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Julian

Canada
  • 9
  • reviews
  • 33
  • helpful votes
  • 116
  • ratings
  • The Story of Human Language

  • By: John McWhorter, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: John McWhorter
  • Length: 18 hrs and 15 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,985
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,706
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,667

Language defines us as a species, placing humans head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators. But it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries, allowing us to ponder why different languages emerged, why there isn't simply a single language, how languages change over time and whether that's good or bad, and how languages die out and become extinct.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You'll Never Look at Languages the Same Way Again

  • By SAMA on 03-11-14

The man is quirky, engaging, and fascinating

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

Reviewed: 11-03-18

He clearly loves language, and shares that love with the audience. This is a course I expect to revisit at least once or twice more in the coming year. It was fascinating, entertaining, and delightful.

  • Death's End

  • By: Cixin Liu, Ken Liu - translator
  • Narrated by: P. J. Ochlan
  • Length: 28 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,902
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,564
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,561

Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to coexist peacefully as equals, without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fermi paradox meets first contact.

  • By John S. Robinson on 10-01-16

Good, but not as coherent as the previous vols.

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

Reviewed: 10-05-17

This story feels less consistent and coherent than v1 and v2. Still good, but not as convincing as the other parts of the series.

  • For We Are Many

  • Bobiverse, Book 2
  • By: Dennis E. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 42,284
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 39,595
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39,483

Bob Johansson didn't believe in an afterlife, so waking up after being killed in a car accident was a shock. To add to the surprise, he is now a sentient computer and the controlling intelligence for a Von Neumann probe.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Denis E.Taylor Sets A New Standard For Sci-Fi

  • By Devin on 04-18-17

I shouldn't have mainlined it in one sitting.

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

Reviewed: 04-19-17

Noooo! NOw I have to wait for the next one forEVER! A fantastically creative and entertaining tale. The stakes just keep getting higher, and the Bobs keep getting quirkier. Amazing.

31 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Against Empathy

  • The Case for Rational Compassion
  • By: Paul Bloom
  • Narrated by: Karen Cass
  • Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 622
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 557
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 541

Most people, including many policy makers, activists, scientists, and philosophers, have encouraged us to be more empathetic - to feel the pain and pleasure of others. Yale researcher and author Paul Bloom argues that this is a mistake. Far from leading us to improve the lives of others, empathy is a capricious and irrational emotion that appeals to our narrow prejudices. It muddles our judgment and often leads to cruelty. We are at our best when we are smart enough not to rely on it and draw upon a more distanced compassion.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Starts strong, fizzles out.

  • By Tristan on 04-04-17

Interesting and thought provoking. But correct?

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

Reviewed: 02-21-17

Emapthy and sympathy are subjects that have come up with my psychiatrist. A few weeks ago he mentioned that I might find this book interesting. He was right.

I don't agree with all the arguments, and there were times I found the writing style to be a bit plodding, but overall I think this is a good read and worth discussing.

In the end, I think the larger point is that rational compassion is more effective than compassion, and that compassion is more effective than empathy.

  • Good Omens

  • The BBC Radio 4 dramatisation
  • By: Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Mark Heap, Full Cast, Peter Serafinowicz
  • Length: 4 hrs and 19 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,696
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,556
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,560

A full-cast BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman’s celebrated apocalyptic comic novel, with bonus length episodes and outtakes. According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday in fact. Just after Any Answers on Radio 4….Events have been set in motion to bring about the End of Days. The armies of Good and Evil are gathering and making their way towards the sleepy English village of Lower Tadfield.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An adaption of one of my all time favorite books

  • By Mr Benn on 02-03-15

Incoherent without reading the book

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

Reviewed: 06-18-16

Good Omens is my all time favorite book. unfortunately this adaptation devolves into incoherence unless you already know the story. It would have been well served by a hhgttg type narrator, I think.

  • The Dreaming Void

  • Void Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Peter F. Hamilton
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 22 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,578
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,551
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,566

AD 3580. The Intersolar Commonwealth has spread through the galaxy to over a thousand star systems. It is a culture of rich diversity with a place for everyone. A powerful navy protects it from any hostile species that may lurk among the stars. For Commonwealth citizens, even death has been overcome.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • What can I say

  • By Randall on 05-08-18

Fascinating, complex story made incomprehensible

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

Reviewed: 06-06-16

This recording completely disregards the meaning of "chapters" and segments the story into 1 hour blocks. there are meaningful shifts in perspective in the take that deserve to be noted as chapters in the recording. As it is, there are often no apparent divisions or pauses between scene changes, and the chapters listed have absolutely nothing to do with the story structure. This left me deeply confused for the first third of the book, which I listened to several times, attempting to figure out what the heck was going on.

Once I figured out a bit about the universe (in part by reading Wikipedia) and that the chapters were a mess, I was able to compensate to a degree.

2 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Kitty and The Midnight Hour

  • Kitty Norville, Book 1
  • By: Carrie Vaughn
  • Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin
  • Length: 7 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,647
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,927
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,928

Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station---and a werewolf in the closet. Sick of lame song requests, she accidentally starts "The Midnight Hour," a late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. After desperate vampires, werewolves, and witches across the country begin calling in to share their woes, her new show is a raging success.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pleasant Surprise!

  • By Austin gal on 08-08-09

A fun, dark, and well told tale.

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

Reviewed: 07-25-15

There were expected and unexpected twists; a wonder filled story arc that leaves me looking for a sequel - not because there is anything unresolved, but because our werewolf Kitty is someone I want to spend more time with.

Recommend.

  • Redshirts

  • A Novel with Three Codas
  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 16,455
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,417
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15,399

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Clever, creative, and FUN!

  • By Kent on 04-18-13

wonderfully meta

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

Reviewed: 01-14-15

It's not just that there was a hilarious story spoofing Star Trek. It's that the tale broke the fourth wall in so many creative ways, again and again.

  • Ashes of Victory

  • Honor Harrington, Book 9
  • By: David Weber
  • Narrated by: Allyson Johnson
  • Length: 25 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,574
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,285
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,292

The People's Republic of Haven made a tiny mistake when it announced the execution of Honor Harrington. It seemed safe enough. After all, she was already dead. Unfortunately, they were wrong. Now Honor has escaped from the prison planet called Hell and returned to the Manticoran Alliance with a few friends. Almost half a million of them, to be precise including some who know what really happened when the Committee of Public Safety seized power in the PRH.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ashes of Victory

  • By Jean on 06-30-11

Foreboding.

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

Reviewed: 02-08-13

If you could sum up Ashes of Victory in three words, what would they be?

Suspense.
Loss.
Victory.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

This series has been quite a pleasure — the physics and realism of the space battles (in the context of this SF world) — is great. In general, I enjoy Weber's exposition, but there are a few instances in this book where it goes a bit far on some non-military topics. It was appropriate to the plot, and interesting.

Have you listened to any of Allyson Johnson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Allyson Johnson’s performances are great. There are so many characters in these tales that her accents, intonations, and personalities are very helpful.