Tag: Science FIction

Audiobook Review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

Author:  Christina Dalcher

Narrator: Julia Whelan
Published: August 21, 2018
: 9 Hours 27 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: December 5-10, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Audiobook Description:

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

This is just the beginning…not the end.

Jessica’s Review:

I don’t think of myself as a feminist, but dang, this book got my blood boiling! In a future America where women have literally been silenced in multiple ways: They can’t have a job, vote, travel, use a computer or even read. And even more: They cannot speak more than 100 words a day. Females of all ages (even little children) have to wear a wristband that counts down how many words they utter. Once the counter reaches zero the women receive an electric shock and ff they continue to speak the shock becomes even stronger until… well we do actually see what happens in one case. 

This America has The Pure Movement which is responsible for everything. Yes, this book has political and religious undertones to it.  Many people think of The Handmaid’s Tale. Women are totally silent and men make all of the decisions everywhere, including the home.  It’s not just women who are silenced: There are punishments for premarital sex and extramarital sex.  But it is just the women who are punished. Homosexuality has also been deemed a choice and there are camps where the LGTBQ persons are housed. They are housed in rooms with one man and one woman and are expected to reverse their ‘decisions’ and become heterosexual again. 

Our MC is Dr. Jean McClellan who has four children: Three boys and one young girl, so she is getting opinions from all sides. One of those sides comes from her own son who doesn’t seem to have any issue with The Pure Movement. He even tells Jean his plans with a girl. And Jean says, “what does she (the girl) have to say about that?!?” I’m sure not much since females can’t utter more than 100 words a day!

I also like that Jean is realistic but also far from perfect. We also see how her decisions affect how events occur.

This is a strong debut novel from Dalcher, though the second half was almost like a second weaker story for me.  It was piggybacking off of the original story but going in its own way. There were also a lot of science terms used that might be confusing for some readers. I think listening to the book helped me versus if I had been reading it.  I was still invested in it and found myself listening to the book whenever I was able to!

Dalcher seems to like to write about controversial subjects looking at some of the other books she has written: Master Class which deals with standardized testing in the school system and The Sentence which deals with prosecutors seeking the death penalty put their lives on the line if the guilty are later found innocent. Both of those books I plan on reading/ listening to!

Julia Whelan is the narrator for Vox, and I can’t say anything bad about her! I just love her and could listen to anything she narrates!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Audiobook Review: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse Five
Author: Kurt Vonnegut

Narrator: Ethan Hawke
Published: March 31, 1969
Audiobook: 6 hours 2 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: August 3-7, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars

Book Description:

Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous World War II firebombing of Dresden, the novel is the result of what Kurt Vonnegut described as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he had witnessed as an American prisoner of war. It combines historical fiction, science fiction, autobiography, and satire in an account of the life of Billy Pilgrim, a barber’s son turned draftee turned optometrist turned alien abductee. As Vonnegut had, Billy experiences the destruction of Dresden as a POW. Unlike Vonnegut, he experiences time travel, or coming “unstuck in time.”

Jessica’s Review:

“And so it is”… Slaughterhouse Five was not for me. For me it seems that Vonnegut is an acquired taste. Slaughterhouse is a short book but also a very hard read. I only finished it because it is a book club read, I most likely would have never picked it up otherwise.  Maybe my opinion of it will change after we have our meeting on this one and I hear what the other ladies have to say.

Maybe it was that I did not know the history of Dresden or I am not a fan of symbolism, but it just did not work for me.  The novel was also non-linear which can make it harder to read if you are not enjoying it. And then there are aliens and time travel….  Slaughterhouse is a classic that most people seem to enjoy but I just really struggled. It is semi- auto biographical for Vonnegut as he served during WWII. 

I listened to an older audiobook version which was narrated by Ethan Hawke. His narration was fine, and it actually helped me get through listening.  There was also an interview with Vonnegut. The main thing I got from that interview is that Vonnegut is NOT Billy Pilgrim. Billy Pilgrim was based off of a real person: Edward R Crone Jr, who actually died at Dresden.  That was interesting to find out. 

Though not for me, maybe this classic will be for you. “And so it is”…

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Book Review: The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

The Wild Robot
Series: The Wild Robot #1

Peter Brown

Published: April 5, 2016
279 Pages

Reviewed By: Cristina

Book Description:

Can a robot survive in the wilderness?

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is all alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is–but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a violent storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island’s unwelcoming animal inhabitants.

As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home–until, one day, the robot’s mysterious past comes back to haunt her.

From bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Peter Brown comes a heartwarming and action-packed novel about what happens when nature and technology collide.

Cristina’s Review:

What would happen if a robot with AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities was washed up on an island with no humans? It would become a WILD robot, naturally! ROZZUM unit 7134–Roz for short–finds herself in a world unlike the one she’s been programmed for. Roz must learn how to communicate with all the animals on the island in order to survive. She eventually becomes part of the island family, but Roz knows something her animal friends don’t. She knows that the factory that made her will eventually figure out she’s missing. And they will send something to find her. How will Roz protect her new family and keep her freedom? Read The Wild Robot to find out!

I really enjoyed this story. Peter Brown did a great job of exploring two really thoughtful topics: community and self-awareness. Roz is originally viewed as a monster by the animals on the island, but as she helps the various animals in different ways, they slowly change their opinions. There are some moments of humor, like when Roz first meets Pinktail the opossum. There are some incredibly tender moments, like when Roz explains to her adopted goose son what happened to the rest of his family. And throughout it all, there is a sense of wonder and discovery as Roz learns and grows.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK