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Marcos Ibarguen

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  • 13
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  • Paradox Bound

  • A Novel
  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 12 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,110
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 11,474
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,458

Nothing ever changes in Sanders. The town's still got a video store, for God's sake. So why doesn't Eli Teague want to leave? Not that he'd ever admit it, but maybe he's been waiting - waiting for the traveler to come back. The one who's roared into his life twice before, pausing just long enough to drop tantalizing clues before disappearing in a cloud of gunfire and a squeal of tires. The one who's a walking anachronism, with her tricorne hat, flintlock rifle, and steampunked Model A Ford.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Standard Clines. Fun and forgettable

  • By Debra on 10-07-17

Watch out for those Faceless Men!

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

Reviewed: 07-07-18

Another good one from a guy who’s definitely climbing my list. The basic setup seemed a little clunky at first: the American Dream is an actual thing, a magical object commissioned by the Founding Fathers from an Egyptian god and protected through the centuries by the “faceless men who really run the USA,” who turn out to actually BE faceless men. The Dream is stolen in 1963 and a whole culture of searchers emerges – folks who are literally searching for the American Dream – while the faceless men hunt down and kill the searchers. And oh by the way, the search involves time travel (referred to as “History Travel”), which the searchers accomplish by driving vintage cars through a network of “slick spots” on the roads of the USA. Like I said – it DOES sound clunky. But the execution is surprisingly fresh, with two engaging lead characters and lots and lots of good action scenes. A bit too much exposition, one medium size logic problem and a slight qualm on my part about the hero choosing to return the Dream to the custody of the faceless men, who have been awfully damn evil up to that point, kept me from grading this a full A. Looking back over my reviews of the three Clines books I’ve read, it seems I always have quibbles but that they have yet to prevent me from thoroughly enjoying his books. He has a gleeful ferocity in throwing out crazy ideas, an approach that will obviously fail here and there, but is overall most enjoyable to witness.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • So Lucky

  • A Novel
  • By: Nicola Griffith
  • Narrated by: Nicola Griffith
  • Length: 4 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25

Mara Tagarelli is, professionally, the head of a multimillion-dollar AIDS foundation; personally, she is a committed martial artist. But her life has turned inside out like a sock. She can’t rely on family, her body is letting her down, and friends and colleagues are turning away - they treat her like a victim. She needs to break that narrative: build her own community, learn new strengths, and fight. But what do you do when you find out that the story you’ve been told, the story you’ve told yourself, is not true? 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Painfully autobiographical... and GOOD

  • By Marcos Ibarguen on 07-07-18

Painfully autobiographical... and GOOD

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

Reviewed: 07-07-18

First off, this is really not a novel, more like a novella. It follows a very active, martial-arts-ass-kicking lesbian woman through her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, her divorce, her completely unfair firing from her job as a non-profit director, her effort to start a new non-profit to help “cripples” like her, AND a scary subplot where she discovers MS victims are being further victimized by a group of serial torturer/robber/killers. In other words, it’s Nicola Griffith’s own story, with a few embellishments. It’s kind of a lot to pack into a very short book, and I can’t claim to have loved it as I have loved most of her other work, but I have to say that the personal touch she applies is quite moving. In particular, her description of the process a person in a wheelchair goes thru in the TSA line – so dehumanizing, so WRONG – really got to me. I mean, even if it’s “only” old age and not a monster like MS, all of us eventually lose the physical gifts of youth, right? Griffith appears to have written this as a bit of therapy to deal with her own MS, but I think it works for all readers willing to give it a try, and it does have a little bit of an uplifting component in terms of the protagonist regaining her feistiness in the end… I hope Griffith’s health, and interest, allows her to write some more – preferably another “Slow River”, but really anything. Her small but powerful body of work in what might be narrowly termed “lesbian fiction” has been eye-opening and amazing to me. And by the way, she's a pretty damn good reader too!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Gate to Women’s Country

  • By: Sheri S. Tepper
  • Narrated by: Emily Durante
  • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37

Women rule in Women's Country. Women live apart from men, sheltering the remains of civilization. They have cut themselves off with walls and by ordinance from marauding males. Waging war is all men are good for. Men are allowed to fight their barbaric battles among themselves, garrison against garrison. For the sake of his pride, each boy child ritualistically rejects his mother when he comes of age to be a warrior. But all the secrets of civilization are strictly the possession of women.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If you liked “A Handmaid’s Tale” you will love “The Gate to Women’s Country”

  • By anon on 06-07-18

Classic feminist SF... if you MUST call it that!

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

Reviewed: 07-07-18

Tepper has created here a seemingly bucolic, female-run post-holocaust culture that looks a lot like a utopia, and probably is to most of its citizens. Under the surface, however, lies a set of driving principles as ruthless as they are logical, enforced by a select minority of women (and men...Tepper's vision is only selectively anti-male). The way all these secrets are gradually revealed is the true strength of the novel: each revelation is woven into the life story of one very human woman, and allegorically embroidered with periodic selections from a play which uses the "heroic" backdrop of the fall of troy to illustrate man's brutality against woman. This is not Tepper's most entertaining novel, but it is clearly the most important. It’s an anti-war fable wrapped around a draconian peace plan, and a truly amazing tract on religion and gender relations. Kudos to Audible for bringing this one to audio!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Children of Time

  • By: Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Narrated by: Mel Hudson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,998
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,711
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,679

Adrian Tchaikovksy's critically acclaimed stand-alone novel Children of Time is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet. Who will inherit this new Earth? The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating Premise Within an Excellent Story

  • By Kurt Schwoppe on 07-30-17

Spiders rule!

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

Reviewed: 07-07-18

This is one of the most ambitious SF novels I’ve read in a long time. It features a time scale in the thousands of years, and two very detailed parallel storylines that converge in the end. One follows the voyage of a colony ship from long-dead Earth, whose crew is awakened periodically over the millennia to deal with crises of quite varied kinds. The other follows the accidental elevation of a planet full of spiders to full sentience; this part is the most ambitious story and the most impressive piece of world-building I’ve seen in a while. The way the spiders solve the problem of the humans coming to claim their planet is magnificent – an embrace of globalism and diversity that transcends all differences, and it left me quite speechless. On the whole, this is a great piece of hard (ish), big idea SF. The ending alone would have earned it an A+, but there are a couple of things that held me back from that grade. For one, the enormous time scale makes it hard to completely relate to the action. For another, the human characters are pretty much all archetypes (the Scholar, the Soldier, the Leader, the Engineer, etc.), and the spiders… well, they’re spiders. So it’s also a bit hard to relate to the characters, other than the weirdly adorable thousand-year romance between the two humans who are as close to central protagonists as this book comes. Outside of those quibbles, this is a good one

  • The Stars My Destination

  • By: Alfred Bester
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
  • Length: 8 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 889
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 821
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 827

Marooned in outer space after an attack on his ship, Nomad, Gulliver Foyle lives to obsessively pursue the crew of a rescue vessel that had intended to leave him to die.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Magnificent

  • By Frederick on 03-26-18

My first SF read still holds up...

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

Reviewed: 07-07-18

First off, let’s be clear about one thing: the title of this book is “Tiger! Tiger!”, OK? OK. Regardless of its various publishing incarnations, that’s the title I first read it under, and for me it’s the TRUE title of the book.. Anyway, in terms of its importance to SF overall, this book should rate an A+. Also in terms of its importance to ME… A+. This was after all the first adult SF novel I ever read, and the reason I became an SF fan and wannabe SF writer. This is the wellspring! And it does hold up pretty well after 7 decades, much better than many another SF “classic,” so I can’t complain. But I CAN quibble! Bester did an amazing job of avoiding technological obsolescence by keeping the tech stuff vague. He also did a fairly good job of avoiding sociological obsolescence by having a good reason why gender inequality should still exist in the 25th century, but reading this book in the “me too” era makes it impossible to overlook Gully Foyle’s rape of Robin Wednesbury. That said, this book still stands as a classic in a lot of ways. It is one of the best novels to explore the concept of obsessive revenge, in any genre. It is an excellent piece of world-building – exploring the societal impact of “what if all of us could teleport” in a brilliant way. And it’s just a fine piece of action story-telling, with a killer pace and not one word wasted. If a 2018 writer had this many incredibly good ideas in his head, this novel would be triple the length! And while I would actually have liked more development of certain ideas, the literary courage involved in not over-pumping this book deserves admiration, even today. So… I loved the re-read and I am happy to have spent an Audible credit on this, especially given that I now understand that in my teens I did NOT truly understand the ending! But I do need to admit that it is in no way perfect or timeless. Some (though surprisingly not that much) of the dialog is dated, the sex role stuff is antiquated, and so on. The surprise for me was to find some of the action downright clunky. The best example was when the traitorous lawyer Sheffield – who had been carefully prepped to capture Foyle by his Outer Satellites masters – completely failed to recognize Foyle when the man walked into his office. What – they don’t have cameras in the 25th century??? Anyway... quibbles are quibbles. This is still a great book, a seminal piece of SF, and a classic piece of cyberpunk written 40 years before cyberpunk existed! So… still a classic? Yep.

  • Grass 

  • By: Sheri S. Tepper
  • Narrated by: Dina Pearlman
  • Length: 18 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 208
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 192

What could be more commonplace than grass or a world covered over all its surface with a wind-whipped ocean of grass? But the planet Grass conceals horrifying secrets within its endless pastures. And as an incurable plague attacks all inhabited planets but this one, the prairie-like Grass begins to reveal these secrets - and nothing will ever be the same again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Speculative & Creative, Yet well Paced and Unique

  • By Zach Wilson on 04-17-17

Long-awaited audio version of a true masterpiece

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

Reviewed: 06-04-18

For years I’ve wished Tepper’s books were available on audio. Now, some time after her death, it appears that Audible Studios is starting to produce some, for which I am grateful. I snatched this one up as soon as I realized it was there for the snatching (yes, it took me a long time to get around to writing this review), and I must admit that I have mixed feelings. It seems Tepper’s writing style, often whimsical and allegorical and quite lovely to read, may not be all that well suited to being read aloud. Like the Foxen, those masters of psychic camouflage, her action scenes and many others are often blurred, viewed through unusual lenses, requiring the reader to fill in some blanks, use some imagination, do some actual work. In audio format, this comes across as perhaps a bit choppy, or even unfinished. Hmmm… not sure I’m getting this across, but anyway – still a great, great book by a vast talent who is sadly no longer with us. Aside from the audio aspects, there's a lot to be said about this novel, so I'll try to be brief. For anyone who hasn't read Tepper, the thing you need to know is there has never been a stronger voice in SF/Fantasy for feminism, social/religious commentary, or male-female relationships. If you dig that idea, I would further state that few writers have ever been more successful at blurring the lines between fantasy and hard SF, and almost none have ever written better female leads. If you are STILL with me... you MUST download or read "The Gate to Women's Country" (available from Audible TOMORROW as I write this) and "Beauty" (which I can only hope Audible has on their production list). Both of these are brilliant and heartbreaking. Most of Tepper's books are excellent, although now and then she wandered into the weeds a bit, but the two above plus "Grass" and its two sequels are truly wonderful stuff. Enjoy!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful