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Hollow World Paperback – April 15, 2014
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"This is social science fiction that H.G. Wells or Isaac Asimov could have written, with the cultural touchstones of today. A modernized classic, Hollow World is the perfect novel for both new and nostalgic science fiction readers." -- Justin Landon, Staffer's Book Reviews
"I'm happy to report that not only does Hollow World establish Sullivan as a force to be reckoned with in any genre he chooses to ply his talent to, it also is a prime example of one of the reasons speculative fiction is so important." -- Matt Gilliard, 52 Book Reviews
"Hollow World is one of those old style science fiction books I never really expected to see again." -- Christopher Mansell, A Writer's Sidequest
From the Author
When I started writing Hollow World, I suspected getting it published would be challenging. First, I'm established in epic fantasy, so crossing genres and moving into science fiction isn't what my (or I suspected other) publishers would be interested in. Also, it is very much a cross-genre piece containing elements of science fiction, a heroes journey, and even a murder mystery all in a single book. To make matters worse, it deals with controversial subjects which I won't get into here as I don't want any spoilers. Last, but not least, it has a classic, retro vibe of the science fiction I loved in my youth, and I was told that the current market was focusing on space opera and military science fiction.
None of this deterred me. As with my other books, I was writing something I wanted to read. While I hoped there would be those that would want to read it, too, that was secondary to the fact that I just "had" to tell this story. I had already been successfully self-published in the past, and I was more than willing to do that again in order to get this book in front of readers. As it turned out, I got a nice five-figure offer for the book...but (the devil isn't in the details, it's in the buts) that publisher wanted full rights: print, ebook, and audio. I REALLY wanted to keep the ebook rights so I turned that down and went in search of a "print-only" deal.
For those that don't know, there have only been a few "print-only" deals...and all of them by authors who sell at blockbuster levels (Hugh Howey, Brandon Sanderson, Bella Andre, and Coleen Hoover). But I figured nothing ventured nothing gained, so my agent approached Tachyon Publishing (who did Brandon Sanderson's print-only deal for his Hugo winning The Emperor's Soul) and they made me an offer which I gladly accepted. I then sold the audio rights to Recorded Books, which have done such a great job with my Riyria Revelations and Riyria Chronicle novels.
One of the big advantages about retaining ownership of the ebook is that I can do some things that other publishers can't...namely:
- I can offer free ebooks for anyone who buys the print or audio versions version
- Provide my books DRM free so that they can be read them from multiple sources
- Provide all ebook formats so readers can read it on their kindle, ipad, or nook
- Offer a non-explicit language version for those who are sensitive to swearing
So, anyway that's probably more than you wanted to know about how Hollow World came into being and the unusual way in which it is being published. I do hope you'll enjoy it, and if you do, and would like more books in this world and with these characters, let me know. It's feedback from readers that often determines what I write in the future.
Michael J. Sullivan | @author_sullivan | email@example.com
- Publisher : Tachyon Publications (April 15, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 161696183X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1616961831
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #435,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The plot is relatively simple. Ellis is a man with a lonely life and tons of emotional pain who gets the added kick of having a terminal illness that has no cure. Instead of moping he laughs, you see he is an MIT graduate engineer who just happened to build a ghetto time machine in his garage. His marriage is in shambles and he has no reason to not jump forward just to see what is there. He aims for 200 years and gets 2,000 instead and there is no going back.
The book was less hard science and more philosophical or dystopian. Very hard to classify though as one has to wonder is Hollow World a Utopia or a Dystopia? For me it was the same thread of ambiguity that made Brave New World so amazing. People live in the hollowed out shell of the planet and have no hunger, disease, or war but are they really happy? When everyone is as sexless as a ken doll and lives forever you find the concept of individuality as something critical. Without an identifying chip in their shoulders they are essentially anonymous. I found the people living in Hollow World alternately beautiful and sad. Such beautiful and creative art to replicate the sounds and functions of things we take for granted now to shout their individuality to the world. Ellis was also incredibly well done as a man unstuck in time seeing everything with the wonder of a child and trying to put aside his own preconceived notions of how things are. The dialogue between Pax and Ellis about money and work was hilarious and profound at the same time. When no one wants for anything what could a person need or be forced to do? Without money why would anyone work at something they didn't love?
The later conflict between Ellis and Warren right down to their ideals was incredible as well though I found myself wanting to scream at Ellis to just DO something, stop this craziness. Warren makes an excellent counter point to the entire philosophical underpinnings that flow through the book. Should we embrace change or do we hold onto the ways we have known? Do we really need God when we never die? Was the past really better or are we seeing through a nostalgic filter? I think what I enjoyed most was that ideas are more left for the reader to consider and not the opinions of the author leaking through. Those who can't or won't objectively consider musings on individuality, change, religion, or history should probably steer clear. There are some very deep thoughts to come out of this seemingly innocuous book but it will not be for everyone.
Now, the whole book moved very quickly and took right off from the start with most the rough science parts rounded down for ease of grasping but I wanted more. I wanted about 250 more pages with more depth to Hollow World itself. I wanted more history between here and there and I really wanted more of Pax. Still a really amazing story and one even those who dislike science fiction can love.
Top reviews from other countries
For those of us who are Michael Sullivan's devoted fans, love his writing style and have read all his fantasy books, this is a chance to read something different but equally enjoyable, while you wait for the next Hadrian and Royce installment or more goings-on in the fascinating world of Elan, pre and post Riyria (hint-hint).
In the Hollow World the main characters are well developed and credible, with some quirks, and the plot, with the usual twists and turns, is well paced and thrilling. The real difference here though, is the thoughtful way in which the author presents humanity's deep ideals and aspirations, as arrived at in a utopian world that is very well built. There are some profound thoughts behind the changes that have led to this future world and I don't want to mention any spoilers, but some aspects of the future-world characters will be controversial. In my view this book is thought provoking and I would even say courageous. I do hope the author realises the potential of the world he has built so well and gives us more glimpses into the lives and conflicts of these peculiar, endearing future humans. I very warmly recommend this book.
Wasn't disappointed. It does start slow but picks up a little later on.
It's not on the same level as The Riyria Revelations, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It doesn't have that magic touch, but I was enthralled when the book began to explore more of the world. That doesn't happen until near the end, but it made the plot more satisfying/gripping.
Hollow World is something completely different from the fantasy genre that Michael is so good at creating. That being said it is a very good sci-fi.
The first couple of chapters are a little dull and drab in all honesty, the introduction to Ellis Rogers' pre-time travel life feels tacked on and certainly less absorbing than his introduction to any of the characters in anything Riyria, it didn't set me up well for the rest of the book, but I decided to keep going with it. The second Chapter is a little boring for other reasons and is set immediately post time travel (I say no more for risk of spoilers).
I am glad that I did. The world that Michael J Sullivan created is excellent and truly shows itself from the third chapter. The world has its amazing elements, technologies and an interesting collection of characters. The most important being Warren and Pax (I won't say an more for risk of spoilers).
As the world has its all too human flaws it has enabled Michael to comment through the novel on a number of really touchy topics including Politics, Religion, Homophobia and Xenophobia. Some people won't like this, but I thought it a very clever dialoge on humanity now as much as it was a good sci-fi action romp with a good storyline.
Most of the social commentary comes through Ellis' own thoughts & through Pax. (I think Michael has put a lot of himself into Pax). I find myself agreeing in large part with the moderate & reasonable stance that is commented from, though not entirely on a couple of topics.
As for the base story, it has its twists, turns and a few sci-fi clichés, but it's a good story with an epic climax and then a couple of really good reflective chapters after.
On the whole I love the book & I recommend it to both sci-fi fans and those interested in fictions with a social commentary that makes you think. Just please give the book a chance after the first two chapters.
Michael J Sullivan has recreated a classic type of time travel novel and given it a well and truly deserved and refreshing uplift into today's generation and perhaps a glimpse at what might be ahead for humankind?
I really can’t recommend Hollow World highly enough. It’s well written, with an engaging and accessible style, and touches on some interesting themes, such sexuality, religion and the way in which one person’s paradise can become another person’s hell. The concept is complex, original and beautifully executed. There are some well-defined and likeable characters, as well as some not-so-likable ones. Most impressive of all is the author’s world-building ability: Hollow World is a detailed and believable vision of a far-future society very different from our own. Kudos, Mr Sullivan!