Review of The Sphinx by Bob Mayer

May 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

SphinxThe Sphinx  (Area 51 #4)
By Bob Mayer; Performed by Eric G. Dove
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
11 hours [UNABRIDGED]

Themes: / military sci-fi / aliens / hybrids / nuclear /

Publisher summary:

Dr. Lisa Duncan and Special Forces officer Mike Turcotte know better than anyone that no secret is safe for long — especially one that offers untold power. Case in point: no sooner does Turcotte’s elite Area 51 team uncover a dormant alien ship in earth orbit than a group of alien-human hybrids seizes it and uses its technology to commandeer a satellite array bristling with nuclear missiles. Now they’re demanding that humankind hand over the key to an ancient stash of alien technology…or watch an entire continent be reduced to atomic rubble. Doom seems certain, as the required key is believed lost to the ages — until an unwitting anthropologist discovers the first of many clues to its hiding place. As Duncan and Turcotte race to reach the key — and the powerful treasure it can unlock — ahead of their alien foes, the quest leads them deep into a deadly maze within the Great Sphinx of Giza. The prize? Nothing less than the legendary Ark of the Covenant.

For fans of this series, Bob Mayer delivers a story that lightly scratches the military SF itch but never arrives at satisfaction.  If you don’t mind foreshadowing and rather flat characters that encounter somewhat predictable puzzles, then I think you’ll like this installment of the Area 51 series.  I’d say that Mayer has written the equivalent of a bacon cheeseburger.  You know what you’re going to get before you order it, and if you are in the mood for a run of the mill bacon cheeseburger, then I say “Dig in and don’t be shy about using napkins.”

Eric G. Dove acts as narrator and I am on the fence with his delivery.  So here’s the down and dirty with Dove.  When he reads dialogue, Dove is on top of his game and carries this audio performance.  When Dove is left to recite, I mean read exposition; he becomes the human equivalent of narrator elevator music.  Seriously, Dove reads exposition like most people might read a road map but with less enthusiasm.  But when Dove engages a character, everything changes and this somewhat average audiobook becomes almost enjoyable.

Final thoughts.  If you’re even thinking about reading this book then it’s a fair assumption to think you’ve read the previous books in this series.  If you have and are considering reading on, I encourage you to do so as I think you will be happy.  If you have read the books in the series are aren’t sure if you want to continue, then I say “Turn back when you still can.”

Posted by Casey Hampton.

Recent Arrivals – Sci-Fi Standards

January 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Recently, Brilliance Audio sent us a stack of science fiction standards, some released on CD for the first time after being previously available on Audible, and some that are the first-time to CD.  See below for descriptions, and links to previous SFF Audio readalong discussions when appropriate.

Sci-Fi Standards

Mona Lisa Overdrive (Sprawl #3)
By William Gibson; Performed by Jonathan Davis
Brilliance Audio, originally available on Audible in 2009
9 discs; 10 hours, 57 minutes

Enter Gibson’s unique world – lyric and mechanical, erotic and violent, sobering and exciting – where multinational corporations and high-tech outlaws vie for power, traveling into the computer-generated universe known as cyberspace. Into this world comes Mona, a young girl with a murky past and an uncertain future whose life is on a collision course with internationally famous Sense/Net star Angie Mitchell. Since childhood, Angie has been able to tap into cyberspace without a computer. Now from inside cyberspace, a kidnapping plot is masterminded by a phantom entity who has plans for Mona, Angie, and all humanity, plans that cannot be controlled…or even known. And behind the intrigue lurks the shadowy Yakuza, the powerful Japanese underworld, whose leaders ruthlessly manipulate people and events to suit their own purposes…or so they think.

Vulcan’s Hammer
By Philip K. Dick; Performed by Mel Foster
Brilliance Audio
5 discs; 5 hours, 48 minutes

After the twentieth century’s devastating series of wars, the world’s governments banded together into one globe-spanning entity, committed to peace at all costs. Ensuring that peace is the Vulcan supercomputer, responsible for all major decisions. But some people don’t like being taken out of the equation. And others resent the idea that the Vulcan is taking the place of God. As the world grows ever closer to all-out war, one functionary frantically tries to prevent it. But the Vulcan computer has its own plans, plans that might not include humanity at all.

The Game-Players of Titan
By Philip K. Dick; Performed by Christopher Lane
Brilliance Audio
7 discs; 7 hours, 48 minutes

Years ago, Earth and Titan fought a war and Earth lost. The planet was irradiated and most of the surviving population is sterile. The few survivors play an intricate and unending game called Bluff at the behest of the sluglike aliens who rule the planet. At stake in the game are two very important commodities: land and spouses. Pete Garden just lost his wife and Berkeley, California, but he has a plan to win them back. That is, if he isn’t derailed by aliens, psychic traitors, or his new wife. The Game-Players of Titan is both satire and adventure, examining the ties that bind people together and the maddening peccadilloes of bureaucracy, whether the bureaucrats are humans or aliens.

Time Out of Joint
By Philip K. Dick; Performed by Jeff Cummings
Brilliance Audio
7 discs; 8 hours

Ragle Gumm has a unique job: every day he wins a newspaper contest. And when he isn’t consulting his charts and tables, he enjoys his life in a small town in 1959. At least, that’s what he thinks. But then strange things start happening. He finds a phone book where all the numbers have been disconnected, and a magazine article about a famous starlet named Marilyn Monroe, whom he’s never heard of. Plus, everyday objects are beginning to disappear and are replaced by strips of paper with words written on them, like “bowl of flowers” and “soft-drink stand.” When Ragle skips town to try to find the cause of these bizarre occurrences, his discovery could make him question everything he has ever known.
The Mote in God’s Eye
By Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle; Performed by L.J. Ganser|
Brilliance Audio, originally available on Audible in 2009
17 discs; 20 hours, 40 minutes

An epic novel in mankind’s first encounter with alien life that transcends the genre.

Don’t forget our readalong discussion!


Beyond This Horizon

By Robert A. Heinlein; Performed by Peter Ganim
Brilliance Audio, originally available on Audible in 2009
7 discs; 7 hours, 47 minutes

Utopia has been achieved. Disease, hunger, poverty and war are found only in the history tapes, and applied genetics has brought a lifespan of over a century. But Hamilton Felix is bored. And he is the culmination of a star line; each of his last thirty ancestors chosen for superior genes. He is, as far as genetics can produce one, the ultimate man, yet sees no meaning in life.

However, his life is about to become less boring. A secret cabal of revolutionaries plan to revolt and seize control. Knowing of Hamilton’s disenchantment with the modern world, they want him to join their Glorious Revolution. Big mistake! The revolutionaries are about to find out that recruiting a superman was definitely not a good idea. . .

Don’t forget our readalong discussion!

Hybrids: Volume Three of The Neanderthal Parallax
By Robert J. Sawyer; Performed by Jonathan Davis
Brilliance Audio
, originally available on Audible in 2008
10 discs; 11 hours, 50 minutes

Ponter Boddit and his Homo sapiens lover, geneticist Mary Vaughan, are torn between two worlds, struggling to find a way to make their star-crossed relationship work. Aided by banned Neanderthal technology, they plan to conceive the first hybrid child, a symbol of hope for the joining of their two versions of reality.

Meanwhile, as Mary’s Earth is dealing with a collapse of its planetary magnetic field, her boss, the enigmatic Jock Krieger, has turned envious eyes on the unspoiled Eden that is the Neanderthal world . . .

Filled to bursting with his signature speculations about alternative ways of being human, exploding our preconceptions of morality and gender, of faith and love, Sawyer’s Neanderthal Parallax trilogy is a classic in the making, and here he brings it to a stunning, thought-provoking conclusion.

The conclusion to the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy.

Posted by Jenny Colvin