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  • Fade Out

  • By: Patrick Tilley
  • Narrated by: Evan Greenberg
  • Length: 17 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 44

Alien Day. The date was Friday, the third of August. For some people the day was just beginning, for others it was the ending in a perfectly normal way. Then right across the world every ground and airborne radar screen went haywire.… This time it had really happened. An alien spacecraft was in orbit around planet Earth. Nine weeks later, civilisation is on the edge of a breakdown more devastating than any nuclear war....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • They don't write them like this anymore

  • By Jonathan on 31-08-13

Timeless, Fast-Paced First Contact Story

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

Reviewed: 15-03-16

I first read this book back when it was published in 1975. As a teenager, I remember the story as one of those that pried my imagination open a little further. After finishing it, of course, I read everything else that Patrick Tilley wrote. What makes this a book that can be revisited and enjoyed even now, 40-years later, is the excellent study that the author provides of the reactions of society (or its leaders, anyhow) to the arrival of an alien craft and the world-spanning problems that unfold. He provides detailed, rational analysis of various opposing viewpoints: military, political and scientific, leaving the reader to decide which aspects might be correct or valid.

Of course, there is a storyline running here as well with characters that you can identify with. The pace is fast, although set over a fairly short period of time. I enjoyed the book as much now as I did all those years ago and recommend it to anyone who may want to be prodded into thinking about what might just happen and what our political leaders might do in such circumstances.

  • The Fall of Hyperion

  • By: Dan Simmons
  • Narrated by: Victor Bevine
  • Length: 21 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 964
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 817
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 818

In the stunning continuation of the epic adventure begun in Hyperion, Simmons returns us to a far future resplendent with drama and invention. Onthe world of Hyperion, the mysterious Time Tombs are opening. And the secrets they contain mean that nothing - nothing anywhere in the universe - will ever be the same.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great!

  • By Thomas on 11-08-11

Brilliant Conclusion to the First Half of an Epic

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

Reviewed: 23-02-16

Hyperion, the first book in a series of four, is nothing short of perfect. Don’t anyone be put off by the publisher’s synopsis of the plot. There is a lot more to Dan Simmons’s space opera than you will ever imagine. The Fall of Hyperion is a continuation of the saga though the author has changed his narrative style somewhat, running the different storylines of existing and new characters in parallel rather than sequentially as heretofore. The twists, turns and mysteries introduced throughout the first book are further deepened and then resolved very satisfactorily.

Dan Simmons isn’t afraid to tackle very big subjects: religion; humanity; war; politics and more. He does so with great intelligence, knowledge and interest. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

  • Foundation

  • By: Isaac Asimov
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 999
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 802
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 798

For 12,000 years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future, to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last 30,000 years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire, both scientists and scholars, and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a fututre generations.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • On Audible at last!

  • By Peter on 01-03-11

Book One of a Seminal Series

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

Reviewed: 21-02-16

I first read this book, along with all the sequels, in the 1970s and ‘80s. Back then, of course, aged in my teens and twenties, I wouldn’t have appreciated that these were such pivotal science fiction novels. So now, decades later, I felt it was time to revisit what I remembered as a real mind expanding, page-turner of a book. And, yes, the magic is still there. A must-read for everyone, I think.

  • A Canticle for Leibowitz

  • By: Walter M. Miller Jr.
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 136
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 110
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 111

Winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel and widely considered one of the most accomplished, powerful, and enduring classics of modern speculative fiction, Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz is a true landmark of 20th-century literature—a chilling and still-provocative look at a postapocalyptic future.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • classic.

  • By dave nolan on 08-03-18

Great Writing and Perfect Narration

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

Reviewed: 21-02-16

This is the story of Earth, North America specifically, after a future war and how civilisation might shape and rebuild itself in its aftermath. It is told from the perspective of the occupants of a religious monastery over incremental periods of time, stretching many hundreds of years, starting in a pre-technological age and progressing to a highly industrial society. Sure, there is a close enough similarity between this fictional advancement as recounted by the author and what really occurred in our own history, with Mr Miller providing some rationalisation in respect of the good and the bad that befall the main characters.

I didn’t know what to expect when I purchased this book, other than it came highly recommended, and noting that it was published in 1959. What the reader gets is a witty, gripping, fast paced novel; a real page-turner that is perfectly narrated. Certainly, the author’s own religious beliefs and political opinions leak through at certain points, but not in a heavy-handed way. Although the sequel to this book, written 36-years later mind you, has not been received as warmly, I thoroughly recommend A Canticle for Leibowitz to anyone seeking light, enjoyable entertainment.

  • The Terminal Experiment

  • By: Robert J. Sawyer
  • Narrated by: Paul Hecht
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9

An experiment has gone terribly wrong. Dr. Peter Hobson has created three electronic simulations of his own personality. One will test life after death; another, immortality. The third one is the control unit. But now all three have escaped from Hobson's computer into the worldwide electronic matrix. And one of them is a killer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fast Paced, Interesting & Original

  • By decco999 on 03-01-16

Fast Paced, Interesting & Original

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

Reviewed: 03-01-16

I had expected “something different” when I purchased this book, based on the synopses that I had read on various websites. How “different”, I can’t really say – perhaps something with more hard science cross-referenced with known technological & theological facts. What Robert Sawyer delivers, though, is a very enjoyable story with warm, well-developed characters immersed in a fast-paced plot that aims to explore the concept of mortality. The author doesn’t allow the reader to get swamped with explanations as to how all the necessary new science comes into being and, in my opinion, the story is all the richer for this. Though published twenty years ago, the writing and ideas hold up very well. A great read that I recommend to everyone.

  • The Necessary Beggar

  • By: Susan Palwick
  • Narrated by: David Roche
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

Lmabantunk, the Glorious City, is a place of peace and plenty. But it is also a land of swift and severe justice. Young Darroti has been accused of the murder of a highborn woman who had chosen the life of a Mendicant, a holy beggar whose blessing brings forgiveness. Now his entire family must share his shame, and his punishment - exile to an unknown world. Grieving for the life they have left behind, Darroti and his family find themselves in a hostile land. There, each tries to cope in their own way.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An engaging story, sensitively told

  • By decco999 on 18-12-15

An engaging story, sensitively told

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

Reviewed: 18-12-15

I had looked forward to this book being released in Kindle format but unfortunately this didn’t happen (as of this date, anyhow). A mixed blessing, perhaps, as the audio version is superb. Whether this is a fantasy or fictional novel is a debatable point but matters little as, what struck me the most, is the excellence of the writing.

The storyline is simple enough, concerning a family transplanted from “somewhere else” to the United States. It recounts the family’s impressions of everyday life in Reno, Nevada over many years, contrasting and comparing their own “foreign” traditions and beliefs with those of the ordinary people around them. The book is witty and thoughtful but not particularly judgemental; the latter being left to the reader’s discretion. A highly recommended read.

  • The January Dancer

  • By: Michael Flynn
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 12 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

Starting with Captain Amos January, who quickly loses it, and then the others who fought, schemed, and killed to get it, we travel around the complex, decadent, brawling, mongrelized, interstellar human civilization that the artifact might save or destroy. Collectors want the Dancer, pirates take it, rulers crave it, and all will kill, if necessary, to get it. This is a thrilling yarn of love, revolution, music, and mystery, and it ends, as all great stories do, with shock and a beginning.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Great Idea in a Well Thought-out Universe

  • By decco999 on 24-11-15

A Great Idea in a Well Thought-out Universe

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

Reviewed: 24-11-15

This is my first experience of the author, Michael Flynn, having been recommended to me by a reputable SciFi review site. It is structured as a narrative between two individuals in the distant future, as one recounts a story from his past concerning a quest to retrieve a mysterious, alien and “powerful” artefact that may be influencing the politics of a small group of solar systems.

What I liked about the book was the detail of the universe that the author has created and the structure of various planetary societies, situated very far from a seldom-mentioned Earth. The writing is excellent and the storyline is interesting. Character development is good; there’s space travel and there is a believable blur between “good” and “bad”. I can highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys intelligent SciFi and quality storytelling.

  • The Children of the Sky

  • By: Vernor Vinge
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
  • Length: 27 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 23

Ten years have passed on Tines World, where Ravna Bergnsdot and a number of human children ended up after a disaster that nearly obliterated humankind throughout the galaxy. Ravna and the pack animals for which the planet is named have survived a war, and Ravna has saved more than one hundred children who were in cold-sleep aboard the vessel that brought them. While there is peace among the Tines, there are those among them - and among the humans - who seek power. And no matter the cost, these malcontents are determined to overturn the fledgling civilization....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • As brilliant as every other Vernor Vinge novel

  • By decco999 on 09-11-15

As brilliant as every other Vernor Vinge novel

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

Reviewed: 09-11-15

This is the third book in a series entitled Queng Ho; the first two having been written in the 1990s. It is a novel that can be enjoyed stand-alone; pretty much the situation for me as I had read the other two way back when they were published. The storyline is planet-bound, situated in one of the author’s galactic “zones” where only very basic technology will function. It recounts the interactions of a native intelligent species and a group of refugee humans that crash-landed there a decade earlier (that crash-landing being part of the plot from the earlier books).

What Vernor Vinge has created here is a masterpiece. His development of the planet’s indigenous species is utterly superb. The ecology of the planet itself is richly described. The various relationships between humans and natives are complex. The underlying story is intriguing and full of twisting plots. On top of this is a first-class narration from someone who fully understands what he is reading. I can report no flaws whatsoever and I highly recommend this book to everyone.

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