Forbidden the Stars At the end of the 21st century, a catastrophic accident in the asteroid belt has left two surveyors dead. There is no trace of their young son, Alex Manez, or of the asteroid itself. On the outer edge of the solar system, the first manned mission to Pluto, led by the youngest female astronaut in NASA history, has led to an historic discovery: there is a marker left there by an alien race for humankind to find. We are not alone! While studying the alien marker, it begins to react. Four hours later, the missing asteroid appears in a Plutonian orbit, along with young Alex Manez, who has developed some alarming side-effects from his exposure to the kinetic element they call Kinemet. From the depths of a criminal empire based on Luna, an expatriate seizes the opportunity to wrest control of outer space, and takes swift action.The secret to faster-than-light speed is up for grabs, and the race for interstellar space begins!
Music of the Spheres
The technology for interstellar flight exists through the power of Kinemet, but the key to unlocking its code lies in a thousand-year-old scroll left on Earth by an alien species.When the ancient manual is stolen before a full translation is completed, Alex, Michael and Justine scramble to recover it.Along the way, they stumble on an interplanetary conspiracy and uncover a secret that shatters their view of life and shakes the very foundations of our existence.
For a thousand years the Kulsat Armada has ravaged the galaxy searching for the lost legacy of an extinct race of technologically advanced beings. They destroy anyone who gets in their way.Now they have turned their attention to Earth and are gathering their forces for an invasion.Justine, Michael and Alex each hold a key to stopping the enemy, but they are worlds away from each other, and they are running out of time...
©2014 Valmore Daniels (P)2014 Valmore Daniels
Dear audible, you need to stop making sound effects in audiobooks a thing. They are irritating and distracting! Great story though the authors fantastic well worth a read/listen
At the end of chapters the is a high pitch multi tone. The sound level of this noise is much higher than that of the narration and if you are listening through headphones can be quit painful. There is no warning as to when this will occour so you tend to be listening for, and trying to guess when, the end of the chapter is about to happen so I can turn the volume down. I was listening to the story on the train, and when the end of chapter noise happened, every body in the compartment turned to look, it was annoying them as well as me.
"Good series, and priced right"
Nicely put together story with characters you like. The writing is simple but the characters are real. What I like best about the books is that Audible offers all three books in the series for the price of one credit. Please Audible start doing that more frequently for the older Sci Fi series!
"Enjoyable story. Good narration. Horrid production"
The Interstellar Age is an enjoyable read, with a few missteps along the way. Set in the late 21st century Earth has set up a lunar station and are out mining and exploring the galaxy. Space travel is still fairly slow, although much quicker than current travel, taking 6 months to head out to Pluto. The various countries of Earth still exist in a shape similar to what we know now, but have all incorporated to become a series of large companies - America Corp, Canada Corp etc. (and yet it doesn't appear to have ever been mergers of these companies. wouldnt poor 'companies' be swallowed by rich ones?)
And then (which is the story this book follows) someone discovers the trick to light speed travel and the universe is opened up.
In many ways (the child character, the space mining, and other things) this book reminds me of Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston's Formic War series (prequels to Ender's Game). The central idea of the book - there are aliens out there and they are leaving markers behind to help us move forward - reminds me of 2001 A Space Odyssey. Overall it presents and enjoyable and interesting story of space travel, political (corporate?) intrigue and survival.
The 2nd and 3rd book in the series (also part of this set) continue the Orson Scott Card feel in some ways, but no necessarily the best ways. The 'science of space travel' in the book end up in a not dissimilar place to the space travel in Card's Xenocide or Dan Simmon's 'Rise of Endymion' both of which I enjoyed but found extremely silly.
Stylistically there is no one style to the book – it switches between general 3rd person narration, to reports, to news broadcasts, to 1st person diary entries, back to 3rd person etc. The continually switching does not harm the book, but it does make it a little strange. Some of the styles work better than others, such as some of the 1st person diary entries don’t feel like they ring true.
Other minor issues exist throughout that drew me out of the story – some of the technology is much more advanced but much feels less than we have now. At one point it is mentioned that a character can give verbal commands to a computer but the computer cannot respond verbally. My phone can currently respond verbally to commands, so in 80 years from now I would expect that computers could do. Another thing like this was the cars on Earth – no automation or self-driving. Someone was getting picked up by their wife. Another had to work out the best way to get around traffic.
Each book skips forward a decade or so, but we don’t see much change in technology really.
A news report mentions that religion doesn’t exist anymore, something I cannot imagine being slightly a realistic prediction for 80 years’ time. It not really explained how or why all governments are incorporated, it’s just said and we are supposed to take it as a given. This is again something I cannot see happening in 80 years. These two things, to me, don’t make sense in light of where we as a society currently are and where we have come from, and the way humans act and think.
Still, the issues aside, I enjoyed the book.
And then we come to the narration. Dave Wright does okay. He generally gets inflection right (although one point there was a line a character said followed by the narrator saying something like "his voice dripping with sarcasm", yet Wright hadn’t actually delivered the line sarcastically.), he provides different voices for characters and provides a range of accents.
However the audio production is horrid. Between each chapter and each change of scene within a chapter there is an R2D2-ish beeping noise. Highly annoying and made me struggle to actually continue. When reading what the computers says (which, remember, isn’t said aloud but just displayed on the screen) he uses a distortion to make it sound robotic. 100 years from now and they can't make a non-robotic voice? My phone or GPS doesn’t sound robotic now. There were many other things like this throughout the book - effects and modifications that were annoying, drew you out of the story or just plain didn’t make sense.
"whats with the beeps"
bad character voicing, should stick to just reading the story
anger, whats with the beeps at every chapter
can't use earphones to listen to this book, would go deaf with the beeps between chapters
"A scifi adventure I wish I had read, not heard"
I'll be honest, I loved the setting, the characters, the writing. It's a steal getting the three books in one. I wish I had read the book instead of listening to it, however. The production of this audiobook almost ruined a great story and that would have been an incredible shame.
I'm going to chime in with many of the reviewers and complain about the incredibly terrible production choices of this book. Other reviews go into detail, and yes, it really is that bad. The sound effects actually hurt my ears a couple times when I had headphones on.
As for the book, Daniels' pacing is excellent. There's a big story to be told, but it's not rushed or bogged. To keep things interesting, the book(s) will often jump between journal-styled logs to give a first person perspective, and then return to third person.
Daniels also does well giving life to many different characters. A young boy trying to get away with playing video games instead of doing homework was written just as believably as an adult woman thinking about how she traded career for family.
--I received a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.--
"Okay Story, but performance choice error."
The roots of the Mayan civilization lore tell of the rising and falling of worlds. Human kind gaining the secret technology to travel the stars ends one and begins another. Upon the discovery of the element known as Kinemet and the Plutonian artifact that cycles through the spectrum as a vessel made of this material approaches, human kind is forced to admit that other sentients exist.
The story is woven around the orphaned son of asteroid prospectors, Alex Minez; Major Turner of NASA; Michael Sanderson of Canada Corporation and Chou Yen, a notorious criminal. The intrigue bounces around the solar system for decades before faster than light travel is survived and the big bad beyond is realized.
This is a good and well paced story. The hand waving is not too bad and most of the plot developments proceed well except for a certain CEO who keeps doing really gullible things. The narrator had a pretty good range of voice changes. As a product I will state that the scene or chapter change sound effect needed to be volume equalized to the rest of the work, it really is obnoxious. Overall I give this a three out of five satisfaction units.
"Why did it have to end?"
OMG this story is fabulous! Its a page turner, never a dull moment. I just wish it never had to end. Its going to be hard now to find another audible to listen to after this fun and exciting ride.
The plots, both main and background are intriguing and unique. Character development was great. You come to know and care about the characters. The settings were different and full of imagination. This is total high fantasy scifi. This story was unexpectedly better than I had hoped. It moves and keeps you on the edge of your seat!
Now the narrator. The narrative parts were done perfectly. The voices of the characters wasn't bad or good. Just mediocre. I've listened to worse and better. I dont see any reason to pass on such a fanatically written piece of work. I honestly feel passing on this story because of one bad review would be a loss. Its just to good!!! An average narrator in respect to the just the characters voices isn't enough to hurt the listen.
The ride is great!!! This is my honest review via a promotion.
Now I have to go to my library and hope I find a listen that wont bore me after this exciting one!
*I cheered at the end. Did not expect that! :)
"Would love to recommend, but production concerns."
(Copy received for review)
I'm so torn on this book. First, it is a solid piece of SciFi. I find it reminiscent of Clarke and Pohl Anderson, that late 20th century academic sci fi where the reveal is all in the dance, and counter. It's a chess game of a book, not a game of paintball.
I wish I could wholeheartedly recommend the audio version, but I have to say the production left me quite cold. I like the timbre of David's voice, and he's very solid on some parts, but I think his range might have been a bit too narrow for the number of characters.
Also, the production comes across as not having decided whether it was to be a radio play, or a book. The effects used for certain voices I found removed me from the story, and with sound-effecting some audio, it made the dialog tags superfluous, but they were still in the production. Most difficult, the section break audio was too much for me. (Both jarring, too frequent, and too loud)
I hope this author makes more works, and honestly I hope he works with this narrator. I think they can pair very well, but the bells and whistles (rather literally) on this piece leave me wishing I had it on my kindle instead.
"Good plot, god awful narration"
Have just finished listening to the entire series, it was tough going though and considered many times letting it go, the one thing that kept me going through this was the story itself. Good concept, good characters if a bit rushed at time. The thing that let it down completely though was narration, it was by far the worst I have ever came across in all my many years on audible. The voices of each and every character where delivered in a style that can only be described as an astonished 5 year old, inflection was awful. Seriously, they had 80 year old, very wise and learned men with the voices of little kids. In order to get through I had to try and take each delivered sentence and imagine it as I would have read it rather than the awful way it was delivered by the narrator.
Would I recommend this, yes, but not in audible format. Go buy the book.
It never ceases to amaze me. The imagination of sci-fi authors is mind-boggling. I am jealous....
"Disappointing in almost all respects"
I don't tend to be a negative Nancy, but after listening to the first book of the trilogy, I have too many complaints for the author, narrator, and even some reviewers to keep quiet. Not sure if I'll bother finishing the trilogy.
First off, for the reviewers: I bought this book because I saw reviews recommending it for "hard/realistic scifi" fans. If this is someone's conception of realism, they really need to get out of the Star-Trek replica captain's chair and read an actual science book. The only allusion to realism the author makes is his admission that space travel takes a long time.
More importantly, regarding the author and story itself: The characters are uninteresting (and often unbelievable). You really think NASA sends crews into space who don't work well together? And then having said that, you never bother even developing that part of the plot? Early on, Chou Yen had some potential as a villain, but turned into little but a caricature evil-leader. The only character with a little bit of range was Michael Sanderson, but he can't (and doesn't) sustain the book on his own.
Just as pointedly, the over-reliance on magic takes a heavy toll on my interest in the book. "A never-before-theorized element is discovered that without any refinement or development instantly sends objects to light speed. Oh, and it's also reverse-kryptonite that gives people super powers." Daniels seems to be trying to carbon-copy the lamest part of Frank Herbert, while leaving out his interesting narrative. The story itself does have a little potential, (thus the second star), but all the nonsensical magic is dragging it down.
I have to ask: what's up with the country-corporation nonsense? The idea that every country has turned itself into a huge corporation is juvenile and silly. "Canada Corporation?" "USA, incorporated?" Really? It's compounded by the author's inexplicable insistence on including the "incorporated" title in EVERY SINGLE MENTION of the nation's name, even in otherwise casual conversations. When I talk about Walmart, I don't go out of my way to refer to its official designation, "Wal-Mart Stores, inc." Nor do I tend to say "The Federal Republic of Germany" when I say I want to visit Munich. If this is the way Valmore Daniels talks, I'd hate to have a conversation with him.
The pacing leaves a lot to be desired as well. Daniels skips over large chunks (years) of time with cursory bits of "Justine made this, that, and the other major life changes." I'm not opposed to time advances in principle, but they have to be handled with some finesse. Here, they are very clumsy and give the impression the author was too eager to get to some other part of the story, so he stuffed a couple sentences in to mention a passage of time.
Finally, the narration: I tried to adjust to Dave Wright's quirks, something I can usually do, but even after nine hours I just couldn't get over it. Some of his character voices are ok, while others sound constipated. All of them, and especially his non-character narration voice, suffer from a severe case of over-pronunciation - particularly of the "T" in words like "Pluto." Partially as a result of this and partially (I'm guessing) out of his indifference to the weak writing, his performance has the emotional impact of a Roomba. There are great narrators out there in Audible-land, but this does not appear to be one of them.
Sorry for the rant, but even at a 3-for-1 price, this one's probably not worth your time.
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