- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 528 KB
- Print Length: 368 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Broad Reach Publishing (17 Jan. 2014)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003QCIPGK
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 82 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,311 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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|Print List Price:||£9.99|
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Half Way Home Kindle Edition
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A shorter book than some of his others, Halfway Home is set in the future when humankind have discovered interstellar travel, and are spreading out throughout the universe colonising plants deemed hospitable. Instead of sending grown humans hurtling through space for centuries, with all the necessary supplies and stocks to sustain generations of humans on each ship on its long journey towards its new planet, human cells are sent in an in vitro state. Only when the planet has been readied for humans to begin their new life are the cells fertilised and humans grown. Under normal circumstances, the soon to be 500 colonisers are grown in large cylinder contraptions with womb like similarities for 30 years, and given an education and knowledge via virtual reality stimulations and training programs. However, something goes disastrously wrong, and they are woken up before their training is complete 15 years too early, with the few survivors finding themselves faced with a bewildering new world.
I often enjoy books that make you think about things and that open your mind to possibilities. Halfway Home achieved that - this is way out there, but just maybe, many generations ago, we were sent to the planet Earth to conquer it. Maybe there was a first generation who settled here, to discover and pillage its natural resources and unlock its secrets, until we exhaust the planet. Possibly for some ancient nation on a similar but distant rock. Once Earths resources are dried up, what will become of the inhabitants of Earth? Will we be left to our own devices, to maybe one day discover interstellar travel and start conquering new planets ourselves? Or something darker? It's a crazy thought but maybe this has been kept as a huge secret among a few, for thousands of years...We ourselves could be alien civilisations sent to earth to colonise it, by some ancient human race light years ahead of us.
Alternative theories aside, Howeys idea for this book is more than likely where humanity is eventually heading. One day millions of years from now, the sun will die, along with earth and us, if we were just willing to accept that fact. However humankind won't just simply sit by and wait for this cataclysmic event to occur, we will attempt to spread out and discover other habitable planets, and possible new homes, well before the sun burns itself out. Whether it will be our first time colonising other planets, or something humankind has done previously and is a hidden secret, is something most of us will never know.
That's what makes Howey a fantastic author, he awakens the readers imaginations and makes us ponder, which is what the best writers do. I always tell people to read the Wool series, and I'll continue recommending that trilogy to people as their first taste of Hugh Howey's works as I still think it's the best introduction to his writing.
The characters are paper thin and a bit contrived for example- it's almost a grade school roll call of political correctness, introducing a confused, gay main protagonist, vegetarians etc which is great and holds a lot of potential in a contemporary SF novel, but they come across more as cardboard cut-outs than real people. To be fair, I think this book is perhaps more aimed at the Young Adult market than the more 'mature' SF one, but all the same you can't help felling an opportunity is lost here as a very good premise never really gets off the ground in any substantial way- even the world the pioneers land on comes across as bland and dying on it's feet with boredom.
Having said that it was a pleasant enough, un-taxing read but I think Hugh needs to move up a gear. I'm sure he will and when he does, I'm certain there are plenty of SF classics in him. This one however I feel, will be filed away under 'the formative years.'
Things I loved about it: the narrator (an empathetic young man struggling with his sexuality). he is flawed and confused and makes mistakes and is extremely relatable. I loved the action, too - the first third of the book starts to feel a bit Lord of the Flies, and it was great to move away from that and into exploration /mystery solving mode. I also liked the method used to keep the characters' values current - by cutting off their training halfway through the twentieth century they remain more relatable.
the thing I didn't like was that at times it felt like a pro-life screed. I have no idea if that was the author's intention, but with the emphasis on the term used to cancel a colonisation effort ('abort') and the discussion of potential lives snuffed out, that's the territory is strayed into for me. it is also pretty short and simple, and outside the main characters, characterisation is fairly flat and, in places, outright ridiculous (oliver was particularly odd). there is a note at the end that this book was written for nanowrimo, and I wasn't surprised.
still, those issues aside I *did* like it. if you're a fan of howey I'd definitely give it a shot.
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