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Lois

  • 19
  • reviews
  • 470
  • helpful votes
  • 40
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  • 2312

  • By: Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Narrated by: Sarah Zimmerman
  • Length: 19 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 714
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 640
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 652

The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity's only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future. The first event takes place on Mercury, on the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. It is an unexpected death, but one that might have been foreseen....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My favorite book of the past 5 years.

  • By Casey on 09-07-15

Yes, this is great, and so's the narrator!

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

Reviewed: 02-12-19

Not really getting the negative reviews of Sarah Zimmerman's narration. I saw the bad reviews, but I love KSR, so I listened to the preview, thought she was fine, took the chance, and now I'm about halfway through and finding her reading unobtrusive, unforced, and quite enjoyable.

That aside, this is superbly written, deeply thought and researched, and everything I expect from KSR at the top of his game. If you're expecting a space opera kinda thing, or epic struggle between good and evil.... well, no. This is hard SF, in the sense that it envisions a plausible world with technologies not based on unobtainium, working within physics that may be cutting edge but are certainly projectable from what we know now. But if that sounds dry, it is absolutely not. KSR works from that platform to do some incredibly beautiful and meticulous world building, within which he places characters that are allowed to reveal themselves and evolve at their own pace. Multiple story arcs, a sense of how history works, how social and personal relationships develop in reality--that doesn't necessarily fit "genre" fiction expectations of McGuffin-driven plots and simplistic good-guys/bad-guys driven momentum, but if you're looking for SF as written for adults, raising questions and exploring the implications of science and technology as they impinge on real lives and real history, you can't do much better than KSR, and this is right up with his best.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Breakthrough

  • By: Michael C. Grumley
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,971
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,742
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,730

Deep in the Caribbean Sea, a nuclear submarine is forced to suddenly abort its mission under mysterious circumstances. Strange facts begin to emerge that lead naval investigator, John Clay, to a small group of marine biologists who are quietly on the verge of making history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • AMAZING!!!

  • By FocusedOnTheJourney on 07-22-17

Derivative plot riddled with holes

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

Reviewed: 07-08-18

Wanted to like this, but the implausibilities aren't just the science ones, and the accounts of the hard science details--like the geology of glacial collapse--are muddy, at best. Also, the basic plot line around what the "aliens" are up to is derivative from a dozen or more 50s SF stories. Remember "This Island Earth"?

And I do wish copyediting was not a lost art. Grumley is very much of the "more adjectives makes it more better" school of writing. Not every noun needs a modifier, especially not the SAME modifier. Global search and delete on the word "large" would be a start.

  • The Speed of Dark

  • By: Elizabeth Moon
  • Narrated by: Jay Snyder
  • Length: 14 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 653
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 466
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 468

In the near future, disease will be a condition of the past. Most genetic defects will be removed at birth; the remaining during infancy. Unfortunately, there will be a generation left behind. For members of that missed generation, small advances will be made. Through various programs, they will be taught to get along in the world despite their differences. They will be made active and contributing members of society. But they will never be normal.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Totally Recommended!

  • By Andrew on 01-02-09

Superb character-driven SF

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

Reviewed: 03-26-18

This is "science fiction" for adults--SF second and a great novel first, with the science very much in service of character and raising deep, intimately human questions. The tone somewhat reminded me of Philip K Dick--a near future that has the same "ordinary life" feel, the way things actually do feel in reality. People with regular jobs and pastimes, and the fraught situations, profound as they are, arise from those quotidian circumstances rather than alien invaders or whatnot. The novel's concerns are similar to Dick's preoccupations, too: the material basis of consciousness and the ineffability of spirit, and how those things inform or conflict in our perception of reality. And above all, a way of handling that conflict in a way that is not simplistic, reductive or predetermined. Ms Moon has a way of inhabiting the mind of a character--in this case a high-functioning but autistic savant--that is utterly convincing, and riveting, and she treats the moral and psychological quandaries of his existence with great sensitivity and a firm grasp of how the real world works.

I did have a slight complaint about the narrator. His tone seemed appropriate to the voice (both inner and outer) of the main character, whose linguistic and social skills are limited and childlike, but carried over to the other characters it had the feel of someone reading to children, more appropriate to a YA novel or younger. Not at all how I would have imagined the characters in my own head if I were reading this in text form rather than audio.

  • New York 2140

  • By: Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren, Robin Miles, Peter Ganim, and others
  • Length: 22 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,367
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,256
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,258

The waters rose, submerging New York City. But the residents adapted, and it remained the bustling, vibrant metropolis it had always been. Though changed forever. Every street became a canal. Every skyscraper an island. Through the eyes of the varied inhabitants of one building, Kim Stanley Robinson shows us how one of our great cities will change with the rising tides. And how we, too, will change.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Complex, believable, nuanced, riveting

  • By Lois on 04-07-17

Complex, believable, nuanced, riveting

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

Reviewed: 04-07-17

I totally disagree with the couple of negative reviews I'm seeing. If by "science fiction" you require aliens, supernatural powers, technologies made of unobtanium, or epic space battles, I guess you'd be disappointed. There's no "The One" character on a mission to save the Earth or the Universe here. But if you think of it as a mature genre, capable of creating a solid, 3-dimensional world set a century-plus hence, with characters whose lives revolve around real-world concerns and who speak and act the way real people do, then you'll really appreciate this book. The depiction of a semi-drowned New York is drilled into a bedrock of historical fact producing a solidly convincing sense of place that is the setting for a complex web of characters, motivations and completely plausible plot threads.

The performances are also among the best I've heard, and I'm not normally a huge fan of the multi-narrator approach but it works here. I was slightly amused to find, well into the book, that the character played by a reader who sounds African American, at least to my ear, turns out to be blond-haired, but to me the casting made him more interesting so I decided the author was wrong and continued to imagine him that way.

Just a first-rate read all around. Highest recommendation.

77 of 81 people found this review helpful

  • The Ship

  • The New Frontiers Series, Book 1
  • By: Jack L. Knapp
  • Narrated by: Tom Lennon
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 119
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 110
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 111

Building a spaceship that uses Nicola Tesla's revolutionary space drive is only the beginning. From a new industrial revolution to the brink of global war, restless humanity presses onward, eventually to the first contact with an alien species.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Please record the rest of this series

  • By Robert on 01-08-17

Is this outsider art?

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

Reviewed: 02-15-17

This is just a little... odd. I'd almost like to imagine the author was deliberately recreating something published in a 1940s issue of Amazing Stories, back when the prose and characterization standards for getting published in an SF magazine were, lets just say, not the highest.

The McGuffin driving the plot--an impeller system based on Tesla's non-Einsteinian physics--is actually quite engaging and interestingly argued. Overall the storytelling at its best is reminiscent of classic-period Heinlein (think The Man Who Sold the Moon) but just as often it seems more like Tom Swift and His Repelatron Flying Bedstead, though without so many adverbs. And then there's the all that detail about setting up a manufacturing facility, which becomes so granular at times it seems like maybe the author has spent a lot of time writing process descriptions for user guides and tech manuals. Which has a really strange effect when read in the sing-songy inflections you'd use reading to an elementary school kid or even a toddler. Maybe that's just the narrator's way of coping with the rather stilted dialogue and minimal characterization. And what's up with that "Russian" accent? Somewhere between Swedish and German is my best guess.

This is not to say I would totally warn people off. I keep toying with returning it, but the combination of all these disparate elements is weirdly fascinating, almost David Lynchian. Kind of like one of those roadside attractions filled with some eccentric's outsider-art space-age sculpture park. I think if you approach it on that level you can enjoy it in a sort of gawking-at-a-car-crash way.

1 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Red Rising

  • By: Pierce Brown
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 16 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36,408
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33,937
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33,897

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow, what a performance and what a story

  • By Jared G on 08-27-16

This is not "that" series

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

Reviewed: 09-24-16

You know the one. The one you start and become instantly enthralled with in, only to be disappointed as it progresses into the next installment and the next.

Publishers love novel series for obvious reasons, so much so that it's hard to find anything else in SF and Fantasy, but the form makes demands that not all authors are able to meet.The experience for the reader, all too often, is to become invested in a story that weakens as the series goes on and the author struggles to meet publisher's deadlines and find some resolution for the too-many threads and subplots he or she has introduced--or what's worse, abandons the attempt, leaving readers waiting for a next installment that never comes.

THIS IS NOT THAT SERIES. Nail biting, tightly plotted from start to finish, with complex characters not easily slotted into Manichean categories of good and evil, and with a well worked out and deeply satisfying conclusion. Highest recommendation on all levels, including narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Empire's Corps

  • By: Christopher G. Nuttall
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
  • Length: 15 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,020
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,863
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,858

The Galactic Empire is dying and chaos and anarchy are breaking out everywhere. After a disastrous mission against terrorists on Earth itself, Captain Edward Stalker of the Terran Marine Corps makes the mistake of speaking truth to power, telling one of the most powerful men in the Empire a few home truths. As a result, Captain Stalker and his men are unceremoniously exiled to Avalon, a world right on the Rim of the Empire. It should have been an easy posting...

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nuttall gets better and better

  • By David Strom on 12-25-14

Decent story, dubious politics

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

Reviewed: 03-23-16

Solidly plotted, reasonably interesting characters, and a satisfying ending--a mostly enjoyable read, as long as it stays away from the political philosophy, which I found rather simplistic. I don't expect military sci fi to be filled with peace, love and understanding, but this one was a little too Tea-Partyish for my taste when it came to explaining the impending collapse of the Empire. Basically the welfare state taken to an absurd degree, not enough guns, and parents neglecting the corporal punishment (as a matter of believable human behavior the spanking scene strained my credulity near the breaking point). But the story does keep moving along well enough to remain enjoyable despite those passing annoyances--reminded me a little of Heinlein in that respect.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Renegade

  • Spiral Wars, Book 1
  • By: Joel Shepherd
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 17 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,706
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,588
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,584

One thousand years after Earth was destroyed in an unprovoked attack, humanity has emerged victorious from a series of terrible wars to assure its place in the galaxy. But during celebrations on humanity’s new homeworld, the legendary Captain Pantillo of the battle carrier Phoenix is court-martialed then killed, and his deputy, Lieutenant Commander Erik Debogande, the heir to humanity’s most powerful industrial family, is framed for his murder.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Politics?

  • By ochoavida102 on 06-18-17

Reminded me of "A Mote in God's Eye"

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

Reviewed: 01-22-16

It reminded me of the SF classic "A Mote in God's Eye," not so much for the details of the plot but for the classical sea-novel flavor of starship-naval life, the brisk pace of development and vivid characterization. The opening scene had me concerned it might end up being just a gung-ho space opera shoot 'em up, but it developed in a very unexpected direction that introduced all kinds of fascinating tensions and ambiguities, which the author handles extremely well. I only wish the series were already finished so I could binge-read it to the end.

My one complaint is the same one I always have with John Lee. To wit: there are very few Brits who can do a convincing American accent (and vice versa), and John Lee is not among them. He keeps attempting "southern," too, which resembles nothing spoken by any human being anywhere, ever. Southerners actually *soften* their "R's" guys, not lean on them so hard it practically makes your teeth hurt.

I don't know where they get this idea that the hard "R" is an indispensable requirement to do "American" but if even the magisterial Patrick Tull gets it wrong I guess Lee shouldn't be too harshly singled out. Fortunately there aren't many "American" characters here and none of them in primary roles, so I cringed through those bits and (mostly) enjoyed the rest of the narration.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Starfire

  • By: B.V. Larson
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 13 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,442
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,253
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,253

On June 30, 1908, an object fell from the sky, releasing more energy than a thousand Hiroshima bombs. A Siberian forest was flattened, but the strike left no significant crater. The anomaly came to be known as the Tunguska Event, and scientists have never agreed whether it was the largest meteor strike in recorded history - or something else. Alien artifacts have been uncovered since the 1908 event, and a new star drive is discovered.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Spy flick meets First contact. :)

  • By Antonio Stevens on 04-27-15

Absurd premise--wish I'd known

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

Reviewed: 12-07-15

Sometimes you start out enjoying a book and then several chapters in it reveals a premise so absurd you simply can't "suspend disbelief" enough to go on. I'm going to include a spoiler here because if I had known this myself I wouldn't have bothered purchasing this book. Namely: the plot rests on the laughable and easily disproved idea that advances such as lasers, integrated circuits and the f'r goodness sake lightbulb were derived from alien technology found in a secretly held crashed spaceship (Area 51 of course). This is one of the sillier premises of many a "History" Channel episode, and to me it is not just ill-informed (all those technologies have long and well-documented development paths that don't involve aliens) but actively offensive: they are genuine achievements by brilliant, hard-working human beings, and giving the credit to E.T. is something I find reprehensible even in a work of fiction.

Too bad, because Ballerini is a fine reader and the action sequences and character development were quite good up to the point where this premise was revealed. Kind of like enjoying the first several bites of a fine restaurant dinner and then a cockroach crawls out from under your salad.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Agincourt

  • By: Bernard Cornwell
  • Narrated by: Charles Keating
  • Length: 16 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,294
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,301
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,302

Young Nicholas Hook is dogged by a curse, haunted by what he has failed to do and banished for what he has done. A wanted man in England, he is driven to fight as a mercenary archer in France, where he finds two things he can love: his instincts as a fighting man, and a girl in trouble. Together they survive the notorious massacre at Soissons, an event that shocks all Christendom. With no options left, Hook heads home to England, where his capture means certain death.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • What is WITH that music?

  • By Lois on 08-26-15

What is WITH that music?

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

Reviewed: 08-26-15

It pains me to give anything less than 5 stars for this book, particularly Keating's narration which is absolutely luscious, nuanced and pitch perfect. So with all that--great story, superb narrator--why did some imbecile of a producer decide to keep interrupting the flow of the story with bombastic, overbearing, overwrought and hyperventilated orchestra music, dropped in (so far as I can tell) utterly at random with no relevance to the current action or the chapter structure or anything else? Seriously dude, I know what emotions to feel about the narrative. The reader is doing a great job. I don't need to be sledge-hammered by this kind of ludicrously inappropriate distraction. I don't know what they thought they were doing but here's a word for it: FAIL.

Must be the same producer who's done this to a couple of other Audibles I've (otherwise) enjoyed. I think maybe one of the Harry Bosch ones? Anyway, whoever you are: please, please please just STOP it.

311 of 318 people found this review helpful