I generally like A. Lee Martinez's work. However, this one was too episodic for my tastes. It jumped from one scene to the next and felt like a bunch...moreI generally like A. Lee Martinez's work. However, this one was too episodic for my tastes. It jumped from one scene to the next and felt like a bunch of disconnected stories. Martinez's signature humor is there, but I had trouble with the story.
Scott Aiello did a terrific job of narrating. There was some real pathos in his voice as Mollusk talks about retiring as an evil warlord. He get's the character's smugness right too.(less)
It took me a really long time to get through the first half of this book. Once I did, it picked up a lot and went really quickly. I found the setting...moreIt took me a really long time to get through the first half of this book. Once I did, it picked up a lot and went really quickly. I found the setting fascinating--a depraved, degraded Arabic city where people change gender and personalities like I change shoes. Although it was written in 1987, it doesn't seem dated. In fact, it fits in with current science fiction better than the SF of 1987.
Jonathan Davis is the perfect narrator for this book. He does very well with books set in non-Western societies. He does accents well without sounding like he's faking it. He definitely does his homework with pronouncing non-English words. When Gravity Fails is the perfect venue for his strengths.(less)
Beggars in Spain is exactly the kind of science fiction I love. It's about people and society and the impact of scientific breakthroughs. It explores...moreBeggars in Spain is exactly the kind of science fiction I love. It's about people and society and the impact of scientific breakthroughs. It explores the big questions of humanity, justice and prejudice. It did run a bit longer than it should have, but the ending was satisfying. The best thing about this novel is that it's a stand-alone. That's becoming so rare in SF&F that it's very refreshing.(less)
I already had The Martian Chronicles on my GoodReads shelf with a four star rating. That was nostalgia. I read all of Bradbury's work when I was in ju...moreI already had The Martian Chronicles on my GoodReads shelf with a four star rating. That was nostalgia. I read all of Bradbury's work when I was in junior high and loved it all with a love that only a 13 year-old can muster. Fast forward nearly forty years and I got a copy of the audiobook for $4.95 through one of Audible's sales. It turns out that I'd forgotten nearly the entire book. I didn't realize that it was a collection of short stories. I didn't realize that there are about 5 different kinds of aboriginal Martians. I didn't realize that the book makes very little sense. I didn't realize that Bradbury's fascination with the government burning things wasn't limited to Fahrenheit 451.
There are parts of the book that are beautiful and poetic. However, the stories are extremely dated and they are very inconsistent. My older self just couldn't muster the love for this book that my younger self had.(less)
Justin Cronin has done a really good job of turning the vampire mythos upside down. While The Passage focused primarily on humanity and their response...moreJustin Cronin has done a really good job of turning the vampire mythos upside down. While The Passage focused primarily on humanity and their response to vampires created by a top-secret government experiment, The Twelve steps back and shows us what was going on with the virals. It has so many twists and turns that it feels like a roller coaster ride.
I did have trouble following the story in audiobook format. The narrator was good, but there are so many different characters that I wished I had been able to flip back to refresh my memory many times. I recommend this book, but stick with text.(less)
This is a really good addition to the Odd Thomas series. It's meant to be a small bite in between the larger meals of the novels. It really should be...moreThis is a really good addition to the Odd Thomas series. It's meant to be a small bite in between the larger meals of the novels. It really should be read before Odd Apocalypse even though it was released later.
I have read most of these books in print except for this and Odd Apocalypse. David Aaron Baker does a terrific job capturing Odd's strange combination of youth and wisdom. Odd is always making profound observations on the world around him and Baker makes it seem completely natural. I will definitely be continuing this series in audio format.(less)
I fell in love with David Brin back in 1985 when a co-worker turned me on to Startide Rising. That book was so phenomenal, I started reading every boo...moreI fell in love with David Brin back in 1985 when a co-worker turned me on to Startide Rising. That book was so phenomenal, I started reading every book I could get my hands on. I loved it all. In 1993, I was able to go to a book signing for Glory Season. I found that Brin is an extremely well-read man who manages to juggle an astounding number of ideas in his head. In 2002, he released Kiln People, I book that took me a couple of attempts to get through and which I really disliked. However, I considered that a one-off and have spent 10 years waiting for him to redeem himself. Well, the wait was over in June of this year and it wasn't worth it.
Existence is a giant mess of a novel. I don't know how the editing process was left out. You can tell that Brin is one of those super-intelligent people who has a lot of ideas and a lot to say. However, he didn't need to try cramming it all into one novel. There isn't any subject matter he doesn't tackle in this book, usually in long-running commentary that has nothing to do with the story. He has too many POV characters and plot lines. He drops characters and their stories without resolution. 3/4 of the way into the book, he jumps ahead 26 years and it becomes a totally different book. Like I said, it's a giant mess. There were some story lines I really enjoyed, but he would just drop them and not go back.
In some ways, this seems to be a prequel to the Uplift series, but it's different enough to not be. I'm really not sure what he intended with the throwaway uplift plot that was only semi-followed. I would have liked to have seen more of that.
As far as the audio production goes, I have to say that Robin Miles is one of the best female narrators out there. She can bring just about anything to life and more than carried her sections. The male narrators were a different story. One of them was okay and one was just awful. I don't know which was which though because I've never hear either of them before. The one who did the Hamish and Gerald sequences was really terrible. He'd read really fast and you could hear him suck in his breath when he ran out of air in the middle of sentences. It was really annoying. Towards the end, Hamish meets up with a male Jamaican professor and the narrator is so terrible that Robin Miles has to step in and do the professor's dialogue. It was really disturbing considering the character was male and she's obviously female. If the male narrator couldn't do a Jamaican accent, just an ordinary voice would have been less disturbing.
I probably would have given this one star if it weren't for the fairly interesting premise and for Robin Miles' outstanding performance. Sadly, I am probably never going to buy any of David Brin's books again. This was just too disappointing.(less)
This is a really good example of a great idea that's poorly executed. It really needed more of a plot, better continuity, drama, character development...moreThis is a really good example of a great idea that's poorly executed. It really needed more of a plot, better continuity, drama, character development, or something. Just choosing one of those elements would have elevated The Long Earth to something special. As it was, it just kept reminding me of Ozzie's journey on the Silfen roads in Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga. At times, it seemed like I was re-reading those books but not enjoying it as much.
I gave this book two stars based on the GoodReads definition of "it was ok". I wish it had risen above that.
As far as the audio production goes, it seems to me that a book that is primarily about American characters should have an American narrator. Michael Fenton-Stevens is a very good narrator, but he just wasn't a very good fit for this book. Just because the authors are English doesn't mean the narrator has to be.(less)
I probably would have loved this book when I was twelve. It has all the elements that would have excited my imagination in junior high. However, my mi...moreI probably would have loved this book when I was twelve. It has all the elements that would have excited my imagination in junior high. However, my middle-aged self felt like I had read it many, many times already. Westerfeld does a great job of imagining his alternate history and the beasties are terrific. The three star rating is simply my jaded self talking.
As for the narration, Alan Cumming does a great job with the voices. I never had any trouble figuring out who was talking or which viewpoint character I was following. Deryn and Alek were very well differentiated. However, I felt like he was narrating for an audience much younger than the target audience for the book. He was over-the-top dramatic, especially for the action sequences. I don't know if teen listeners would appreciate that level of dramatization, but a third grade audience would love it.(less)