Crater A Helium-3 Novel by Homer Hickam – Review

Young Crater Trueblood was born on the moon. He had lived in the same mining colony his entire life. Though he was only sixteen … almost seventeen … he was chosen for a special mission, which would change his outlook on life forever.

While I’m not a huge science fiction fan, I don’t hate it either. Mostly, a lot of sci-fi books go a bit over my head and I don’t really comprehend the technology involved. While I enjoy pondering over different plot aspects etc, I don’t want to have to use a lot of brain power trying to figure out futuristic technology. Although this story did a great job at explaining the theory of an interplanetary elevator at work. I had run across the idea in other books and just could not picture it in my mind’s eye.

The characters in this story are believable and well represented. Petro, the older, more worldly teen who thinks he always knows best. Maria, the bossy knock-out who knows exactly who she is and what she wants and the guys clamor over her. Captain Teller, the seasoned professional with a no frills attitude. The Colonel, the rich corporate guy who will do whatever it takes to see his plans through. Earth people or moon people, location makes no difference as the typical personas of humans remain the same.

I loved the passage near the end of the book when Crater meets the governmental official who is being sent to the moon to regulate quality of the helium-3 product. Poor innocent Crater just cannot wrap his mind around the double talk that the official spouts and I give the author kudos for pointing out the complete uselessness and lack of common sense in the official’s arguments.

Last but not least, we must mention Gillie. Gillie is the backbone of stories in the role of surprisingly amusing sidekick. Where would C3PO be without R2D2? Captain Kirk with Spock? Harry Potter without Ron? I cannot help but wonder WHY gillies are illegal as they seem to be such handy critters. Maybe we will find out in the second book of this trilogy.

The most annoying thing about this book is the fact that Crater is sixteen, and always asserts the fact that he is almost seventeen. Through this ENTIRE book I had the song from The Sound of Music running through my head. Other than that, this was a pretty good story. Highly entertaining, thought provoking, with a little bit of philosophical rib poking at where big government ends up leading the earth, I look forward to the next installment to this series.