Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Book Review: CRATER

I've been reading a LOT lately, but I'm going to try to limit how much I blog on these books. I do have a few "have-to" reviews, though, and they will pop in from time to time.

My latest read, Crater, by Homer Hickman, is a sci-fi YA book set on the moon, a free book sent by Thomas Nelson publishers. Although science fiction isn't my typical choice for literature, I found the author's knowledge of the moon--its terrain, the way people move on it, the variety of geological and biological differences--to work really well for me. Unlike many sci-fi novels, he doesn't take a ton of poetic license with scientific knowledge. Instead, he constructs a world that doesn't sound far-fetched at all. His enthusiasm for this particular heavenly body really shows. 

But I like the characters, too, especially Crater's little biological sort of slime-mold robot, a gillie. That a tiny character with no eyes or other distinguishing characteristics could grow into as cute a creature as a little kitten in my imagination was no small feat, and it stems from the clear, sympathetic writing that manages to capture a great deal of the humanity in each character, even while a dramatic plot is going on. The only real criticism I have is that the book leaves a lot of loose ends, but since it is an intended first book in the Helium-3 trilogy, that is to be expected. 

Only the object in the book--and I won't say what it is so that I don't spoil it for anyone--does not work at all for me. I neither understand its magic nor its hold on so many groups of people, and its significance does not satisfy me at the end or justify much of the violent encounters that it seems to cause. Perhaps that problem, though, will also resolve itself in a future volume. I'll find out, I'm sure, for I will definitely read the sequel.

So, what about the rest of you? Give me your best space books, the ones that really show a planet and its inhabitants, that really have something cool to say. 


  1. Shakes I haven't really read any sci-fi or such in about forty years when I was reading Heinlein a lot. I always tend to drift over to the 19th century writers for pleasure reading. You know it's the romantic in me.

  2. Someone already beat me to Heinlein, a genius who threw science around freely (without violating it) in his novels without letting you know it was being tossed in your direction.

    For moon novels, I've yet to read a better one than The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, which is also one of the best political novels of all time, funniest books of all time, best hard science fiction books of all time and, as always with Heinlein, a collection of the most charming, realistic and loveable characters ever, including a huge computer with a sense of humor named "Mike" - who, unfortunately, has complete control over the moon's plumbing and nearly everything else.

    It might interest you to know that Heinlein wrote a whole series of YA Science Fiction novels that are sometimes overlooked since they preceded Stranger in a Strange Land.

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