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webtraverser

Northern Virginia
  • 9
  • reviews
  • 12
  • helpful votes
  • 76
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  • The Gone World

  • By: Tom Sweterlitsch
  • Narrated by: Brittany Pressley
  • Length: 13 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 460
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 422
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 423

Shannon Moss is part of a clandestine division within the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. In Western Pennsylvania, 1997, she is assigned to solve the murder of a Navy SEAL's family - and to locate his teenage daughter, who has disappeared. Though she can't share the information with conventional law enforcement, Moss discovers that the missing SEAL was an astronaut aboard the spaceship USS Libra - a ship assumed lost to the darkest currents of Deep Time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What an amazing find!

  • By Veronica on 03-07-18

Very inventive and creative story with a hiccup

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

Reviewed: 10-10-18

Like other reviews I agree this was a great find. Really unexpected. It reminded me a lot of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, with the its interesting take on time travel. There is one problem with it that kind of let me down though and hence the reason for not getting the 5 stars across the board.
It was fantastic to find a story in which the main character is a woman. Not just the main character either, women were in key roles throughout the story. I give it high marks for it. Tired of stories about male characters in these kind of stories. Also, as a character she is fantastic and amazingly logically consistent; she rarely (if ever) makes stupid mistakes that characters in these kind of books often do.
Not going to get into the specifics that spoil the story, however, I will mention one issue I had with it that taint it

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In the final act of the story you will realize how it will probably end (if not the specific but the general type of ending) and I was fine with that; some could find it depressing. But then there is an epilogue that kind shifts the general idea of the story. So, once again we have a story where science and exploration lead to the end of the world and the only way not to succumb is to end up living traditional stereotypical lives. So like many books it collapses on its own weight.
Still many will probably love the ending and think it is great. I guess it really will depend on what you expect from the story. I just don't feel like he took the effort and care with the ending as he did with the rest of story.
Even with my complaints, it is still a well executed story that is worth to listening to, especially if you like time travel.

  • Planetfall

  • By: Emma Newman
  • Narrated by: Emma Newman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 451
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 418
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 418

More than 20 years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided alone. Ren has worked hard as the colony's 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment - and harboring a devastating secret.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Made me think about the theme for a while. .

  • By Bertito on 12-26-15

Lots of potential that might leaving you wanting.

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

Reviewed: 02-01-17

Minor spoilers but nothing too specific.

The world building in book is fantastic. She really created a world that seemed real and lived in. Her characters were also very good and I enjoyed the interplay. However, I found that she cared about about her characters more than the plot.

There is as (I can attest to working with people with OCD and hoarding syndrome) one of the best depictions of someone who has OCD hoarding syndrome. It was great and relatively integral to the plot resolution. I found it a bit too much at times and it was difficult to get through, still worth it.

So why the 2 stars. Mostly because I can't give it 2.5 stars. The ending really let me down. When the tension starts to break and the "truth" is revealed, the story really picks up and is very good. However, just as quickly as it becomes so good it completely falls apart gain and gives an ending that leaves you wanting a lot more. There is an immediate conflict that is just left hanging. I get why the author did it but I didn't like it.

I still would recommend if only for the portrayal of someone with a hoarding syndrome and you are okay with ambiguous endings

  • Version Control

  • A Novel
  • By: Dexter Palmer
  • Narrated by: January LaVoy
  • Length: 18 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 636
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 593
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 593

Rebecca Wright has reclaimed her life, finding her way out of her grief and depression following a personal tragedy years ago. She spends her days working in customer support for the Internet dating site where she first met her husband. But she has a strange, persistent sense that everything around her is somewhat off-kilter: She constantly feels as if she has walked into a room and forgotten what she intended to do there; on TV, the president seems to be the wrong person in the wrong place; her dreams are full of disquiet.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Phildickian World and More

  • By serialnumber55 on 03-06-16

A very different kind of Time Travel story

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

Reviewed: 04-29-16

As some have said, it is hard to talk about this novel without talking about the details. The story is slow burn and there is not much "sci-fi" in it. If you are looking for an in your face kind of time travel story this is not for you. If you like a subtler type of story that has rich and detailed characters, give it a try.I thought he nailed the end perfectly.
January LaVoy is fantastic. I will have search out other audio books by her.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Kraken Project

  • Wyman Ford, Book 4
  • By: Douglas Preston
  • Narrated by: Scott Sowers
  • Length: 12 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 583
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 535
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 535

NASA is building a probe to be splashed down in the Kraken Mare, the largest sea on Saturn’s great moon, Titan. It is one of the most promising habitats for extraterrestrial life in the solar system, but the surface is unpredictable and dangerous, requiring the probe to contain artificial intelligence software. To this end, Melissa Shepherd, a brilliant programmer, has developed "Dorothy", a powerful, self-modifying AI whose true potential is both revolutionary and terrifying. When miscalculations lead to a catastrophe during testing, Dorothy flees into the Internet.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Dorothy needs to be sucked up by a tornado

  • By Kelly Howard on 05-30-14

Computer Professionals Beware

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

Reviewed: 06-11-14

There are many issues with this book and while it is not the worst of the his solos novels (that would be Blasphemy) it is right down at the bottom of the barrel.
(minor spoilers)
First off, if you work with engineering or developing software your suspension of disbelief is going to have to do some heavy lifting. The AI is pretty much a fanciful creation. He does attempt explain why such an AI is impossible but he can't deliver on how the AI is able to over come these intractable issues to be conscious. Oh, he does give a reason ("one simple trick") but it is super super silly.

Daemon and Freedom by Daniel Suarez handle the concept much better.

Second, the antagonists in the story was super weak. In this case, all readers' suspension of disbelief will have to do some heavy lifting. (again spoilers). I found it hard to believe that the Wall Street banker was so smart to make a billion dollars but also so stupid to kill people he had meet and other people new he had met. They left so much evidence behind it was just absurd. This is just an example of some week writing. It would be much more interesting for the bad guys to figure out ways of killing people that would draw less attention to themselves. Plotting is import.

I like Wyman but it seams with each book we get less of him. He wasn't necessary for this story at all. He seemed like a tourist.

Preston attempted to give the other characters some depth but I never bought it. Most of his characters were pretty unlikable or annoying or worse just plain boring.

I did like seeing Tom Broadbent back again. Also I thought reader was pretty good. And thankfully it was short; speed listened to it a day.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Strindberg's Star

  • By: Jan Wallentin, Rachel Willson-Broyles (translator)
  • Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
  • Length: 13 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 4

The Arctic, 1897: Nils Strindberg crashes his hydrogen balloon during the mysterious Andrée Expedition to the North Pole. Germany, 1942: Gruesome and inexplicable experiments are performed on concentration-camp prisoners. Sweden, present-day: Cave diver Erik Hall finds a dead body wearing an ancient ankh, buried deep in an abandoned mine. Religious symbol expert Don Titelman seeks out Erik to study the ankh, but finds Erik dead. Don is the prime suspect, and soon he's being chased across Europe.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Mix Bag.

  • By webtraverser on 11-19-13

A Mix Bag.

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

Reviewed: 11-19-13

I like stories with crazy plots like James Rollins or Preston & Child. They fall into the pulp tradition and no one would confuse them with great literature. Dan Brown falls in that category too but I draw the line at reading Dan Brown because to me his stuff is just boring.

This books aims for something more literary. In some ways it is a character study. Sadly the main character is a bit boring. The plot often moves at glacial speeds and in fact I stopped listening for months before recently finishing it up. I am glad I did because the payoff was quite satisfying.

One pleasant surprise was when the Nazi's show up (common for these types of stories) it is done in a most original way.

The audio book has two parts (you know, "to make the download faster"). The first third of the first download is good. It gets then gets real slow for awhile only to finally pick up again in the second download. My listening to it at 1.5x speed might have added to it moving along better in the second part, If I was doing the faster speed when I listened to the first download I might have liked it better. Not all readers sound good at increased speed but this reader was quite good.

I think if you like thrillers with mixed in "unearthed arcana" and don't mind listening to higher speeds I would say it is worth a listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • It's Even Worse Than It Looks

  • How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism
  • By: Thomas E. Mann, Norman J. Ornstein
  • Narrated by: William Hughes
  • Length: 6 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 268
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 231
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 233

Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein identify two overriding problems that have led Congress—and the United States—to the brink of institutional collapse. But they offer a panoply of useful ideas and reforms, endorsing some solutions, like greater public participation and institutional restructuring, while debunking others, like independent or third-party candidates. Above all, they call on the media as well as the public to focus on the true causes of dysfunction rather than just throwing the bums out every election cycle.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A No-Nonsense Look at our Current Political Crisis

  • By Scott on 09-03-12

Still a good read even though election is over.

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

Reviewed: 11-12-12

Would you consider the audio edition of It's Even Worse Than It Looks to be better than the print version?

Not sure.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Not applicable.

What about William Hughes’s performance did you like?

He was good reader.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No extreme reaction but it did help with focusing my ideas and thoughts on how politics works today.

Any additional comments?

This is a worth a read by anyone interested in learning about why our political system is so screwed up. Spolier Alert: one party is more to blame than the other and yes that would be the Republican party.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Kraken

  • By: China Mieville
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 16 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 963
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 670
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 668

With this outrageous new novel, China Miéville has written one of the strangest, funniest, and flat-out scariest books you will read this—or any other—year. The London that comes to life in Kraken is a weird metropolis awash in secret currents of myth and magic, where criminals, police, cultists, and wizards are locked in a war to bring about—or prevent—the End of All Things.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A New Favorite Author

  • By Caveat Emptor on 10-23-10

A Literary Chimera

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

Reviewed: 04-27-12

What did you love best about Kraken?

I liked Mieville's deft use of humor and absurdity. The story, while completely original, was assembled from tropes of multiple genre's. From sci-fi to fantasy and from whodunit to horror, he kept the listener wondering what literary DNA he would splice in next. The story and plot were top notch, never slowing and very tight, the characters had a surprising depth, and most importantly it all held together for something very rare indeed: the satisfying ending.

What other book might you compare Kraken to and why?

Anything by Douglas Adams or Neil Gaiman but that's pretty much expected. More violent than either of them but certainly of their ilk.

What about John Lee???s performance did you like?

John Lee was perfect. His range of characters was impressive and his voice was incredible.

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

No spoilers here but there is a bit about Star Trek matter transportation technology that was quite poignant.

  • The Geographer's Library

  • By: Jon Fasman
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 15 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 122
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 32

When a 12-century Sicilian cat burglar snatches a sack of artifacts from the king's geographer's library, the tools and talismans of transmutation, and eternal life, are soon scattered all over the world. Nine hundred years later, a young Connecticut reporter finds evidence that someone is collecting them again.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • The Geographers Library

  • By Brenda on 02-22-05

So Much Promise, So Little Delivered

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-14-06

I have to say I looked forward to this one. I like these type of mysteries and I thought this one might be good. Saddly, I realized too late that Fasman never really had a story to tell. On the face of it, it sort of tells the story of a library's contents, which are good little vignettes. However, there are only the most superficial connections with the characters in the present day. I was not a fan of the Da Vinic Code but at least it had a plot; I really couldn't find one here. The descriptions of the items from the library seem to come out of nowhere. Also, the significance of the artifacts is not clear. Fasman had some interesting characters but I found myself feeling nothing for the "narrator" and couldn't have cared less if he died. When I read, or in this case listen, to a story, I want to be changed by the story and this story left me unaffected. In closing a real waste of time.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • State of Fear

  • By: Michael Crichton
  • Narrated by: George Wilson
  • Length: 18 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,094
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,437
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,443

Once again Michael Crichton gives us his trademark combination of page-turning suspense, cutting-edge technology, and extraordinary research. State of Fear is a superb blend of edge-of-your-seat suspense and thought provoking commentary on how information is manipulated in the modern world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Did I read the same book as some of you?

  • By F on 10-05-05

Not a good outing

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-17-05

Not Cricton's best outing. I have to say I was somewhat disappointed with this listen. I know that when you are reading Cricton you are not reading him for his character development. Still his plots are very good and his science is always interesting. This time around his plot was bad. By far the weakest one I can remember. That left just very unlikeable characters. I think I may have read that he doesn't care much what his characters think but in this book he seemed to spend a lot time in his characters' minds and yet we know almost nothing about their motivations and desires. Add that to an unusual weak plot and you have quite possibly Crichton's worst effort. Still some of the 'factual'information is interesting and I will be looking up his sources when I see a hard copy of the book.
As for the production, this was by far the worst I ever listen to. One should not be hearing the readers stomach noises. If I had bought it in the store I would have returned it and next time it happens on Audible, I will demand a restored credit or a least a verison that is acceptable to listen to.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful