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Posted April 2, 2014
One of the first things that appealed about Hollow World was how
One of the first things that appealed about Hollow World was how easy it was to get into the story. Written in the classic style of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, Hollow World produces a modern story just as enjoyable, if not more so, than its predecessor. The main character, Ellis Rodgers, is introduced to the readers while finding out that he has terminal cancer, and instead of tearing up, he starts laughing. The mystery in his story continues from there to the final line, and the discoveries along the way were a real treat.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Ellis Rogers laughs because he had just recently discovered the secret to time travel. In a story that delves into his philosophy on God’s existence and serendipitous involvement in his life, this is the first sign that something special is going on. But, as we follow him home, we see why the notion of being special is so foreign to him. His relationship to his wife of over thirty years has fallen into a depressing routine since their son killed himself. She keeps the television on to avoid silence and he seems to come home only for food, sleep and to work alone in his garage.
As a reader who is almost five years into marriage, this is a great fear, and it really caused me to empathize with Ellis and hope for him to find happiness. As an aside, if you read Greener Grass, the short story he wrote last year that involved a similar time-travel plot, this story is almost completely different and has a much more engaging character in Ellis.
I don’t want to give away what happens next between him and his wife, except for the obvious conclusion that his time-travel device worked. In a genre where science jargon can get out of hand, I think Sullivan did a great job creating believability without slowing the story down. I found Ellis’s research and efforts satisfying on a discovery of science level without wishing for anything to be edited out. This is Sullivan’s style, and one that makes him so consistently readable.
Another aspect of Sullivan’s style, which you may know from his Epic Fantasy series, Riyria Revelations and Riyria Chronicles, is that after he hooks you with his likable characters, he whisks you off into a richly imagined world. How can I share with you this futuristic world without ruining the experience of discovering it? I suppose I’ll just say that this future has wiped out the Y chromosome and created a haven where people are safe from war… or so they think.
The removal of the Y chromosome is important to mention because in this future world that Ellis crashes into, he will be faced with interacting with people without the classification of “he” or “she.” This is another part of the mystery, so I’ll just say that Sullivan uses this to deliver a powerful realization about love.
Now that I think about it, most of the entertaining philosophical questions are hinged on spoilers. Darn it, Sullivan! ;) I’ll ask some of the questions that he does and let you find out how they fit with his characters and the mystery of who plans to destroy Hollow World.
Is the pursuit of God beneficial to our civilization?
Have we pursued God in the right way?
Do we really love our neighbor?
Do we really love our spouse?
If we had the power to force our beliefs on the world, would it be better off? Are we fundamentally similar to tyrants of old, lacking only the power and circumstance to make worldwide changes?
Would we be better off with a device that made whatever we wanted, or a full-time job to pay for the things we want?
Would you like to live forever?
These powerful questions that Sullivan explores about existence, love, and trials make Hollow World one of the deeper and enjoyable stories of 2014. Hollow World is a highly recommended time-travel story and a must read for anyone who loves the nostalgia of their first adventure into the possibilities of past and future.
Review published at Adventures in Scifi Publishing. Review copy provided by Netgalley.
Posted March 19, 2014
Is Hollow World the Ideal Society or "Hollow" When it Comes to Ideals?
I usually love a good time travel story and this one is right up there with some of the best. Ellis Rogers is dying from an incurable lung disease and enstranged from his wife after their son Isley committed suicide. Ellis came across the theories of a scientist on time travel and figures out that some of the calculations were wrong and he is able to correct the math and contruct his own time machine in his garage. He is eager to leave his unhappy existance, especially with a death sentence hovering and escape to the future where there is probably a cure for him.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
He goes a lot further forward than anticipated and ends up in Hollow World. It is a Utopian society where disease is unknown and people generally live forever and live under the Earth's surface (thus in a "Hollow" world). All is not what Ellis had envisioned as residents strive to be different and admire Ellis for his "uniqueness." Ellis longs for the things he left behind and the main thing that makes Hollow World tolerable for him is his new friend Pax who has a knack of always knowing what will please Ellis.
Some things that Ellis left in his past seem to come back and want to change this "perfect" world. Pax seems to have insights as to what those things are but Ellis is not so sure if Pax is right or just a bit crazy.
The book is a testiment to the individual. Having read the author's bio at the end of the book it does mention that he was influenced by Ayn Rand. I enjoyed the book all the way to the end and wanted it to continue! I hope the author is planning a sequel.