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Publisher's Summary

The future is coming...for some more than others.

Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing. But when he is faced with a terminal illness, Ellis is willing to take an insane gamble. He's built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he'll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. Ellis could find more than a cure for his disease; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time has begun - but only if he can survive the Hollow World.

©2014 Michael J. Sullivan (P)2014 Recorded Books

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    49
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    26

Performance

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Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Carol
  • Massachusetts
  • 04-17-14

We Aren't in Riyria Any More

If you are a huge fan of Michael Sullivan's "Riyria Revelations" (as I am), you may be disappointed by the storyline of this book. If you love Hadrian and Royce and Gwen and Arista (as I do), you may be disappointed by the characters in this book. If you are simply a fan of Sullivan's writing (as I am), or if you like thought-provoking social commentary with offbeat sort-of science fiction, you may like this book.

Elements of the book reminded me of "Looking Backward," an 1888 book by Edward Bellamy. It is a change to see a vision of the future that had at least some elements of utopia, rather than the bleak and brutal dystopian futures portrayed in most 21st century novels. But 2,000 years is a long time (trying to go 200 years into the future, our MIT-trained protagonist miscalculates by an order of magnitude), and this future is indeed weird.

Definitely a change of pace for Michael Sullivan, and not something I would have chosen if he hadn't been the author. "Hollow World" lives up to his high standards as a novelist, and I'm not exactly sorry I listened to it, but, unlike the "Riyria" books, it's not something I'd want to listen to a second time.

49 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A Good Read!!

This was a good read, I don't think that i'll be reading it again though... It had a good point of view regarding the future, and how it could happen or be like but thats basically it....
There were several twists through the book which were predictable easily and i didn't enjoy knowing what will happen.

I do love Micheal Sullivan's work, but this one wasn't as great or good as his other work.

Honestly, I just bought the book without knowing what it will be about exactly, I don't regret it of course, it was a good read, but for some reason i've expected something else.

If you like books that show how the future might be like and so on, then you will like this book.

27 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Entertaining Read, Not Quite Exceptional.

I'm a big fan of Michael J. Sullivan. Which of course means I love the Riyria based books. When I saw Hollow World come up for sale I had to buy it in spite of the very different subject matter. I wish I could say I enjoyed Hollow World as much as any of the Riyria books, but don't think this is quite up to that level of quality.

I like how different in nature this protagonist is from any of his previous main characters. He is a good man, but has some moral flaws and past regrets that color his current personality. That being said, he lacks the charm and charisma of Royce or Hadrian. If you don't know who I'm talking about you need to stop reading this and check out the authors other series immediately. I guess I found him a little boring overall.

Although MJS's other works are fantasy, I also enjoy Sci-Fi and was excited to see how he handled the genre. Since he's so adept at writing epic tales I thought this book would have a much grander story arch. In reality, it's more of a standard thriller with an added Sci-Fi dimension. This by itself is a fine premise for a book, I was just expecting it to be more exceptional considering MJS's talents.

What did I like about the book? Well the future "Hollow World" setting is quite thought provoking. He doesn't shy away from envisioning a wildly divergent evolutionary path
that we could take while showing how some basic traits/failings of humanity will always follow us. I found his world thought provoking but also slightly repulsive in it's order/homogeneity. Months later I still catch myself preforming thought experiments on the society he created. It's very interesting to think about how life would be like in that environment

I'm trying not to give the story away, but I found the main plot device to be rather outlandish. While story was told with proper pacing and excitement, I had a hard time buying some people's motivations and actions.

All in all, I'm happy I used a credit on this audiobook. I don't feel it's wasted at all. Of course I can think of several better books in this genre which I would recommend before Hollow World. If you're a MJS fan, you might want to read this regardless. Just keep in mind it's no Riyria Revelations.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Instant Classic, Makes You Think, Great Characters

This story was so much more than I was expecting. I was expecting it to be great and enjoyable because I like the author's writing, but this book has so much more in it than a good tale. It makes you think, a lot. It deals with a ton of huge concepts and ideas but not in a heavy handed way. You discover things with the protagonist and it comes off so well in the story. As Ellis Rogers, the main character, is discovering things and rethinking his worldview you find yourself as a reader contemplating the same issues as well. I don't want to give any spoilers away but I'll just say that this is a time travel novel and the society that Ellis discovers in the future is an amazing place to visit, but also something that really makes you think about a ton of issues.

Okay so the book makes you think, but it's also really fun, has characters you will love and love to hate, and fantastic settings. I really enjoyed my visit to Hollow World and you will too. The people you'll meet and the places you'll visit you won't soon forget and you'll think back on fondly when you finish the story. I found myself rooting for the main character and enjoying his journey. He was written really well. Very believable motivations, very fleshed out and real. I feel as if I've met him. A certain person of the future, the one on the book cover, is my favorite character though. His name is Pax and he is awesome. You'll see what I mean when you read or listen to the story. The audiobook is how I read this by the way and the narrator Jonathan Davis did a fantastic job. I've heard him read a few Star Wars novels and so I knew I was in good hands but he really made this story shine. I especially loved the way he voiced the antagonist of the story.

There's so much more I could say about his book like the fact that it also made me laugh a lot, but I don't want to spoil anything. I have no problem calling this novel an instant classic and I think that anyone who's a fan of Science Fiction would agree. To sum up, great characters, cool settings, thought provoking issues brought up by a difference in the society of the future our protag discovers. Five stars all the way baby.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful, engaging, thought-provoking story

This is what science fiction should be: a strange and exciting world, vaguely similar to our own, but that is filled with tantalizing differences and three-dimensional characters who collectively provoke the mind, the heart, and the conscience.

The historical and technological developments that have led to the fictionalized universe presented in Hollow World are, all at once, intriguing, and exciting, and frightening. Sullivan does a fantastic job of showing us the good and the bad of Hollow World, and has filled this fictional future with characters who, for the most part, are very three-dimensional and realistic--no small feat, given the premise of the story.

The narration by Jonathan Davis and the production by Recorded Books is simply phenomenal. Davis does a fantastic job of conveying the emotions and richness of the characters and has made this wonderful story even better.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

BUDDY

LAST GOOD THING SOCIETY DID TOGETHER, WAS KILL HITLER
Missed the fifth star by that much. The way this started I did not think I would finish it. In the first hour we find out that Ellis Rose has a terminal illness and that his boy committed suicide, that his wife blames him for the suicide (as well as himself) and that his wife has an affair with his best friend since high school. Not a good start for me, I don't care for depressing self pity type books. It picks up when he travels to the future Ola, H.G. Wells. Then we have a major improbability, in which the whole story relies on. This situation is solved fairly quickly, which must have been the short story this is based on. Then I thought we were just going to explore the marvels of the future. A very interesting future, but not worth a book.

ELLIS WASN'T A COP AND HE DIDN'T SERVE IN THE MILITARY, BUT HE WAS FROM DETROIT.
About chapter 8, the whole story gets better. We now actually have a story and we have grey areas. You think at first, you know where you stand, but Sullivan throws some things at you, that make you think, hmmm, who is right? It seems that Utopia is not as great as it seems. Although I agree with removing the Y chromosome.

YOU WANT TO USE YOUR INDOOR VOICE, MR BUNKER.
The second half of the book makes the book worth getting, at least to me. The relationship between Ellis and Pax is worth it. It is a little strange, a lot touchy feelie and maybe a little gay? You have to listen to know what I am talking about. This is a long way from Riyria, so don't expect that.

THE VOICE WAS SERENE, GENTLE.
Country Time Lemonade (Not Really) spokesman Davis was probably the right pick for this, as his serene gentle voice was probably the mood Sullivan wanted. Davis does accents, but not voices, so if you don't pay attention, you can get confused on who is talking. Warren, Ellis and Geo 1 and 3 all sound the same.


22 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

uneven

The author created a thought provoking future world. He gave Hollow world life and detail
Developed an interesting society. One I wouldn't mind visiting. Then provided a sterotypical 1950s man in a gray suit as one of the protagonist's and a sterotypical rabid conservative as antagonist. Like I said. Uneven. Well written and worth the credit. I would like more stories from Hollow world; maybe give the geomancers a star turn.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Sorry Michael

I have enjoyed all of the books written by Michael J Sullivan, but this one had a flat ending. What I mean by that is that it just ends, not wanting or expecting more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

heavy-handed and preachy - read Riyria instead

I was disappointed in this book. Despite the very catchy premise (man gets terminal illness diagnosis and chooses to leave his unhappy marriage to escape to the future using a time machine he built in his garage, hoping that he'll be able to find a cure there). While the idea of the plot, and the uptopian/dystopian world that Ellis Rogers discovers 200 years in the future in Hollow World is very interesting, what happens once he gets to his destination fell flat for me. Instead of quirky, escapist adventure or speculative sci-fi, what I got was a bunch of heavy-handed pontificating on the nature of man, of god, of gender, of religion/faith, and love. The bad guys are so very terribly and blatantly bad, and the good guys seem weak and emotional. Pax is a great, unique character... until he just becomes a Mary Sue to allow Ellis to deal with the grief over his son and to open his mind enough to allow homosexuality to be acceptable in his world. Warren is the very picture of right-wing religions close-mindedness, and his dismissal of the Hollow World people is cringe-worthy but so blatant that we never sympathize with him. The social commentary that Sullivan gives us is so black and white that it comes off as preachy and tedious rather than thought-provoking or complex. The author clearly blames Christian In the end, I felt like this story was a great waste of a really cool setting.

Other than the characters being so very one-dimensional, the writing was decent. The world-building was well-done and the world itself interesting and original. The science of the time machine wasn't explained, but I was okay with that. The pacing and language were good and the book was very easy to read (when I wasn't rolling my eyes at the exasperating characters). The narration by Jonathan Davis was well done and easily enjoyable.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • matthew
  • ESCONDIDO, CA, United States
  • 04-14-15

it was a fun, good story I enjoyed it.

A different perspective on an old story. Some parts of the story were predictable otherwise I enjoyed it. The narration was good as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful