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Austin Fusilier

  • 10
  • reviews
  • 4
  • helpful votes
  • 96
  • ratings
  • Invisible Man

  • A Novel
  • Written by: Ralph Ellison
  • Narrated by: Joe Morton
  • Length: 18 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 25

Ralph Elllison's Invisible Man is a monumental novel, one that can well be called an epic of 20th-century African-American life. It is a strange story, in which many extraordinary things happen, some of them shocking and brutal, some of them pitiful and touching - yet always with elements of comedy and irony and burlesque that appear in unexpected places.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Joe Morton is Perfect

  • By Austin Fusilier on 2019-03-26

Joe Morton is Perfect

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

Reviewed: 2019-03-26

Masterful performance of a great work, Morton’s reading of Ellison is absolutely the best way to read Invisible Man.

  • Red Storm Rising

  • Written by: Tom Clancy
  • Narrated by: Michael Prichard
  • Length: 31 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

When Muslim fundamentalists blow up a key Soviet oil complex, making an already critical oil shortage calamitous, the Russians figure they are going to have to take things into their own hands. They plan to seize the Persian Gulf, and more ambitiously, to neutralize NATO. Thus begins Red Storm, an audacious gamble that uses diplomatic maneuver to cloak a crash military build-up.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Middling Military Fiction

  • By Austin Fusilier on 2018-09-27

Middling Military Fiction

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-09-27

Prichard's voice works wonderfully for this one. Well-read.

As for the story: it's an interesting read as an alt-history (though it was written as near-future extrapolation), but it's both too sprawling and too focused to excel. Meaning: the story is so broad in its aspirational scope (a full-out World War 3 between NATO and the USSR) that the reader can't help but feel shortchanged when it doesn't live up to it (for example, an all-encompassing World War should involve the World - rather than just Iceland, Germany, and the North Atlantic); and the decision to anchor this tale to the perspectives of a few figures in the three military theaters emphasizes this shortcoming. Thin characters don't help, but I suppose we're not really coming to Tom Clancy for deep meditations on humanity's nature.

Enjoyable, but not as good as his later work, and not something I'd return to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Stand

  • Written by: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 47 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 503
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 469
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 468

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides - or are chosen.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant

  • By Grantly on 2018-03-19

Overlong, But Intriguing

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

Reviewed: 2018-09-13

An impressive, if over-long, achievement. (Warning: do not read if you are battling a cold). The trouble, however, springs from that "over-long" feature - the tale suffers greatly for it. It aspires to the status of modern epic, pitting the forces of good and evil against each other in a post-apocalyptic landscape. It stumbles, unfortunately, and its excess length allows that stumble to become a fall.

#Audible1

  • Lone Star Nation

  • How a Ragged Army of Courageous Volunteers Won the Battle for Texas Independence
  • Written by: H.W. Brands
  • Narrated by: Don Leslie
  • Length: 17 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

Lone Star Nation is the gripping story of Texas' precarious journey to statehood, from its early colonization in the 1820s to the shocking massacres of Texas loyalists at the Alamo and Goliad by the Mexican army, from its rough-and-tumble years as a land overrun by the Comanches to its day of liberation as an upstart republic.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Succinct, But Not Much More

  • By Austin Fusilier on 2018-09-13

Succinct, But Not Much More

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-09-13

A thorough and able telling of the historical events leading to and through the Texas Revolution and their annexation into the United States. Though the book ends well (its flourish in an examination of Sam Houston's having to preside over the dissolution of the annexation he strove so hard to facilitate), through most of its length the narrative merely navigates from event to event. It makes good use of epistolary sources and written accounts from several sides of the conflict, but it serves mostly as a summary.

#Audible1

  • Consider Phlebas

  • Culture Series, Book 1
  • Written by: Iain M. Banks
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 16 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 35

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction - cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Mis-fire

  • By Austin Fusilier on 2018-09-13

Mis-fire

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-09-13

Consider Phlebas is something of a grand failure. Clearly, Mr Banks has wooed a size-able following, and so I don't mean his failure is material or communicative. Rather, the failure of the novel relates to its intended purpose: to introduce a new reader to the relatively unique concept of the Culture (a space-faring social Utopia that is Banks' response to traditional science fiction conceits) by ushering it in through the eyes of a sworn opponent, and then convincing the reader to mis-believe that perception.

To do that, an author needs the trust and confidence of the reader - and to gain that trust and confidence, the author must demonstrate that they can handle the task they are set about. It ultimately doesn't matter whether Banks can succeed in convincing readers that the Culture is a force for good if those same readers have quit the book in frustration.

#Audible1

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Right Stuff

  • Written by: Tom Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Dennis Quaid
  • Length: 15 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55

Millions of words have poured forth about man's trip to the moon, but until now few people have had a sense of the most engrossing side of the adventure; namely, what went on in the minds of the astronauts themselves - in space, on the moon, and even during certain odysseys on earth. It is this, the inner life of the astronauts, that Tom Wolfe describes with his almost uncanny empathetic powers that made The Right Stuff a classic.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great History, Mediocre Reading

  • By Austin Fusilier on 2018-09-13

Great History, Mediocre Reading

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-09-13

Dennis Quaid suprised me. Given his starring turn in the film of the book, I had looked forward to hearing his reading. Unfortunately, he was either mis-directed or poorly interpreted. You have to work to get past him, and that's unfortunate.

The book is a great retelling of the space race and the Cold War era, masterfully told and researched by the unparalleled Tom Wolfe. The details, thoughts, conversations, machinations, all of it - gives a broad-eyed vision of the kind of people, doing the kind of things, that led humanity to the moon.

#Audible1

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Great Gatsby

  • Written by: F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Narrated by: Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Length: 4 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 199
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 189
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 189

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel of the Roaring Twenties is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This new audio edition, authorized by the Fitzgerald estate, is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal ( Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. There, he has a firsthand view of Gatsby’s lavish West Egg parties - and of his undying love....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great performance

  • By Nika on 2018-01-31

Fantastic

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

Reviewed: 2018-09-13

Jake Gyllenhaal does a masterful job and is an excellent guide through Fitzgerald's opus.

The novel is considered an American masterpiece, and deserves it. It may work a little too hard in its final pages, but the overall picture isn't diminished in any way. An excellent sample of the American landscape in the Jazz Age, with readings that run well forward from there.

#Audible1

  • Slaughterhouse-Five

  • Written by: Kurt Vonnegut
  • Narrated by: James Franco
  • Length: 5 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 123
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 116
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 116

Traumatized by the bombing of Dresden at the time he had been imprisoned, Pilgrim drifts through all events and history, sometimes deeply implicated, sometimes a witness. He is surrounded by Vonnegut's usual large cast of continuing characters (notably here the hack science fiction writer Kilgore Trout and the alien Tralfamadorians, who oversee his life and remind him constantly that there is no causation, no order, no motive to existence).

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • all time great book. James Franco does a great job

  • By Noah Van Nest on 2019-04-12

Great Book, Decent Reading

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

Reviewed: 2018-09-13

First thing: once you get used to James Franco's cadence, things move along rather quickly - but the disaffected approach he seems to take is off-putting at the start.

The book is a classic, and worthy of that title: a powerful examination of death, war, and other inhumane behaviours, couched in madness, a touch of science fiction, and ambiguity. Masterful.

#Audible1

  • A Shadow in Summer

  • Long Price Quartet, Book 1
  • Written by: Daniel Abraham
  • Narrated by: Neil Shah
  • Length: 14 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

The powerful city-state of Saraykeht is a bastion of peace and culture, a major center of commerce and trade. Its economy depends on the power of the captive spirit Seedless, an and at bound to the poet-sorcerer Heshai for life. Enter the Galts, an empire committed to laying waste to all lands with their ferocious army. Saraykeht has always been too strong for the Galts to attack, but now they see an opportunity.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good First At-Bat

  • By Austin Fusilier on 2018-05-03

Good First At-Bat

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-05-03

I came into this novel off the strength of Abraham's short stories and his first collaboration with Ty Franck (Leviathan Wakes), and was intrigued. The end has a few story-telling mis-steps, but overall the novel is a great first time out. Looking forward to the further installments.

#Audible1

  • My Man Jeeves

  • Written by: P. G. Wodehouse
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 5 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 4

My Man Jeeves, first published in 1919, introduced the world to affable, indolent Bertie Wooster and his precise, capable valet, Jeeves. Some of the finest examples of humorous writing found in English literature are woven around the relationship between these two men of very different classes and temperaments. Where Bertie is impetuous and feeble, Jeeves is coolheaded and poised.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The Beginnings... Are Middling - But Worthy

  • By Austin Fusilier on 2017-10-19

The Beginnings... Are Middling - But Worthy

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2017-10-19

This volume contains some of the earliest stories in Wodehouse's Jeeves & Wooster series (four stories mixed with four other stories starring a parallel creation, Reggie Pepper, that Wodehouse later folded into the character of Bertie Wooster). As with most authors' early work, it is an uneven journey, as Wodehouse works to get his literary feet underneath himself. But it is of great interest to see him working out his later voice, deft touch, and the marvelous plotting that characterize his more mature work.

The first few stories in the collection, though they star Jeeves and Wooster, don't quite work as well as fans of the later adventures might expect. By the time the reader arrives, however, at the last two outings ("Doing Clarence a bit of Good" [starring Reggie Pepper] and "The Aunt and the Sluggard" [finishing with J&W]) it is clear that the author has begun rounding into wonderful form ("The Aunt..." is particularly satisfying, as it cleverly turns the central conceit a bit on its head).

Mr. Prebble, as always, is a worthy reader and performs well - if a bit slowly for my tastes.

Worth reading/listening if you are interested in the beginnings of things, but don't expect the refinement and polish you've come to enjoy if you're already a Wodehouse fan.