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Showing 1-10 of 784 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,153 reviews
on August 7, 2016
The story is really good: likable, well developed characters (for the length of the book and its audience), excellent plot, audacious idea. Truth be said, this book almost deserves five stars.

Where it falls short is in the baggage that the author extrapolates to the settings of the story. For example, corporations/hegemonic-government are depicted as contemptuous towards human life, and that's considered normal. The main character is homosexual but everybody else is as awkward towards homosexuality as twenty century teenagers. What are the moral heights you describe in your epitaph Hugh?

Also, the settings of the story is very fuzzy and where it intercepts with the plot it ruins it. The plot hinges around the greed of corporations/hegemonic-government, but nowhere in the book it says what they are after. Is it metals? but what would you do with it? transport it across hundreds of light years? Or are the bad guys interested in just a viable settlement? The plot denies the last choice, so it must be the first, but why send humans when the computer can do the mining on her own?

The described natural environment is gorgeous, probably one of the bests I have read in Sci-fi. But here again the author forgot to add a little bit of variety: a natural environment unaltered by civilization must have millions of species, not just three or four.
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on April 25, 2016
Hugh Howey is a really good storyteller. I've enjoyed reading his work this last couple of years, and Half Way Home doesn't disappoint. He continues his trend of originality and interesting storylines in this one. If you're already a fan, you're going to get it anyway. If you aren't, I'd say start with Wool, because it really is one of the finest stories I've read in this last 35 years, and then come back to this one. I simply think that it gives you a better perspective of the author's writing that way.

At any rate, I really liked it!
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on October 16, 2015
Very disappointed. Appears to be very quickly and poorly written young adult novel with poor characterization and dialogue. I loved his Beacon series, but am sorry I spent time with this . Boring.
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on August 9, 2015
Don't have the impact that Wool had. A distopia where some questionable moves from the human race does not seem to to fit.

Why do we send humans if machines can do the work? Nowadays (almost ten years ago or more) we send machines to Mars... it's not Sci-Fi.

With intergalactic technology... We send humans?... No... We only send humans if we really needed to investigate. Machines can do all the hard work remotely I suppose.

If machines maintain and sustain human beings on a voyage they can do very well on extracting resources without terraforming those planets. And good and rare metals or precious materials are more easily extracted from meteors, or rocks in orbit with bigger planets. Do you see what NASA is proposing actually? Hugh, please read what USA congress just passed, or approved. A law that determines ownership of every single raw material extracted at space. Use present evidence on how science is going to plot more and sustainable novels.

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on August 15, 2015
Not really sure where to start, but to say that I really enjoyed this book. Howey has become one of my favorite authors and once again he doesn't disappoint. The characters are well developed, although arguably a bit too mature for 15 year olds, but we'll just chalk that up to their unique "upbringing". The story is fast paced, tight and the writing is gripping. Never once did I feel I was reading filler or that what was going on wasn't important to the story. While a few of the characters are a bit one dimensional, enough of them are plenty complex for you to feel that you have gotten to know them and most importantly care about their plight.

While I sorta compare this to Tunnel in the Sky (one of my favorite Heinlein novels) and Lord of the Flies, neither is an accurate analogy. Still though, you can't help but feel that both of these novels influenced this book in a good way. While society doesn't devolve as far as in the Lord of the Flies, Howey does take on some topics that may make some people uncomfortable; but never does he do it for a cheap thrill. And at the same time that sense of young people exploring a foreign planet and trying to make the best of their situation against some big challenges is there too.

It's a story full of both hope and regret- a balance that a lot of authors try to find but often miss. I won't argue that any new territory was charted here in asking the big questions, but at the same time I found it a very satisfying story that does discuss some important questions and provides the observant reader some interesting answers. And while I have a small disagreement with the ending (I'm not sure how many people noticed, so I won't bother pointing it out) I do feel that the conclusion was a solid one.

Well worth reading.
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on September 10, 2015
A tad disappointing. Maybe it's because I've just read this after Howey's excellent and much, much darker "I, zombie" but this telling of the adventures of a group of YA colonists stranded on an alien planet has failed to engage me.

In the future, individual "nations" (none explicitly named) compete with one another sending automated colony ships to the stars. Since it's impossible to evaluate the viability of a colony from Earth, each Colony is sent with a complex AI which will evaluate a lot of factors and decide if it's viable (mind you: economically viable) to establish the Colony or if it should be aborted. Viability means growing some colonists via vats and teaching them their professions while they're growing, and deploy some Von Neumann machines for harvesting, mining etc.; unviability means destroying everything and everyone with nukes.

The characters on "Half Way Home" are born in the middle of an abort, something that should never happen. Somehow has made the AI change its opinion on the Colony mid-process. But what and why?

Interesting premise, not so interesting characters, and a somehow dull resolution to the mistery makes a minor novel that entertains, but fails to really capture the imagination as the Silo novels did.
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on July 20, 2014
The plot held up at the beginning and created a very strong and interesting world, but unfortunately it seems the potential of that world has been squandered. The book is light on descriptions and is confusing for it; many pivotal scenes have so little information about the surroundings that it's hard to tell what's going on.

As a gay male, the homosexual protagonist wasn't at all necessary: his sexuality was barely elaborated on and contributed almost nothing to his development. While I appreciate more representation in fiction, I would prefer it to be done well and in a meaningful way.

The plot felt rushed, almost as if Howey got bored of his story and tried to end it as soon as he could. The ending, in particular, comes out of nowhere and is unsatisfying.

That all being said, the book did hold my attention and I did finish it within a day...something that, sadly, not all books can make me do. I was wrapped up in the potential of this story, rather than turned off by its obvious shortcomings. If you can get it for cheap and like decent sci-fi, it's worth a read. If you're looking for something more thought-provoking, however, I suggest you look elsewhere.
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on June 12, 2014
This is a great novella by Hugh Howey that explores our roles in society in a very interesting and thoughtful way. Without revealing much I can tell you that it is about a sect of colonists, whom are designed specifically to explore the viability of a planet. If it is found to be viable, then they become a colony and prepare and harvest the resources on that planet. If it is not, then they are aborted.

The colonists are grown to adult hood before they are purged- their place in the colony (electrician, psychologist, teacher) is selected and it is that skill set that they are taught. When they are 'born', they will perform their pre-selected role. This colony was set for 'abortion' , but instead of being erased, they are born prematurely. This sets in place a course of unusual occurences that the AI and the colonists were never prepared for, so their reasoning is what determines their actions. You will then see how their roles are affected, how their own emotions are affected by the other colonists, how they reason what they've been taught to feel vs. how they really feel. It's quite an interesting look at the complexity of emotion, responsibility, viability and survival. If you enjoy science fiction, I think you will be pleased.
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on January 5, 2014
Like a few others, I started with Hugh Howey's "Wool" series, loved it, and decided to try some of his other work. "Half Way Home" does not disappoint. It is a hard science fiction tale of interstellar colonization with an interesting premise and plot twists. I read this book in just a couple of days because I found it to be a page turner and I could not put it down. That's my kind of book--escapist, fun, leaves you with some things to think about.

It's a great concept - mankind has found a practical (if slow) way to colonize other solar systems--send the colonists in frozen, embryonic form on slower-than-light ships that may take decades or centuries to reach their targets, with an AI computer to make all the decisions--is the planet viable? Should we activate the colonists to start growing into babies? The colonists are kept in Matrix-type tubes for many years, receiving virtual educations in the various fields needed for a colony--agriculture, psychology, engineering, etc.

Hugh takes this initial premise, presented in the first few paragraphs, and runs with it. Of course, this is a story about a colony gone wrong. The story moves quickly and there's plenty of action. As in "Wool", Hugh spares the reader nothing; there is some violence, and characters you are getting to know may not make it to the last page.

The story presents the reader with questions about morality, about ethics, about sexuality. Blind obedience to authority is an issue as well. Corporate/national ruthlessness and greed figure into things. Hugh packs a lot into this little novel.

This is actually my only complaint about the story -- it seems a bit abbreviated. It moves fast, and I didn't always "get" what was happening based on the brief description. At a few points I just took a hail Mary and kept on reading, confident that ultimately I would understand what happened. Perhaps I'm just a bit dense and others found it perfectly clear, but for me it detracted a bit from the total immersion into this world when I couldn't visualize what he was describing. Thus, four stars instead of five.

That's a rather minor point, however. Overall, I knew what was happening and the story flowed nicely from beginning to end. As some others have said, the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more, but I would say they were pretty well fleshed out for the amount of time the story takes place and the age of the colonists (hint - they didn't fully mature).

I recommend this novel and am looking forward to reading more of Mr. Howey's very creative and original writings.
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on September 26, 2015
You'll see there aren't a lot of highlights from Halfway Home on my Kruzoo blog but look, you aren't reading Howey for lyrical lines that you can tuck away your whole life. But I look forward to new books by Howey almost more than any other author. As soon as you open of his stories you know that it will consume the next few days of your life--you will spend the spare moments of your day tearing through an adventure. The speed with which Howey moves the narrative reminds me of those choose-your-own-adventure books from when I was a kid, except in this case Howey is at the helm--leading us on an incredible story about resilience and bravery amidst overwhelming odds.

Oh yeah. I should probably give you a teaser as to what this book is actually about: A master planet sets out to colonize the universe. If one of its ships lands on a planet that is deemed inhabitable, the entire colony is killed off before they can be hatched from their fully grown cryogenically(ish) frozen state. Until the kill sequence is interrupted and a group survives...
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