Thursday, June 28, 2012

Reviewing "Crater" by Homer Hickam

Crater (A Helium 3 Novel)Crater by Homer H. Hickam

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Crater Trueblood is an orphan and helium 3 miner on the moon, 100 years in the future. This coming of age story features an annoying best friend, a pretty tomboy, and a sidekick—Crater's gillie, a sentient and sometimes insubordinate clump of slime mold cells.

Crater is chosen by "the Colonel" for a mysterious mission because he feels Crater may succeed where others have failed. All Crater has to do is travel to the capital city, pick up a package and deliver it to the Colonel. That sounds almost too easy and, of course, it is. Along the way we get to see other places on the moon, meet memorable characters, and learn about Crater's ingenuity. As with many such tales the journey teaches Crater as much, if not more, than finishing his quest.

I requested this book from Amazon Vine because the gillie was an intriguing concept. I am pleased to say that it was a totally justified decision because the gillie rose far above the "slime mold cells" description by being rather charming and a bit of a know-it-all.

I was surprised to see that there was prayer in the book a few times and then I realized the publisher is known for their Christian books. However, the book didn't come off that way at all. It was just an entertaining adventure.

In fact, one of my favorite parts was actually a commentary on prayer which made me laugh aloud.
Teller pointed at the woman. "It was your stupidity that killed Tilly." He cut his eyes back to Crater. "Say a prayer for her, Crater."

Crater didn't know why the captain wanted him to say a prayer, but he gave it some thought and said, "Dear Lord, I didn't know Tilly, but I hope You'll take her into heaven. She messed up here at the last but that doesn't matter now, not to her and maybe not to You either."

"I said say a prayer, not write an editorial," Teller growled.

The gillie jumped in. For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, blessed be the Lord thy God who loves thee still. Amen and good-bye.

Teller stared at the gillie, then said, "Well, at least that thing's got some sense."
Crater made me feel the way I did when I could sink into the Heinlein juveniles for a rattling good story . This author shows original thinking in such details as the way they bioengineer space suits for outside Moon working, which kept me interested in more than just the adventure. Overall it was a great read and one that left me wishing the sequel was available.


  1. I keep meaning to read this one, I'm glad to see you give it a favorable review! I've been a big fan of Homer Hickam since I saw the movie "October Sky," and I keep hearing good things about Crater.

  2. Thank you! I miss my Heinlein juveniles -- I bought each one as it was re-released in paperback in the early 70's -- and I was actually thinking of "Red Planet" as I read the review. And of course I recognized Homer Hickam.