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Ron Lubovich

Uranus
  • 9
  • reviews
  • 24
  • helpful votes
  • 79
  • ratings
  • Too Like the Lightning

  • Terra Ignota, Book 1
  • By: Ada Palmer
  • Narrated by: Jefferson Mays
  • Length: 20 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 476
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 433
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 435

Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer - a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding story, if a bit inaccessible at times

  • By Ron Lubovich on 10-15-16

Outstanding story, if a bit inaccessible at times

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

Reviewed: 10-15-16

The world created by Ada Palmer is rich and inventive. This book is not military SF and it's not space opera. It's a deliberate meditation on philosophy, morality, humanity, and seemingly impossible intimations of the divine. The narrator's obfuscations and turns invested me emotionally, repeatedly wrenching with each new revelation.

The only complaint I have is that this book might not be the best for audiobooks. I started it three times before realizing that this is not a book you can passively listen to while at work or engaged in activities. The prose requires your focused mind as it intentionally captures the tone and cadence of historical philosophers. Completing it was a challenge due to its length, its emotionally convulsive revelations, and the prose style. But it's one of those rare books that will be with me for years.

I am fully invested in Bridger, Mycroft, Carlisle, and Thisby's lives. Cannot wait for the second book.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Crooked

  • By: Austin Grossman
  • Narrated by: Kiff VandenHeuvel
  • Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 128
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 118
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 119

Richard Milhous Nixon lived one of the most improbable lives of the 20th century. He faced down the Russians, the Chinese, and, ultimately, his own government. The man went from political mastermind to a national joke, sobbing in the Oval Office, leaving us with one burning question: How could he have lost it all? Here, for the first time, is the tale told in his own words: the terrifying supernatural secret he stumbled upon as a young man, the truth behind the Cold War, and the truth behind the Watergate cover-up.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I'm speechless, but I have to write something.

  • By Jonathan on 09-08-15

And amusing exploration of an alternate version of Nixon, but lacking in plot substance

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

Reviewed: 12-08-15

I walked away from this book feeling like I've been given a really great exploration of a hypothetical Nixon character, and not the redemptive version that's talked about in the book's synopsis. This is still the redbaiting, almost sociopathic, power-hungry vision of Nixon. It's more like a fantasy exploration of what if the Nixon we knew had faced the ancient ones. Very amusing, but the supernatural elements in the story are completely underdeveloped. They indicate at conspiracies and myths instead of exploring and fleshing them out.

The narrator does an exceptional job, and the character development is superb, but the end of the book did leave me feeling like something was substantially missing.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Beam: Season 1

  • By: Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant
  • Narrated by: Johnny Heller, Tara Sands, Ralph Lister, and others
  • Length: 18 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 676
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 629
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 626

The world's old political borders have dissolved. The NAU is civilization's carcass, a nation ruled by two political parties: Enterprise, the sink-or-swim party where each party member has no one else to blame for their starvation or astronomical wealth; and Directorate, whose members have a guaranteed safety net but can never rise above their station.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sheer entertainment

  • By cristina on 07-09-15

SF tech noir burdened with clichéd and gratuitous "edginess"

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

Reviewed: 08-17-15

This book strikes me as though someone wanted to merge the ambiguous characters and near cyberpunk realities of Philip K Dick with the darkness found modern crime literature. One would hope for something that almost comes across like Warren Ellis. Unfortunately for the reader, the end result is not inventive and is so burdened with the need to be gritty that it doesn't bother to tell because I'm believable story with and it was I believe the world

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Fabulous Riverboat

  • Riverworld Saga, Book 2
  • By: Philip José Farmer
  • Narrated by: Paul Hecht
  • Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 272
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 182
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 185

The second entry in the Riverworld series, The Fabulous Riverboat tells of a world where all of humanity has been mysteriously resurrected on the banks of one mighty river. Samuel Clemens (a.k.a.Mark Twain) is tasked with finding a fallen meteorite and using its ore to build a massive riverboat. But in order to succeed, he'll have to outwit some of history's most nefarious villains.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Follow-up

  • By T. Leed on 10-26-09

Poor science and arbitrary character development..

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

Reviewed: 04-01-15

This book had potential, but the author became just as enamored with this impossible riverboat as his protagonist did. And when you see how pointless that all was by the end, it leaves you feeling as though you wasted a credit on a story that did not advance the larger Riverworld narrative. I wish I'd skipped this one entirely.

Specific issues: The riverboat's assets and amenities make no sense without a large, industrial civilization. Samuel Clemens is not used to any great effect, his character seems to be little more than a cheap method for the author to make constant quips. The smartest character in the story is a protohuman. This book lessened the larger mystery by placing it in such an ungrounded context. The only major developments dealing with the "Ethicals" bring nothing that wasn't already given at the end of the first novel.

  • How to Train Your Dragon

  • By: Cressida Cowell
  • Narrated by: David Tennant
  • Length: 3 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,515
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,378
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,374

Chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as he tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan, the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, by catching and training a dragon.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Yell Loudly.

  • By Teresa on 08-06-14

I like David Tenant, but not for this.

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

Reviewed: 03-22-15

This book great listening with the kids, but the narration is too animated for comfortable listening. Tenant needs to be less dramatic and kinder to the audience's ears as the volume fluctuations make it hard to listen to without riding the volume buttons the whole time.

The story is excellent and is unique to the film, while still echoing all the important character traits and themes of the films. It is darker than the films, but this isn't so ad that it's a problem.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Biblical: A Novel

  • By: Christopher Galt
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 12 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 63
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 58

A strange phenomenon is sweeping the globe. People are having visions, seeing angels, experiencing events that defy reality. Bizarre accounts pour in from distant places: a French teenager claims to have witnessed Joan of Arc being burned at the stake; a man in New York dies of malnutrition in a luxurious Central Park apartment; a fundamentalist Christian sect kidnaps and murders a geneticist.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I so wanted to love this book!

  • By Kathy on 10-08-14

Fascinating ideas, questionable novel?

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

Reviewed: 10-30-14

Would you try another book from Christopher Galt and/or Ray Porter?

I would just for the fact that this novel was a fun exploration of ideas related to the simulation hypothesis of our reality.

What did you like best about this story?

The story was less interesting than the philosophical exposition. The characters were somewhat flat, without personality. The novel is essentially an excuse to explore the simulation hypothesis of cosmology through the form of a thin narrative. The vast majority of the content in this novel falls under one of two categories: 1.) Cataloguing hallucination experiences; 2.) Expository dialog about quantum physics and philosophy.

Did Biblical: A Novel inspire you to do anything?

Not really. If these ideas were new to you, this book might blow your mind. However, as a student of this kind of thing, I found that I saw the ending coming half way through.

Any additional comments?

I would like to see these authors dive deeper into these waters but to focus more on showing their story through character, plot, and developments rather than couching it so intensely in exposition.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Wind Through the Keyhole

  • The Dark Tower
  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Stephen King
  • Length: 10 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,915
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5,449
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,421

In The Wind Through the Keyhole, Stephen King has returned to the rich landscape of Mid-World. This story within a story within a story finds Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last gunslinger, in his early days during the guilt-ridden year following his mother’s death. Sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape-shifter, a "skin-man", Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, a brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An exceptional story, but I miss George Guidall.

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-25-12

Do you like suffering children? Stephen King does

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

Reviewed: 03-29-13

Would you consider the audio edition of The Wind Through the Keyhole to be better than the print version?

No. Stephen King is only engaging as a narrator if you are obsessed with his voice. The only thing that makes it better than the print edition is hearing King pronounce words from his custom, Dark Tower lexicon. My curiosity is settled on a few words.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The tax man was pretty compelling.

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

Monotonous.

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

It's not that kind of book. I never feel "moved" by SK.

Any additional comments?

I go to Dark Tower because I like the genre mashing between the fantasy, the western, and the postapocalyptic SF.

  • The Sparrow

  • By: Mary Doria Russell
  • Narrated by: David Colacci
  • Length: 15 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,394
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,083
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,084

Emilio Sandoz is a remarkable man, a living saint and Jesuit priest who undergoes an experience so harrowing and profound that it makes him question the existence of God. This experience - the first contact between human beings and intelligent extraterrestrial life - begins with a small mistake and ends in a horrible catastrophe.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superbly Written and Thought-provoking

  • By Jim N on 08-15-12

A modern SF classic with moral complexity

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

Reviewed: 03-29-13

What did you like best about this story?

I liked how this tale of first contact went incredibly wrong due to human nature, our inability to understand something truly alien to our perspective. Too often in SF, alien species end up being anthropomorphic projections of human expectation. The worldbuilding is complex and believable. The characters are real people whose suffering has meaning, and boy do they suffer. It is tragedy porn, to a certain extent, like Connie Willis' novels, but the best literature often falls in this category. The author is unafraid of moral complexity, something usually lacking in genre fiction where the villains are usually clearly evil and the heroes' virtue outshines all the darkness. This novel shows the folly of the arrogance of even the most benevolent of our species.

What does David Colacci bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He accentuates the tension of the protagonist exquisitely.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

AMC is thinking of making a TV show out of this.

"Most depressingly brilliant SF show ever."

"It's like John Carter of Mars, but with interspecial rape."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Robopocalypse

  • A Novel
  • By: Daniel H. Wilson
  • Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
  • Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,242
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,811
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,824

In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication. In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans - a single mother, a lonely Japanese bachelor, and an isolated U.S. soldier....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • OMG! The hyperbole is the GREATEST EVER!!!!!

  • By Raxxillion on 07-15-11

This is why engineers don't write good fiction

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

Reviewed: 03-29-13

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

While I would say that I enjoyed some of the conceptual work that went in to developing the various autonomous thinking machines, I found the plot to be pedestrian and filled with 2 dimensional substitutes for characters. The book seemed a genre exploitation book. I get the impression that this author takes a concept, then does a little world-building, throws a few names in to run them through the gauntlet of his plot, and then calls it a day. It's like a video game plot in a lot of ways. There is no pathos whatsoever. One or two more drafts with some constructive criticism, and this could have been a far better novel.

Would you ever listen to anything by Daniel H. Wilson again?

Maybe the forthcoming sequel, but it will have to be a marked improvement (according to critics) over the first novel.

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

I will not likely be seeing the Spielberg adaptation as I just was not that impressed with the story or the worldbuilding.