well adapted from the series. The Lonely starting Mike Starr is a standout.

  • Thinner

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Joe Mantegna
  • Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 531
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 490
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 487

Billy Halleck commits vehicular manslaughter when his lack of attention results in the death of an old gypsy lady on the street. Overweight Halleck is a lawyer with connections, though, and he gets off with a slap on the wrist. After the trial, the victim's ancient father curses him with a single word: "thinner". Shedding weight by the week, Halleck is desperate enough for one last gamble...one that will lead him to a nightmare showdown with the forces of evil melting his flesh away.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Annoying music played throughout

  • By Jonathan on 11-04-17

A good story that's much too "thin"

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

Reviewed: 09-10-18

Another tale of the supernatural made so chillingly real it's almost believable. That's what Stephen King excels at and he nailed once again in Thinner, which has all the rich detail of his major novels but the pacing of one of his incomparable short stories. Joe Mantegna delivers on all cylinders with his performance. My minor gripe is that because this was made "back in the day", it was during an era when every single chapter apparently needed some horrible intro/outro music to signify you were listening to a book...As such, the stereotypical gypsy acoustic guitar is ever present along with a jumble of random noises.

  • Eaters of the Dead

  • By: Michael Crichton
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 5 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,132
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,041
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,043

The year is A.D. 922. A refined Arab courtier, representative of the powerful Caliph of Baghdad, encounters a party of Viking warriors who are journeying to the barbaric North. He is appalled by their Viking customs - the wanton sexuality of their pale, angular women, their disregard for cleanliness...their cold-blooded human sacrifices. But it is not until they reach the depths of the Northland that the courtier learns the horrifying and inescapable truth.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Time well spent

  • By Amazon Customer on 01-07-17

Dear god the footnotes

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

Reviewed: 08-30-18

I really wanted to like this book. I love the movie John Frankenheimer made, 13th Warrior, and expected this would be at least somewhat like that. I guess in a very small way, it is. The plot roughly follows that of the movie, although the book reads more like a graduate student's thesis about the texts on which the story is based. Essentially, the book while fiction is written to appear as a nonfiction translation (?) of an ancient Arabic text. If it was just the story, that would have been enough. Simon Vance is a great narrator and brings a lot of gravitas to anything he chooses to read. But Crichton can't help but be Crichton. Since he doesn't have any computers in 900 A.D. to explain for pages upon pages about how they work, he instead includes copious footnotes that unfortunately Simon Vance has to read. Imagine how annoying that is to read then multiply times 100 when you are trying to stick with the story and get interrupted every two minutes by a page and a half of sources and footnotes. It basically takes the place of the main problem with almost every single book by Michael Crichton: At some point he has to show off how much he knows about a technical subject as if the reader either a) knows nothing about it or b) begging to be thrown off course in the middle of a story. Just go watch 13th Warrior — it's way better and takes about a third of the time to get through.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Battlefield Earth

  • Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi and New York Times Bestseller
  • By: L. Ron Hubbard
  • Narrated by: Josh Clark, Scott Menville, Fred Tatascorie, and others
  • Length: 47 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,657
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,490
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,486

In the year AD 3000, Earth is a barren wasteland, plundered of its natural resources by the millennium-long regime of taloned, gas-breathing, nine-foot alien conquerors from the planet Psychlo. Fewer than 35,000 humans survive in a handful of communities scattered across the face of a postapocalyptic Earth. From a desolate village in the Rocky Mountains near what once was Denver, Colorado, a courageous young man named Jonnie Goodboy Tyler embarks on a hero's journey to challenge the fearful myths of his people.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pulp Sci-Fi Done Right! More Like This!

  • By Joel D Offenberg on 06-27-16

An Epic Performance

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

Reviewed: 08-23-18

Battlefield Earth can be a daunting novel to Wade through, but the ride is much easier and far more entertaining with the help of the assembled cast here. Hubbard's story is presented in all of its pulpy, action packed Glory. they're very few Illusions to Scientology although you can certainly see how the last and most boring third of the book was probably lifted straight out of his megalomania. All in all a true epic of the science fiction genre and well worth the listen.