Reviews of Sci-fi Audio Books
Readers: Bernadette Dunne, Katie MacNichol, and Mark Bramhall
Short Review: This is a great book, but the audio version has a flaw that really annoyed me. I want a re-cut, just for me, sans music. I doubt I'll get it.
Short Review: A beautiful autumn day in the small town of Chester's Mill, Maine is interrupted by a clear impenetrable dome which cuts it off from the outside world. Our story carries us along to meet a broad cast of local characters. Great reader and a captivating (but long) story.
Reader: Carolyn McCormick
Short Review: Creative, captivating and intense young-adult drama with a strong 16-year-old female protagonist and set in a brutal far-future. Decent reader, but I kept wishing for a bit more emotion in her reading. That said, the story was so captivating that I couldn't stop listening!
Readers: Scott Brick, Amanda Karr, Christian Noble, Karesa McElheny and Stefan Rudnicki (with a cameo by Theodore Bikel)
Short Review: Well-woven story set in a not-too-distant-future full of corporate intrigue and environmental chaos, both on earth and in colonized outer space. The amazing readers bring our cast of characters to life - I highly recommend it and am scheming for when I can start the next book in the sequence.
Reader: Michael Shanks
Short Review: Star crossed lovers set in an intricately woven universe including space ships, elements of magic and linguistics. The reader needed someone to insist on better pacing in an otherwise very solid performance.
Reader: Oliver Wyman, Tavia Gilbert, William Dufris, Neal Stephenson
Short Review: A pretty good but overly long book from one of my favorite authors, read less-than-ideally. This alternate future tale depicts a world where the intellectual elite are forcibly cloistered in pseudo-monastic communities around the world where they're free to think and learn but denied access to many technologies and to "saecular," (i.e., non-intellectual) society. The protagonist Fraa Erasmus is layered and likeable, but the book could stand to lose a couple of hundred pages and the narration isn't as good as it should be. In this instance, I think I would have preferred the paper book to the audio book.
Reader: Stephen Briggs
Short Review: Another very entertaining Discworld novel read wonderfully by Stephen Briggs. This story follows forcible-reformed former con-artist Moist von Lipwig (a.k.a. Albert Spangler) as he attempts to reform the Ankh-Morpork post office at the behest of Lord Vetinari. The story teems with great characters, intrigue, technomancy, bureaucracy, golems, ponzi schemes, small gods, mail, stamps, secret societies, and a pirate.
Reader: Peter Riegert
Extra features: The audiobook includes an interview with Michael Chabon about his inspiration for the book, his favorite books and genres, and his writing process.
Short Review: Chabon's Hugo and Nebula award-winning alternate history of a world without Israel but with a temporary Jewish homeland in Sitka, Alaska. Hard-boiled detective Meyer Landsman investigates the murder of a junkie chess-player with his partner and cousin Berko Shemets, a half-Tlingit, half-Jewish cop who is a good father, a good Jew, and a good partner trying to save Landsman from himself. As the case progresses, more and more connections to organized crime, shady US government machinations, separatist Orthodox communities, and zealotry reveal themselves. Riegert is an ideal reader, comfortable with accents, Yiddish, noir, and sadness.
Read by: Neil Gaiman
Short Review: A solid book of short stories read beautifully by the author.
The Host: A Novel
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Reader: Kate Reading
Short Review: Meyer's first foray into sci-fi is very satisfying. Officially an adult novel (in contrast with the young adult label applied to the Twilight series) The Host explores a post-invasion world from the perspective of one of the invaders. It is well written, well read and is still haunting me weeks after I finished listening.
Author: Douglas Adams
Reader: Martin Freeman
Short Review: A good reading of my least favorite book in the series.
Long Review: The disappearance of Fenchurch, the appearance of Random, the multiple Trillians–it’s all too much, and too dark …
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Author: Douglas Adams
Reader: Martin Freeman
Short Review: Another decent reading of a book I love, which suffers by comparison to the Stephen Frye reading of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…