CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Well known for his novel "Rocket Boys" (turned into the film "October Sky"), writer Homer Hickam has decided to branch off into the young adult genre with his newest book, "Crater." "Crater" is a science fiction novel that begins the "Helium-3" trilogy.In the novel, a teenager named Crater Trueblood works as a miner. The twist of the story is that he lives and works in a town on the moon, and the substance he mines is Helium-3.In his author's note, Hickam explained that Helium-3 is an actual isotope of helium that was found in the first rocks brought back from the moon. It is a real thing that could really solve Earth's energy problems.Hickam uses ideas from his life in Coalwood, the McDowell County mining town he grew up in, and from his time at NASA to create the novel. He is able to mesh two ideas that normally would seem completely unrelated.
Although the story itself is very different from the works that brought Hickam fame, any fan of his novels will surely like this story. Readers will get pulled into Crater's life as he begins a perilous journey to retrieve something for the mine owner. Full of action, his story keeps readers interested and turning the pages."Crater" combines romance, adventure, mining and space to create a science fiction novel that is hard to put down. It is very well researched, and Hickam has thought of everything needed for humans to live on the moon. There is a solution to every problem concerning human habitation.Crater is a truly interesting character. He is honest and naïve in the ways of the world. He thinks the best of everyone and is sometimes perceived as weak because of that. His kindness and intelligence, however, makes readers ally themselves with him and hope he does well.Throughout the novel, Hickam is able to incorporate details from his life that add to the story in small ways. For instance, there is a spaceship called a cycler that is named after Werner von Braun, the man who made Hickam want to design rockets and started his fascination with space. Hickam adds small details like that for his fans to pick up on.With this book, Hickam has created an unusual combination of space and mining. He is probably the only writer who would be able to make it work. "Crater" is a well-written novel, like one would expect from Hickam, and it will draw readers in as soon as they read the back cover description.If you are a person who likes science fiction, then you should give "Crater" a try. The same goes for readers of Hickam's "Coalwood" series."Crater" is the first book in the "Helium-3" trilogy, and if they're anything like "Crater," the other books will be hits as well. Personally, I look forward to them, as well as any other future works from Hickam.