Homer Hickam’s Crater: A Helium-3 Novel, is his first in a series about life on the moon. This book is a futuristic tale of the author’s vision for life on the moon. Centering around a teenage boy, sent on a dangerous pursuit, the book attempts to reach its targeted young adult crowd by giving the reader a hero to which (s)he can relate.
The author uses his knowledge of coal mining (readers might remember his non-fiction work Rocket Boys from which came the movie October Sky) to attempt to walk the find line between the comfortably familiar and the great unknown. The story’s hero, Crater, is selected from the other helium-3 miners on a secret voyage to retrieve a mysterious package.
As a fan of Michael Crichton’s work, I enjoy a good story blending fact and fiction to the point the reader doesn’t know where fact stops and the author’s imagination begins. Unfortunately for me, Hickman never managed this. His inventions seemed contrived and forced, while his facts were uninteresting. (What teenage boy- the books assumed audience – really cares to read a political commentary on the government intervening in a free market?) I didn’t hate the book, but I certainly didn’t like it.
Bottom line: Read on a long trip. Maybe to the moon. When you’ve exhausted the rest of your reading supply.
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