As seen on Stumptown Books
Where does Hugh Howey come up with all these brilliant ideas? Reading Wool
brought me to this, one of his earlier stories, and he has quickly become one of my favorite authors. However, like many of his stories, there is an element lacking that I can't quite put my finger on.Half Way Home
uses a brilliant story telling device. Colonists are supposed to undergo 30 years of training before they start taming a planet, but in this case, something went dreadfully wrong. The characters only received half their training, and are fighting for their lives as mere 15 year olds. I love this because although they are only 15, they don't act like teenagers, they act like half trained adults, reacting to situations in the same way many of us would. This also means that they are at our level of technology, because they didn't have time to learn more. This is the far flung future but it feels very close to home because of this, and it was a brilliant idea. It also means that personalities were implanted but then left unfinished: there is a lot of talk of making babies, which I found rather uncomfortable for 15 year olds to be discussing.
In my review of Wool 2
, also by Hugh Howey, I talked about how I was baffled at the setting. Although readers are known to have vivid imaginations, I had a really hard time picturing the silo and the residents. Something about the descriptions just didn't work for me, and it left me feeling frustrated because characters would undertake actions based upon the landscape, and I couldn't picture it. I had much the same issue with Half Way Home
. I never got a good feel of what the world looked like, and a few times a description would come up that had me completely reevaluating my mental image. Too much description is a bad thing, but in this case I think a little more would have been beneficial.
I was also confused about a couple of choices Hugh Howey made. Why was it necessary to have a bad guy? There was already so much adversity, I thought having a bad guy was over the top. I was also disgruntled that kids who received all of their education through a computer linked directly into their brain, somehow managed to learn the word "sissy" and employed its usage with gusto. If the computer is completely in charge of your education and your personality, I would think that a "bad guy" and derisive remarks would be left out.
All in all, I liked it, and it's a quick read. Hugh Howey is definitely an author to watch.