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Andrew Pollack

Cumberland, Maine USA
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  • 738
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  • 234
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  • Integration

  • Ghost Marines, Book 1
  • By: Jonathan P. Brazee
  • Narrated by: Maxwell Hamilton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

Human slavers attack. Despite trying to fight back, there is nothing the young Leefe can do to save his family and friends. But he doesn't have to. The Imperial Marines arrive in the nick of time, and they hate slavers. Three tri-years later, when the new emperor issues a proclamation to integrate the imperial military with non-human citizens, Leefe is among the first to volunteer. Integration to resurrect the empire as a force for good is challenged by centuries of prejudice against the "dung races." 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An insider's view of the Marine Corps -

  • By Andrew Pollack on 01-08-19

An insider's view of the Marine Corps -

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

Reviewed: 01-08-19

Well written, but perhaps read by the wrong person. Hamilton's reading made everyone seem like a 14 year old boy rather than the hard men and women of the Marines.

Yes, it takes place in the future - but really that has very little to do with the story. The science fiction parts are all pretty much just magic. No explanation is given or required. The real story is about the integration of the corps by members of other races, and the experience of becoming a Marine.

Brazee tackles some tough issues of racism in this book, though by substituting different kinds of non-humans instead of using what we think of as human races (no such thing, really but whatever) he avoids some traps that would mire the book in today's social issues. The only place this falls "short", is that if you're looking for complete honest you have to include all the incidents in real live that don't work out as well as they end up doing in the book. The racism is in the story, and mostly it's overcome -- in real life it's not that simple. But hey, it's an SF novel, so take it in that spirit.

Not a grand space opera, but a series in mostly individual incidents that bring the story along.

  • Frozen Earth

  • Rogue Star, Book 1
  • By: Jasper T. Scott
  • Narrated by: Flynn Earl Jones
  • Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 77

Logan Willis’s life is falling apart: he lost his job and found out that his wife is cheating on him all in the same day. Thinking that his world has ended, Logan checks into a hotel and turns on the TV to see that he's not far wrong - radio telescopes have detected mysterious signals coming from inside our solar system, and the source is moving toward us at over 500 miles per second. The media concludes that these signals must be of an alien origin. Still reeling from the news, Logan gets a phone call from his brother-in-law. 

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Not that good

  • By Kindle Customer on 12-27-18

REALLY, REALLY, Bad.

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

Reviewed: 01-04-19

The first half of the book is like the worst of the "prepper" (aka SHTF) gun fetishist, end of the world control fantasy you've ever come across. The second half seems like an attempt to set up a longer series cheesy alien robot dialog and negotiation stories.

  • The Accidental War

  • A Novel of the Praxis
  • By: Walter Jon Williams
  • Narrated by: David Drummond
  • Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 22

It’s been seven years since the end of the Naxid War. Sidelined for their unorthodox tactics by a rigid, tradition-bound military establishment, Captain Gareth Martinez and Captain Lady Sula are stewing in exile, frustrated and impatient to exercise the effective and lethal skills they were born to use in fighting the enemy. Yet after the ramshackle empire left by the Shaa conquerors is shaken by a series of hammer blows that threaten the foundations of the commonwealth, the result is a war no one planned, no one expected, and no one knows how to end.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Lots of setup, not much punch

  • By Paul Houser on 09-14-18

Slower - interesting attempt at economics

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

Reviewed: 01-04-19

If you've got this far in the series, you mostly know what to expect here. This one is slower, more developmental time than outcome time, and DOES NOT END IN RESOLUTION. This book leaves the story incomplete without at least one more in the series.

Most ambitious was Willams' attempt to set up the work with a plausible economic disaster. We know it's plausible because he pretty much copied the root causes of the 2008 market crash to do it. That was a complex mess to understand, and Williams was very bold to try to explain the whole thing in terms of his novel setting. It kind of works, but only if you already have a decent understand of the actual 2008 crisis and what caused it. He never actually references those events, he just mimics them.

  • Thin Air

  • A Novel
  • By: Richard K. Morgan
  • Narrated by: Colin Mace
  • Length: 18 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 386
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 364
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 361

From the author of the award-winning Altered Carbon, which is now an exciting new series from Netflix. On a Mars where ruthless corporate interests violently collide with a homegrown independence movement as Earth-based overlords battle for profits and power, Hakan Veil is an ex-professional enforcer equipped with military-grade body tech that's made him a human killing machine. But he's had enough, and all he wants is a ticket back home - which is just what he's offered by the Earth Oversight organization, in exchange for being the bodyguard for an EO investigator.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Turns out there is life on Mars

  • By Gilbert on 10-26-18

Good, but not great. RKM has done better

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

Reviewed: 11-13-18

RKM has a way of rearranging the world when he comes out with a new series. Altered Carbon and its sequels were ground breaking in how fully the idea of the body as expendable hardware was explored. This is gritty in the kind of cyberpunk way that he's known for and that was good, but otherwise it was a detective story in a space colony. The one new SF idea was left mostly unexplored as if it didn't have the depth of change built into it to make it a main part of the story.

Look, RKM at his least innovative is still good reading. It's well written, gritty, full of action, and fun. It just doesn't hit the mark of some of his earlier work.

P.S. It should be no shock to anyone that there's a bit of graphically described sex in this book. It's an important part of the plot and it's just a fairly short section so we're not talking about something most people should be shocked by. RKM gets points from me on this because it's pretty well and accurately done, and not the cliched perfection most authors put in as some kind of fantasy fulfillment.

  • Rebel Robots

  • Robot Geneticists Series, Book 4
  • By: J.S. Morin
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael Garcia
  • Length: 8 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 13

Charlie7 has his secrets. Every robot knows that history has a dark period where he was the only one alive, with no one to corroborate his story. That was before an old adversary, long believed dead, emerges from hiding to expose Charlie7 as a fraud. With a newfound internship mixing new robotic personalities, Rachel Eighteen stumbles across an old file in the archive that no robot can access. The data it contains could upset the underpinnings of the thousand-year-old robotic civilization. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Extremely enjoyable continuation of the story!

  • By Daniel O. on 01-13-19

Many new elements to the story arc

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

Reviewed: 11-13-18

New major plot evidence and settings keep this series from growing stale. I like where J.S. Morin is taking the overall story arc, and I like that each book finishes some part of the story even as it opens new avenues to explore. This one certainly does both. There's a satisfying ending but at the same time a whole new can of worms is opened up and I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

There's still an innocence here that really could make this suitable to be in the YA realm, but without the cloying "twilight bullshit" that you see rampant in those books. Overall this was a good read.

I'm not a huge fan of the narrator, but have no specific complaints. Listen to the preview. If it works for you, awesome. He does a good enough job. If you've read the others in the series you know what you're going to get.

  • Hell Divers IV: Wolves

  • The Hell Divers Series, Book 4
  • By: Nicholas Sansbury Smith
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,559
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,364
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,352

The Sea Wolf sets out to search for the Metal Islands. Leading the expedition is legendary Hell Diver Xavier Rodriguez. After enduring a decade on the poisoned surface, his survival skills will be put to the test on the dangerous open seas. But storms, sea monsters, and the cannibalistic Cazadores aren't the only threat to X and his small crew. Their mission will uncover hard truths about the history of the war that left humankind stranded in the air for centuries. The fate of those still living on the airships might very well rest on this perilous journey to find a new home.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great day for Hell Divers fans!

  • By Ripcord on 11-06-18

Solid continuation of the story, another cliff

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

Reviewed: 11-13-18

The series continues. X is unstopable. The Deus Ex Machina is at best a very minor deity who can't really save much of anything. As always, this is the kind of series almost written specifically so that R.C. Bray can read it to us. A perfect match of content and voice actor.

Of course there's a cliffhanger ending. You've ready the first three books though so you already knew that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Boy on the Bridge

  • Booktrack Edition
  • By: M. R. Carey
  • Narrated by: Finty Williams
  • Length: 13 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28

If you fell in love with Melanie in the million-copy-selling post-apocalyptic phenomenon The Girl With All the Gifts - there's more to the story... Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy. The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world. To where the monsters lived. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing Performance, and an even better story

  • By Benjamin on 11-07-18

Beautifully craft, interesting, and well ended

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

Reviewed: 10-20-18

This review assumes you've read "The Girl With All the Gifts" -- though that's not strictly required. The ending will make much more sense, and be more satisfying if you have.

This isn't so much a follow-up as a concurrent, mostly independent story. It also doesn't have quite the same surprise twist in the middle. It is, on the other hand, a more direct and well plotted story. The writing is beautiful, the characters interesting, and the narration brilliant.

One thing though -- during the entire narration, there is a very quiet background audio track playing one of a few different moody pieces of music or sounds. They're mostly fairly subtle but they do get a bit repetitious and the forced mood may be a little heavy handed. I honestly can't decide if they added or detracted from the listening experience, other than that I now have a six or eight bar bit of music in my head that won't easily go away.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Planetside

  • By: Michael Mammay
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 8 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,504
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,418
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,414

War heroes aren't usually called out of semi-retirement and sent to the far reaches of the galaxy for a routine investigation. So when Colonel Carl Butler answers the call from an old and powerful friend, he knows it's something big - and he's not being told the whole story. A high councilor's son has gone MIA out of Cappa Base, the space station orbiting a battle-ravaged planet. The young lieutenant had been wounded and evacuated - but there's no record of him having ever arrived at hospital command. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Couldn't put it down!

  • By Rebecca Enzor on 08-02-18

Fantastic! Perfectly executed and Narrated

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

Reviewed: 08-27-18

I picked this out of the pile of military SF by debut authors solely because R.C. Bray did the narration, as his sense of how to add tone to military work is unrivaled.

What a wonderful surprise to get a terrific genre-blending novel from a first time author. Michael Mammay sets a solid police-procedural story in the future world of a high technology military occupation as if he lived there. His insights from years spent as a soldier color the interactions of the characters and inform the movement and operation that act as the base and the spice to a well-plotted, perfectly-paced, missing soldier mystery. There are even some shades of Apocalypse Now mixed in if you look closely enough

I'm very impressed and I hope we'll see more in the future about Colonel Carl Butler.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Mars One

  • By: Jonathan Maberry
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 123
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 116
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 115

Tristan has known that he and his family were going to be on the first mission to colonize Mars since he was 12 years old, and he has been training ever since. But knowing that he would be leaving for Mars with no plan to return didn't stop him from falling in love with Izzy. Now, at age 16, it's time to leave Earth, and he's forced to face what he must leave behind in exchange for an uncertain future. Then the news hits that another ship is already headed to colonize Mars, and the Neo-Luddite terrorist group begins threatening the Mars One project.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfection

  • By Ryan Hooey on 04-09-18

A very different Maberry - NOT HORROR

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

Reviewed: 04-11-18

This is a sweet, sappy, adventure story spiced lightly with science. There's a little bit of violence in it but not much. I'd almost have to put in the YA category. It was good, if a bit too sappy at times. The science and the rigors of travel were over simplified a bit and overall plot a bit predictable, but it's a good story and well told.

Just don't expect this to be "Rot and Ruin" because it's definitely not that.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Galaxy's Edge

  • By: Jason Anspach, Nick Cole
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 17 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,759
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,335
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,317

On the edge of the galaxy, a diplomatic mission to an alien planet takes a turn when the Legionnaires, an elite special fighting force, find themselves ambushed and stranded behind enemy lines. They struggle to survive under siege, waiting on a rescue that might never come. In the seedy starport of Ackabar, a young girl searches the crime-ridden gutters to avenge her father's murder; not far away, a double-dealing legionniare-turned-smuggler hunts an epic payday; and somewhere along the outer galaxy, a mysterious bounty hunter lies in wait.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • bit of a disconnect between parts

  • By Amazon Customer on 03-10-18

Decent military sf, a bit jumbled

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

Reviewed: 04-03-18

First, RC Bray does his usual great job in the narration. Without that, this wouldn't have been as good a listen.

The story starts with an exciting military adventure that is well told and feels ripped from the deserts of Afghanistan. While listening I was left wondering if the author had been in the military and active in that conflict. *Since I have no personal experience, I could be totally wrong about that, but it felt that way to me. The the story jumps to what seem to be loosely related adventures that only really come together fully at the very end. Overall, I could see what the authors were doing, but the execution wasn't quite there. Still, the adventures were interesting and a fun listen. It was good, just not great.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful