Thursday, July 4, 2013
Revisit: Crater by Homer Hickam
A year and a quarter ago I reviewed a book called Crater. It was written by Homer Hickam, the retired NASA engineer who penned the bestselling autobiography Rocket Boys, which was later made into the hit film October Sky.
My original review was a mistake. I focused too much on the book's faults, to the point that people who read my review thought I was saying it was cliché and cheesy and basically written for children. I made sure to state that I loved it, but because of the way I wrote it, people basically thought it had just been a guilty pleasure of mine. That's definitely not true, because my guilty pleasure is Colleen Coble novels.
What bothers me the most about my initial review is that the author himself misinterpreted it, and suggested that I might enjoy his novel The Dinosaur Hunter instead; to which my unspoken response was, "Dinosaurs? How boring! I want to go back to the moon!" (As a disclaimer, The Dinosaur Hunter is probably pretty good; I'm just not interested at the present time.)
While it's true that parts of Crater seemed a little bit cliché or cheesy, it's a brilliant novel and I think it deserves a revisit. I recently acquired the sequel, Crescent, and I decided that before reading it I would reread Crater, and then set the record straight on my blog.
To begin, I love this book. I only read it the first time about a year and three months ago, but it feels like it's been so much longer, to the point where a huge part of the book was downright nostalgic.
Crater takes place on a moon colony in the 22nd century, and the book spans over a decent portion of the moon, exposing the reader to what the future could be like. The author, being a former NASA engineer, put all of his scientific knowledge into making an intriguing and brilliant world that actually makes sense in the reader's mind. As the characters traveled the vast world, I often wished that I could be there as well, exploring the reaches of the moon.
The main character is Crater Trueblood, a naive teenager who was older than me the first time I read the novel, but whom is now pretty much the exact same age. Sometimes his character felt a little too naive, but he also had some great character development throughout the book.
At the beginning of the book Crater is sent on a mission with a convoy from his mining colony to the great Armstrong City, and from there even to outer space, and the closest to Earth he's ever been. It's a long journey with many hitches along the way. The story is beautifully written, even when you take into account the minor cliché elements.
Crater is a brilliant, suspenseful, and even somewhat tragic story. It takes place in an epic and well-crafted future universe, and the characters are great and memorable. Honestly, I haven't looked forward to any book in a long time as much as I've looked forward to the sequel.
I strongly apologize to anyone who read my initial review. Crater is awesome.