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  • gilwilson 4:22 PM on January 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: clockwork, , , sci-fi, , terminator   

    “The Clockwork Dynasty” By Daniel H. Wilson 

    32670125The Clockwork Dynasty
    By: Daniel H. Wilson
    Narrated by: David Giuntoli, Claire Coffee
    Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
    Release date: 08-01-17
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    Take a little bit of Steampunk, mix it in with some mythology, maybe a hint of the Terminator, then take out the steam and use clockwork and you have yourself a new form of sci-fi created by Daniel H. Wilson in “The Clockwork Dynasty.”  Okay, I’m not 100% sure he created this new genre, but, until listening to this audiobook, I had never heard of the premise.

    The story jumps back and forth between present day and the 18th century telling the tale of a “race” of beings created to maybe help mankind.  I say maybe because some of the even further past events that are visited to me seem a little blurred.  I’m hoping this is because Wilson is planning on writing more books in this world he has created.  Each Automaton has a word which guides their actions and even creates some of their personality.  That word is built into their animus that serves as their soul.

    June, a scientist specializing in ancient technology carries an animus with her that her grandfather found after being saved by an automaton on the battlefield in Russia.  While working on a 300 year old doll June soon discovers the underground world and war between the automatons.  She is soon swept into the this world with Peter who once served the Czar.

    The narrators swap chapters depending on what time the action is taking place.  Claire Coffee narrates the modern day events while David Giuntoli narrates the past events and the life of Peter.  The two create a time travel experience through the different voices so the listener is never lost as to when is being discussed.

    Closing out this review, I have to say that the action in this book ranges from robotic sword fights, to a “Come-with-me-if-you-want-to-live” action sequence that makes this book a great adventure.  After rolling through this book and feeling like I had been on the adventure with the two main characters, I had to look more into the world of the author Daniel H. Wilson.

    What first attracted me to the book was the author.  I had read some of his robot books before (e.g. Robogenesis) and knew they were full of adventure.  But what I found out this time around was that he holds a PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as Masters degrees in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.  Now that’s pretty serious background work.


    Publisher’s Summary

    An epic, ingenious new thriller from the New York Times best-selling author of RobopocalypseThe Clockwork Dynasty weaves a riveting path through history and a race of humanlike machines that have been hiding among us for untold centuries.

    In the rugged landscape of Eastern Oregon, a young scientist named June uncovers an exquisite artifact – a 300-year-old mechanical doll whose existence seems to validate her obsession with a harrowing story she was told by her grandfather many years earlier. The mechanical doll, June believes, is proof of a living race of automatons that walk undetected among us to this day. Ingeniously hidden inside the ancient doll is a lost message addressed to the court of Peter the Great, czar of Russia.

    Russia, 1725: Peter and Elena, two humanlike mechanical beings, are brought to life under the watchful guise of Peter the Great. Their struggle to serve in the court of the czar while blending in and to survive amid those who fear and wish to annihilate them will take Peter and Elena across Russia, Europe, and, ultimately, the centuries, to the modern day.

    The Clockwork Dynasty is Daniel H. Wilson’s masterful new novel. It seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings that live by different principles from humans but ultimately value loyalty. As June learns more about these beings, she is quickly drawn into a fierce battle that has spanned the centuries and will ultimately determine the survival or extermination of this ancient race. Richly drawn and heart pounding, Wilson’s novel expertly draws on his robotics and science background, combining exquisite characters with breathtaking technology – and unmatched action. The Clockwork Dynasty is a riveting breakout novel.

    ©2017 Daniel H. Wilson (P)2017 Random House Audio
  • gilwilson 6:14 PM on July 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: celebrities, , comic cons, cosplay, sci-fi, x-files   

    “A Hundred Thousand Worlds” By Bob Proehl 

    31432386A Hundred Thousand Worlds
    By Bob Proehl
    Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
    Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
    Release date: 06-28-16
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    So, you take several of my favorite things and put them in another one of my favorite things (a book) and you definitely have my attention.  That is exactly what Bob Proehl has done with “A Hundred Thousand Worlds.”  My love of comic books, comic-cons, and sci-fi tv series are the fuel which launches the adventure within this book.

    Val Torrey an actress in a popular tv series (X-Files is the series that seems to be brought into Proehl’s cross country mother/son adventure) has broken the custody agreement with her former co-star and former husband.  She now has to make good on that judgement error, by bring her son back to his father.  To do so they go on a road trip from New York to L.A.  On this road trip Val makes appearances at comic-cons across the country as the former star of “Anomaly.”

    Val’s 9 year old son, Alex, befriends a comic book artist when they “co-mission” a story.  Alex has the ideas and Brett, the artist, draws the story.  The intermingling of Brett and his fellow comic artists and writers with that of Val’s not wanting to lose her son creates a poignant story with some insider information into how comic books, conventions and television programs are run.

    I had most fun trying to tie in the fictional characters/books/actors with their real-life counterparts.  If you are a fan of any of the same things you will have fun and actually enjoy the heartwarming times in the story that you may feel you are a part of this road trip.  If not that it will make you want to hit up a few cons.

    MacLeod Andrews delivers this audiobook with punch when needed and punctuates the bittersweet moments just as hard.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Valerie Torrey took her son, Alex, and fled Los Angeles six years ago – leaving both her role on a cult sci-fi TV show and her costar husband after a tragedy blew their small family apart. Now Val must reunite nine-year-old Alex with his estranged father, so they set out on a road trip from New York, Val making appearances at comic book conventions along the way.

    As they travel west, encountering superheroes, monsters, time travelers, and robots, Val and Alex are drawn into the orbit of the comic-con regulars, from a hapless 20-something illustrator to a brilliant corporate comics writer struggling with her industry’s old-school ways to a group of cosplay women who provide a chorus of knowing commentary. For Alex this world is a magical place where fiction becomes reality, but as they get closer to their destination, he begins to realize that the story his mother is telling him about their journey might have a very different ending than he imagined.

    A knowing and affectionate portrait of the geeky pleasures of fandom, A Hundred Thousand Worlds is also a tribute to the fierce and complicated love between a mother and son – and to the way the stories we create come to shape us.

    ©2016 Bob Proehl (P)2016 Penguin Audio

  • gilwilson 6:07 PM on June 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , sci-fi, steven savile   

    Tau Ceti by Kevin J. Anderson & Steven Savile 

    taucetiTau Ceti
    by Kevin J. Anderson & Steven Savile
    204 pages
    Publisher: Phoenix Pick (May 4, 2013)

    I just can’t seem to get enough of Kevin J. Anderson. I picked up this book from the only because Anderson had written it. Once I took a real long look and just before I started reading I noticed another author’s name on the book; Steven Savile.

    Further investigation told me that this is actually 2 novellas, the first being a story by a well known sci-fi author (Kevin J. Anderson) and the second a sequel by an up and comer (Steven Savile). In my youth i remember buying books that were 2 stories in one in a flip book type of set up. Being on my Kindle, the fun of the flip book was lost but the great story was not.

    The first story tells of the generation ship, The Beacon, and it’s 200 year journey to a planet orbiting the star of Tau Ceti. Earth is dying but as humanity’s last hope a ship with lots of families to carry on humanity’s seeds is sent to carry on life on other planets. The Beacon is near the end of its journey and is preparing for entry into the Tau Ceti system. The families onboard will colonize the new planet and humanity will continue.

    Meanhwile back on earth a dictator, President Jurudu, has taken over and the planet has somewhat recovered its near death experience. Even technology has advanced. So much so that Earth has created a faster than life ship, The Conquistador. The Conquistador can be sent to Tau Ceti and arrive just months ahead of the slowship. President Jurudu sees his ship taking over and enslaving the families on the Beacon.

    The second story takes place in the aftermath of the meeting of the 2 ships and shows the colonization process taking place on the new planet. This new planet is still not safe from threats from old Earth.

    I loved the concept of 2 writers telling one continuous story. I will admit there were moments in both novellas where the story moved slow and could have used some tightening up, but overall the stories were great science fiction with a focus on the attitudes of the world we live in today.

    I would be very interested in other books in this series where an up and comer writes a sequel to an established author’s story. So, I guess I’m saying, “Phoenix Pick, I’m coming for more.”

    Publisher’s Summary
    Main Story by Kevin J. Anderson. Sequel Novelette by Steven Savile. The Stellar Guild Series.

    Jorie Taylor has lived her whole life on the generation ship Beacon. Fleeing an Earth tearing itself apart from its exhaustive demand for resources, the Beacon is finally approaching Sarbras, the planet circling Tau Ceti they hope to make humanity’s new home.

    But Earth has recovered from its near-death experience and is now under the control of a ruthless dictator whose sights are set on Tau Ceti as well. President Jurudu knows how to get what he wants-and he wants Sarbras.

  • gilwilson 2:19 PM on June 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , sci-fi,   

    “Battlefield Earth” By L. Ron Hubbard 

    11687180Battlefield Earth
    By: L. Ron Hubbard
    Full Cast Production
    Length: 47 hrs and 32 mins
    Release date: 06-06-16
    Publisher: Galaxy Audio

    We all know that books have the possibility to sweep us off to other worlds. In this case that other world is Earth in the year 3000.  Humans are slaves to the invading race of the Psychlos.  To the Psychlos the Earth is poisonous, however, minerals, especially gold, makes the planet necessary.  The Psychlos are strip-mining Earth and the humans are the slave labor to get the work done.  L. Ron Hubbard wrote some great science-fiction and this epic novel is one of the best.

    Now take that same book and make it a full length audio drama and you have got the perfect escape. With great voice actors that create the characters to go along with the original music and sound effects. Listening to this already thrilling story of Earth’s conquest by an alien race and the battle to take it back, comes to full dimensional audio life. The listener will be placed in the middle of the action with this full on production.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Winner, 2017 APA Audie Awards – Excellence in Marketing

    Earphones Award Winner

    Best of 2016 Science Fiction Audiobook

    In the year AD 3000, Earth is a barren wasteland, plundered of its natural resources by the millennium-long regime of taloned, gas-breathing, nine-foot alien conquerors from the planet Psychlo. Fewer than 35,000 humans survive in a handful of communities scattered across the face of a postapocalyptic Earth.

    From a desolate village in the Rocky Mountains near what once was Denver, Colorado, a courageous young man named Jonnie Goodboy Tyler embarks on a hero’s journey to challenge the fearful myths of his people.

    Enslaved by the sadistic Terl, the Psychlo security chief of Earth, Jonnie and a small band of survivors pit their quest for freedom against Terl’s ruthless ambition for personal wealth and power in a rebellion that erupts across the continents of Earth and the cosmic sprawl of the Psychlo empire, with the fate of the world, of mankind, and of the galaxies beyond in the balance.

    Superlative quality – a new standard for all audiobooks.

    Unlike any other audiobook ever produced. A fully immersive experience, this unabridged audiobook features more than 65 actors including Grammy Award-winning audiobook producer and narrator Stefan Rudnicki.

    This state-of-the-art audio engineering has created a wholly cinematic soundtrack with:

    47½ hours of pulse-pounding drama and action professionally recorded with high-definition sound.
    A gorgeous cinematic soundtrack with full orchestral compositions and more than 150,000 sound effects.
    A cast of more than 65 actors – many of whom are celebrity voices from TV, films, and games – performing 198 characters.
    Written with a phenomenal burst of creative energy in a sustained eight-month period in 1980, and first published in October 1982, Battlefield Earth became a breakaway New York Times and international best seller, hailed as one of the classic science fiction novels.

    ©2016 Galaxy Audio (P)2016 Galaxy Audio

  • gilwilson 2:10 PM on May 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , sci-fi,   

    “Time Is Irreverent” by Marty Essen 

    38463380Time Is Irreverent
    by Marty Essen
    244 pages
    Published: February 7th 2018
    by Encante Press, LLC

    I’m a huge believer in synchronicity.  You know, the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.  The author, Marty Essen sent me this copy to review a few months ago.  Well, I just finished reading a book about the top 100 Rolling Stones songs and the next book on my list was to be another top 100 (Springsteen, this time) or a musicians biography.  I decided I needed to do something different and saw the cover, and decided a good sci-fi should be fun.  (the understatement of all understatements, this book was extremely fun).  So I get done with the Stones and start reading this.

    First thing that happens is the Earth man “Marty” finds he cannot pronounce the name of the race of aliens or their individual names and begins renaming them.  The race of aliens become the Keithrichards and the captain of the ship is Captain Jagger.  So I’m guessing the universe was telling me this book was the right one to read next.

    As it happens the aliens are needing to change Earth’s history,  because the current leadership of crazy in the world is a mad man that likes to drop nukes to show that his hands are bigger (yeah you know what I mean).  To do so they must send Marty back to the year 31 AD to stop Christianity.

    Numerous jumps takes our hero through the cretaceous period where he becomes the first person to picnic on Earth.  Then he falls in love with one of the strange aliens only to have another of the aliens, in a fit of jealousy, launch him far into the future.

    The fun, the pop culture references (as well as the musical references) and political humor all are combined by Marty Essen to give you a sci-fi / comedy extravaganza that is a bit of fun to read.


    Publisher’s Summary

    An irreverent, liberal, twisty, time travel comedy!

    What if you could make a change to history that would eliminate the Spanish Inquisition, American slavery, World War II, global warming, and an egomaniacal US president who thought he was smart enough to drop nuclear bombs here and there without negative consequences? What if that change also made the United States and 5 billion people poof from existence? Would you do it?

    When alien time travel specialists, the Krichards, learn of President Handley’s game of dodge the mushroom cloud, they race to Earth to investigate. For them, the question of whether it’s worth it to change history is easy to answer, but they will only proceed if the human they deem best qualified to represent Earth agrees to make the change. Erasing Handley’s nuclear annihilation would require a quick jump to AD 31 to make a simple correction to the past. If the Krichards had selected a brilliant scientist or an elite athlete for the task, Earth might be in good hands. Instead they selected Marty Mann, a mildly successful travel writer, whose only superpower is not taking life too seriously. What could possibly go wrong?

    Spanning from the Cretaceous period to 2056, Time is Irreverent is a hilarious, thought-provoking satire, with unpredictable twists, colorful aliens, huge dinosaurs, a smokin’ hot lesbian from the future, and a cameo from Jesus Christ himself!

  • gilwilson 5:52 PM on March 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , sci-fi,   

    “Destination: Void” By: Frank Herbert 

    Destination: Void18765286
    By: Frank Herbert
    Narrated by: Scott Brick
    Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
    Release date: 10-28-14
    Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.

    All you have to do is tell me that Frank Herbert wrote it and I’ll read it no matter how good or bad. So, that should let you know up front, I’m a bit biased. Yes, I’m a big fan of Frank Herbert, actually maybe I’m just a huge Dune fan. That is actually why I picked this audiobook this time around, I wanted to see what his writing is about outside the Duneverse. The book itself was actually published in 1966 one year after Dune, so Herbert was at his creative best.

    So what happens to your ship when travelling the cosmos in a form of suspended animation and the brains keeping the ship going, go insane? That is the question to be answered in “Destination: Void.” Frank Herbert is pretty well known to create new religions and mythos in the Dune series of books, and somewhat continues that in this book. In fact the next book in this series is “The Jesus Incident,” which explores religion and science.

    What I liked about this book is that it seemed everyone knew something about everyone else and could use that as leverage. The dialogue throughout the book did not seem contrived and as all the relationships within the personnel of the ship seemed natural as well. The technical details did seem a bit overwhelming but were necessary. The exploration of Artificial Intelligence made for a very thought provoking book.

    One more thing before I leave you with this, I’m also a HUGE Scott Brick fan, and was extremely happy to hear he was narrating this. Brick is able to portray characters, emotions and dialogue as if it were a multi-cast performance. His delivery is perfect for Science-Fiction.

    Publisher’s Summary

    The starship Earthling, filled with thousands of hibernating colonists en route to a new world at Tau Ceti, is stranded beyond the solar system when the ship’s three organic mental cores – disembodied human brains that control the vessel’s functions – go insane. The emergency skeleton crew sees only one chance for survival: build an artificial consciousness in the Earthling’s primary computer that can guide them to their destination – and hope it doesn’t destroy the human race.

    Don’t miss Frank Herbert’s classic novel that begins the epic Pandora Sequence.

    ©1966 Frank Herbert (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

  • gilwilson 4:19 PM on December 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , anne manx, , , babylon 5, larry weiner, patricia tallman, radio repertory company of america, sci-fi,   

    “Richmond Smokes a Joint” By Larry Weiner 


    “Richmond Smokes a Joint”
    By Larry Weiner
    Starring: Patricia Tallman as Jean Richmond, Kris Holden-Ried as Sid, Jerry Robbins as Herm
    Produced 2014, The Radio Repertory Company of America
    Also Starring:
    Shells: Michael Burkett, Cap: Jerry Robbins, Sears:D J Vogel, McCarthy: Bob Hunt, Maitre’d: Tom Dheere, Bartender: Bob Arsena, Goin’ North: Kevin Crawley, Robot 365: Tom Dheere, Man: Jon Duclos, Sous: D J Vogel, Man in Stall: Angelo Panetta, Gunner: D J Vogel, Marangian Scout: Tom Dheere, Doplar: Bob Hunt
    Length: 37 minutes.

    If you are looking for about a half an hours worth of some quick entertainment this may be your book or audio production whichever you prefer. I of course preferred the audio version, since I am a big fan of audiobooks. This one attracted my attention because of my love of the TV series, “Babylon 5.” The lead actress in this production is Patricia Tallman who portrayed Lyta Alexander, the telepath assigned to Babylon 5 by the Psi corps. I see that this is a short space adventure and that seconds my decision to give this production a listen.

    With the title “Richmond Smokes a Joint,” I really wasn’t sure what I was in for. Sid “Bum” Knee knows the secret location of the mythical Sacred Plate of Marange. He approaches Richmond’s Boyfriend, Herm, about grabbing the priceless item they are all set on an adventure across space to find the plate and untold riches. The problem is the journey is filled with double crosses on double crosses and by the end of the story you still don’t really know who the good guys are. The ship’s crew is full of colorful characters that keep the story rolling along until the final double cross.

    Take a large helping of “Barbarella,” mix in a few dashes of “Airplane” (actually “Airplane 3,” the one that wasn’t quite as funny but tried really hard) and you have this space adventure. Some definite plays on words insert humor throughout, but, to be honest, they may be trying too hard at times. Still, though, it is a nice short mystery space adventure that will entertain most folks.  I know I had fun, even while groaning.

    The acting is what really brings out this story, Patricia Tallman pretty much steals the show, but everyone is carrying their weight in the voice talent department. This keeps the story running smooth and helps when some of the “forced” humor actually stings a little.


    If you’d like to find out more about Radio Repertory, visit their Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/RadioRepertory

  • gilwilson 8:50 PM on September 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: attack on titan, , , hajime isayama, japanese, kodansha comics, , monsters, sci-fi, ,   

    “Attack on Titan, Vol. 1” by Hajime Isayama 


    “Attack on Titan, Vol. 1”
    by Hajime Isayama
    Paperback, 208 pages
    Published June 19th 2012 by Kodansha Comics
    (first published March 7th 2010)

    I can’t say I’m a big fan of Manga, I like most of the stories, but the books seem gimmicky to me. I love comic books, and I love a good story, but with Manga comics the books are printed backwards and it takes me about halfway through the book before I start to get the hang of reading right to left. I understand the original printings in Japan are written that way, but they could easily be printed in the same way books are printed on this side of the planet and nothing will be missed. When Western hemisphere books are printed in the other countries that read in the opposite direction they are printed to make it easier for the readers there. So to be geek chic when you find a good Manga they are printed to be read “backwards.” The only reason this happens is to be different, cool, or hip.

    I had to overcome this bias because I had heard a lot of good reviews about both the “Attack on Titan” Manga books and TV series. When I started reading this book I hadn’t yet started watching the TV series and all I knew was that it was a survival series much along the lines of “The Walking Dead.” Yes it did take some time to get used to reading backwards, but once I started flowing with the story I was rewarded with a great story told in comic book form and using the tools of flashbacks, and weapon and tactics specifications all interwoven in the story. Again I say, I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t have to retrain my brain to read backwards.

    As for the story, it is a survival story set 100 years after the Titans have forced humanity to live behind walls. Humankind is down to just a few thousand people who live in a city surrounded by three concentric walls. The walls protect them from their enemies, the Titans. The Titans are humanoid giants that eat the humans alive. Untouched by the Titans for a century, humanity has become complacent. But Eren Jaeger, a trainee in the Army has had enough. While his fellow citizens are content to hide, Jaeger has the passion to take action to not only protect the city, but to learn what the Titans actually are. But on his first mission he comes face to face with horrors beyond his imagination and secrets from his own past that could shift the tides of war.

    I have since started watching the animated TV series and am hooked. The story is phenomenal. I am glad I read the Manga first only because it introduced me to the TV series which I could have easily not watched and would have missed out on a great show. If they do reprint these to be read from left to right I will definitely continue to read the series, but until then I’ll just have to settle with the fact that I’m too old to be taught new reading habits.

  • gilwilson 10:21 PM on April 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: all you zombies, , , , , sci-fi, , spider robinson   

    Audiobook review “All You Zombies—” Five Classic Stories By Robert A. Heinlein 

    all u zombies

    Audiobook review “All You Zombies—” Five Classic Stories
    By Robert A. Heinlein
    Read by Spider Robinson
    Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc.

    Every so often I pick up a book by an author, and am forced to ask myself, “Why haven’t I read his stuff before now?” This has been the case for Robert A. Heinlein. I’ve always considered myself a Science-Fiction fan ever since I could consider myself a fan of anything. But for some reason I find myself as an adult just now discovering Heinlein, only within the last five years or so reading the stories from this classic sci-fi author. Better late than never.

    Most of what I’ve read by Heinlein have been short stories that were aimed at the young adult reader. I have yet to tackle his major works such as; “Starship Troopers,” or “Stranger in a Strange Land,” but they are on my list. This collection of short stories looked to be very entertaining and when I saw they were read by another science-fiction author, Spider Robinson, I was intrigued. I thought it would be very interesting to hear how one sci-fi author interprets another’s work. Robinson not only did a great job bringing these stories to life through his narration, but he was also able to do some vocal acting bringing some of the characters to life. His voice was very pleasant to hear and kept me listening throughout the collection.

    The five stories in this collection are:

    The title story, “All You Zombies – “ tells of a time traveling bartender who creates one of the biggest time paradoxes ever conceived. The synopsis of this story weaves in and out and around itself so much that there is not one single section that doesn’t give away the surprise ending. It all starts with a bartender and a patron trying to outdo each other with the most unusual origin story, but they seem to be telling the same story. Recently a movie has been released titled, “Predestination,” which is supposed to be based on this story. I’m not sure how this could be portrayed in a movie, but just to see the story unfold on the big screen has me curious enough to go see this oddity.

    The next story in the collection is “The Man Who Traveled in Elephants.” The title was out their for me that I kept seeing that scene from “Ace Ventura; Pet Detective,” where Jim Carrey emerges from inside a fake rhinoceros. But alas, that was not the case. Basically this title is from the vernacular of the time where traveling salesmen were identified by what they were selling, for example; if a salesman was selling Fuller brushes he would be known to be traveling in Fuller brushes. So, the man in this story is a traveling salesman selling elephants. That still is an odd thing to do. His wife and he were a couple who traveled in elephants before she died and he continued the business after she died. One day the man is traveling to the next city to sell elephants to a circus but after a bus accident finds himself along with the other passengers on a beautiful side venture that leads to one of the most happy endings I’ve seen, read or heard since the movie, “What Dreams May Come.”

    Story number three is, “They.” The story is told from the point of view of a patient in a mental institution who seems to suffer from the solipsism, but not quite, he doesn’t think he’s the ONLY being in existence but one of the few who are real and that the other real entities have created the rest of the universe in a conspiracy to deceive him. With the perfect Heinlein twist, this story may have the reader/listener questioning reality.

    Story number four is a humorous story about a parking attendant named “Pappy” who has a pet sentient whirlwind named Kitten. With the help of Pete, a reporter, all three team up to try and take down the corrupt city government.

    Finally, to round out this collection is “ – And He Built a Crooked House.” This story is a nice short adventure through the fourth dimension which starts with a genius architect who, while studying a tesseract, an type of cubic prism, decides he could build a house with the same parameters that would have more room on the inside than appears on the outside. The problem is that the house cannot exist as such in a three dimensional world, so he has to unfold it to build it into a three dimensional world. His unfolded tesseract home is finished and on the day he goes to show the home to his friend an earthquake occurs throwing sections of the home into another dimension. The architect, the friend and the friends wife then go on an adventure trying to find all the rooms of the house and when another earthquake occurs they find themselves on an alien landscape. How will they ever make it back to Earth?

    Some great sci-fi stories from a sci-fi master. I can’t wait to read or hear more.



  • gilwilson 3:12 PM on August 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ender wiggin, , , , sci-fi,   

    Audiobook Review: “Ender’s Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition” by Orson Scott Card 


    Audiobook Review:  “Ender’s Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition”

    by Orson Scott Card

    Multiple Readers

    Published 2002 by Macmillan Audio

    Duration: 11 hours 5 minutes


    Having read “Ender’s Game” many years ago I thought I should revisit this book.  This revisitation was prompted by two events.  The first was listening to the audiobook “Ender’s World” which was a collection of essays and information on the creation of this wonderful book.  Second is that the movie will be coming this November.


    The movie is based not only on this book but in order for these events to be properly displayed in a movie format but also based on the book “Ender’s Shadow” which parallels “Ender’s Game” but from the point of view of the character Bean.  So with that in mind, you can probably guess which book is next on my list.


    But let’s get back to this book for now.  When I first read this book (over 10 years ago) I was just enthralled by the complexity of the story.  There are so many things going on in this book that just grab you and pull you into the ride that you get lost in the story.  One of the features of the story is the ageless factor of Ender Wiggin.  Ender is only six years old when the book starts and by the age of nine he is given his own army to command.  Ender’s age is only mentioned once in a while through the book, and that, I think, is just to remind you that he is a kid.  The events that take place not only seem like something that is beyond a child that age, but the way Ender handles himself the reader/listener forgets that he is only a child.  This fact would be brought up once in a while that I would have to stop and rethink the section I just heard, in the case of this audiobook and put the book back into perspective.


    This having to pause and reflect reminds me of when I first read “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”  After reading the entire book, I stopped and realized that the main character, Arthur Dent, was going through all the wacky space/time adventures while still in his pajamas and robe.  While Orson Scott Card provided the drops in the changing of Ender’s age throughout the book at the proper moments it does cause the reader/listener to pause and reflect.  This pause is especially needed for this book since there are so many facets of life and war given to the reader throughout the tale of Ender Wiggin.


    This book is definitely one of those great sci-fi novels that takes more than one reading to fully enjoy.  Much like the “Dune” series by Herbert, or the “Foundation” series by Asimov so much more is gleaned through multiple readings.  This time around I was able to absorb a lot more of the themes running through this book.


    I’ll touch on some of the themes and what I gathered out of them but will leave most of the concepts up to you on your individual reads. Before I do that I have to talk about this audiobook version.  The multiple voices used in this production really helped sort out the sections that are told through various characters in the book.  All of the performances were top notch and able to fully reflect the characters in thought and dialogue.


    The idea of this all being a game is one of the first things that grab you in the reading and listening of this book.   All of the other important ideas in the novel are interpreted through the context of the games. Ender does win all of the games and he thinks that the games are no more than they appear, and he does not realize the real meaning of his final game until it is far too late. The difference between what is a game and what is reality becomes less and less clear as the story unfolds. The very first game played in the book is “buggers and astronauts,” a game that Peter, Ender’s bully older brother, makes Ender play, and it is a game that all kids play, pretty much like cowboys and Indians used to be played in my childhood (I always wanted to be the Indians). However, in Ender’s case the game is more than it seems, because Peter’s hatred for him is real, and he inflicts physical pain upon Ender in the course of the game. This is one game that Ender never wins.

    At Battle School, Ender plays two different types of games. On his computer he plays the mind game, a game that even its creators do not properly understand and one that effects Ender’s life in direct ways. It is through this  game that Ender is able to come to terms with the changes in his life.  In this game there is also a bit of a surprise in the end of the book, which I won’t spoil for you.  In the battle room Ender plays war games. These games are everything to the kids at the school. Their lives revolve around playing games, and so the meaning of the word itself shifts from a voluntary fun experience to a necessary and crucial aspect of life. These games and their implications cause Bonzo’s death and create rancor and jealousy throughout the school.

    Finally we come to the greatest games that Ender plays, while he is the commander of the Third Invasion. Playing these games is debilitating to Ender’s health. He cannot sleep, he barely eats, and he is forced to be a leader and not a friend to those whom he cares for. This game also has a bit of a surprise for the reader.

    Compassion is the redeeming feature in “Ender’s Game.” Compassion is the theme that runs through Ender’s life. It is the defining feature of his existence. This is what separates him from his brother Peter and the other cruel people in the story.  The reason that he plays the games so well is his ability to understand the enemy and to inspire loyalty. More than that, it is compassion that saves Ender. If not for his compassion he would have become either a killing machine or a power hungry creature like Peter. This compassion and empathy are one of the features that redeems this whole book and what made room for it to be required reading in the Marine Corps Officer training.

    So not just your everyday sci-fi, “Ender’s Game” has a lot to offer.  Even if you have read the book before, pick it up again, or try out the audiobook and find out what more it has to offer.  On top of all that it will be a good refresher for when the movie is released.

    • Claudia 11:43 PM on April 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent web site. Lots of helpful info here. I am sending
      it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you for your effort!


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