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Phil Selman

Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • 44
  • reviews
  • 199
  • helpful votes
  • 675
  • ratings
  • 30 Days of Night

  • By: Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith, R. S. Belcher (adaptation)
  • Narrated by: Chris Andrew Ciulla, Mark Boyett, Kevin T. Collins, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 872
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 817
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 816

An all-new, full-cast dramatization of the classic graphic novel. The isolated town of Barrow, Alaska, is plunged into darkness for a month each year when the sun sinks below the horizon. As the last rays of light fade, the town is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires bent on an uninterrupted orgy of destruction. Only Barrow's husband-and-wife sheriff team stand between the survivors and certain destruction. . By the time the sun rises, will they pay the ultimate price - or worse?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well done.

  • By Dan on 11-06-17

So Bad, it's Actually Kind of Good

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

Reviewed: 11-08-18

I enjoyed this listen for ALL the wrong reasons. Sometimes having a full cast do the narration is good, and sometimes it turns out like this: simply awful. The plot is the same old two-dimensional vampire tripe, but you probably expect that going into this (I'd certainly hope so). Between the terrible writing of an already horrid plot and the horrendous voice acting, 30 Days of Night was so bad it was funny. I mean, I haven't laughed so much at something so terrible in a long time. While I can't get myself to call this short story anything but garbage, it's the kind of garbage that smells so bad you want other people to take a whiff just to share the experience. So go ahead, pick it up, just know you're in for more of a laugh than a scream.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

  • By: Stuart Turton
  • Narrated by: James Cameron Stewart
  • Length: 17 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 132
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 127

The rules of Blackheath: Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m. There are eight days and eight witnesses for you to inhabit. We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others....  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely fantastic

  • By Reisodi on 10-14-18

Delightfully Creative; Superbly Narrated

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

Reviewed: 11-08-18

I think someone called this book a mashup of Clue and Groundhog Day but serious, and they're not wrong. I'd add Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure to the mix, with a seasoning of The Usual Suspects. Nonetheless, both the whodunit genera and the time-looping trope have been done to death, yet somehow, Stuart Turton managed to pull it off so well that The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is sure to make my top-ten fiction list for the decade.

The thing is, the plot device of reliving the same day over and over again is only that: a device. In execution, the more original idea of having the protagonist wake up in a different person's skin each day provides a deeper dimension with which the author explores conscience and human nature. And the device itself gets even more compounded from there. On top of that, there are two major plot structures that develop over the entire course of the book, and both keep you guessing until the end. An end that is extremely satisfying, I might add. I'd say more, but I really don't want to give anything away.

Nothing renders a great book an astonishing audiobook like top-rate narration, and The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle nails it. James Cameron Stewart is a true master of the craft, and given the cast of characters infesting the Blackheath estate, no lesser talent could have pulled it off half so well. I'm already looking forward to relistening to this one, not only to catch all of the subtleties I missed the first time around, but to enjoy the narration as well.

  • Wind/Pinball

  • Two Novels
  • By: Haruki Murakami, Ted Goossen - translator
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 213
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 200
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 200

In the spring of 1978, a young Haruki Murakami sat down at his kitchen table and began to write. The result: two remarkable short novels - Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 - that launched the career of one of the most acclaimed authors of our time.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Must For Murakami Fans

  • By Jay Quintana on 08-23-15

Absolutely NOT B-list Stories

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

Reviewed: 10-15-18

I'm a bit perplexed why some people write off these freshman efforts as somehow lesser than the rest of Murakami's body of work. True, they're a little rough around the edges when compared to some of his later novels, but there are plenty of popular/successful authors who have never written anything near the caliber of Hear the Wind Sing or Pinball 1973. What's more, they aren't nearly as self-important as some of Murakami's later works, giving them a raw yet honest tone.

Despite their being labeled as books one and two in the Rat series, I'd sooner compare Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball 1973 to the author's short stories, rather than his full-length novels. In many ways, this makes Wind/Pinball more accessible than some of my favorites, namely Kafka on the Shore, The Windup Bird Chronicle, and 1Q84. To that effect, I'd almost recommend Wind/Pinball as a starting point for anyone interested in his fiction. Based on how they react, I could easily steer them toward Norwegian Wood, Wild Sheep Chase, After Dark, or one of Murakami's short story collections.

By the way, here's where I'm coming from: I'm a fan, but not a "fan boy." I've read and reread nearly everything Haruki Murakami has had translated into English. I love the man's work, but not without criticism. For instance, while Kafka on the Shore rates among my top ten favorite novels, I was positively stunned by how bad Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage was. So it's not like I think the author can do no wrong, I just happen to think these novellas are somewhat underrated.

  • Mirrorworld

  • By: Jeremy Robinson
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 13 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,070
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,012
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,012

Crazy has no memory and feels no fear. Dangerous and unpredictable, he's locked away in SafeHaven, a psychiatric hospital, where he spends the long days watching Wheel of Fortune and wondering what the outside world smells like. When a mysterious visitor arrives and offers him a way out Crazy doesn't hesitate to accept.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Crazy good (with a capital C)

  • By Lex on 05-01-15

Like Reading a Terrible FPS

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

Reviewed: 05-20-18

How on Earth has this gotten so many good reviews? I was actually looking for sci-fi pulp when I picked up
Mirrorworld, and I'm simply staggered by how bad it was. It starts off strong, with a kind of a The Bourne Identity meets Monster Hunter vibe, and then quickly descends into endless, tedious action sequences. Like, I get it, the guy's Rambo and he puts the hurt on countless bad guys/creepy things. But Robinson's feeble attempts at character development and impressively two-dimensional cast made the occasional breaks in the violence almost as painful as the rest of the book. I'm just glad this book is over so I can purge the memory of reading it with something halfway decent.

  • Trollhunters

  • By: Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heybourne
  • Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 152
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 141

Jim Sturges is your typical teen in suburban San Bernardino - one with an embarrassingly overprotective dad, a best friend named Tubby who shares his hatred of all things torturous (like gym class), and a crush on a girl who doesn't know he exists. But everything changes for Jim when a 45-year-old mystery resurfaces, threatening the lives of everyone in his seemingly sleepy town. Soon Jim has to team up with a band of unlikely (and some unhuman) heroes to battle the monsters he never knew existed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not as good as the cartoon, but still awesome.

  • By Byron Leavitt on 07-08-17

Bafflingly Horrible

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

Reviewed: 05-17-18

As a recovering lit major, this is something I rarely say: the book isn't nearly as good as the show. I started watching the TV show loosely (VERY loosely, as it turns out) based on this book because my daughter discovered it, and I found myself sucked in as well. She loves audiobooks, so I picked this up, but my daughter quickly lost interest in it.

Intrigued, I decided to listen to Trollhunters myself. It's not at all what I'd expected. The story attempts to be both gritty and child/young-adult friendly, and fails at both. The characters are more or less two-dimensional and the plot is linear, lacking any kind of depth. At the same time the prose is clunky and the word choices often render it inaccessible to a younger audience, and some parents will probably find both the vulgar language and grotesqueness inappropriate.

I'm honestly surprised someone was able to pull such a good TV show out of something this unappealing. Even if it hadn't failed to live up to my expectations, I wouldn't have anything positive to say about Trollhunters. Perhaps the illustrations in the print version make up for the second-rate plot and amateur writing style, but with the addition of simply awful narration (Kirby Heybourne manages to deliver every line with an air of absolute contempt), there's nothing redeeming about the audiobook.

  • The Dispatcher

  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Zachary Quinto
  • Length: 2 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,660
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,148
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,090

Zachary Quinto - best known for his role as the Nimoy-approved Spock in the recent Star Trek reboot and the menacing, power-stealing serial killer, Sylar, in Heroes - brings his well-earned sci-fi credentials and simmering intensity to this audio-exclusive novella from master storyteller John Scalzi. One day, not long from now, it becomes almost impossible to murder anyone - 999 times out of a thousand, anyone who is intentionally killed comes back. How? We don't know.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good Grief This Was Good

  • By Matthew on 11-09-16

Short, Sweet, and Satisfying

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

Reviewed: 05-17-18

Don't let the length fool you, this story is so satisfying that it's worth it. I get it--as a consummate audiobook listener, I tend to shy away from single short stories and novellas like this, but when The Dispatcher popped up as a daily deal, I decided to snag it anyway. I'm extremely glad I did.

From the little I've read of Scalzi, I've come to expect a level of tongue-in-cheek humor from him. Not this time. The Dispatcher reminds me a bit of Jim Butcher's narrative style, which fits the odd, semi-noir atmosphere of The Dispatcher. However, Scalzi's quirky world-building style (something more akin to the hard science fiction of the early twentieth century) shines through clearly.

While this be the beginning of a longer series of future novels, the plot thoroughly explores the underlying theme. Simply put: nothing seems to be missing. Coupled with excellent prose and sympathetic characters, The Dispatcher is everything I look for in short fiction.

  • A Gift of Time

  • By: Jerry Merritt
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,176
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,837
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,821

When Micajah Fenton discovers a crater in his front yard with a broken time glider in the bottom and a naked, virtual woman on his lawn, he delays his plans to kill himself. While helping repair the marooned time traveler's glider, Cager realizes it can return him to his past to correct a mistake that had haunted him his entire life. As payment for his help, the virtual creature living in the circuitry of the marooned glider, sends Cager back in time as his 10-year-old self.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Smart and original

  • By J. OBrennan on 12-29-17

Surprisingly Creative

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

Reviewed: 05-17-18

It's tempting to call this story non-formulaic. Tempting, but not entirely accurate, as both the science fiction/fantasy and time travel narratives follow well-beaten paths. Nonetheless, Merritt's writing style and method of threading together these elements make A Gift of Time compelling.

I particularly appreciate the way he humanizes the characters, which left me constantly asking the question, "What happens next?" That's the hallmark of a good novel. While the author's prose is fairly neutral, the story itself seemed to drift from Robert A. Heinlein to Steven King and back, but not in a jarring way. The result is a satisfying adventure with mass appeal, making this an easy book to recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Fifth Doll

  • By: Charlie N. Holmberg
  • Narrated by: Angela Dawe
  • Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,192
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,093
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,089

Matrona lives in an isolated village, where her life is centered on pleasing her parents. She's diligent in her chores and has agreed to marry a man of their choosing. But a visit to Slava, the local tradesman, threatens to upend her entire life. Entering his empty house, Matrona discovers a strange collection of painted nesting dolls - one for every villager.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Unique and Unexpected

  • By B.A. Wilson on 12-30-17

To Good to Spoil

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

Reviewed: 05-10-18

The Fifth Doll is an excellent story, from the opening line to the last word. I'm one of those guys who often figures out what's going on in a story way before you're supposed to. Sometimes, if that's all the book has going for it, figuring it out ruins the story. That was not the case for The Fifth Doll.

There are several layers to The Fifth Doll's plot (joke intended), and that makes the telling of the story all the better. As each piece falls into place, the story just gets more engaging, and following Matrona's internal life as she untangles the world around her makes her easy to sympathize with. In fact, one testament to Holmberg's storytelling is that there are no unsympathetic major characters in The Fifth Doll, yet that doesn't take away from the tension in the least.

The narration was pretty good. I'm generally not a fan of narrators adopting accents unnecessarily, as in using Russian accents for characters speaking in Russian with each other. Other than that, Angela Dawe did a great job, and her pacing is smooth and easy to listen to.

  • 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 11,573
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 10,977
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,957

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

Fun and Creative Adventure

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

Reviewed: 05-10-18

So far, I've enjoyed everything I've read by Peter Clines. He rides that line between formulaic pulp and creativity really well, making his work both engaging and accessible. So, when I picked up Paradox Bound, I had particular expectations of it. On the one hand, it was everything I expected: a main character who gets in over his head, conspiracies, twists, and great dialog. There was even the obligatory nod to H. P. Lovecraft (don't blink or you'll miss it).

On the other hand, Clines managed to dodge pretty much every cookie-cutter trope endemic to time... er.... history-travel stories. He even manages to dismiss some of the other formulaic elements of modern adventure novels, while making his characters interesting and sympathetic. Finally, while there's plenty of nostalgic Americana in here, Clines also captures gritty and deeply flawed aspects of American history. In many ways, Paradox Bound appeals to me the way American Gods does, and I'm looking forward to rereading it down the road.

Side note: Ray Porter's narration is, as always, superb.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Moral Animal

  • Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology
  • By: Robert Wright
  • Narrated by: Greg Thornton
  • Length: 16 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,262
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,037
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,042

Are men literally born to cheat? Does monogamy actually serve women's interests? These are among the questions that have made The Moral Animal one of the most provocative science books in recent years. Wright unveils the genetic strategies behind everything from our sexual preferences to our office politics - as well as their implications for our moral codes and public policies.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ridiculously Insightful

  • By Liron on 10-25-10

Great Book; Awful Narration

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

Reviewed: 04-30-18

I very much enjoyed this book. It's an excellent primer on evolutionary psychology, putting the subject in simple, easy-to-follow terms. I particularly appreciate the Wright's candor (for which I'm sure he earned no small amount of flack), and I found the way he used Darwin's own life and marriage to illustrate evolutionary psychology in action, while providing an entertaining history lesson.

That said, the Greg Thornton's narration is simply terrible. It's like listening to a pretentious version of Marvin the Martian read a book full of simple words he can't quite pronounce. If I were one to value the quality of narration over the content of the book, I may have found listening to The Moral Animal painful.