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  • 28
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  • 132
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  • Gateways

  • Original New Stories Inspired by Frederik Pohl
  • By: Elizabeth Anne Hull (editor), Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, and others
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
  • Length: 17 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 69
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 62

It isn’t easy to get a group of bestselling SF authors to write new stories for an anthology, but that’s what Elizabeth Anne Hull has done in this powerhouse book. With original, captivating tales by Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, Ben Bova, David Brin, Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Joe Haldeman, Harry Harrison, Larry Niven, Vernor Vinge, Gene Wolfe, and others, Gateways is a SF event that will be a must-buy for SF readers of all tastes, from the traditional to the cutting edge; from the darkly serious to the laugh-out-loud funny.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Sensawonda

  • By Kindle me this: on 09-23-16

Sensawonda

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

Reviewed: 09-23-16

Although I started reading SF as a very young child, I have little recollection of "Fred", so I am glad to have this exposure to his legacy. Many thoughtfully written stories, and insights into the writing & publishing biz.
Some of the stories made me recall ideas, and thus encourage finishing some stories of my own.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Shantaram audiobook cover art
  • Shantaram

  • By: Gregory David Roberts
  • Narrated by: Humphrey Bower
  • Length: 43 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,674
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,001
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,010

This mesmerizing first novel tells the epic journey of Lin, an escaped convict who flees maximum security prison in Australia to disappear into the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The keys to unlock the mysteries that bind Lin are held by two people: his mentor Khader Khan, mafia godfather and criminal-philosopher; and the beautiful, elusive Karla, whose passions are driven by dangerous secrets.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Do Not Miss This

  • By Jamie on 06-19-06

An amazing first novel

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

Reviewed: 12-01-15

If you could sum up Shantaram in three words, what would they be?

humanity in anutshell

What other book might you compare Shantaram to and why?

None come to mind. Michener wrote long novels too (so in a way did Tolkien).What is so unusual about this book is that it combines experience in life with effort in articulation and heartfelt philosphizing in a way that should never work, but does very well anyway.

Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

It would have to be the main character, as it is his story and all the other characters are seen through him.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not possible, unless maybe you are a Kerouac of readers.

Any additional comments?

This story contains so much and has so many threads it is impossible to imagine how anyone can distill it into a 2 or 3 hour movie. It should be a mini-series instead, maybe 10 or 12 one hour episodes.
The author is both honest about himself and forgiving of himself and others as he describes a long journey that takes the borders off of morality and love, and reinvents them in the context of crime, poverty, war, compassion, and charity.This is all mixed with a form of self-expression that includes such a penchant for unusual vocabulary that one sometimes wonders if the author sat up late nights with a Thesaurus to find just the right shade of meaning and word rhythm. Yet this somehow works, even though the words come from an escaped heroin addict and robber.
The descriptions of violence, suffering, torture and loss of love are mixed with the continual rediscovery of the powerful role of love in his life, and willingness to change and be transformed under all kinds of circumstances.
It should come across as moralistic and sophomoric, but the author pulls it off and maintains interest throughout. There are few exceptions of over-description and telling-not-showing. However, the overall result is that this guy must have worked his butt off for a long, long time to produce a 900 page first novel, much less that works this well.

Congratulations, Gregory - I would like to meet you some day!

  • Superintelligence

  • Paths, Dangers, Strategies
  • By: Nick Bostrom
  • Narrated by: Napoleon Ryan
  • Length: 14 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,948
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,606
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,579

Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life. The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful - possibly beyond our control.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Colossus: The Forbin Project is coming

  • By Gary on 09-12-14

An almanac of possible futures of humanity and AI

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

Reviewed: 10-10-15

What did you like best about Superintelligence? What did you like least?

What I liked about it is that some of the scenarios are stimulating to the imagination of one who may like to plot out scenarios of futures of Earth (or the Universe) that involve AI, as in writing AI science fiction. These scenarios may be useful as well to some working on developing AI (I don't know, because I am not).

Is humanity's ultimate purpose on Earth to evolve (and become more conscious); and could it be that the only way to do so it to manufacture it's successor?
Or is it humanity's distinct advantage that there is more to us than consciousness? Perhaps the footprint of the subconscious plays much more of a role in determining or daily actions than the conscious mind, and comprises much more of human intelligence than we can ever be aware of?
If so, how does one create an artificial subconscious? Or how would that self-evolve?

However, after a while, it got to be like listening to a vast shopping list of possible AI futures, so each lost it's distinction among the rest, like watching guard-rail posts and mile-markers go by while riding a bus on a long highway.
There was so much information which seemed speculative (x could happen if y, z, a, and b conditions occur), that it was far too much to absorb in an audio book.
At times I wondered if the goal of the book was to demonstrate what it might be like to actually become an AI or Superintelligence.

The parts about humanity developing local, controllable AIs to ward off the possibility that that an uncontrollable "singleton" AI might self-create were interesting. Likewise, one cannot help but speculate over the role of a modern AI that acts like an ancient Greek Oracle...or a "Mirror, mirror, on the wall"...

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

It was very distinctly articulated.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

It was very distinctly articulated.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

This is not a novel, and I feel sure it will never become a movie. Some of the ideas in it could give rise to a novel or a movie. For this the author deserves much applause.

Any additional comments?

Does the author plan an additional work which is less comprehensive, and focuses on just a few ideas or scenarios?

  • Consciousness

  • A Very Short Introduction
  • By: Susan Blackmore
  • Narrated by: Tamara Marston
  • Length: 4 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 101
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 91

"The last great mystery for science," consciousness has become a controversial topic. Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction challenges listeners to reconsider key concepts such as personality, free will, and the soul. How can a physical brain create our experience of the world? What creates our identity? Do we really have free will? Could consciousness itself be an illusion? Exciting new developments in brain science are opening up these debates, and the field has now expanded to include biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Substantial, Thought-Provoking, Clear Introduction

  • By A. Yerkes on 05-17-15

I'm conscious because I'm typing this sentence!

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

Reviewed: 09-30-15

Great job ! Thanks for having the courage and concentration to write this book. I will listen to it again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Doctor Sleep

  • A Novel
  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 18 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,228
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,647
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,638

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The sequel to the book; not the movie

  • By Don Gilbert on 09-28-13

King still has his magic

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

Reviewed: 06-18-14

What did you love best about Doctor Sleep?

The characterizations.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Abra- tremendous complexity to her abilities

What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

Great range of voices and emotional expression

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes

Any additional comments?

This was a rollicking good sequel to "The Shining".
I enjoyed the story (although I am not a horror fan). It kept my attention throughout. King is very creative with his ideas and very detailed in their development.

What I didn't like:
- too much use of causing harm to children as a currency to generate excitement
- the plot developed over a very long period of years - not a fault in itself; it just didn't seem to forward the action to stretch it out over such a long period
- Even as the intricate and well-turned strategy to go up against the massively powerful baddies took form, I couldn't help wondering "why not just stay out of their way for a few days and let them all expire from (won't spoil the surprise).
Of course, the way it happened was much more suspenseful

  • Euclid's Window

  • The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace
  • By: Leonard Mlodinow
  • Narrated by: Robert Blumenfeld
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 455
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 299
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 300

Through Euclid's Window Leonard Mlodinow brilliantly and delightfully leads us on a journey through five revolutions in geometry, from the Greek concept of parallel lines to the latest notions of hyperspace. Here is an altogether new, refreshing, alternative history of math revealing how simple questions anyone might ask about space -- in the living room or in some other galaxy -- have been the hidden engine of the highest achievements in science and technology.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow!

  • By Eric on 08-13-10

Great explanation of math evo based on geometry

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

Reviewed: 05-30-14

Would you consider the audio edition of Euclid's Window to be better than the print version?

Haven't read the print version.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Euclid's Window?

Seeing Einstein's vision of curved space and non-Euclidean geometry based on the evolution of math from the triangle.

Which character – as performed by Robert Blumenfeld – was your favorite?

not applicable

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no

Any additional comments?

Some great background and stories about how math developed from the Geometry of the Ancient Greeks, through non-Euclidean Geometry of Gauss, Riemann, etc., which set the stage for the math of Relativity and Quantum theories. Fascinating listen on audiobook. Not many charts or graphs, so you wouldn't miss much by listening in the car.
And you can download the pdf of accompanying illustrations anyway.

  • Dear Life

  • Stories
  • By: Alice Munro
  • Narrated by: Kimberly Farr, Arthur Morey
  • Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 281
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 236
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 229

A brilliant new collection of stories from one of the most acclaimed and beloved writers of our time. Alice Munro’s peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but always spacious and timeless stories is once again everywhere apparent in this brilliant new collection. In story after story, she illumines the moment a life is forever altered by a chance encounter or an action not taken, or by a simple twist of fate that turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into a new way of being or thinking.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Poor narration CAN ruin an audiobook...

  • By Elizabeth M. Koehler on 12-10-13

"Corrie" was the best storrie

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

Reviewed: 05-30-14

Any additional comments?

Many of the stories had little plot, but instead pivoted on a small realization.
I liked "Corrie" much better than the rest of the story because it had plot, excellent characterization, and a pivotal realization.
However, there was something more - effective use of the Unreliable Narrator (she adopts Howard's POV early on to give the reader information stated as fact, then later adopts Corrie's POV to state contradictory information as fact) to suggest a resolution that was never actually stated.
***(SPOILER ALERT)***

Many reviewers conclude (as Corrie apparently did) that Howard had been pocketing the blackmail money that supposedly was going to Sadie.
Let's assume that Sadie received that money and donated it to the church to pay for the new steeple, which Howard was then paid to design and build.
Remember how the parishioners all thought that Sadie was "a rare person", and they all knew who Corrie was, even though she didn't know them?

The deeper irony is that the new steeple was directly counter to the philosophy and wishes of Corrie's now-deceased father, who had hired the architect in the beginning of the story, which was how Howard the architect and Corrie met.
Remember how Corrie's father despised modern church buildings, and hired Howard to build a traditional one?
So, ultimately, the father's money paid for a steeple he would have despised.

  • Collected Fictions

  • By: Jorge Luis Borges, Andrew Hurley (translator)
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 5 hrs and 14 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 330
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 266
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 270

From his 1935 debut with "The Universal History of Iniquity", through his immensely influential collections Ficciones and The Aleph, these enigmatic, elaborate, imaginative inventions display Borges' talent for turning fiction on its head by playing with form and genre and toying with language.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Surprise: It's Abridged

  • By cole on 03-29-15

Fantastic!

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

Reviewed: 05-30-14

Any additional comments?

Borges is a master of paradox and magical mysteries. He expresses ideas that are way ahead of his time.
Occasionally he waxes a bit pedantic, but it doesn't interfere with the genius of his work overall.

Free: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty audiobook cover art
  • Free: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

  • By: James Thurber
  • Narrated by: Ben Stiller
  • Length: 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5,068
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4,501
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,533

Mild-mannered Walter Mitty is a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. This well-known and beloved tale has launched its famous protagonist into the cultural lexicon, warranting his inclusion in English-language dictionaries and countless anthologies. Stiller's imaginative performance as Mitty is the perfect re-introduction to the classic character and a great preface to the upcoming film, for longtime fans and new listeners alike.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • We Only Live Once. Or Do We?

  • By Dave on 12-04-13

Still Works

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

Reviewed: 05-30-14

Any additional comments?

Some think it is fashionable to say that inner dialog is undesirable in fiction.

Mitty still brings the inner life to life.

If you don't know what that means, it's the voice in your head saying
"What does that mean?"

  • The Intelligent Entrepreneur

  • By: Bill Murphy Jr.
  • Narrated by: Fred Berman, L. J. Ganser
  • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 975
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 653
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 653

In 1998, three Harvard Business School graduates - two men and one woman - turned down six-figure salaries at big corporations, bet on themselves, and launched their own new companies. By their 10-year reunion, their audacity had paid huge dividends. They'd made many millions of dollars, created hundreds of jobs and left their mark on the world. The Intelligent Entrepreneur tells the compelling and instructive story of how these three young founders did it.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing

  • By Mark on 11-04-10

cum se-quitor cum sa-wbones (title required)

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

Reviewed: 05-30-14

Any additional comments?

This book contained some high-level ideas, but never drilled down into what was involved in starting and running a business and making it profitable. Mostly it was war stories about Harvard Business School grads in their ventures to hit their numbers, make millions, and feel fulfilled for creating hundreds of jobs. Sometimes those jobs lasted, and paid well; sometimes they did not and made unreasonable demands on the people that worked them.Looking at it one way, Harvard Business School exists to train talented people to go out into the world and make it a better place by creating employment and technological improvements. Looking at it another way, HBS is a cross-section of people who become multimillionaires by working their asses off night and day, making tons of mistakes, burning through capital like paper in a blast furnace, and doing whatever they have to do to make their number!At times, the book seemed like one long advertisement for Harvard Business School.One of the best parts was the interview with the Entrepreneurs themselves at the end. They became more human at that point - not just two-dimensional hoop-jumpers.I found this book useful because it helped show me how to instill motivation in characters when writing a novel. Which is a form of entrepreneurship in itself.
This is the only reason I am not returning it to Audible for an exchange.