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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your typical time travel book
Ellis Rogers is dying. He has a lung disease and no hope of a cure. Although he lives with his wife, she is distant after the death of their son, some years ago. They've grown apart. He doesn't even tell her that he's got only six months to live. He has a contraption in the garage: a time machine that he's built himself. He figures that if he could travel about 200 years...
Published 3 months ago by PT Cruiser

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3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonably entertaining but not a page turner.
Although I found the topic interesting and some of the writing engaging, it didn't draw me in. I wanted it to be better.
Published 6 days ago by Paolo66


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your typical time travel book, 28 May 2014
By 
PT Cruiser (West Coast) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hollow World (Kindle Edition)
Ellis Rogers is dying. He has a lung disease and no hope of a cure. Although he lives with his wife, she is distant after the death of their son, some years ago. They've grown apart. He doesn't even tell her that he's got only six months to live. He has a contraption in the garage: a time machine that he's built himself. He figures that if he could travel about 200 years into the future they should have a cure for his lung disease. But his calculations are a little off. He ends up 2000 years in the future in a completely different kind of world. And he meets some very interesting characters.

This isn't your ordinary time travel book. It was completely different than I expected it to be, but I absolutely loved it. The protagonist was 58 years old rather than the typical teen or 20 something hero. Ellis was a character that I could relate to in the way he thought about things. He has doubts about events in his life and doesn't have all the answers. Although there was lots of action , there was a lot of introspection too. The characters he meets in Hollow World, especially one called Pax, is just as interesting and likeable as are many of the other characters he meets there. The descriptions of Hollow World are fascinating and well drawn and I love the way Sullivan described them. The story has a highly philosophical side to it which I really enjoyed. I'm sure I'll be thinking about it weeks and months from now. I particularly liked the author's definition of love. It certainly fit the context of the story.

I haven't read any of Michael Sullivan's other books although I just purchased the beginning book of the Riyria series because I enjoyed this one so much. But what I really hope is that he will decide to make Hollow World a series because i'll be the first in line to purchase the next book.

I was provided with a review copy of this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!, 10 April 2014
This review is from: Hollow World (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book and commend Michael Sullivan for his creativity and originality.

Mr. Sullivan is also brave for changing genres and for addressing polemic issues du jour.

Everything in Hollow World is bilateral actually – Hollow World has everything we desperately need at present – peace, no hunger, no need for money, no discrimination. There is another side to this world though.

The main characters are believable and likeable. The world building and background is fascinating and logical.

On the not so positive side, I did not always understand all the pop and cultural references as so many were America-centric, e.g. who was June Cleaver? Google was indeed my friend.

For me, everything clicks in the end. I got to understand why Ellis took long to see things as they really were but also more importantly, to take decisive action.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down until I had read the entire book..., 17 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Hollow World (Paperback)
I'm not usually a big fan of sci fi novels but after reading the Riyria Revelations (which were just absolutely fantastic) by the same author just had to buy Hollow World and give it a try I am very happy to say Michael J Sullivan didn't disappoint from reading one genre by the author to a totally different one the book had me hooked after the first two chapters the fantastic little details just kept my brain thinking what if... and I just felt compelled to keep reading so many different views to be explored by the individual reading the story and to be honest in my opinion this book has hopefully paved the way for more to follow, my only disappointment would be that there isn't yet a sequel available for pre order.

A great book that I very much enjoyed in a genre I wouldn't normally go for.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hollow World, 13 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Hollow World (Kindle Edition)
I read this because I have read others by this author and love him. This was completely different. However, by the time I got to the end I wanted more.Time travel is not one of my fav. areas but I will read more if he writes them. Two of his characters had me hooked. Enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read, 8 May 2014
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This review is from: Hollow World (Kindle Edition)
I love Michael J Sullivan. His imagination knows no bounds and he can always be guaranteed to provide a thoroughly entertaining read. Hollow World is brilliantly brought to life through excellent storytelling, and frankly what he writes may end up being not too far from our future. I was disappointed that it ended when it did, but then again I believe I'd have been disappointed by the story ending a further 2000 pages along. If you have six books in the pipeline Mr Sullivan, please do this fan a favour and publish them soon. Whatever genre, I will read them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story, 1 May 2014
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This review is from: Hollow World (Kindle Edition)
I think I was expecting a full length novel and I have to admit I was disappointed when it ended as it did. However, I really did like the characters in it very much. This is very much NOT like the Tales of Riyria, so it was a welcome change. Overall 5 stars for a different story. Thank you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and entertaining old-fashioned science fiction!, 1 April 2014
This review is from: Hollow World (Kindle Edition)
Because I enjoyed reading Michael J. Sullivan's fantasy novels (the Riyria novels), I'm glad that I had a chance to read and review his forthcoming science fiction novel, Hollow World. I can say that it was a pleasure to read this novel, because it was well written entertainment.

Hollow World is an interesting and entertaining science fiction novel that differs quite a lot from other new sci-fi novels. It's a well written and charmingly old-fashioned story with a strongly beating heart at its core. It's a fascinating novel for readers who are interested in classic and modern stories about time travel.

I think that the best way to categorize this novel is to say that it's a time travel novel. It can also be called social science fiction, because the author writes in vivid details about the changes in the society and how humans have changed and developed.

Before I write more about this novel, here's information about the story:

Hollow World is a story about Ellis Rogers. He is dying and has less than a year to live (he has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which can't be cured). He builds a time machine in his garage. When Ellis starts the time machine, he ends up in the year 4078. A lot has changed in the future. Everything he knew seems to have gone and things have changed. The whole world has changed and so have the humans: humans live underground in the Hollow World, falselight works as a sun, religions have disappeared, there aren't any diseases anymore, humans don't have any sexes anymore etc. When Ellis arrives to the future, he almost immediately witnesses a murder and meets Pax...

As you probably noticed by reading this brief synopsis, there isn't exactly anything new in this novel, but that isn't the point of this novel. In my opinion the point of the novel is that the author explores the difference between our society and the future society, and by doing this he makes us think about morality, our lives and our humanity.

Although several authors have already written about what happens to a person when he travels to distant past or to distant future, Michael J. Sullivan's approach feels delightfully humane and touching. The biggest reason for this lies in the author's excellent characterization. The protagonist, Ellis, is a man who has a past and that past has affected him, because the hardships and experiences that he has experienced have molded him. The author manages to make Ellis a realistic character by writing about his life, problems and incurable disease. I think it's great that he wrote easily about the protagonist's disease and his feelings about it and avoided being too sentimental with his descriptions.

The author writes well about Pax and his life. I enjoyed reading about him and his compassionate nature. As he guided Ellis through the Hollow World and told him things about the world and their society, the author revealed significant details about him and his views about the happenings. It was great to read about the friendship between Ellis and Pax. Together, they tried to find out who had murdered people and their search allowed them to get acquainted with each other. It was nice to read how they got to know each other and learned new things from each other.

Michael J. Sullivan explores difficult themes in this novel. He writes surpringly well about religion, sexuality and death. His vision of a society without religion and sexless human beings was fascinating. He writes about these themes in a pleasant style without being condescending. In my opinion he handled these themes admirably and was also capable of evoking an emotional response in the reader.

The author has created an interesting vision of the future of mankind and the planet. It was fascinating for me to read about how the author explored the human condition. The differences between our society and the future society allowed him to write thoughtfully about the human condition, because in the future humans have modifed themselves in several ways: they've changed themselves by purging their bodies of diseases etc. The author has created a society that is free of wars, violence and diseases. When I read this novel, I noticed that he shows his readers that if something has been forgotten or discarded, something new comes to take its place and society adapts to the changes.

One of the best things about this novel is that it makes its reader think about things. I think that everybody who reads this novel will think about the happenings and themes found inside its covers. It's almost impossible not to think about moral issues and the possible future of mankind after reading this novel.

Although this novel contains quite a lot of different elements and themes, Michael J. Sullivan doesn't lose track of the main story. It could've been easy to lose sight of what's going on and drown the reader in deep exploration about philosophy and morality, but fortunately that doesn't happen in this novel. The author drives the story fluently forward by writing about changes in the society and delivering thriller elements every once in a while to keep up readers' interest in the story.

This novel can be seen as a tribute to old time travel novels, especially to H. G. Well's classic science fiction novel, The Time Machine. When you read this novel, it's almost impossible not to think about The Time Machine. This novel is different from The Time Machine, because the author's vision of the future of mankind differs from Wells' vision, but there are similarities that are easily recognizable if you've read H. G. Wells. I found the similarities interesting, because I've always liked Well's novel and consider it to be one of the best time travel novels.

I have to mention that the cover art by Marc Simonetti looks stunningly beautiful (it's a gorgeous painting). It's great that this novel has a good cover image.

Hollow World is old-fashioned science fiction written in a modern way. I think that everybody who loves well written science fiction and time travel novels will want to read this novel, because it's a wonderfully old-fashioned sci-fi story. If you're familiar with the author's fantasy novels, you'll enjoy this novel too, because it's a good novel with excellent characterization.

My final words are: this novel is well written and entertaining old-fashioned science fiction!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 26 Mar 2014
This review is from: Hollow World (Kindle Edition)
I was most miffed that I missed the kickstarter for Hollow World. Primarily because I'd just finished reading his Riyria books and wanted to read more by the same author. Wow! Hollow World couldn't be more different, which proves that Sullivan is far, far more than a one trick pony. His imagination awes. Rather than going into detail about why it's a great book I'll just say it's a book I'll be reading again ... and again.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun social science fiction with bonus time travel, 16 April 2014
This review is from: Hollow World (Kindle Edition)
When Michael J. Sullivan contacted me about reviewing his new SF novel Hollow World, I did a double-take. As I'd only been aware of him as a fantasy author, I was surprised that his newest publication would be a time-travelling SF novel. Still, the synopsis sounded fun and some of my favourite bloggers adore Sullivan's writing, so I gladly accepted. And Hollow World wasn't what I'd expected at all. There was an unexpected mystery at the heart of the narrative and an eloquent exploration of the nature of love, which made the time-travel element feel almost accidental.

Hollow World's main character is Ellis Rogers, a man in his late fifties with a somewhat conservative outlook on life, stuck in a marriage that has been deteriorating ever since the suicide of his son, for which Ellis still feels responsible. He's gruff, but certainly not unsympathetic, even if some of his ideas are somewhat out of date. I really liked his development throughout the novel, which is one of self-reflection and discovery, which rather creeps up on him in this strange and alien world he lands in when he reaches the future. I loved how he follows his instincts when judging whether to trust certain of the Hollow-Worlders. It's interesting how the feelings he struggles with in the future are echoes of those he struggled with in his own time. Most of his emotional development is sparked by Pax, an arbiter who is one of the first Hollow World inhabitants he meets. Ellis and Pax form an instant connection, which is difficult for Ellis to classify as a) Pax has no gender and no sex and b) to Ellis Pax is more male than female, and homosexuality is an emotionally charged subject for Ellis. His interpretation of their relationship goes from easy friendship to something more, a fact that freaks him out and simultaneously gives him peace. At the same time, Ellis is still trying to come to terms with leaving behind all he knew in the past, grieving for a wife he hadn't realised he still loved, for his best friend and for the son he lost decades ago. This makes for a heavy emotional mix and I like that Ellis is shown grieving and crying, instead of bottling it all up.

Ellis' main connections in Hollow World are Pax and Alva. Pax is complex and despite looking the same as everyone around him, he is immediately recognizable, not just to Ellis, but to the reader as well. His vox, a house AI who serves as communication device, butler, cook and general secretary, is called Alva and I loved her. She is easily the funniest of all the characters and her sass just made me smile every time she hit the page. Most of the identical Hollow-Worlders felt interchangeable except Yal the cook, Pax's caretaker Vin, and Cha, Pax's doctor friend. The only other Hollow-Worlders that stood out to me were Sol and some of the older Geomancers, which perhaps isn't as surprising as they've been around for so long and hadn't moved as far away from humans such as us when they were born. This is reflected not just in their appearance, but also in their characters and way of speaking. There is a sort of world-weary, wry humour to them that I enjoyed.

Hollow World itself is a fascinating place. Humanity, through the Institute for Species Preservation, or ISP, and the invention of the Three Miracles (almost inexhaustible energy cells, portal technology, and replicator technology,) has created something that is quite close to utopia. This is very much the future as it was often portrayed in the Golden Age; admittedly no jet packs, but there are teleportation devices, replicators, AI butlers, and immortality--peace on earth and an end to war. I do wonder how the very long-lived keep from getting bored, something which Sullivan touches upon, both in the philosophy of the villainous Ren and in the motivations Ellis ascribes to the geomancers, but it's never truly answered. These evolved humans have created an underground paradise, which in Ellis' opinion is close to what Heaven must be like. Of course, utopia is an impossibility and thus it proves here.

The plot is interesting, though the foreshadowing of Ren's true identity was somewhat transparent. I figured it out long before Ellis did. However, there were some interesting twists to the mystery and I really liked the climactic action scene. Sullivan's writing makes for smooth reading and there are a lot fun geek and pop culture references. While slower-paced than most current SF, the pacing of Hollow World is even and well-balanced. While the mystery is resolved and the major story beats have all been played out, there remain plenty of loose threads and unexplored avenues for Sullivan to write more stories about Ellis, Pax, and Hollow World. In fact, in his Afterword Sullivan states he has plenty of ideas for further stories in this setting.

I very much enjoyed the time spent with Hollow World. It was an interesting setting and a touchingly emotional story. Hollow World is a story far more concerned with the social aspects of SF than cold, hard science. If you enjoy social science fiction, Hollow World might just be the ticket for you. Me, I'm hoping that Sullivan will return to Hollow World at some point and we will see more of Ellis and Pax in the future.

This book was provided for review by the author.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonably entertaining but not a page turner., 16 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Hollow World (Kindle Edition)
Although I found the topic interesting and some of the writing engaging, it didn't draw me in. I wanted it to be better.
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Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan
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