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  • Weaveworld

  • By: Clive Barker
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 21 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,073
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 982
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 990

Clive Barker has made his mark on modern fiction by exposing all that is surreal and magical in the ordinary world - and exploring the profound and overwhelming terror that results. With its volatile mix of the fantastical and the contemporary, the everyday and the otherworldly, Weaveworld is an epic work of dark fantasy and horror - a tour de force from one of today's most forceful and imaginative artists.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ah, but what price Wonderland?

  • By Jason on 04-09-16

Slow, with too many climaxes

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

Reviewed: 04-08-19

Maybe I met this book at the wrong time in my life, or maybe it holds some subtle observations about the human condition I wasn't able to appreciate, but I had to force myself to finish it.

The book-part-chapter-subchapter structure is needlessly confusing—like picking up a fresh cucumber only to find some dude with a really sharp knife has turned it into a net. Every time I reached a portion of the story that felt like the end, I'd look to see five hours of remaining play time. Characters went through so many changes that I didn't feel like I could relate to them anymore: they might as well have been replaced with new actors or clones.

In retrospect, I ought to have expected this kind of treatment, because any book that comes with an introduction or forward by the author is usually just an apology before an insult.

Certain portions of the book have a kind of lyrical quality to them, which is entertaining, but they're overshadowed by bouts of disgusting violence and corruption. I don't mind people getting killed or dismembered or dominated, but every time it happens in Weaveworld, it's like the author went out of his way to make it (a) a casual murder to highlight the futility of life, or (b) a horrendous slaughter he hoped would evoke an emotion. It's difficult to become attached to any of the characters except for Cal and Suzanna because they're constantly being killed off, even the ones who have significant portions of the text dedicated to their introductions. When the first five seers were liberated from the carpet, I thought, "Yeah! Those are some interesting people! Let's see how they'll affect the story…" …only for them to die or disappear.

I cannot fault Simon Vance's performance. He has good characterizations and can deliver every word from the most mundane article to the vilest swear-word with aplomb. You feel like he's sitting across a dark room from you, under the only light, while you lounge on a sofa with a glass of brandy and listen to him read.

  • House of Suns

  • By: Alastair Reynolds
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 18 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,778
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,333
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,341

Six million years ago, at the very dawn of the starfaring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones: the shatterlings. Sent out into the galaxy, these shatterlings have stood aloof as they document the rise and fall of countless human empires. They meet every 200,000 years to exchange news and memories of their travels with their siblings.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Extraordinary Sci-Fi

  • By Amazon Customer on 07-20-15

Solid, creative, and engrossing

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

Reviewed: 04-26-18

The characters and entrancingly weird vision of a human future in the galaxy more than make up for the small glitch of a few too many coincidences.

The story is both tragic and hopeful, the kind of thing you’d expect from Arthur Clarke or William Barton, but with more heart than either of them could summon.

John Lee could read a telephone book and I’d be okay with that; he sets a gold standard and this performance is no exception.

  • 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 25,440
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23,677
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 23,614

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

Excellent performances, not the best story

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

Reviewed: 02-03-17

Maybe Tim Lebbon was constrained by having to work a story into the gap between Alien and Aliens, but I don't know what he set out to do. It might be he just wanted a paycheck from the publishers, for which I can't find the heart to blame him. It's clear Tim Lebbon has talent, because his story isn't boring, but maybe he'd do better to turn it toward his own imagination instead of an established property like Alien. It surely wounded his heart to develop characters, slaughter them, then put his finger to the giant reset button just like the one that graces the set of every Star Trek episode ever filmed.

Laurel Lefkow is GORGEOUS as Ripley. It's like she watched all four movies to learn Sigourney Weaver's mannerisms and diction before delivering each line. If I didn't know better, I'd say Sigourney Weaver was reprising her role for this drama. I know Laurel from her work on the audio book of Contact by Carl Sagan and I wish I had more titles with her as narrator. In my opinion, she can officially Do No Wrong™.

Corey Johnson is dynamite as Hooper. He's emotive and friendly and I want to hear more from him in the future. In fact, all the cast are pretty much excellent (with one exception I'll get to in a moment). My only difficulty was in telling them apart: radio dramas rely on different gimmicks than standard audio books to let you know who's speaking, so it's not always clear who's doing the talking unless another cast member actually says their name. Only Sneden (Kathryn Drysdale) and Le Chance (Mac McDonald) were easy to tell apart from Hooper and Ripley because they both have distinct accents; the rest were largely delivery vehicles for dialog. That's not to say I didn't enjoy them, or they were flat and uninteresting: quite the contrary! Everyone did a great job of injecting emotion and realism into their performances. (It's silly, but I really adore Tom Alexander as the computer voices.)

The only exception is Rutger Hauer.

And how hard it was for me to type that sentence.

I know an actor can only do so much with the lines he's given—and I say that as someone who has reached new levels of appreciation for novels by sole means of their narrators giving them life and emotion—but in this case, Rutger was wasted on the role of Ash. He spent the whole story repeating himself in short diary entries to the Company that not only restated his own dialog, but actions taken by the other characters.

Writers: we're paying attention. We don't need a recap every five minutes from a character who isn't even present in the action.

In closing: Laurel Lefkow is brilliant, Rutger Hauer is intimidating, Corey Johnson is interesting and full of potential; the music and sound effects are on par with nostalgic stories like The Secret of Dominion and Bradbury 13.

I WANT MORE ALIEN DRAMAS. I want original stories that don't connect to the canon plot lines except for the inclusion of the xenomorphs. Writers, don't rest on your laurels (heh). Send us something new and exciting and strange. The Alien universe has plenty to offer and I want to hear all of it.

  • A Night Without Stars: A Novel of the Commonwealth

  • Chronicle of the Fallers Series, Book 2
  • By: Peter F. Hamilton
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 26 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,335
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,175
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,165

The planet is isolated from the rest of the universe, unable to seek help as it's targeted by hostile aliens. Bienvenido's ruling authorities have slowly responded to this gradual infiltration, but they have no idea that a highly organized invasion is now under way, designed to wipe out all human life on the planet. All factions must work together to survive. Unfortunately, due to prejudice against enhanced Eliter humans and crippling technophobia, the parochial government won't collaborate.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Space Opera

  • By Gr on 11-08-16

I have only two things to say.

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

Reviewed: 12-31-16

One: I'm 100% in love with Paula Myo and I want more of her, but if this is the last Intersolar Commonwealth novel, I will be content.

Two: The only reason I gave this a 4/5 rating for performance is: calling ANA "Anna" is lame. It stands for Advanced Neural Activity. It was sad to have it change from ANA to Anna from one book to the next. I can only assume the director was ignorant.

Otherwise, I adore this novel and will recommend the series to everyone I know.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Reamde

  • By: Neal Stephenson
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
  • Length: 38 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,264
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,395
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,435

Richard Forthrast created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not perfect, but worth a listen.

  • By ShySusan on 10-01-11

The Most Interesting Girl in the World

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

Reviewed: 07-07-12

She doesn't always get kidnapped by terrorists… but when she does, nearly every male on Planet Stephenson wants to do anything and everything to help her. All other males want to rape and murder her. It doesn't matter how tangentially Zula knows these men: they all want to adopt, kiss, kidnap, aid, romance, go to war, or swim across oceans for her. She's like YT (from Snow Crash) on 20 years of author steroids.

All without her doing much to earn it except be Zula.

And that's about all I took away from this book.

That, and I wish a game like T'Rain existed. Oh, wait… it does. It's called EVE.

Generally, there are the standards we've come to expect from Stephenson: the wry humor; the eloquent and hip dialog, the characters who won't take crap from anybody. But the story is so random that I had a hard time believing it could ever happen.

  • The Windup Girl

  • By: Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 19 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5,683
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,873
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,898

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Al Gore nightmare meets Blade Runner.

  • By Marius on 01-13-10

Fine vision, desultory writing

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

Reviewed: 12-07-11

Paolo had an interesting idea (his personal introduction helps), and ran with it, but the book came across as an exercise in world building or futurism rather than a novel. The plot is difficult to see and weak when glimpsed. The characters are interesting, but so isolated from each other that even when they're interacting, they feel like castaways. Paolo also has some favorite(?) words that keep resurfacing over and over again, to the point of inducing groans. Action is sparse.

Jonathan Davis does his usual great job, but compared to his other performances, this one is kind of flat, but I don't blame him for this: I'm sure he did the best with what he was given.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • In the Garden of Iden

  • A Novel of the Company, Book 1
  • By: Kage Baker
  • Narrated by: Janan Raouf
  • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 207
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 156
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 157

The first novel of Kage Baker’s critically acclaimed, much-loved series, the Company, introduces us to a world where the future of commerce is the past. In the 24th century, the Company preserves works of art and extinct forms of life (for profit of course). It recruits orphans from the past, renders them all but immortal, and trains them to serve the Company, Dr. Zeus, Inc. One of these is Mendoza, the botanist. She is sent to Elizabethan England to collect samples from the garden of Sir Walter Iden.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This Is A Wonderful Treat

  • By Anna on 02-04-11

Much promise, no delivery

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

Reviewed: 10-29-11

I expected a lot from this book when the immortal time travelers were described—statted out, if you will—but there was no delivery. The characters spent the whole book hiding in a house instead of doing cool immortal time traveler stuff. The performance was good, except for a few too-quiet and too-loud moments, and the dialog is funny; the performer is really good at expressing emotion. Baker is good at switching between modernized badinage and old-timey thys and thous.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Titus Groan

  • Volume 1 of the Gormenghast Trilogy
  • By: Mervyn Peake
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 17 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 635
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 407
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 412

Enter the fantastical world of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast Trilogy, one of the undisputed fantasy classics of all time. Novelist C.S. Lewis called Peake's books "actual additions to life; they give, like certain rare dreams, sensations we never had before, and enlarge our conception of the range of possible experience."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Count Me Among the Peake Fans

  • By Benjamin L. Alpers on 09-11-07

Excellent Narrator, Sub-par Story

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

Reviewed: 10-29-11

This book is more poem than plot. The performance is flawless, though Audible seems confused about whether it's Simon Vance (who can do no wrong, in my opinion) or Robert Whitfield. If you want someone to paint you pictures with words and aren't too worried about a solid story, go for it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Engines of God

  • By: Jack McDevitt
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 14 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 475
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 367
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 373

Humans call them Monument-Makers. An unknown race, they left stunning alien statues scattered on distant planets throughout the galaxy, encoded with strange inscriptions that defy translation. Searching for clues about the Monument-Makers, teams of 23rd century linguists, historians, engineers and archaeologists have been excavating the enigmatic alien ruins on a number of planets, uncovering strange, massive false cities made of solid rock. But their time is running out.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Conceptually intriguing, but uneven writing style

  • By Michael G Kurilla on 05-12-11

Thumbs down

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

Reviewed: 07-11-11

No plot; nothing happens. One-dimensional, unsympathetic characters. Everything that might've been a surprise is telegraphed ahead of time. NO answers are provided, just wild speculations… but that isn't TOO surprising, as that's how the characters do all their own thinking, despite the fact they're supposed to be scientists. What little tension exists is drawn out so long that it wouldn't hold a rolled-up newspaper together. The only aliens that show up onscreen are a rampaging horde of stupid critters that seem added only because someone said there should be action in the book SOMEWHERE.

It's too late for ME to get this time back, but YOU still have time! Shields up! Warp speed! RUN!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Mote in God's Eye

  • By: Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
  • Narrated by: L J Ganser
  • Length: 20 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,552
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4,765
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,810

The Mote In God's Eye is their acknowledged masterpiece, an epic novel of mankind's first encounter with alien life that transcends the genre. No lesser an authority than Robert A. Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read".

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A great read!

  • By J. Rhoderick on 02-12-10

Boring; bad pacing

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-11-11

The climax of the novel is about in the middle: the rest of it reads like a downward spiral of loose ends. The romance between the two semi-protagonists is hackneyed and stilted. The alien secret is boring. Niven forgets, as he so often does, simple but crucial bits of reality that poke holes in his flimsy plot.

Give it a pass.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful