My Media Intake

Audiobooks For January 2024

Added my next batch of 12 audiobooks to get through. They are from just three series that I’ve either wanted to start, or to finish a collection.

The Three Body Problem series by Liu-Cixin:

I heard about this collection of books sometime ago, but recently saw the trailer for the tv adaptation and thought I should go through the books first as it looks really good.

The Three Body Problem: Book 1

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion.

The Dark Forest: Book 2

Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion — four centuries in the future. The aliens’ human collaborators have been defeated but the presence of the sophons, the subatomic particles that allow Trisolaris instant access to all human information, means that Earth’s defense plans are exposed to the enemy. Only the human mind remains a secret.

This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a daring plan that grants four men enormous resources to design secret strategies hidden through deceit and misdirection from Earth and Trisolaris alike. Three of the Wallfacers are influential statesmen and scientists but the fourth is a total unknown. Luo Ji, an unambitious Chinese astronomer and sociologist, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he’s the one Wallfacer that Trisolaris wants dead.

Death’s End: Book 3

Now this epic trilogy concludes with Death’s End. Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.

Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?

Spike Milligan’s War Memoirs Series:

I remember my dad reading these books when I was a kid and laughing so hard it would bring tears to his eyes. So now I’ve found all 7 and are ready to cry with laughter..

Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall: Book 1

In this, the first of Spike Milligan’s uproarious recollections of life in the army, our hero takes us from the outbreak of war in 1939 (‘it must have been something we said’), through his attempts to avoid enlistment (‘time for my appendicitus, I thought’) and his gunner training in Bexhill (‘There was one drawback. No ammunition’) to the landing at Algiers in 1943 (‘I closed my eyes and faced the sun. I fell down a hatchway’).

Filled with bathos, pathos and gales of ribald laughter, this is a barely sane helping of military goonery and superlative Milliganese.

“Rommel?” “Gunner Who?”: Book 2

“Rommel?” “Gunner Who?”: A Confrontation in the Desert is Spike Milligan’s second volume of war autobiography, published in 1974, with Jack Hobbs credited as an editor. This book spans events from January to May 1943, during Operation Torch the Allied invasion of Morocco and Algeria and the Tunisia Campaign in World War II. (The preface to the earlier book states this would be a trilogy, but he wrote seven volumes.)

As before, the book is in an unusual format freely mixing multimedia formats, with narrative anecdotes, contemporaneous photography, ridiculously non-contemporaneous steel engravings and illustrations, excerpts from diaries, letters and rough sketches, along with absurd memoranda from Nazi officials (sometimes called “Hitlergrams”). A map is included.

Monty – His part in my victory: Book 3

Britain’s looniest war hero completes the third volume of the Milligan memoirs. The nineteenth battery forge into Tunis, cocksure and carefree. They climb an aqueduct with no trousers on (the battery that is; the aqueduct was very well-dressed). five hundred gunners try to dance with two girls and an old French matron …

Mussolini His Part In My Downfall: Book 4

Britannia rules the waves TA-RA, but on occasions she waives the rules and Spike is all set to liberate -gasp- Italy. In this fourth volume of war memoirs, Lance-Bombardier Milligan (Spike actually) continues his notorious sage of World War II – from the long remembered outbreak of crabs in monkey to the unfortunate ack-acking of and American killyhawk. Dio mio, is war is a game of cards, someone was cheating.

Where Have All The Bullets Gone: Book 5

Back to those haunting days in Italy in 1944, at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, with lava running in great red rivulets down the slope towards us, and Jock taking a drag on his cigarette and saying, “I think we’ve got grounds for a rent rebate.”‘

Where Have All the Bullets Gone? sees our hero dispatched from the front line to psychiatric hospital and from there to a rehabilitation camp. Considered loony (and ‘unfit to be killed in combat by either side’), he becomes embroiled in his own private battle with melancholy.

But it is music, wit and a little help from his friends – including one Gunner Harry Secombe – that help carry him through to his first stage appearances . . .

Goodbye Soldier: Book 6

In “Goodbye Soldier” the central pool of artists, now rechristened the combined services entertainment, complete with Gunner Milligan, now rechristened Lance-Bambardier, makes its way across Europe, via romantic Rome and verneral Venice, to Vienna where Spike continues to demoralize the troops from the stage despite frenzied protests from Eisenhower, Churchill and Stalin. Hastily discharged from the army in Austria, he returnes to naughty Naples for an interval of connubial bliss on Capri with Balerina. Maria Antoinette Fontana: ‘All except for Eva Maria who I was keeping in reserve’. Finally, farewell to Rome, goodbye soldier and the prospect of return to dreary deptford where ‘fortune, overdraft, income tax, mortgages, accounts, solicitors, house agents’ awaited.

Peace Work: Book 7

This volume of Spike Milligan’s memoires begins in 1946 when he leaves the army and returns to a drab London to resume his career as a band musician. Eventually after several tours entertaining the troops in Germany, he turns to script writing for radio, then teams up with some other lunatics including Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers who decide to call themselves “The Goons”.

Hyperion Cantos series by Dan Simmons Book 3 and 4.

I have read book 1(Hyperion) and book 2(The Fall of Hyperion) of the Hyperion Cantos and thought it’s time to complete the story….

Endymion: Book 3

Two hundred and seventy-four years after the fall of the WorldWeb in Fall of Hyperion, Raoul Endymion is sent on a quest. Retrieving Aenea from the Sphinx before the Church troops reach her is only the beginning. With help from a blue-skinned android named A. Bettik, Raoul and Aenea travel the river Tethys, pursued by Father Captain Frederico DeSoya, an influential warrior-priest and his troops. The shrike continues to make enigmatic appearances, and while many questions were raised in Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion, still more are raised here. Raoul’s quest will continue.

The Rise of Endymion: Book 4

The time of reckoning has arrived. As a final genocidal Crusade threatens to enslave humanity forever, a new messiah has come of age. She is Aenea and she has undergone a strange apprenticeship to those known as the Others. Now her protector, Raul Endymion, one-time shepherd and convicted murderer, must help her deliver her startling message to her growing army of disciples.

But first they must embark on a final spectacular mission to discover the underlying meaning of the universe itself. They have been followed on their journey by the mysterious Shrike–monster, angel, killing machine–who is about to reveal the long-held secret of its origin and purpose. And on the planet of Hyperion, where the story first began, the final revelation will be delivered–an apocalyptic message that unlocks the secrets of existence and the fate of humankind in the galaxy.

Loading Mastodon feed…