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  • gilwilson 2:10 PM on May 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , time travel   

    “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!

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  • gilwilson 9:23 PM on September 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 16th century, a discovery of witches, , , , christopher marlowe, deborah harkness, elizibethean, emperor rudolf, jennifer ikeda, , queen elizabeth, , school of night, shadow of night, , the all souls trilogy, time travel,   

    “Shadow of Night” book 2 of “The All Souls Trilogy” by Deborah Harkness 

    “Shadow of Night” (book 2 of “The All Souls Trilogy”)
    by Deborah Harkness
    read by Jennifer Ikeda
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Approx 24.5 hours

    I am really getting tired of Supernatural Romantic books. I’m a strong believer in the idea that vampires should be staked not taken to bed. I can only blame Anne Rice and the Vampire Lestat for starting this trend. So, you may ask yourself, “Why did
    Gil T. listen to this Audiobook?” Well, I really don’t know what started me on the book, other than I’m a sucker for supernatural tales and I keep hoping someone gets back to the killing of these evil beasts. While the vampires were not staked and the premise of this story is the marriage of a vampire to a witch, I gave it a chance. As it turned out, I was mildly pleased. The story had only a touch of those Supernatural Romance novels, but better yet this book had more of a science-fiction time-travelling tale, and if you know me, you know I’m a sucker for time-travel.

    I picked up this book not knowing it was the second book in the trilogy, and when I first started listening, I realized I was missing something, so I looked up the information on the author and found I missed the first book. As I continued to listen I found that the author wrote into the story some of the missing info I would have obtained from the first book, within the first hour or so of listening. This makes this pretty much a stand-alone novel, but I think, out of curiosity, I’ll go back and find the first book.

    From what I can gather, the first book introduced Diana Bishop, an Oxford scholar and witch who is not in control of her powers, and vampire Matthew DuClairmont. Who according to this book is from a large influential “family” of vampires. Diana finds an alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782. When she discovers the book she and Matthew come under attack from a group of witches that want the book for their own uses. Diana is able to “timewalk” her and Matthew to a time in Matthews past in order to find the book before it is enchanted and maybe find another witch to teach Diana how to better use her powers.

    Diana “timewalks” them back to the 16th century when Matthew (remember he is a very old vampire) had some dark secrets. He is a spy for Queen Elizabeth, seems to be in charge of destroying witches to some extent, and is a member of the legendary “School of Night.” The School of Night is pretty much a who’s who of the 1590s featuring in its membership, Sir Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlow, William Shakespeare, George Chapman and Thomas Herriot. In this book Harkness allows her characters to interact with these folks and others like Henry Percy and the Queen herself. At times the time-travellers seem to influence the historical significance of these people. Harkness also plays on the ideas that Christopher Marlow was a demon, and even the poet Matthew Roydon is a vampire, in fact Matthew DuClairmont is Roydon. It makes for a fun twist in the story.

    So this is what kept my interest; Harkness was able to weave her story into the history facts and make this fiction a bit more intriguing. So with the rest of the story the two time-walkers visit Matthew’s father, the Emperor Rudolf in Prague, and a few other historical figures in order to track down Ashmole 782. The story is not a fast paced action story but rather one that is rather like a Jane Austen novel set in the 16th century, with a bit of vampire and witch lore sprinkled in. There are no real vampire battles nor real witchcraft but the story does remain a bit intriguing in what seems like a Dan Brown mystery written by Jane Austen.

    The reader, Jennifer Ikeda, did a super job of reading this book and captured the voice of Diana perfectly. She was also able to do the vocal change-ups that allowed her to voice the other characters in their own voices. As a listener I definitely knew when which character was speaking when, thanks to her vocal changes in the reading of this book.

    Slow moving but intriguing, I will be checking out the other books in the series now that this one has my curiosity up.

     
  • gilwilson 9:31 PM on May 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , audio book audiobook, , , , , blackout, , , , , , raquel cassidy, , , the art of death, time travel   

    “Doctor Who: The Art of Death” by James Goss 

    “Doctor Who: Blackout & The Art of Death”
    “Blackout” by Oli Smith
    read by Stuart Milligan
    “The Art of Death” by James Goss
    Read by Raquel Cassidy
    Published by AudioGo (2012)
    2 hours 32 minutes

    First off, Thank You, AudioGo, for publishing these Doctor Who stories here in the states! I am going through Doctor Who withdrawals (the next season can’t get here fast enough), but thanks to AudioGo the audio releases of Doctor Who stories are definitely finding a home on my listening list. These are originally released in the U.K. on BBC audio but brought to the U.S. via AudioGo.

    This time around AudioGo has packaged 2 one hour productions into one box. I had previously reviewed the first story in the set, “Blackout,” I was impatient, like I said I’m going through withdrawals. When I received this 2 disc collection, my son, whom I’ve been trying to get into audiobooks, wanted me to listen to those with him, so I gave him the “Blackout” disc while I completed listening to this set with “The Art of Death” and now that I have completed that one I can give him the other disc.

    This review will be about the second story in this set, if you want to read my review of the first story just check out the review at this link
    https://gilwilson.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/doctor-who-blackout-by-oli-smith/

    As with the “Blackout,” “The Art of Death” is a great story to fit within the Doctor Who universe. The author, James Goss, captures the spirit of the Doctor and his companions perfectly. One of the things I love about the Doctor Who series is the time travel aspect and this story is the perfect time travel story, with the whole paradox theory investigated. The reader, Raquel Cassidy does a great job as reader and even brings out the quirks of the 11th Doctor (portrayed on TV by Matt Smith), she is also able to portray Amy Pond and Rory spot on. The best thing is, is that this story is told from the point of view of Penelope, a care taker at an art gallery, more particularly in the Paradox room of the gallery. Her main job is to keep people from staring at the Paradox, because it can drive people mad.

    When the story opens Penelope is telling her story and the story of the Paradox exhibit in the ceiling of the gallery. As one child described it, it is a glowing rainbow octopus. The Paradox begins to talk to Penelope and when the Doctor arrives, he greets Penelope as if they were old friends. When she asks who he is he explains, we haven’t met yet but we will. He explains that he, Amy and Rory were stopping in to see the gallery when they each fell into a time loop and that they will be together again eventually. At this time the Paradox begins to talk to Penelope and they discover it contains a giant creature with a penchant for death.

    The Doctor is grabbed by the creature and the Doctor says in a perfect Doctor line, ” Don’t be alarmed, It’s simply sucking the life out of me. Nothing to worry about…” as he fades away. As time passes the paradox becomes stronger and Penelope is visited through various stages in her life by Amy, Rory and the Doctor, although they only appear separately, since they are each drifting through time. Soon the secret of the Paradox is discovered and it is up to the Doctor and Penelope to save the planet and maybe the universe.

    With an ongoing mystery that is only fully discovered near the end of this story this is one that will keep you listening on the edge of your seat until the very end. In addition to the great voice work from Raquel Cassidy the producers have mixed in some great sound effects that push the story closer to that edge of mystery. Great listening in this one.

     
  • gilwilson 10:11 PM on April 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , karen savage, laura kreitzer, , revolution publishing, , , , time travel, , ,   

    “Phantom Universe: Summer Chronicles, Book 1” By Laura Kreitzer 

    “Phantom Universe: Summer Chronicles, Book 1”
    By Laura Kreitzer
    Read by Karen Savage
    Published by Revolution Publishing
    8 hours 38 minutes

    Once again it’s time to take a romp into the world of Young Adult fiction, and sticking to my favorite genre overall, Science-Fiction.  Some of the most interesting stories come from Young Adult fiction, but then again so have some of the worst, I won’t mention any names (cough, cough, Twilight, cough, cough), but I think you know some.   Anyway this book and what looks to be a series is among one of the most interesting.   I will admit it was a bit frustrating, but in a fun way.  Frustrating because it was so cleverly written that it kept me trying to guess what was happening next, and constantly changing that guess.

    This audiobook is read by Karen Savage, and I’ll be one of the first to jump on her bandwagon.  Ms. Savage captures the voice, or rather the inner-voice of Summer, the main character in the story.  She also is able to differentiate the separate voices of the other characters with  ease and let me tell you that is no easy feat.  The voices range from Scottish and British accents, to pirates, to Native American, to Canadian, and even some Southern American.   Each one is performed beautifully in order to enhance the telling of this romp through time.   So now I have one more audiobook voice artist to put on my list to listen to more often.

    Oh, I see you caught that time travel hint.  Well the time traveling done in this first book of the Summer Chronicles is only one way with a large amount of people traveling 200 years into the future.  But before I get caught up in that aspect, which was one of the frustrating parts of the story for me, remember, frustrating in a good way.

    Summer lives in the modern day world as a slave.  Yes this book talks about child slavery and gets a bit rough, but it is all done to further the story and create the what turns out to be a strong character in Summer.  Summer was sold into slavery by, what at first seems like her mother, but more is learned to deter that idea later in the book.  She is sold at the age of 4 and is beaten with a whip until she learns to not make any noise.  The lessons of the whip are so harsh that Summer, even at the age of 16, does not talk.   She communicates with expressions and by writing on a very few trusted people’s palms.  I have to throw in at this time that this is another time to send kudos to both the author and the reader in representing the thoughts and actions of summer, the author provides the perfect descriptions and the reader presents these words in such a manner that I could visualize easily the facial expressions and emotions of Summer.

    At the age of 6 Summer is sold to a Captain of a Pirate ship.  Yes this is modern times, and the pirates, capture ships and sell the cargo.  The Captain of this ship has a liking for large screen TVs and captures container ships carrying this cargo.  Throughout her life on the ship, Summer never talks and becomes the Captain’s favorite because she doesn’t talk.  This section of the book is told with flashbacks throughout her life on the ship to modern day of Summer at 16 years old with the flashbacks talking about different things that shaped her character.  One such event is one where she is nearly raped by a crew member but is saved by another slave, a boy near her age by the name of Landon.  Summer and Landon become best friends from then on.

    About halfway through the book a surprising event happens and the Pirate ship is boarded by The Secret Clock Society in search of Summer.  Jaiden, a slave from before Summer was sold to the pirates, is sent to find Summer, but instead she betrays the Society and helps Summer escape just as the ship explodes.  Jaiden and Summer manage to make it to shore, but are unsure of the fate of Landon.

    On shore a strange thing happens and the two wake up to the intrusion of a military force capturing the two girls and rounding up what are called “Outlanders.”  Summer strangely begins to feel something for the commander of the force, Gage, and for some odd reason trusts him, this trust comes from deep within and she doesn’t understand why when she has never trusted anyone in her life, except for Landon.

    Gage and the others are members of the Canadian military and reveal to Jaiden and Summer that they are now in the year 2210.  This is where it got really frustrating for me.  How did they travel through time? Why?  Summer is examined by a medical personnel and it is decided she is not in any shape to be taken to the Outlanders internment camp.  So she spends some time in a hospital where the years of starvation and severe beatings are treated.

    In the year 2210 the Canadian government has taken over most of the civilized world.  While the United States and the rest of the world were busy with World War III, the Canadians were tired of wars and wanted peace and were able to invade through covert actions and behind the lines invasions.  I found this odd but so did some of the other characters from the past so this part was not treated too lightly and an explanation is provided, but I will leave that up to you to discover.  One of the things that caused the Canadians to be able to take control was an “Exodus,” in which 200 million people disappeared.

    So how did Summer travel to the future? and why?  Well that is the fun of this story, and it would be a spoiler, so I won’t be telling you, but it completely changes the character of Summer and all her friends new and old, and starts a saga that is only begun in this book one of “The Summer Chronicles.”  I’ll warn you now, don’t try and figure out why or how, just enjoy the great storytelling and when it is explained, just say, “Ahhh, of course.”  Oh also as is in most Young Adult fiction you have a bit of silly teen romance going, but that is not the bulk of the story, so just let that slide as well.

     
    • Jeff 11:25 PM on April 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Good review!

      Like

    • MarthaE 10:51 AM on May 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Glad you had a positive response to this book. So did I. I avoid reading other reviews until I get mine done. Funny how we focus on different things.
      Happy reading/listening!

      Like

  • gilwilson 10:05 PM on April 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , john f. kennedy, kennedy assassination, lee harvey oswald, , , , scribner, , time travel   

    “11/22/63” by Stephen King 

    “11/22/63”
    by Stephen King
    Published by Scribner (2011)
    849 pages

    If I remember right, “Christine” was the very first Stephen King book I read, and since then I have read every book published by Mr. King. The King of Horror is my go to man when it comes to wanting something to read and not sure what I want to put my hands on. He has never let me down and always creates a story that is not only intriguing but can envelop the reader completely. I have read every thing he has written to date, and when he announced he was retiring, I desperately sought out other similar authors; Dean Koontz and Clive Barker were a couple, but none seemed to grab me as much as Stephen King. I have other favorite authors, but Stephen King will always be my utmost favorite. So with that in mind, understand I enjoy every Stephen King book and don’t think I could give them a bad review if I tried. This one is no different.

    A lot of critics say he gets too wordy, but I think that is what I enjoy in a Stephen King novel, the expansion of the main story into something else entirely and eventually he will bring you back to the main idea that started the story in the first place. This book is exactly that. The main premise is that there is a portal that goes back to September, 1958, and when you return it is only as if two minutes have passed, no matter how long you stay in the past. So with that as the main part of the story and the title of the book “11/22/63,” you know someone is going back in time to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Again, this is a Stephen King book and the development of a story doesn’t stop with that idea. There are whole lives involved and whoever goes back to the past has to live in the past for five years before the event happens, so now the story really unfolds.

    Basically Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. In the beginning of the story he receives an essay from one of the students, which is a true Stephen King gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk. Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on a mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

    It seems Al has tried this but the past is obdurate and does everything it can to prevent the future from being altered. Al has been diagnosed with cancer and is about to die. Jake is the only one that can change the past to make the future better. Before he does something as drastic as preventing Kennedy’s assassination, Jake decides to first try and save Harry Dunning’s family from his murderous father. While the past does try to keep Jake from changing the outcome, he manages, barely, to save all but one member of the family. When he returns to the present he sees that it can be done but that there are consequences.

    One other thing, each time someone goes back through the portal to 1958, the past/future resets. So Jake must save several people on the second time round and eventually move to Texas and get ready for the big mission. Here’s where the story gets involved and becomes more than just a time travel novel. Jake, Now George Amberson, has taken up teaching in a small town while he stalks Lee Harvey Oswald, to confirm he is the one and only shooter and to plan on how to stop Oswald before the deed is done.

    During this time Jake/George, falls in love, finds his life is teaching and that he loves helping out the students, but all the while Oswald lurks near and must be stopped.

    So while enjoying a story of a man out of time thoroughly getting lost in life, the time travel aspect keeps coming up, especially the mention of the “butterfly-effect,” and how much of the future is changed by his simple interactions with people and especially students. This effect is made even more prominent when near the end of the book he returns to his own time, only it is not his time anymore.

    Can this simple (really not that simple) plan of saving one of history’s favorite Presidents be a good thing or a bad thing. In writing this story King not only relied on his gift of an elaborate imagination, but he also had many discussions with historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin and actually has a fully thought out and debated plan for the future with Kennedy surviving, which may surprise you.

    All around this is a fun book and yet another Stephen King book that provides one more answer to the What If question.

     
    • gajenn 7:32 AM on April 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I really enjoyed this one as well. I’m anxiously awaiting the new Dark Tower novel!

      Like

  • gilwilson 7:59 PM on March 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , time travel   

    “Doctor Who: Blackout” by Oli Smith 

    “Doctor Who: Blackout”
    by Oli Smith
    Read by Stuart Milligan
    Published by AudioGo
    1 hour 17 minutes

    I am really loving these short (1 hour or so) audio stories released by AudioGo. They are each like an episode of Doctor Who and the perfect filler while waiting for the next season of Doctor Who to come back to television. The BBC has just announced a new companion for the Doctor for the next season, so while I get even more antsy for the next season I have these audiobooks to fill my time. I believe this is the last short story I have for the 11th Doctor, so the next ones will be full-fledged audiobooks from AudioGo (they have lots from all the Doctors).

    This “episode” begins with a patient, Clint, who has had dreams of abductions talking to a doctor, but as it turns out it is The Doctor. The Doctor, Amy and Rory have landed the TARDIS in Pennsylvania but on November 9th, 1965 have taken a train to New York to find a cure for a poison that is in the water, and Clint seems to be a key.

    Rory and Amy have caused a fireplug to overpressurize and in turn the water spray reveals a ship floating above New York City. Soon people start freezing and exploding and it is up to the Doctor to find the cure for the poisoning. The aliens cause a blackout which makes things difficult for the Doctor to get a message, or rather a warning, to the aliens, but assisted by his trusty sonic screwdriver the Doctor fights on.

    The reader, Stuart Milligan, did a very nice job creating the all around feel of a Doctor Who story. The writing was a perfect fit into the world of Doctor Who and, Milligan was able to bring to life the action and emotion of the story. His voicework was very good when representing the Doctor, Rory and even Amy, however his representation of Clint seemed a bit forced, I think he was trying to go for a typical rough New York cab driver with the voice, but it didn’t seem to work for me. The rest of the voice work was nearly perfect. In case you aren’t familiar, Milligan portrayed Nixon in the “Impossible Astronaut” episode of the program.

    Definitely a must listen for any Doctor Who fan. Nothing you couldn’t go without, but definitely a story for filling in some of the time before the new season.

     

     
  • gilwilson 9:49 PM on March 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , jason arnopp, meera syal, meme spawn, , , , time travel   

    Doctor Who: The Gemini Contagion by Jason Arnopp 

    Doctor Who: The Gemini Contagion
    by Jason Arnopp
    Read by Meera Syal
    Published by AudioGo (2011)
    Running Time: 1hrs 30mins

    First of all I want to scream out how much I love the BBC and AudioGo for making these Doctor Who audiobooks available. I am antsy and eagerly awaiting the next season of Doctor Who and in the meantime I’m getting my fix of the Doctor, by listening to these adventures through time and space with the 11th doctor. When I run out of the 11th doctor I will go back to the 10th (who, portrayed by David Tenant, was my second favorite Doctor to Tom Baker) But these adventures with the 11th Doctor (portrayed by Matt Smith) are loads of fun. Right now I’m going through all the audio releases that are three hours or less, and having a blast.

    This audio release is read by Meera Syal, who appeared in two episodes of Doctor Who; The Hungry Earth Cold Blood. She portrayed Dr. Nasreen Chaudhry, a geologist in the year 2020. Along with Tony Mack, she was digging down into the Earth further than any other human ever had before. They discover a race of reptilians that have lived under the Earth for years and will do so for many more. Anyway, at first I was wondering if her reading this book would mean that her character would make an appearance in this story, and reading the cover notes I couldn’t see how. As I listened I realized she wouldn’t, but Meera did a superb job in reading the story. She was able to capture the quirks of the 11th Doctor and Amy Pond perfectly and with the help of the subtle music score was able to present the emotions and excitement throughout the story.

    The story follows the The Doctor and Amy as they arrive on the ice-planet Vinsk in the year 2112. Where the Zalnex company is getting ready to release a miracle hand lotion. The lotion provides the user to understand all languages. The problem, the shipment is being sent to Earth and the lotion was never tested on humans. As it turns out humans are susceptible to insanity after using the hand lotion, because the human brain cannot sort out the languages at once.

    The doctor that created the lotion cloned a race called “Meme Spawn” and used them to manufacture the lotion, by introducing the microscopic spawn into the lotion where they psychically link to the host allowing the host to understand the languages. To make things worse the cloned Meme Spawn, are able to mutate and become a sort of flying starfish creature and conquer the hosts.

    The Doctor and Amy race against time to keep the shipment arriving on earth. But along the way Amy becomes “infected” and the Doctor must make the decision of whether to save Amy or the Human Race.

    This romp through space and time is just as fun as any episode of Doctor Who and sorts itself out in true Doctor Who fashion.

     
  • gilwilson 10:26 PM on March 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , freejack, , , robert sheckley, , , soul, spirit, time travel,   

    “Immortality, Inc.” by Robert Sheckley 

    “Immortality, Inc.”
    by Robert Sheckley
    read by Bronson Pinchot
    published by Blackstone Audio (2011)
    Approx 6 hours.

    Okay first of all I want to apologize for the time between reviews, this time around I have picked 2 long audiobooks and one extremely long printed book. But soon I’ll be back on track. They have all been worth it, especially squeezing in this 6 hour fun journey into the future.

    I knew this was the right book to be listening to, right now, because of the subject matter and the side stories created. First of all this book is a nice piece of classic science-fiction that involves time travel and immortality. So right there you know this is going to be interesting. But the book also involves ghosts, spirits, the afterworld, hauntings, and zombies. The cool part of this was that, of the other books I was reading or hearing at the time, one was a zombie book, one was a time travel book and then there’s this one. As for the ghosts, well, in case you didn’t know it I’m also a paranormal investigator with a local group (on facebook http://www.facebook.com/psiofi ) and one of the side ventures I was doing that may have helped to delay this book was a little ghost hunting on the side, so all the subjects covered in this were fitting in with all my other projects.

    “Immortality, Inc.” was first published in 1959 and gave a bit of a grim look at humanity’s future. Sheckley’s unsettling vision of the future is told in a bit of a witty sort of way so as not to be one of those depressing dystopian novels, like “1984” or “A Brave New World,” I loved those books, but every time I read them I get just a bit depressed. This book however had some fun moments. In fact there is one moment in the book that is so humorous it was represented in the animated series “Futurama.” The moment is when the main character, Tom Blaine, finds himself transplanted from the year 1958 to the year 2110 and in trying to escape the hustle and bustle of the city of the future, finds himself in line for a suicide booth.

    This story was said to be the basis of the 1992 film “Freejack,” starring Emilio Esteves and Mick Jagger. But from what I remember of the film, Hollywood took some creative license and mucked around with the story quite a bit. I’m going to have to rent that again and compare sometime soon.

    Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this intriguing and thought provoking sci-fi piece of art, I need to first talk about the reader. Bronson Pinchot is the reader, and after listening to the whole book, I have to say he does a superb job. I will admit that starting out the story I was worried because he seemed to be delivering the story in a very dry manner, but looking back that worked for the intro. As the story progressed and the characters started making their appearance, Pinchot shined. His ability to create voices for the separate characters was stunning. In some cases it was quite comical and worked perfectly with the humor written into the story. My favorite was his representation of a sleazy “transplant” street seller. Transplant is the ability to place your mind into any other body (and it doesn’t necessarily have to be human) and the salesman was like the combination of a pimp and one of those old trench coat wearing counterfeit watch sellers, and the picture i got while he voiced the guy almost made me feel slimy listening. Bravo!

    So, what’s this story about anyway? Well, Tom Blaine dies in a car crash in 1958 only to wake up alive in the year 2011. The Rex Corporation has taken Tom’s essence, soul, spirit from the past and put it into a “donated” body. The breakthrough of time travel is not new, but this form of transplanting the soul through time is new. They plan on using Tom as their poster-child for the process, until they learn the Government won’t allow this process. So they shut down all the plans to use Tom. He is released from Rex Corporation and goes out to explore the world in his new body. Maria Thorn, a representative from Rex Corporation soon rescues Tom from a body snatcher and helps him to properly view life. Body Snatchers take young healthy bodies (people) and kill them to allow the older rich people to reincarnate into them.

    The rich can do this legally but the illegal bodies are usually healthier and easier to come by. In fact, one of the doctors that brought Blaine over to 2110, is about to be reincarnated into a young body, but something goes wrong and the doctor is pushed out in the process by another spirit. The other spirit takes too much time acquiring the new body and becomes what is known in the year 2110 as a zombie. A zombie is a spirit that inhabits a body but the body is still dead and decaying fast.

    This zombie soon starts following Tom around, because he has some tie to Tom but cannot fulfill his mission until he remembers what that is. The zombie population help Tom escape when Tom is placed on a wanted list, but the threat of the one zombie still lingers.

    Tom is soon hunted down and after receiving conditioning to be able to make the journey into the afterlife, by being gifted with hereafter insurance, the Rex Corporation wants to kill him to cover up their crime of saving a soul without prior written consent. Tom then has to travel the world to escape the hunting squads and to find what the purpose of the zombie’s constant companionship.

    A story about man’s future and how even after finding there is an afterlife, humanity finds a way to ruin that. Some funny moments and even some nice thrilling moments. This should be added to any true sci-fi fan’s library.

     
  • gilwilson 10:00 PM on January 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , rory, , , , time travel   

    “Doctor Who: The Ring of Steel” by Stephen Cole 

    “Doctor Who: The Ring of Steel”
    by Stephen Cole
    Read by Arthur Darvill
    Published by AudioGO Ltd. & BBC Audio (2010)
    1 hour and 18 minutes

    Okay, I admit it, I’m hooked.  Hooked on Doctor Who.  What I find amazing is the awesome choice of audiobooks available in the Doctor Who World.  In the new generation of Doctor Who, which includes the 9th, 10th and 11th doctors, there are at least 50 audiobooks available.  Then all sorts of books on the doctors from the “old generation,” so it looks like I may have some fun for a while.  The television series is slated to start another season next fall, so until then I’m gonna listen to all the audiobooks I can lay my hands on.   Some of the se audiobooks are full length books and some are specifically for audio only and are written in a one hour format, much like a single television episode.  This latest one is one of those one hour audio recordings.

    Normally I find it even more interesting when the book is read by one of the actors in the series.  Usually when one of the actors reads the story it is based on happenings around their character.  Of course when Matt Smith reads, since he portrays the Doctor, it’s perfect, but when one of the other actors reads it you can count on it being focused on them.  Now maybe that’s just something I’m putting into it because of hearing their voice.  So when I picked out this audiobook I saw it was read by Arthur Darvill, who plays Rory in the series, Amy Ponds boyfriend/husband in the series.  But Rory never made a single appearance in this story so they fooled me.  However his voicework is spot on and when voicing the Doctor, he nearly sounds like Matt Smith, which made the book nice to hear.

    When the TARDIS lands on Orkney (or Orkney Islands, in Scotland) in the near future, the Doctor and Amy arrive to find a large demonstration in progress over the construction of new electricity pylons. The Doctor tries to break things up peacefully – but suddenly the road splits open without warning and swallows police, security guards and protestors alike.

    Separated from the Doctor, Amy takes charge of transporting the wounded to hospital – but the rescue mission becomes a terrifying ride as the pylons come to life and begin to walk and the road rears up, erupting with boiling tarmac.

    The Doctor, meanwhile, has even more than metal monsters and rebellious roads to deal with. Here is where it became really cool for me.  Have you ever been driving along an interstate or even country roads and seen those large high tension electrical wire supports that look like giant metal robots?  I’ve heard some say they look like Farmer John and his wife (different shapes for each sex).  When I was a kid I used to be on long road trips and imagine they would come to life, and like Amy Pond in this story, I used to protect my family by shooting them down with my pretend laser gun (forefinger extended and thumb up).  Well, in this book they do come to life and attack.   So, who is bringing these things to life and sucking the life out of the power company’s employees – and just what is lurking inside the Astra-Gen headquarters?  That is for the Doctor and Amy to find out and through the help of the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver (the only weapon ever needed) to fix and save the earth, again.

    There was one really interesting moment in this book that made me have to rewind and listen again.  The Doctor says, “you’re only young twelve times,” is this a reference to the number of times a Time Lord can regenerate? If so are we looking at a near-future end to the Doctor Who series?  There is a movie supposed to be coming out and that usually marks the end of a television series.  Oh…say it isn’t so.

    If you are interested as to where this book falls into the timeline of the Doctor Who series, it occurs after tv episode, “Victory of the Daleks” and before the book, “The Runaway Train.”

     
  • gilwilson 9:51 PM on January 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ninjas, samurai, , , the jade pyramid, time travel   

    “Doctor Who: The Jade Pyramid” by Martin Day 

    “Doctor Who: The Jade Pyramid”
    by Martin Day
    Read by Matt Smith
    Produced by AudioGO Ltd.
    approx 1 hour.

    What to do with the Doctor Who TV series on hiatus until fall 2012?  Catch up on my Doctor Who audiobooks, that’s what.  I’ve got a lot to get through and I thought since the series is on the 11th Doctor, portrayed by Matt Smith, I’d get through the latest ones first.  It seems that Matt Smith is growing on me as the Doctor, I wasn’t quite sure at first, I had really become fond of David Tenant, but change is inevitable, especially with the doctor.  With this audiobook featuring Matt Smith reading, I’ve grown a little more fond of his portrayal of the Doctor, he is able to continue with the attitudes that only he could have in this role and this reading makes it easy to escape into another episode of Doctor Who.

    Another aspect of the audiobook being easy to perceive as another episode is that it is just over one hour of listening time.  Sure Doctor Who can run a multi-episode story arc, but some of the best are simple one show adventures, and that is exactly what this book is.  The audiobook even begins and ends with the iconic them music so you know you are ready for a ride in the TARDIS.

    The story begins with the TARDIS receiving a distress call from a Shinto shrine, in medieval Japan on Earth.  The Doctor and Amy Pond arrive in a small village and met by the village elder,  Shijo Sada. He finds the Doctor an intriguing sort, who seems aloof yet full of the knowledge of the ages.  He takes them to a holy site that is guarded by small ogre-like statues called Otoroshi.  The Otoroshi are said to guard the ancient jade pyramid in the heart of the temple.  The temple is so holy that only the monks are allowed in and that the temple has strange healing properties.

    It turns out the Shogun, the ruler of Japan, wants the pyramid and has ordered seven samurai to take possession of the temple.  Amy ventures into the temple and discovers that the guardians can come to life to protect the temple.  The Doctor is attacked by a niinja and the adventure runs from there leading the Doctor deep within the temple to discover the secrets of the Jade Pyramid.

    With Samurai, Ninjas, Aliens and the Doctor, this story is full of fun and adventure and is a must hear for any Doctor Who fan, and who knows, maybe able to attract the few that have yet to discover the fun in Doctor Who.

     
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