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review 2016-11-15 17:36
Will We Ever Be Better?: Little Fuzzy | Review
Little Fuzzy - H. Beam Piper,Peter Ganim

A classic Adult SF that stands up better than some but still has issues.

 

The chartered Zarathustra Company had it all their way. Their charter was for a Class III uninhabited planet, which Zarathustra was, and it meant they owned the planet lock stock and barrel. They exploited it, developed it and reaped the huge profits from it without interference from the Colonial Government. Then Jack Holloway, a sunstone prospector, appeared on the scene with his family of Fuzzies and the passionate conviction that they were not cute animals but little people.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $1.99 (must obtain Kindle copy first, prices may change)

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


BOOK DETAILS:

Little Fuzzy by H Beam Piper, read by Peter Ganim, published by Audible Studios (2009) / Length: 6 hrs 25 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 of the "Fuzzy Sapiens," series and the only one available on audio. Note: two of the sequels were written by Piper, with some additional ones that were written by other people. There is also a "reboot" of this novel written by John Scalzi.

 

SUMMARY:

I have been rereading a lot of classic SF now that I have a blog, and some of them have really made me cringe. This one isn't quite as bad. My biggest problem with it lies in the, I really hope we eventually outgrow such behavior, colonial attitudes. It is made clear from the beginning that proving that the Fuzzies are sentient won't mean that their planet will be given back, just that it will be governed differently.

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review 2016-11-10 17:19
A Soda Jerk in Space: Have Spacesuit, Will Travel | Review
Have Space Suit - Will Travel - Robert A. Heinlein,Mark Turetsky,Inc. Blackstone Audio

A Classic YA SF tale that won't be for everyone.

 

 

Kip from midwest Centerville USA works the summer before college as a pharmacy soda jerk, and wins an authentic stripped-down spacesuit in a soap contest. He answers a distress radio call from Peewee, scrawny rag doll-clutching genius aged 11. With the comforting cop Mother Thing, three-eyed tripod Wormfaces kidnap them to the Moon and Pluto.

 

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Note: This version is not currently available on Audible, but physical copies can occasionally be found. The Buy links will take you to the available version.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert Heinlein, read & published by Full Cast Audio / Length: 8 hrs 3 min

 

SERIES INFO: This book is standalone.

 

SUMMARY:

If you have read and disliked others of Heinlein's "Juveniles," you aren't likely to appreciate this one either. But it is one of my favorites. I like the main characters alot; and, except for one section (see below), I really enjoyed their journey.

 

CHARACTERS:

Kip: The boy-next-door who goes on a marvelous adventures and proves that he's a hero. Although he is a bit "gee whiz," he's fun to spend time with. He is definitely a character who thinks, which is something I love.

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review 2016-11-01 16:00
Waiting for #3 Before Deciding: The Crucible of Empire | Review
The Crucible of Empire - Eric Flint,K. D. Wentworth,Chris Patton,Audible Studios

An uneven, possibly overly long, Adult SF story with some great characters.

 

When humans and their Jao overlords joined forces in a desperate battle to save the Earth from the malevolent race called the Ekhat, the relationship between the two species was changed forever. Two years later, humans and Jao are learning to work together in an uneasy alliance. Then, in a distant nebula, three Jao ships detect signs of another sentient species during a battle with the Ekhat. Only one of the ships returns, with most of its crew dead or injured.

Ronz sends the Lexington, a massive ship built on Earth and crewed by both human and Jao, to investigate. The Lexington dwarfs any ship ever built by the Jao and even outmasses Ekhat ships, which may enable it to survive the attack that destroyed two of the three Jao ships.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $8.98 (must purchase Kindle first, prices may change)

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


BOOK DETAILS:

The Crucible of Empire by Eric Flint & KD Wentworth, read by Chris Patton, published by Audible Studios (2012) / Length: 16 hrs

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #2 of 3 in the "Jao" trilogy. Book #3 was just recently published, and is not currently available on audio.

 

**This review contains spoilers for the previous book.**

 

SUMMARY:

This book was a bit hit or miss for me. There were some parts that I loved, some I didn't enjoy as much, and a few I didn't like at all. In general, it seemed like a side trip. It's been left for the third book to explain why it was necessary.

 

CHARACTERS:

Tully: Still a favorite. He has really grown & changed, but isn't quite comfortable with that fact yet himself. It is interesting to see a spy who was always on the move try to become a leader.

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review 2016-10-27 17:15
Where it All Began: For Love of Mother-Not | Review
For Love of Mother-Not: A Pip & Flinx Adventure - Alan Dean Foster,Stefan Rudnicki,Audible Studios

An interesting YA prequel to a long running (though now complete) NA SF series.

 

He was just a freckle-faced, red-headed kid with green eyes and a strangely compelling stare when Mather Mastiff first saw him an the auctioneer's block. One hundred credits and he was hers.

 

For years the old woman was his only family. She loved him, fed him, taught him everything she knew - even let him keep the deadly flying snake he called Pip.Then Mother Mastiff mysteriously disappeared and Flinx took Pip to tail her kidnappers. Across the forests and swamps of the winged world called Moth, their only weapons were Pip's venom . . . and Flinx's unusual Talents.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $6.48 (must purchase Kindle first, prices may change)

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


BOOK DETAILS:

For Love of Mother-Not by Alan Dean Foster, read by Stefan Rudnicki, published by Audible Studios (2009) / Length: 8 hrs 15 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is (chronologically) Book #1 of 14 in the completed "Pip & Flinx" series, all of which are available on audio. If you prefer to read in publication order, it is #5.

 

SUMMARY:

This is probably my favorite of the Pip & Flinx adventures that I have read (I am currently a little over half way through the series.)

 

CHARACTERS:

Flinx: His ethics aren't what I would consider acceptable, specifically regarding other people's property. But considering his lack of true parental guidance, I guess it's to be expected. He is such a complex yet essentially likable character though.

 

Mother Mastiff: Very interesting as a fictional character, but not someone I would entrust with an actual child. She does really love him, and makes some unselfish decisions to try and protect him.

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review 2016-01-27 16:38
The Great Symmetry by James R Wells (Audiobook Review + Bonus Author & Narrator Interviews)
The Great Symmetry - James R Wells,James R Wells,Mitchell Lucas
A SciFi adventure of underdogs against the evil corporations, which occasionally reminded me of the movie “Serenity.”

Exoarchaeologist Evan McElroy has made a discovery about a long-extinct alien race. But his sponsors realize they can make huge gains if the new findings are kept completely secret. As Evan flees for his life, his trajectory awakens a long-buried struggle. The Infoterrorists, who believe all ideas are screaming to be free, have waited years for the right moment to take on the seven great families that control all of civilization. This could be their opportunity. Or it could be time for millions to die.

Disclosure: Hovering over the cover and purchasing may give me a small commission (yippee, book $).

The author is offering 2 Giveaway opportunities for this book. A free Audible copy to one of my readers (US only, see the Rafflecopter below) and a free signed print copy to the first reader/listener to find a hidden Easter egg in the book (North America only, see the final paragraph of this post).

 

SERIES INFO: This is Book #1 of what is currently planned as a trilogy with a prequel. According to the author, Volume II “will be released late in 2016. The audio book will follow shortly afterward.”

“You can’t stop the signal.” (Mr. Universe, Serenity), but these corporate madmen with their out of control “spin” and willingness to reach for the nukes are sure going to try.

There are too many characters to discuss them all here (although I didn’t have any problem keeping track of them). Our central trio of Evan, Mira, and Kate are well balanced and each bring something different to the table. I am looking forward to seeing what’s next for them.

In this universe, the 7 major “families” (i.e. corporations) that run everything control the media by inventing and disseminating the “True Story.” And if you don’t fall in line they will “zero” you, leaving you homeless and outcast. And all you people who don’t read every word of the Terms when you sign up for something (does anybody) had better beware. Something as innocuous as signing up for a grocery discount card can ruin your life.

My favorite piece of tech was Evan’s spacesuit. In most SF novels, the suit has a limited computer with basic readouts or maybe a battle HUD. This one was fully interactive. And it had removable gauntlets (with an inner glove), which allowed for manipulation of small objects. (Kip from Have Spacesuit, Will Travel would be extremely envious.)

I appreciated the linear storytelling and felt that the backstory was presented at a good pace. I did think that Evan’s story about what started all this was more than a bit anti-climatic considering how long it was held back. I think it would have played better if it had come earlier.

NARRATION: I liked it. Good pacing and production. / His deep voice prevented him from doing natural sounding female voices. I appreciate that he didn’t try, but just went a bit higher. / A bit slow in the non-action scenes, I occasionally listened on 1.5 speed (instead of my usual 1.25) / The one negative was that his very low voice challenged my $5 earbuds. It was much better on the external speaker.

FAVORITE PART(S):

“Those, my friend, are carrots. Never seen one before?” Mira grabbed the tongs and snagged a few for herself.

“Of course I have! But those are not carrots. Carrots are straight, are twenty centimeters long, and deep orange. And smooth. These are pale yellow, and lumpy. With purple splotches. Look, this one splits in two! And what is that white fibrous stuff?”

“They’re actual carrots, the kind that grow in the ground.” She held up a pair of the roots in the serving tongs and offered them to Evan.

“In the ground? As in, dirt? Worms? Oh, that is so unnatural. Mira, this mutant food isn’t going to work for me. Is there any Certified Safe food here?”

--

The sense of anticipation during the climactic scene where the crazy general is preparing to unleash destruction and several people are working independently to stop him

I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: a new name for wormholes / mild infrequent swearing / Evan & Kate’s “unmarried” state
OTHER WARNINGS: one of the major female side characters has a wife & kids

MY RATINGS:
Enjoyment: HIGH
Re-readability: AVERAGE
Narrator Impact: AVERAGE

I received this book free in return for an honest review, courtesy of Audiobook Blast dot com.

The Great Symmetry by James R Wells; read by Mitchell Lucas; produced independantly in 2015 / Length: 9 hrs 45 min (Unabr) / Available through Audible & Amazon plus iTunes

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BONUS NARRATOR INTERVIEW

 

Who was your favorite character in the book and why?

Definitely Mira. She's smart and tough. She's a badass.

 

Who was the easiest to narrate? The hardest?

The easiest to narrate would have to be Evan. I didn't have to do a voice for him. The toughest would probably be Axiom. That guy was hard on the vocal chords.

 

What motivated you to become an audiobook narrator?

I'm a huge fan of audiobooks. I used to listen to them for years at my old job to help pass the time. I'm also a voice actor for independent video games as well, so I already had my foot in the door as far as the initial investment in the recording gear. To me it was inevitable that I would find a way to narrate audiobooks as well.

 

What's the best part about being a narrator? The worst?

The best part of being a narrator is getting to read books for free! But seriously I get to read some great stuff I might never find otherwise. On the other hand, you need to have a thick skin if you want to do this for a living. Not everyone's going to like your stuff. And they let you know.

 

People can learn more about me and contact me at my website: www.mitchellslucas.com

 

BONUS AUTHOR INTERVIEW

 

A bit of biography that you may or may not know is that I am a great-grandson of science fiction pioneer H.G. Wells.

 

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character(s)?

The Great Symmetry is about new ideas trumping the established narrative. I'd like to see an insurgent studio assemble a cast of talented but unkown actors to make something that's fresh, centered on characters and their growth through the story, and devoid of the long and tedious arcade-game "action" sequences that proliferate through many science fiction movies you see these days. [I have to say that The Martian was a great recent exception]

 

Audiobook / eBook / Paperbooks? Which is your favorite and why?

I love print books, always have and always will. Since I spend too much of my day looking at a computer or similar device, when it's time to read for myself I want to hold a book with printed pages.

 

But my preference is not the same as what the market wants. When I intially released The Great Symmetry, I didn't understand the importance of eBook and audio. These days my eBook version is by far the lead seller, while audio is about to overtake print. I'll always have a print version of every full length novel I publish, if only to prove to my family that I wrote another book, but I now realize print is not going to be the most important medium.

 

What motivated you to sit down and write your first book?

I have always wanted to write science fiction, and I made many attempts to write The Great Symmetry (under various prior titles) for 25 years. But just a couple of years ago, a theme started getting my attention and not letting go. I kept coming across stories about the ongoing attempts of those in power to define the accepted social narrative and marginalize those with different points of view, but then being frustrated by the imagination and artistry of motivated people who bring fresh ideas back to our mainstream conversation.

 

It's amazing how often one determined person or small group can make a change in how we all think of a topic. Although The Great Symmetry is a science fiction adventure story, it's also a celebration of the freedom of ideas.

 

To learn more, check out his website at www.TheGreatSymmetry.com

 

Just for fun, I sprinkled hidden references to well-known novels and current events through The Great Symmetry. Most have them have been found and remarked to me by at least one reader, but there are still a few holdouts, such as a pointer to one of America's most famous criminal cases. For the first listener or reader who finds that one and sends me a note, I'll send you a signed first edition (North America only, please).

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