Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan

Hollow World
Author:  Michael J. Sullivan
Publisher:  Tachyon Publication, April 15, 2014
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Price:  $15.95 (print)
ISBN:  978-1-61696-183-1 (print)
Review Copy: Purchased as Part of the Kickstarter Campaign

The future is coming...for some, sooner than others.

Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man, who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but faced with a terminal illness he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he’ll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. He could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…but only if he can survive Hollow World.

Welcome to the future and a new science fiction thriller from the bestselling author of The Riyria Revelations.

Brannigan's Review

Disclaimer: I purchased my copy of Hollow World as part of Michael J. Sullivan's Kickstarter campaign. I am a fan of Sullivan's work.

Hollow World is a time-travel science fiction novel that takes place on Earth. It starts in modern-day Detroit with Ellis Roger's life falling apart. His work, love life, and health are all circling the drain. Ellis used to be a dreamer and filled with wonder, but life took its toll until he came up with an idea to create a time machine. With nothing left holding him to his present time, Ellis takes the plunge and moves 2,000 years into the future with the hope of a better world. He doesn't find what he expected, but what he finds is what he needs. He is quickly thrown into a conspiracy and teams up with a person from the future named Pax, who helps Ellis not only save the future but also himself.

Like any good science fiction there are several layers to this story. On the surface, we have a great action story of a man from the past helping the future to survive by first discovering a conspiracy and helping to stop it from destroying everything the future holds dear. We also get to see a new and inventive look at the future and where the human race may end up. It also asks the reader to question their own ideas on topics that at first seem too personal to question, like religion, sexuality, and politics. Then, at its core, the book asks each of us what it means to find peace within ourselves and the people around us. The best thing about all of these layers is Sullivan doesn't try to persuade the reader to agree with his own beliefs. He allows the topics to speak for themselves and for the readers to find their own conclusions. The story itself is entertaining enough that it also allows the reader to ignore the deeper layers if they prefer to just have an enjoyable read.

Hollow World is a modern science fiction classic. It is well suited for multiple reads and I for one would love to take a college-level class discussing the book. The only thing that would keep me from recommending it to everyone is the fact it does contain strong language. For that reason, I would recommend it to older young adults and adults. It's perfect for both fans of science fiction as well as those curious about the genre. I'd also recommend it to anyone that likes to read books that encourage the reader to pause and ponder.


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