R. B. Harkess

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  • 6
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  • 22
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  • Matter

  • Culture Series, Book 8
  • By: Iain M. Banks
  • Narrated by: Toby Longworth
  • Length: 17 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 912
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 558
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 555

In a world renowned, even within a galaxy full of wonders, a crime occurs within a war. For one man it means a desperate flight and a search for the one, maybe two, people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, even without knowing the full truth, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever. Only the sister is not what she once was.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Popular Culture

  • By Tim on 13-02-08

Up to scratch in every way

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-10-09

Another classic Banks culture novel. The narration is superb - apart from a disconcerting tendency for one of the drone's to sound like a certain well known emotionally disturbed android - and breaths life into all the characters. The plot is deep and multi-threaded, and the characters evolve with humour and sometimes in unexpected directions.
If I had one criticism, it is that the end seems to crash quickly over you almost before you are ready for it, and seems quite abrupt, but this is certainly not enough to discourage anybody from listening to this book.

Friday cover art
  • Friday

  • By: Robert A. Heinlein
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 13 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

Friday, a secret courier, is thrown into an assignment under the command of her employer, a man she knows only as "Boss." She operates from and over a near-future Earth in North America, a vulgar and chaotic land comprised of dozens of independent states. In America's disunion, Friday keeps her balance nimbly with quick, expeditious solutions as she conquers one calamity and scrape after another.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Top Rank SF

  • By R. B. Harkess on 03-07-09

Top Rank SF

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-07-09

'Friday' breaks the Heinlein mould somewhat, and is the better for it. The setting is more cleverly considered than many others, and is more in on a par with that of 'Number of the Beast' rather than earlier, shorter works - which tend to be newtonian space ships and slipsticks. The universe of 'Friday' is also somewhat similar the Culture space if Ian M Banks.

Another pleasing difference in Friday is that it focuses less on spaceship drives and astrogation, and more on interpersonal relationships in a number of cultures much different to our own.

I rate this, and 'Number of the Beast' as my two favourite works by this author, and 'Friday' ranks in my top twenty all time favourite books

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Cat Who Walks through Walls

  • By: Robert Heinlein
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 13 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 47
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 26

When a stranger attempting to deliver a cryptic message is shot dead at his dinner table, Richard Ames is thrown headfirst into danger, intrigue, and other dimensions where Lazarus Long still thrives, where Jubal Harshaw lives surrounded by beautiful women, and where a daring plot to rescue the sentient computer called Mike can change the direction of all human history.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Classic Space Opera

  • By R. B. Harkess on 03-07-09

Classic Space Opera

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-07-09

There is a temptation to label this novel as 'Heinlein at is best', but 'best' may be the wrong word. It is very classic Heinlein, though: jingoistic, sexist, and politically incorrect in just about every way.
It is not for everybody. Certainly for fans of classic SF, certainly not for those with a broad and open mind.
The narrator sounding more than a little like a cross between Cary Grant and Captain Scarlet took a little getting used to, but worked really well.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful