Crater, Helium 3 Series #1
Moon science fiction for teens? Sweet!
Crater is a Helium-3 miner on the moon. HeÃ¢ÂÂs also one of the few decent guys left on the natural satellite. When he saves the life of a coworker, he earns a promotion heÃ¢ÂÂs not certain he wants that sends him on a dangerous adventure across the moon to pick up a package that many will do anything to keep him from obtaining.
Moon science fiction for teens? Sweet! This book was sort of a high-tech future meets the Old West on the moon. Many of the characters who live there had never been to earth. I loved CraterÃ¢ÂÂs character and his voice. He was a lot of fun. This type of science fiction is a much needed genre for Christian boy readers, so IÃ¢ÂÂm excited to see it available. Girls who love science fiction will like it too. There is a little romance thread in there, as well, but itÃ¢ÂÂs not mushy enough to bother boys. If you like science fiction or adventure stories, youÃ¢ÂÂll like Crater.
July 28, 2012
Crater by Homer Hickam
Crater was written by Homer Hickam, the author of the autobiography Rocket Boys that was adapted in 1999 as the film October Sky. I saw the film years ago and loved it, and that's how I instantly became interested in this novel when I heard that Homer wrote it. The story of October Sky was about Homer's life as a young man: his father was a coal miner and wanted him to become one as well, but Homer saw his future along a different path, and eventually became a NASA engineer. Many years later, after the events of his autobiography, Homer retired and became a writer of both fiction and nonfiction. Though at this current time I've only read this one that he's penned, the book descriptions of many of his books imply that he uses much of his knowledge from both his life as a coal miner's son and his life as a NASA engineer when writing his stories. This is definitely one such story.
Crater is of a lower reading level than I have read in a whileÃ¢ÂÂyoung adult, for sureÃ¢ÂÂand sometimes it just seemed childish or cheesy. The narration would often mention some key piece of technology but would fail to even hint at what it actually looked like or how it worked. Sometimes it would fail to mention what certain things even did. A lot of the main character's mission that was assigned near the very beginning of the book doesn't make complete sense until you know what exactly a cycler is and how a worksÃ¢ÂÂand that's something you don't find out until you have about fifty pages left in the entire book. These aren't details that would be considered plot spoilers; these are details that the narration seems to think readers should already know from the beginning but can't, because it's usually referring to technology that the author himself created.
In addition, several parts of the story were clichÃÂ©. Early in the book the protagonist, Crater Trueblood, enters a sort of futuristic race, and his main opponent is one that everyone knows will win. The opponent is the type that uses as many forms of "foul play" as they can while making sure not to officially break any rules. With the help of his gillie and some ridiculous luck, Crater barely crosses the finish before his opponent. By that time they'd been the only two competitors still in the race. Does that sound familiar? Also, the main character is just a teenager, but he's extremely smart and can think of (and design) improvements for almost everything man-made he comes across. I suppose in the next book it will be revealed that General Caesar Augustus NeroÃ¢ÂÂa character who, as you can obviously tell from his name, will turn out to be evilÃ¢ÂÂis actually his father, long thought dead. (Yes, that is sarcasm.)
Crater is full of inconsistencies, clichÃÂ©s, and sometimes just ridiculousness, but in all honesty, it was the first book I've read in a long time that I've actually enjoyed reading. I read a lot of books recently that I loved, but it was the story or characters or ideas or setting or author's writing ability that I loved, not the actual reading part. For nearly a year and a half now reading has been a chore for me. I've grown to hate it, but I press on anyway to enjoy the wonderful worlds and tales that I fall in love with. My ability to read left entirely with my ability to focus, so even reading a little bit takes an excruciating amount of effort and time. Crater, though at times it was difficult to get through, (to an average person it could be probably read easily in a weekend) is a super easy read. I enjoyed reading it like I haven't for any other book I've read in a very long time.
The book had its faults, but enjoying the reading part of it really helped me to enjoy the rest, and the faults weren't nearly bad enough to ruin the book. The story and setting, when you look past the thin outer skin, is actually incredibly cool. Sometimes the book seemed a little bit like an Isaac Asimov novel, though of course on a far less mature level. The main character, Crater Trueblood, changed a lot throughout the story. He sometimes really surprises the reader, either with his level of immaturity or his level of maturity.
The author, Homer Hickam, harnessed loads of his scientific knowledge into the novel. Putting a bunch of techno-babble into a book geared toward the reading level of Crater is absolutely ridiculous, but for those of us who enjoy reading books at this level and also know a decent bit about science (so we can barely grasp what some of the techno-babble is about), this book a very enjoyable experience. Homer is a wise man, and I often felt myself wanting to save entire paragraphs or conversations as quotes, rather than just a character's line or two, as is traditional for quotes.
In the end, through its faults that I have probably made sound far worse than they actually are, Crater was a fun novel with a great story, cast and setting. If you enjoy young adult fiction and science fiction, check it out. I was expecting a lot from the author, so for a while into the reading I can't deny that I was disappointed. By the end, however, I was wondering when Hollywood will get enough sense to make this into a movie. I definitely can't now deny the awesomeness of the story and setting. Homer Hickam might not be an expert at converting his knowledge into all the correct words for a novel everyone will love, but his knowledge of space and the moon makes the technology he created seem all the more believable. I look forward very much to the next novel in the Helium-3 saga.
Crater: A Helium-3 Novel was published on April 10, 2012.
This book was sent to me for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing.
April 18, 2012
Review on Crater
The book Crater, by Homer Hickam, is definitely a two thumbs up novel! It was in the 22nd century when people made living on the moon possible. People there mined the moon for Helium-3 so to produce energy for our war-torn earth. Crater Trueblood, a sixteen year old orphan, that was born and raised on the moon and was adopted by Q-Bess, the queen of Wales on earth, after his first adopted parents died on the scrapes, when he was very young. Crater worked on the scrapes himself and was happy to be working there. At the same time the owner of the mine was looking for a good, honest person to go on a dangerous mission for him to pick up an impotent package in Armstrong city, the place were Apollo 11 first landed. And after he seen Crater save a miner on the scrapes, he chose him to do it, and Crater had no chose but to go. As he travels across the moon embarking on this dangerous journey he must get to the package on time, protect the miner owner's granddaughter that wanted to come along, and to keep himself and the convoy out of trouble, from human and sub-humans enemies which was man made. His quest to get the astonishing object will change everyone's lives on the moon! This book has adventure and danger around every corner on the moon frontier! I would recommend it to anyone who loves adventure, fantasy, secrets, and danger in a book! If you said yes, then this is definitely the one for you!
April 16, 2012
Great book for wide audience
Review of Crater by Homer Hickam. It's a young adult science fiction novel. It was a very good book. It's about a 16 year old orphan named Crater who lives on the moon. He saves some fellow miners from an accident and as a result is selected to participate in a dangerous mission. Along his journey he faces dangers from many sources. The science fiction elements are very well fleshed out. This is a true science fiction novel, not just a novel with a few futuristic devices thrown in and labeled as sci-fi. The action is very exciting. The scenes, technology, and locations are fleshed out very well. The main characters- Crater, Maria, and Petro, however, are not as well developed, and certainly not as a lot of YA book characters are. You never get a clear picture of what they look like or what is going on in their heads. But in this novel it works and doesn't detract from the novel. Some parts had my laughing and some had me on the edge of my seat. I won't spoil it but I have to mention that I love that little blob gillie, and I think you will too! I look forward to the next book which is supposed to be out next year. The book has a good message and brings up some Christian values such as praying but not is in no way proselytizing or preachy. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys science fiction and/or YA novels.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÃÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Thanks for reading!
March 26, 2012