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  • 159
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  • 105
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  • The Eternal Flame

  • By: Greg Egan
  • Narrated by: Adam Epstein
  • Length: 14 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15

The generation ship Peerless is in search of advanced technology capable of sparing their home planet from imminent destruction. In theory, the ship is traveling fast enough that it can traverse the cosmos for generations and still return home only a few years after they departed. But a critical fuel shortage threatens to cut their urgent voyage short, even as a population explosion stretches the ship’s life-support capacity to its limits.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • More mechanical than 'Clockwork Rocket'

  • By SciFi Kindle on 12-27-15

More mechanical than 'Clockwork Rocket'

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

Reviewed: 12-27-15

Because this sequel is such a direct continuation of events from Book 1 in the series, I recommend reading it quickly after that novel, so that you don't suffer the same confusion I did on returning to the series after many months. Like most of Egan's work, this story is a tribute to the process of scientific discovery, using a few characters and a plot, although only by necessity. Seriously, if you removed all the mathematical and laboratory discussions, you'd only have about 30 pages or so of narrative. Nonetheless, it has interesting ideas and a fairly strong feminist theme, as did "Clockwork Rocket".

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Nemesis Games

  • By: James S. A. Corey
  • Narrated by: Jefferson Mays
  • Length: 16 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,311
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,588
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,557

A thousand worlds have opened, and the greatest land rush in human history has begun. As wave after wave of colonists leave, the power structures of the old solar system begin to buckle.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An excellent bounce back

  • By Lore on 10-27-15

A welcome improvement following 'Cibola Burn'

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

Reviewed: 12-27-15

Corey did something in this book that I've been wanting to see for a while in the series now; he divided up the Rocinante crew and explored the characters independently.

  • Aurora

  • By: Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Narrated by: Ali Ahn
  • Length: 16 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,347
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,180
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,177

A major new novel from one of science fiction's most powerful voices, Aurora tells the incredible story of our first voyage beyond the solar system. Brilliantly imagined and beautifully told, it is the work of a writer at the height of his powers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful

  • By ewreirct on 07-14-15

Most believable generation ship story yet

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

Reviewed: 12-27-15

KSR applies his hard-science style to the generation ship sub-genre, exposing many of the problems we hadn't considered.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Robogenesis

  • A Novel
  • By: Daniel H. Wilson
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews, Emily Rankin, Mike Chamberlain
  • Length: 15 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 537
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 501
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 498

Humankind had triumphed over the machines. At the end of Robopocalypse, the modern world was largely devastated, humankind was pressed to the point of annihilation, and the Earth was left in tatters…but the master artificial intelligence presence known as Archos had been killed. In Robogenesis, we see that Archos has survived. Spread across the far reaches of the world, the machine code has fragmented into millions of pieces, hiding and regrouping.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Picks up right you where dropped off!

  • By CSoAmazon on 06-27-14

Following the apocalypse

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

Reviewed: 12-27-15

Wilson's story continues into the early days after the robot apocalypse, now dividing the narrative across multiple factions.

  • Homefront

  • A Novel of the Transgenic Wars
  • By: Scott James Magner
  • Narrated by: Allyson Johnson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19

Jantine is a Beta, a genetically modified super soldier charged with establishing a hidden colony on Earth. When her expedition arrives in the middle of a civil war, she must choose her allies wisely or be exterminated. Featuring complex characters and edge-of-your-seat action sequences, Homefront will have listeners guessing until the last tick.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Science Fiction at it's finest!

  • By Hugh on 01-23-15

Largely mental narrative

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

Reviewed: 12-27-15

This is a very character-centered story, relying less on dialog, plot or action to advance the story as it does internal monologue. It reminded a bit of Asimov in that regard. Be prepared for a highly psychological journey and character feelings as they regard other characters' feelings. I would also recommend a close reading of the early chapters where many of the characters are introduced in quick succession to prevent later confusion.

  • Forever Peace

  • By: Joe Haldeman
  • Narrated by: George Wilson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 507
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 375
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 377

War in the 21st century is fought by "soldierboys". Remote-controlled mechanical monsters, they are run by human soldiers who hard-wire their brains together to form each unit. Julian is one of these dedicated soldiers, until he inadvertently kills a young boy. Now he struggles to understand how this has changed his mind.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good, but not as good as The Forever War

  • By Noah on 08-25-10

'Walk a mile in their shoes' Syndrome

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

Reviewed: 04-03-15

This book is a spiritual, if not narrative, sequel to Haldeman’s 1975 “Forever War”. Both novels won the Hugo & Nebula, and explore the theme of war’s futility, although from different perspectives and in separate story-worlds. Readers expecting a continuation of Forever War’s interstellar conflict or relativistic time dilation effects, will see that instead this story features a strictly terrestrial struggle between the wealthy nations, fueled by effortless nano-factory produced plenty, and the struggling excluded masses. The earlier novel, written in the immediate post-Vietnam days of an antagonistic welcome for returning veterans, further exaggerated the alienation of the protagonist with a fish-out-of-water situation that placed the character hopelessly out of touch with his own century. Here, in the 1998 novel, one senseless war is supplanted by an invisible one to end all wars, as the protagonist discovers a pacification treatment that involves sharing one of the military’s tightest-held tools with all of humanity to bring individuals together into a community incapable of violence outside of self-defense. Haldeman uses SF technology as vehicle to explore the age-old thought that ‘if we only walked in our enemies shoes for a day’. At the same time, the greatest opponent to this peace movement is one of religious zealots who inexplicably seem to want death and destruction for its own sake. I felt that not enough insight was given to their internal motivation, even when the narrative was told in first person perspective of one these characters. This left them a bit too archetypical and cartoon-evil for me. On the human-scale drama of this story, there is a compelling relationship that is shown conquering the challenges of race, age, military-civilian differences, then ‘jacked’ vs natural minds until it is thoroughly proven to be unshakable. There are also some notable thriller scenes and a number of high-tech asymmetric warfare scenes as well. Absent, sadly, are any aliens or Space Opera tropes or any references to advanced climate change expected over the coming century (CliFi).

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Empire of Light: Shoal, Book 3

  • By: Gary Gibson
  • Narrated by: Charlie Norfolk
  • Length: 14 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 75
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 70

In the third Shoal book, the nova war has begun to spread as the Emissaries force the Shoal into a desperate retreat. While Dakota goes in search of the entity responsible for creating the Maker caches, Corso, left in charge of a fleet of Magi ships, finds his authority crumbling in the face of politically-motivated sabotage.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • lost it for me

  • By William on 10-04-15

Great setup, then stalls despite fast pace

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

Reviewed: 03-20-15

Like a lot of threequels, this read isn’t for those who haven’t already digested the previous installment novels. Not only do many of the background conflicts and events rely on an understanding of those books, but the history between the major characters is found there, too. This is no criticism, however. A lot of series these days try too hard to be a ‘big tent’ for an expanding readership, that early chapters drag with exposition and ‘catch-me-up’ material. If Tolkien felt compelled to do this, he would have needed another hundred pages. I personally prefer when authors treat the reader with enough respect to trust us to remember (or re-read) important previous material- that’s what all the fan Wikis are for, right?

No, my peeve with this story is that it starts off extremely promisingly, with a collection of characters and motives that are all appealing, both new and returning, with those in the latter category having undergone substantial personal evolution between novels. They are drawn together and undertake a hero’s journey in the form of an expedition into hostile alien territory, further outside of human space than anyone has ever traveled before. And then, with this spectacular set up, the remainder of the story devolves into a finger-pointing mystery among the characters to uncover the infiltrator in their midst. This would have been welcome in a moderated dosage; a sideplot that allows the greater focus to move on to more wondrous, alien, Space Opera, big concepts. However, the story really spiraled into one betrayal after another, and while this kept the tension and action quite high, I feel like it missed an opportunity to accomplish both of those things more engagingly using external threats. It’s possible I feel this way only because of how stupendous the epilogue was in this regard, and it reminded me of all the things that later half of the story proper missed. While this bodes well for my enjoyment of the 4th installment novel, Marauder, it did cause my attention to drift at moments.

  • The Last Colony

  • Old Man's War, Book 3
  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,959
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,255
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,262

Retired from his fighting days, John Perry is now village ombudsman for a human colony on distant Huckleberry. With his wife, former Special Forces warrior Jane Sagan, he farms several acres, adjudicates local disputes, and enjoys watching his adopted daughter grow up. That is, until his and Jane's past reaches out to bring them back into the game.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent But Different

  • By Michael on 12-04-12

Enjoyable, but not as innovative as earlier books

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

Reviewed: 03-16-15

After the undeniable SF pedigree of the earlier two novels in the series, this entry felt entirely too devoted to politics and diplomacy, although still enjoyably so. The smirky protagonist (found in all of Scalzi’s books, as far as I know) brings a dry humor to the narrative. In this series, the character is named John Perry, and along with his wife and fellow former soldier, Jane Sagan, find a way to avert disaster for underdog humanity in a hostile universe. The pair are bit too idealized, however, and would be more interesting with some character flaws or blind spots. Another missed opportunity I noted was that while the novel is full of plenty of alien species and characters, there are practically no descriptions of their appearance, physiologies, or philosophies. They could all very conceivably stand-in for humans in all their nationalities and factions, operating from some non-SF setting. The cookie-cutter approach reminds me of the TV aliens in Star Trek, ironically something Scalzi quite successfully lampooned in 2012’s “Redshirts”. For this level of multi-layered strategic diplomacy, one could just as easily have picked up a thriller from the current NYT bestseller list in the Fiction aisle, but as a SF fan, I would have liked to see something more exotic from the characters, settings, motives, etc. A final criticism is one I’ve spotted in other Scalzi books: An overuse of the verb “said” in dialog. After a string of several, my ear was straining for some variety. Where the novel succeeds, however, is in the moderate humor and clever solutions to the tough spots the characters find themselves in. There are some very satisfying ‘back from the brink’ moments here, and on the strength of the earlier novels in the series, I’m willing to continuing reading the series after this bridge book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Singularity Sky

  • By: Charles Stross
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 13 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 391
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 271
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 275

In the 21st century, the perfection of faster-than-light travel and the rise of a prodigious artificial intelligence known as the Eschaton altered the course of humankind. New civilizations were founded across the vastness of space. Now, the technology-eschewing world known as the New Republic is besieged by an alien information plague. Earth quickly sends a battle fleet - but is it coming to the rescue, or is a sinister plot in motion?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Gonzo giggleworthy geekitude

  • By Noah on 11-11-10

Humorous look at the futility of fighting progress

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

Reviewed: 03-13-15

There seems to be an uncomfortable amount of bashing the Russian Revolution in the themes found here. A brittle authoritarian monarchy with a deep distrust of post-industrial technology is confronted by an external visitor that turns everything in their society on its head with a deluge of free information. When undercover agents from a freer, more liberal and technologically advanced society insert themselves into the military response, it’s hard not to think of cold war cat-and-mouse thrillers. To make the parallels completely undeniable, Stross has loaded the Soviet-style civilization (ironically named the New Republic) with Eastern European surnames. There’s not a lot of surprises in the plot, however, as the adversaries are so overwhelmingly mismatched. The rigid commanders of the New Republic refuse to realize this, so the reader is treated to a very rapid illustration of a society entering into a technological singularity. Here, I was reminded a bit of Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels where the practically omnipotent Culture society often comes into well-meaning conflict with it’s mortal neighbors. There were also some intriguing possibilities brought up regarding FTL travel and its implications on Causality, as well as some practical economic effects resulting from cheap nano fabricators. Separately, a lot of these ideas are explored in other Space Opera books, but they came together nicely here and serve as a reminder of what foundations must be in place before certain technologies safely come into a society’s grasp.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Jupiter War

  • The Owner, Book 3
  • By: Neal Asher
  • Narrated by: John Mawson, Steve West
  • Length: 16 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 211
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 193

Alan Saul is now part-human and part-machine, and our solar system isn't big enough to hold him. He craves the stars, but can't leave yet. His sister Var is trapped on Mars, on the wrong side of a rebellion, and Saul's human side won't let her die. He must leave Argus Station to stage a dangerous rescue - but mutiny is brewing onboard, as Saul's robots make his crew feel increasingly redundant. Serene Galahad will do anything to prevent Saul's escape. Earth’s ruthless dictator hides her crimes from a cowed populace as she readies new warships for pursuit.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exceptionally satisfying ending

  • By Michael G Kurilla on 05-28-15

Villains return for more beat-downs

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

Reviewed: 03-01-15

In this trilogy-capper, true to the title, when the characters aren’t engaged in life-and-death battles, they’re gearing up for such fights. Somehow the defeated tyrannical forces of the previous installments have regrouped enough to once again pose an existential threat to the unbeatable anti-hero, Alan Saul- ‘The Owner’. His overpowered infallibility is paired with an increased detachment from human-scale relationships in this novel, so Asher has wisely spread the burden of the POV protagonist flag to other, more relatable characters. Another welcome development is that a few of the previously antagonistic ‘villains’ undergo some transformation and serve more redeemed roles. The story structure is a fairly straightforward build-up to inevitable conflict, although there’s some clever tactical twists that are rewarding to watch unfold. The only theme I identified was a continuation from the rest of the series: violent revenge will visit the guilty.