Read Half Way Home by Hugh Howey Online


An alternate cover edition can be found here.Five hundred of us were sent to colonize this planet. Only fifty of us survived. We woke up fifteen years too early. We had only half our training. And they expected us not only to survive...they expected us to conquer this place. The problem is: it isn't safe here. We aren't even safe from each other....

Title : Half Way Home
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781481222969
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 357 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Half Way Home Reviews

  • Pouting Always
    2018-12-11 19:39

    Ships are sent out to colonize planets containing 500 blastocyst that eventually become humans who are trained and educated before reaching the designated planet. The AI in charge of the ship, Colony, decides when reaching the planet whether at any point the mission needs to be aborted and whether to get rid of the potential humans in the ship it contains. Usually the AI makes the decision easily on whether or not the mission is to be continued but this time something unusual happens and the AI goes back and forth on it's decision leading to the ship crashing onto the planet and many of the people on board being killed. The remaining people must now try to survive on this new planet and figure out where to go with this unprecedented situation.The concept of the story was really interesting and I did enjoy some parts of the book but I just couldn't buy into some of the things in it. Like (view spoiler)[ genetically selecting for homosexuality doesn't actually seem like an actual possibility and the reason they chose to do so seemed so stupid and I just didn't believe the rhetoric for it(hide spoiler)]. Also are you telling me this is so far into the future and the dynamics of current day prejudice are still around. And as the book progressed I got a prolife vibe from the idea that it was unethically for the AI to abort the cells that could be humans. I think it be more understandable if they were trying to challenge the hierarchy imposed on them with the less important people like psychologists or teachers being further back in the plane and the fact that they never get to choose their profession it was thrust on them and the whole genetically selected to be best at that certain position seems really bogus also. Anyway interesting premise but I had a hard time suspending disbelief.

  • Nataliya
    2018-12-08 01:24

    Well, I adored Hugh Howey's Wool series and The Plagiarist short story, but this one missed the mark quite a bit. Which is too bad, since Howey can do much better than that.It's a sci-fi story, which I generally adore. A shipload of zygotes lands on a distant planet destined to become a home for a colony of settlers who would be released from their pods in 30 years as fully grown human beings taught to do certain jobs and taught to think in a certain way. Normally if a planet is determined to be 'unsuitable' by the ship's AI, the colony gets destroyed (or rather, 'aborted'. My gripes on that to come later. I'm an OBGYN, what did you expect?). However, this particular colony gets woken up halfway through the maturation process, after an 'aborted' attempt at 'abortion'. And now we have a bunch of fifteen-year-olds who are expected to survive in a hostile world while (a) figuring out what exactly happened here and (b) following the seemingly irrational commands of ship's AI while (c) simultaneously carrying out what seems like a version of the infamous prison experiment, with some of them very eagerly jumping to the role of people who have guns and are not afraid to use them for the sake of power.I can buy this premise. A bunch of kids stuck dealing with a situation that is way above their heads. It can be spectacular and gut-wrenching, like that picture that was chosen for the book's cover. But it was not. So where does Howey go wrong? Well, here is a handy list of my gripes, thanks for asking:1. The narrative voice. Not for a single moment did I believe that this story was narrated by a 15-year-old about 15-year-olds. Now, I do understand that children raised by AI may not exactly behave and sound like your normal garden variety teenagers, but the disconnect was still too much to allow me to immerse myself into this story. It was just too dry and overly mature, like it was narrated by a 30-year-old, which, by the way, would have been completely believable if it were so. --And, while I'm at it, I perfectly well understand that the colonists have been trained to think and act according to their predetermined future profession, but those 15-year-olds constantly deferring to each other based on what profession they were half-trained to do with the assumption that the half-finished training would fully determine their personalities... Sorry, but having met real teenagers in my life (and having been one, duh!), I just do not buy it.-- And, while I'm at it - why exactly did the colony AI appear to teach these teenagers the exact prejudices and attitudes that plaque our present times? (view spoiler)[ Yes, I read the part where our protagonist was supposed to be isolated because of his sexual orientation based on the master plan by the Colony AI, but would ingraining the clearly terrible prejudices into the new settlement on another planet would have really been considered the best way to go by anyone? Sorry, can't buy that. (hide spoiler)]-- The only time I believed that these were teenagers was the ending. It was just 'in your face' silly enough to make me believe that it was conceived by teens who have no clear idea of the consequence of their actions and are longing for some drama.2. The abortion theme. I'm going on a rant here, so be prepared. I understand the meanings of the word 'abort'. I understand that it is perfectly valid to call the abortion of the mission just that. But by underscoring exactly how abominable such action is when clearly sentient human beings are concerned (they are fifteen years old, after all), while consistently using the word 'abortion' which seems to have a very clear meaning in the politically charged climate of the present-day United States Hugh Howey, intentionally or not, ends up equating the 'abortion' and 'murder of sentient human beings'. Now, I don't think that it's the message he is trying to get through based on my reading of this story, but I can't help but see these connections being made. And I'm not happy about it, as abortion already faces the huge stigma in the US and the right to it keeps being challenged. So that's my gripe.3. The gay protagonist - yay?I applaud Hugh Howey for making a gay kid the book's protagonist. It's not too common in literature. I just wish that he took a different approach than creating what basically was just a stereotypically very 'feminine' man. But hey, maybe it's just my flawed perception. But something in the way he chose to characterize his protagonist kept seeming a bit off to me, a bit too stereotypical to ring true.-- On this note, however, I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of a gay gene. Is it all really so simple that we can just genetically engineer a gay vs. straight person? I tend to disagree, but again, I do not claim to be an expert here; it just felt a bit too simplistic for me.All these gripes aside, the story itself was not too bad. It flowed quite well, like all Howey's works that I've read so far do. It never lagged or lost its footing. But it just was not in the league with his other works, and therefore, no matter how much it pains me, I cannot give it more than 2 stars. If you have not read Hugh Howey's books yet, do not start with this as your first one, go for the Wool series instead. As I've said above, Hugh Howie can write much better than this. As for me, I will check out I, Zombie in the hopes of a better read.

  • ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
    2018-11-30 19:27

    I should start by saying that I wasn't aware this was a young adult novel when I started reading it. Had I known, I probably wouldn't have read it. I love Hugh Howey but I have been disappointed by so many YA novels lately that I tend to stay away from them.Half Way Home wasn't such a bad read. The premise of the book is interesting and I enjoyed the first few pages a lot. But it went downhill from there... What made it really difficult for me to enjoy this book was the narrative style. Too dry, lacking of emotion, it just didn't feel right. It didn't feel like it was a 15-year-old telling the story, it actually felt more like a machine. The characters themselves are non-existent and unsympathetic, I couldn't have cared less what happened to them. I think what I disliked most about this book is its constant moralizing tone. That really spoilt it for me.

  • Rowan
    2018-11-25 23:42

    I cry easily … I’ll revise that. I have the urge to cry easily and often shed a tear or two. I’m not a sobber but I’m a very sensitive person. That said, I can’t remember the last time a book made me cry. It might have happened some time in my teenage years but I can’t think of an instance. For some reason, as much as I get into my reading, it doesn’t trigger the same response in me as a movie or hearing terrible things in the news.Half Way Home made me cry. In a good way.Porter is a boy who was conceived on earth and born hundreds of years later … on another planet … at the age of fifteen.Earth Has sent out tens of thousands of colonial space ships consisting of an AI that runs things and 500 carefully chosen human embryos. The ship arrives on a distant planet a few hundred years later and begins its work in determining whether the place is “viable” or not. If it is viable then the humans are grown but kept inside vats and taught their careers through a virtual reality world. In thirty years when their education is complete they are woken up in order to form a colony and work the planet’s mines, sending anything valuable back to Earth.If the planet is not viable the AI can abort everything at any time by burning and then nuking itself (to make sure no patentable information can be stolen). On this planet the AI is in the middle of self destruct when it seemingly changes its mind and the result is about 50 naked fifteen year olds running from the burning vats and rushing around into the rain and mud of their new home.One thing you’ll notice when you look at this book on Amazon is that there are no bad reviews and no ratings below 4 stars. Most of them are five star and the reviews are enthusiastic. I am just as enthusiastic about this book.Half Way Home replaces The Four Fingers of Death as my latest and greatest and most favorite. I want to urge everyone to buy it along with Howey’s excellent series Wool. His works are extremely cheap as ebooks.

  • Garet Wirth
    2018-11-19 01:15

    Well, this was a pure delight! For the first 20 pages. And then it turned into... not a delight. Allow me to explain.Half Way Home starts out with a great premise. Humanity is colonizing other planets by sending out "seed ships" that, once they land, activate the development of their stored embryos. As these human beings grow in vats aboard the spaceship, the computer AI trains them in their pre-selected profession. Then at age 30, they are "hatched" as fully-formed, fully-educated adults who build a colony. Cool stuff, especially since Half Way Home is a story about one such colony ship that partially aborts it's human population at year 15, resulting in a bunch of half educated 15-year olds trying to survive on this mysterious planet. Again, cool stuff.And then... I don't know what happened. I think Mr. Howey, who also struggled to keep his rythm going in "Wool" towards the end, had this fantastic idea but didn't have the greatest story to go with the cool idea. Towards the end, the paper-thin characters are riding giant caterpillers and... stuff. It was pretty stupid. It was also just the worst. I was struggling to read more than 1 page at a time at the end there, which was in stark contrast to how quickly I devoured the first few pages. Anyway, some people might like this type of story, but it's obvious that Mr. Howey didn't have his story mapped out before he started writing. He just made it up as he went, which can work great, but didn't work great here.

  • Kaora
    2018-11-12 20:41

    This book felt a little bit like a futuristic Lord of the Flies to start. Fifty-nine kids awaken on a planet 15 years sooner than they should have with more than half of their numbers gone. Each has a special skill that has been programmed into them including Engineer, Psychologist, Electrician, Farmer, etc. The survivors start to rebuild with help from The Colony, an artificial intelligence program. But when the leadership is changed and becomes more like a work camp, some of the kids break off to explore the planet.I love the world building in this book, despite it being a very short read. So why only three stars?I felt that many of the characters were quite immature. They are 15 year old kids, however they were programmed to be workers. The people that would colonize the planet. Yet they don't really seem to take that very seriously.I also didn't connect with any of the characters. Characters are really important to me and as a result I just couldn't enjoy the world built as fully as I should have.Too bad.

  • oliviasbooks
    2018-11-22 23:31

    „I was a blastocyst, once. A mere jumble of cells clinging to one another. A fertilized egg. Of course, we were all in just such a state at some point in our lives, but I excelled at it in a way you didn't. I spent more time in that condition than I have as a person. Hundreds of years more, in fact.“ Thus begins Hugh Howey's short and sadly overlooked stand-alone young adult novel Half Way Home. If you are looking for something different among the dystopia rubble: Here you are. What is Half Way Home? It is a harsh thriller about survival. It is a study of human behavior in a freshly built, unstructured, small community. It deals with handing over the life-and-death-decisions to artificial intelligence, it serves us frienship, alien planets inhabited by huge, furry worms, a clever mystery and ... a road-trip into the unknown. What Half Way Home is not: A romance, an endless saga with multiple prequels and sequels or a piece of emotional origami.Although intelligent machines could easily do the long trips to far away planets on their own, harvest minerals and other promising materials to take back home to Earth, mankind has chosen to spread its genes across the Universe for the sole conceited benefit of knowning that its offspring will own the future. During the past centuries a huge number of spaceships has reached random destinations. At about half of them a detailed geological analysis done by specialized machinery suggested that the planet in question did not offer the ideal components for starting a new civilization. The complete shipments were destructed in order to save human technology from attempts at patent piracy. If the analythical reports were favorable, the onboard artificial intelligence called "Colony" - or "Al" - triggered a chemical process that started the 500 eggs to grow in their translucent tubes, to learn their specific future roles in society by virtual one-to-one sessions with said "Colony". In the 30 years the physical and mental construction of a planet's first generation took machines felled trees, tilled soil, mined and refined metal and built additional machinery with it. When 15-years-old Porter wakes up naked and gooey in his bursting tube next to 58 other lucky colonists, who also survived the fire that suddenly started in the midst of the circularly set-up bio-vats, his half-way finished education as the colony's psychologist makes him suspicious concerning the supposedly accidental catastrophe. His unease grows when "Colony Al" instructs the survivors to concentrate on building a rocket in order to send crucial information back to Earth instead of working out solutions for temporary housing and clothing ("Colony" unconcernedly suggested tarpoline), for locating the much needed provision containers, which had been set down next to a far away area meant for mining, and for installing some kind of order. What is so important that after hundreds of years a rocket has suddenly to be sent off within two weeks? Could it be that the fire had been intended to kill them all? Could it be that "Colony" ruthlessly decided to abort the colonization process after fifteen years of successful preparation? And what can be so essentially wrong with the planet to give up the chance of populating it? When "Colony" keeps refusing answers, food grows scarce and fanatically power-hungry splinter groups show no qualms using mortal weapons to keep their fellow colonists in check, Porter, farmer Kelvin and teacher Tarsi see no other way out than to join a handful of deserters on their way to the mining site beyond the still unpassable jungle. An exciting, dangerous journey peppered with group conflicts, hierarchy issues, hunger, want, loss, determination and character growth begins.I liked ...- the road-trip plot- the Space-Odyssey-2001-like colony computer "Al" (Sounds a bit like HAL, doesn't it?) and the conflict between trusting that inanimate "thing" that brought you up and relying on yourself, your instincts, your humanity, your ability to think and decide independently- the plot device of interrupted education: Although Porter's instructions and training modules seem to have happened randomly, his specialized syllabus had been scheduled chronologically, which means the psychological theories he has already covered include only those around the late twentieth century and earlier. Porter is aware of the fact that a large chunk of his supposed learning is missing, but he knows he has to make do with what he had been taught and that his limitations influence his world view. What he knows and what he lacks reflects on his way of solving problems, on his way of dissecting the situation his colony is in. And he realizes that his work group member Oliver, a future philosopher, has it worse than him: He is stuck in a rather primitive, religious phase, which makes him praise every misfortune and every bad turn of events as a manifestation of God's will, which he does not allow to be questioned. Some of the farmers know intricate details about the weather, but not about the actual process of producing crops. And because of the hierarchical arrangement of the bio-vats the fire destroyed the highest ranking future citizens first. Therefore there are no doctors on the planet, only nurses, no electrical engineers, only electricians and so forth, which adds to the general panic and cluelessness of the small teenaged population.- the mystery and its solution.- the dosage of action.- the unique landscape and its dangers.- the fitting cover.What I was struggling with was (same as when I was reading Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue, which also recommend in spite of my luke-warm-seeming three stars) ...- the narrator's kind of detached voice. It feels somehow distinctly male (I even thought so, when Molly was telling me her interstellar, extra-unique story) and does not invite the reader to invest much emotion. I think that is the reason why the outrageous things happing on both the Parsona's journey through space (view spoiler)[i.e. planetary genocide via nuclar weaponry (hide spoiler)] and the Colony kids' jouney through the forest did not have a lasting impact on my mind. If I looked at the literature I devour with a less personal and more professional stance, I probably would be able to find the correct wording to emphasise what I mean. I hope you got a vague idea in spite of my inability to elaborate.(view spoiler)[Contrary to other reviewers, who criticise that Porter is depicted as a very girl-like homosexual and thus puts homosexuals into a stereotypically weak corner, I believe that the main character's hesitation to act spontaneously and his occasional decision to let some other - male - friends do the hard, physical work were mainly connected to his planned academic career. Kelvin, the farmer, has a strong muscular body and is trained for intensive, manual labor, Porter, the psychologist, is rather slenderly built and tends to think things through thoroughly. So what? That's no gender thing in my opinion. And I never got the impression of Porter as a weak person. People minded what he had to say. But maybe I am too gullible and too easy to please. (hide spoiler)]Considering the low price of the e-version I recommend the book to those who appreciate non-romantic science fiction aimed at young adults without hesitation. Do have a try! I think you even can read a free except online.

  • The Behrg
    2018-11-21 00:37

    This one took me a lot longer to get through than it should have. It just never hooked me like I was hoping, nor was there ever any sense that things wouldn't work out. I loved the concept, a very Orson Scott Card-esque novel, complete with children characters that think much more adult-like than they should for their age. There's really not a lot bad here, just little that was great. It felt "undercooked" for me. Great ideas and concepts that were never given the time to fully evolve. That being said, in the acknowledgements at the end of the book, Hugh Howey states that this novel was written during NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month), a month in which people attempt to complete an entire book of fiction in 30 days or less. It explained a lot of the reasoning behind my feelings for the book, but truthfully this is quite an accomplishment to be able to pull off a book like this in such a short amount of time. Too bad more wasn't given to something that could have been much greater.

  • Susan May
    2018-11-12 02:36

    I really enjoyed this book. It feels like an old-fashioned scifi story. I loved Wool series, but didn't love Sand and this one certainly proves to me what a great writer Hugh is. I wish it was double the size, which is the sign of a good book. It's a Lord of The Flies on an alien planet.

  • Cass
    2018-12-05 23:31

    In the first episode of Stargate, Samantha Carter entered the room and attention was drawn to her being a woman. She was doubted and she was defensive. Her gender dominated the room. Ten years later after the series ended the producers reworked and rereleased that episode. They cut those bits and let us focus on the sci-fi. This novella is a bit like that. The storyline is really interesting but it is dominated, in my mind, by the homosexual nature of the main character. It is handled badly. He is painted as a stereotypically weak man. Agreeing with the girls, hanging with the girls, becoming over-emotional when a beast is killed, leaving the breaking of a window to the more manly man -- they would enjoy showing off a cut to the girls. He is a strong character except anywhere in which the author thinks his homosexuality would affect him, and then he becomes weak. I am confused. At the end the author pays homage to all his gay friends. Kudos to the author for writing s homosexual main character. However, much like Sam Carter telling a boardroom full of men that she played with GI Joes, it was clumsy and overshadowed the storyline.

  • Roberta Jayne
    2018-11-14 00:18

    4.5 stars. I loved everything about this book; I love everything Hugh Howey writes, to be honest, and it's no surprise that he has managed to totally captivate and entertain me once again through his fantastic world-building skills and incredible writing talent. I read this book on my Kindle and, I can definitely say that, this is the first book I've read in e-book form that I've properly enjoyed and actually really want to read again. Usually reading digital books affects my enjoyment of the story but, heck, if anyone can write a book that is fantastic in any form, it's Hugh Howey.This is a stunning little sci-fi, survival story that, let's not kid ourselves, Howey needs to write a sequel for.

  • E.L. Hine
    2018-11-20 22:23

    Unlike some of the other reviews posted here, I thought that the novel was original and intriguing. Howey gets extra points for bizarre aliens - I have always enjoyed stories with bizarre aliens in them: never forget the Puppeteers from Larry Niven's Known Space universe, for example. Here, I think Howey took a few chances: first of all, the subtle but definite portrayal of Porter, who comes to realize, in fits and starts, that unlike the other surviving boys in the colony, he is not attracted to girls, but is attracted to boys. I thought this was quite well done, but not overdone; and the thematic purpose behind Porter as the "one who is alone" points out an important theme about his unique role in the colony, and why he ultimately becomes its de facto leader.Good aliens, weird world, and an original plot make this story a winner. Another reviewer mentioned a political implication of the term "Abort" with respect to the AI-controlled disposition of the colony - I don't believe there is any 21st century abortion message embedded here; "abort" is a very common term used universally in computer science for ending a program or a project, and is the appropriate term in this book as well. Cheers, Hugh, I've bought a few more of your books as well!

  • Dan
    2018-11-17 03:22

    Meh......So, they can't all be winners, right? This Hugh Howey book does not earn my recommendation.I still enjoyed the story--mostly from the point of view that I'm impressed with the author's ability to tell a tale so unique. I've never heard of another story like this one, not even the premise or ideas.Unique story or not, this one didn't for for me for two reasons:1) The language was foul. Total foul. I stuck with it because I had hoped it would get better and I had such a good experience with his other books. It didn't--it actually got worse. Not like Stephen Kings The Body bad, but bad enough for me to not be able to recommend it to anyone.2) I hate being preached to, and this book slowly climbed up onto it's soapbox, a little at a time. By the time I realized what was happening, the preaching fully threaded into the story line.A credit to the author--even when I realized that was going on I still wanted to finish the story. But still, when I tell my friends about Hugh Howey, I'll be telling them to skip Half Way Home.

  • Brian
    2018-11-22 19:14

    Self published and obviously so. An editor, even a mediocre editor might have improved this throw away, best by recommending it be shelved and revisited from a learned perspective of years and maturity whereupon the author may have decided not to dilute his excellent works such as The Dust Omnibus or Sand with this derivative mess. Not all walks in the woods result in a worthwhile story and if this one was by any stretch worthwhile it deserved more than a one month writing. It is insultingly a short story expanded to novel size by large print and liberal use of white space. It is thankfully a very fast read.

  • Michael
    2018-12-10 01:15

    The novel introduces a method of space-colonization that actually seems feasible, but then proceeds to tear it apart with an unsubtle pro-life diatribe that carries less nuance than a grade school ethics class. Perhaps the lack of nuance is due to the target audience, this book presumably being high-school YA, but leaving the topic so undeveloped is doing readers a disservice. When he's at his best, Howey can write some gripping stuff-- this isn't it.

  • Wade Lake
    2018-12-11 02:19

    Fun. Sure, a lot of reviewers have given this book a hard time, but ... hey, it was a quick, fun read. And that's all I was in the mood for so ... worked for me. Fun.

  • Tim
    2018-11-14 20:20

    Wool was an entertaining if slightly unsatisfying read, but it had enough to convince me that Howey had the potential to be a great writer and produce a great novel. I hope his other work is better than Half Way Home, because it feels like a big step backwards. The premise is excellent, and the novel gets off to an explosive start. But after this it loses its momentum and never recovers. The whole book feels rushed - the plot reads like a teenage summer diary where things just happen and there's no real order or meaning to much of it; a character dies, everyone hugs, who cares? There's a grab bag of interesting ideas, but nothing that coalesces into an actual story and the ending feels preachy and didactic.

  • Grace
    2018-12-04 21:18

    Didn't like this as much as "Wool". The quality of prose is great, but I'm just not convinced about Porter's central conflict - it has a few elements that made me look askance. The template for a Colony program is a ship with 500 embryos, which waits until it reaches a predetermined location, assesses the planet, and then either chooses to start colonizing or basically nuke itself. If the planet's good to go, the ship starts preparing a settlement while kicking off the gestation of those 500 embryos, planning to decant 500 fully trained adult colonists in 30 years. But on Porter's ship, something goes horribly wrong, and instead 50 teenagers end up in a half-constructed landing site. Shenanigans ensue.Hard to totally pin down what made me twitchy here, because it's elusive and often can be shrugged off. But the two main hurdles I encountered were the stereoptyped gender roles and then a possibly unintentionally fraught use of the word "aborted". The first one's easier to name: Porter quickly realizes that he's gay, and feels ashamed of it so bottles himself up. All well and good, except then there's a weird trend of him doing "girl stuff". He identifies certain actions as being "manly" or "guy things", and often ends up on the girl side of any argument. There's a fair amount of this gendered treatment going through the other characters as well, and it just struck me as off. Sure, there are girls who flinch away from manual labor and align with guys they consider protectors, but there are tons of girls who are first over the fence and quickest to solve a mechanical problem. This felt extremely odd, given that it's meant to be a futuristic setting, and knowing that each of these kids were raised via Artificial Intelligence. We never really get anything about the AI subtly conditioning colonists to adapt gender roles that aren't even modern today, so this was not a comfortable theme to pick up on for me.The use of the word "abortion" or "abort" refers to aborting the colony mission, but also refers to ending gestation for all of the colonists - who are "gestating" for a good 30 years. The book specifically notes the irony that abort applies in both contexts, but then there are places where I actually wondered if the author was trying to push an anti-abortion political angle, specifically in a final screed that kind of blurs that line entirely. He may not have intended for that to happen, but it's worth noting that it took me out of the book and made me wonder about the author's politics. Lastly, the final sections of the book felt rushed to me. Too many realizations in too little time, and I'm still not convinced about how it all resolved. Bit magical-thinking.And now, a bit more about homosexuality, which makes a late rally as a major theme. Spoilery stuff follows, I guess...To go along with the conceit of this book, you have to believe that there's a gay gene that can be identified in an embryo. You also have to believe that there is a stigma to homosexuality that endures into an era of colonization. Porter clearly has feelings of shame attached to his realization that he's attracted to other men, but why would that be? Did the AI program deliberately condition Porter to feel shame? And when some of the other colonists let loose with "har-har, men touching men is icky" jokes, it made me wonder why the AI would be raising them to have that attitude. The implication is that Porter is the only homosexual in the entire embryo load (1/500 embryos), and that the AI isolated him by instilling shame in him and bias in his fellow colonists, and I guess I can kind of see the logic in that, but I have to tilt my head pretty far to the side to do so. If you're aiming for long-term colonization, I'm not sure that deliberately laying the groundworks for homophobia is a great choice, especially since that 1/500 ratio is going to recalibrate to 1/10 in the next generation.So there you go. On one hand, nice to see a gay character in the center of a story like this. I just wasn't really a fan of some of the attending plot points.

  • Sarah
    2018-11-20 21:30

    2.5 stars. Parts of it were a bit simplistic, and characters undeveloped. I particularly was nonplussed by the self-loathing and/or shame of the gay narrator - the story tries to explain it, sortakinda, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Also the barely disguised moralizing against abortion. I really have no interest in a dude's thoughts on that topic.

  • heidi
    2018-11-11 20:25

    I'm not sure if this is a long short story, or a novelette, but it is an interesting story about what happens to a stranded group of teenagers on an alien world. They have the AI of the colony that raised them and then killed most of them. As you can imagine, a group of traumatized 15 year olds has different group dynamics than the full colony would have.I was actually confused when the narrator, Porter, introduced himself as male. I had interpreted the cover as female, and nothing in the intro is gendered. That was pretty cool.The writing is really happy-making. Take this analogy "Wrapped up in a scrap of tarp, he looked like a piece of insulated wire." This is totally perfect.The worldbuilding is also excellent, with the world narrator's experience of it widens. At first, the world is a birth vat. By the end, it is a planet with trees the size of villages, mountains and mines, skies and fields.One quibble I had was the raging gender essentialism. Really? Really? Tarsi turned to Mindy. “It must be biological,” she said. “The difference in us, I mean. The boys want to go up it and the girls want to circle around and set up camp.” I didn’t say anything, wondering what it meant that I agreed with the girls on that score.Also, there are a ton of gendered and sexualized insults, like "sissy". It seems to me that even now, if we were going to build an AI to educate a embryo to 30, we would avoid putting in divisive things. We wouldn't have it teach racism in a mixed-race colony, for instance. So why would it teach sexism? It is actually very interesting that all the colonists have the same exact cultural imprint.But it wraps up with this really hopeful thought:I could love— that was something I knew perfectly well. Tarsi, Kelvin, Stevens . . . even Myra in some ways. I had loved them all and would continue to do so. That was my gift. If anyone was cursed, it was those limited by their programming. Those with hate in their hearts, unwilling to love anyone not like themselves.Hm. When I first grabbed that quote, I thought it was about Porter pitying those who had not been forced to think about their default heterosexual pairbonding. But maybe instead it is about universal acceptance.

  • Kyle Carroll (i_fucking_love_books)
    2018-11-30 01:33

    2.5Very forgettable.

  • Anthony Vicino
    2018-11-15 01:14

    15 year old narrator who sounds like he's 40? Check.Oversimplification of sexuality through the use of "gay gene"? Check.All knowing AI launching into the quintessential bad-guy monologue? Check.Oh yeah, how about the all knowing AI who sounds like a bitter middle-aged shoe salesman? Check.Female character present only so that the threat of raping her can be used against the main character? Check.Galaxy spanning civilization inexplicably concerned with the mining of gold...or any other metal? Check.An entire planet occupied by literally only 2 types of creatures? Check.Colonists live first fifteen years inside a digital classroom, experiencing time as a nonlinear construct, but somehow come out of hibernation only "halfway" through their training? Check.Teenagers with the educational equivalent of freshmen in high school somehow build a rocket? (No seriously. This actually happens) Check.Teenagers with the educational equivalent of freshmen in high school somehow build guns made from gold????? Really? Uh... okay, check.I really wanted to like this story. There were some intriguing concepts that were ultimately handled so poorly that the suspension of disbelief just went straight out the window.

  • Kit
    2018-11-30 03:41

    I think the most striking thing about this novel is how honestly different the narrative sounds from his other books. I read The Shell Collector earlier this year and it's really refreshing to pick this book up and be truly charmed by Howey's voice again. There are a lot of rough edges in this book that probably could have been refined a little better/more but there are some real shining moments in this book. I love his aliens and the world building and hope we see more of it in the future. I do like the start of the challenge of gender roles - even if I felt as if they missed the mark a tad in this book, perhaps something that can be explained by the young age of the narrator.

  • Paul
    2018-12-08 23:12

    Maybe closer to a 3.5 .It was ok. Plot was ok. Characters where ok. Idea was reasonably good.It just wasnt up to the high standard of the Silo series or Sand books. The intensity Howey manages in his later books is just never quite reached here. Still interesting to see the develoment of the writer. Like the later Silo books its about survival in a marginal but heavily controlled social structure and what happens in its break down.Wool launched Howey , don't expect the same level of brilliance here.Still worth a read to see Howey moving toward his later style and quality.

  • Aglaea
    2018-11-11 23:19

    I'm really torn on Half Way Home. There are sections that flow very well and then there are others, which make me want to speed read this work. Work, because I'm sort of thinking it is a novella, yet it could have been condensed to a short story.Nevertheless, it is Howey all right, and you may have seen my high ratings for Wool and company. One thing that kept bugging me throughout, though, was how humanity had insisted on maintaining such horribly boring gender roles even in this time of space travel and advanced technology, but you can't have it all I suppose.

  • Noneya
    2018-11-16 19:20

    So I read this whilst waiting or Wool 5 to come out, lol. It took me about two chapters to really become invested, but once that happened I could not put this down. I seriously found myself reading this on a family dinner date^^ I fell in love with Porter and I honestly didn't want Half Way Home to ever come to an end.My only hold up: I wish we could have been exposed to more of this alien planet; with it's giant trees and Dune-like creatures I couldn't wait to get a glimpse of what was lurking around the corner!

  • Jacqueline
    2018-11-18 22:39

    So frustrating. There are sections of this book that I would give five stars, which I rarely do, but there are sections of this book that I wouldn't give 1 star. I will say that the author has earned my interest and I will probably read more of his work,but is it asking too much that we, as readers, get unbelievable storyline, unforgettable characters, and exceptional writing all at the same time? This book has all three, just rarely coinciding.

  • John Lowe
    2018-11-11 19:28

    Quick read, enjoyable and relatively straightforward. A neat concept, explores ideas about will, nature vs. nurture, sexuality, and survival of the fittest. Stayed pretty consistent throughout, in terms of not falling apart or drifting at the end.

  • NaTaya Hastings
    2018-11-11 01:38

    Actual rating - 1.5 starsThis book started out as a solid three stars for me, but somewhere around chapter 32, it just went off the rails. The plot took this incredibly strange (and not at all GOOD) twist, and I was just sitting there trying to finish the book, thinking, "What. The. Hell." Also, there is the whole issue of the main character's sexual orientation, which I THOUGHT was going to add something to the story, but it really didn't. It was just done very clumsily and left you wondering why in the world they even added that in if they weren't going to go anywhere with it. Furthermore, when the author finally did try to bring some closure to that aspect of the story at the end, it was rushed and ridiculous. I was NOT a fan.

  • Jenni DaVinCat
    2018-11-19 19:38

    Half Way Home by Hugh Howey is an incredible adventure and a pleasure to read. It is a well-developed science fiction that resonates with the reader and truly makes you wonder "what if". At first, the book started reminding me of Passengers which I thought was a terrible movie. It was a sneak attack love story, and I hate sneak attack love stories. Fortunately, Half Way Home was not at all like Passengers, except for the plot point of sending humans to a distant planet to colonize it. In Half Way Home, the colonists were created and raised in a vat. All of their memories, social skills and everything that makes us into people, were fabricated using an elaborate computer system referred to as 'Colony'. Something happens, and they are all woken up 15 years too early. Originally, there were 500 colonists that were supposed to be on this planet but only 59 are left after whatever disaster has led to their early waking. The story progresses from here. Our narrator, Porter, is one hell of a character. He's emotionally strong, patient and cares so much for the people around him. He's impossible to dislike and shares a powerful message with the reader. The end of the book was completely satisfying and felt appropriate with the events of the book. The last science fiction that I read was extremely disappointing but Howey has done the opposite of disappointing me. He clearly understands how to write believable and interesting science fiction.This was my first Hugh Howey book, but I know I definitely want to read more from this author. I hear the Silo trilogy calling my name!