Friday, April 18, 2014

HOLLOW WORLD by Michael J. Sullivan

We are back today with a look at a standalone novel by Michael J. Sullivan. Remember, the contest to win a novel of your choosing by Mr. Sullivan is ongoing until the 27th. All you have to do is e-mail me and let me know your name (if it is different from your name on Facebook) and which book you want. Also, make sure that you like Craig's Book-ends on Facebook.

The standalone novel we are discussing has been something of a publishing event this year. Mr. Sullivan has retained the ebook rights himself (which is quite rare) so while you can get the print version from Tachyon Publications, as Sullivan explains on his website, retaining the ebook rights allowed him to (among other things) keep the ebook DRM free, bundle the ebook with print and audio versions, and enroll in Amazon MatchBook which allows the reader to get a free ebook if they buy the print version. This is pretty darn cool.

So how does the book hold up? Well, let's see.

This is another book by Sullivan that I'm not going to do much talking about in terms of plot. This is because I don't want to spoil it for you. In fact, I'd rather you go in knowing as little as possible. That's how I went into Hollow World. In short, however...

Hollow World is the story of Ellis Rogers, a man who has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Down on his luck, he decides to take a chance on something he has been working on quietly for some time now -- Rogers has a time machine in his garage and he plans to use it. But where and when will it take him?

That's a pretty simple set-up and, in fairness, the book hearkens back to an earlier time in science fiction, much like Sullivan did with fantasy in his Riyria novels. However, this is not a simple book. It is a book, like the best of science fiction, that asks the most fundamental questions about what it means to be human. It's a book about utopia (or dystopia). It's a book about love and hate. It's a book about individuality and a book about community. I'm not saying that you'll agree with the book's conclusions. I'm also not saying Sullivan does. Fiction doesn't work that way. I'm saying that the questions the book asks are ones that everyone asks themselves at some point. Wouldn't you like to engage with a great writer like Michael J. Sullivan on such important topics? Hollow World is your chance.

Also, it's got time travel. Things are nearly always better with time travel.

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