Less than 60 kids awaken on a distant planet. The colony ship they arrived on is aflame. The rest of their contingent is dead. They've only received half their training, and they are being asked to conquer an entire planet. Before they can, however, they must first survive each other.
Hugh Howey is the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde Saga and the New York Times and USA Today best-selling Wool series.
©2009- Hugh Howey (P)2013 Hugh Howey
I prefer intelligent, complex stories with deeply developed characters. I'm not a fan of most popular novels; my taste is more eccentric.
It seems like my preference is the exact opposite of the majority, because once again I love a book that no one else is wild about.
This is my favorite Hugh Howey novel so far - better than Wool, better than Sand. It reminds me of a sci-fi Lord of the Flies, but with a happy ending. Sometimes I thought I was listening to a Gregory Benford story because the feeling it gave me was reminiscent of the Galactic Center series.
A ship destined to colonize a distant planet carries a few hundred human children, growing in pods. They are hooked up to the ship's computer, Colony, and being trained for their future jobs through a virtual classroom. Unfortunately the computer suddenly decides to self abort the mission when the children are 15 years old. The children awake before they are fully mature and must fight their way out of the ship that is engulfed in flames. Less than 50 children struggle out of the burning ship, realizing they have not completed their training, and are therefore not fully equipped to survive on the strange planet. Because of the arrangement of the pods, the humans with the highest rank were located closest to the flames and died first. The children that are left have the lowest ranking jobs.
Hungry, naked and afraid, the children try to take advantage of the training they have received in their short 15 years. But not all the survivors have the best interest of the group at heart, and a pecking order begins to develop. The strong start to overpower the weak and groups want to splinter off. Things get violent. A democracy quickly becomes a dictatorship. In the background looms the creepy presence of Colony, the computer that decided to kill most of the children off, and manipulates the remaining children into building a rocket for an unknown purpose. Why did Colony abort the mission? What is wrong with the alien planet they have landed on? A group of friends escape the group and begin to discover secrets about the strange planet.
I thought this story was sensitive and intelligent, showing excellent character development. Howey built an alien world that is complex and interesting, and touches on themes such as homosexuality and vegetarianism. I fell more deeply into this world, in a shorter amount of time, than I did with his other novels. I wish there was a second book!
Who the hell decided that this whiny, emasculated Woody Allen wannabe is a good choice for a Sci-Fi book?? What a turn-off!!
Should have listened to a sample before purchasing... :-/
still really interested in the novel itself, going to read it instead.
I loved the "Wool" series, and was hoping this would live up to that series. However, it just didn't do for me what the "Wool" series did. It too, is an alternate look at a future world, this one with Colony setting up colonies to explore other planets. It's an interesting book, but just seemed a little slow going for me, and the characters never reached out and grabbed my interest. No problem with the narration though, as I feel he did an excellent job.
All and all, it just seemed an average read to me, easy to take the earbuds off, and catch up on other projects.
A few observations about this book which I thought was good but not great. I probably shouldn't compare it to "Wool", but how can I not? "Wool" was so fantastic that it set a very high bar for me when it comes to books by Hugh Howey and this book just fell short. Mostly, it felt unpolished and less sophisticated in its writing than "Wool". Looking at the publishing dates for the two works, it appears that this one was written before "Wool" (at least it was published before "Wool"). If so, his writing certainly got more polished with "Wool". All that said, "Half Way Home" was still a decent read. Parts of it are reminiscent/derivative of many different sci-fi books but there are many serious and thought provoking topics that can be discussed while reading this book. I am glad I also had the print version because the audio version is missing "Chapter 0" although I am not sure why. The narrator is fitting for the book and does a pretty solid job. He's not the best narrator ever but he is definitely good. The book isn't very long and it was a fairly entertaining way to spend 6 hours. I can't fully recommend this book but if it sounds interesting and you really like Sci-fi and Hugh Howey (and have already read "Wool"), then it's worth a quick read (or listen).
I would have cast anyone who didn't make the protagonist sound like a bored robot without emotions.
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