Read Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan Online


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 when 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 unThe 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 when 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 sci-fantasy thriller from the bestselling author of The Riyria Revelations.BEST OF & MOST ANTICIPATED LISTS• 2014 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Science Fiction• 2014 The Qwillery's Brannigan Cheney’s Top 3 books• 2014 The Fictional Hangout’s Best Books of the Year• 2014 Ranting Dragon’s Ten Fantasy and Science-Fiction Novels worth reading in April• 2014 Barnes and Noble Top Fantasy and Science Fiction Picks for April• 2014 Ranting Dragon’s 30 Most Anticipated Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels• 2014 The Book Probe’s Most Anticipated Sci-Fi Novels• 2013 The BiblioSanctum’s Top 10 Reads• 2013 Fantasy Review Barn’s Barney Award for Outstanding Reads...

Title : Hollow World
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781616961831
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 362 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Hollow World Reviews

  • Michael
    2018-08-31 19:31

    Well this is my own story, so of course I'm not going to rank it...but I would like to provide some background and context, so here goes.I’ve heard authors describe their books as if they were children, especially when asked which one is their favorite. And like children, some are planned, and others…well…they just arrive by accident. Last summer I had a fling that resulted in an unexpected novel.I had just finished writing the drafts for The Crown Tower (due out August 6th), and The Rose and the Thorn (releasing September 17th). It was summer. I was taking a break. After kicking out two novels over the winter I thought I deserved a little rest. Then the flirtation began. As usual my wife started it.She drew my attention to a proposed anthology to help talented, aspiring writers from SFFWorld get some notice by mixing their stories with anchor authors such as myself, Hugh Howey, and Tristis Ward. All I had to do was write a short piece about the end of the world. It had been a long time since I wrote science fiction, and over the years I’d filed all sorts of notes away that were written on napkins or stored in files on my computer marked “Very Old.” I sorted through them and rediscovered something that had always interested me: the idea that a person’s perception forms their view of the world and that it's possible for two people to see the same thing but in very different ways. I played with this concept a bit in Riyria giving Royce and Hadrian opposing perspectives. I’ve always been amazed how some people see Royce as realistic, but Hadrian as completely unbelievable, while other readers view them exactly the opposite. Never do the readers appear to realize they are reflecting their own views by their choice. When I conceived the short story, I decided to take this idea up a notch.If a person were to travel forward in time and see the future, what would matter more: what the future really was, or how the person from the past perceived it? Could someone find paradise and think it a hellish future and vice versa? I played with this idea, and wrote the short story Greener Grass. As it turned out the anthology was supposed to be stories about the end of the world. Oops. I realized I needed to write a new short and ended up writing another story called Burning Alexandria, which was a tribute to Ray Bradbury who’d just died at the time.Greener Grass had been a blast to write, and all this science fiction work left me with a desire to do something bigger, especially since Greener Grass wasn’t going into the anthology. There was a much larger story underneath that short, and I found myself flirting with it, day dreaming about it, buying it presents in the form of notebooks.Everything reminded me of the plot or the characters. News stories, articles, conversations. I found myself saying, “That’s a lot like a story I’m thinking of writing,” or “I’ve actually been exploring that idea.” Before long I was scribbling page after page of notes building a world, characters, and conflicts.But I was supposed to be on vacation, so I held off. That fall, I had scheduled myself to begin a new fantasy series, but this story just kept growing. By mid-July I couldn’t help myself. It was stupid. Everyone sees me as a fantasy author. No one was going to be interested in a science fiction novel, but I just couldn’t help myself—I was in love with this story. I threw caution to the wind and on July 15th I started writing Hollow World.Those that read Greener Grass had a number of complaints centered around the main character who they didn't find very likable. Truth is, he wasn’t really intended to be all warm and cuddly, but I listened to this feedback and knew that while readers could put up with Dan Sturges for the length of a short story, they wouldn’t take him for a whole novel. That’s when Ellis Rogers was born—a much more likable guy.Ellis, who’s a 58 year old ex-auto factory worker lives in Detroit. He's not an expert swordsman or a skilled assassin, just an ordinary Joe. He's had some bad breaks, but he just keeps going. Still, it's hard not to want a little adventure for him...and being that's the kind of things I do, I was happy to provide it.Science fiction has been called a “literature of ideas.” And being a story about the future I couldn’t help but add my own take on how technology affects society. But while I was fascinated by these premises, I couldn’t get away from the fact that I like fun books. The reality is, I don’t really write fantasy or science fiction—not in regard to "style." Those are merely categories that say more about the clothes the characters wear and the stage they are placed on, than the actual story itself. I wanted this novel—like any other I write—to be exciting, fast-paced, and with characters readers care about. I’ve read a lot of great science fiction that made me think about the world, or contemplate the morality of various ideas, but few ever made me really care about the people in the stories. For my particular reading tastes, it's all about the characters. It's my desire to spend time with them, to travel side by side on their adventures, fear for them and rejoice at their accomplishments. In this respect, Hollow World is very much like my other books. But in some ways Hollow World is a more "adult book." Yes, it's still designed to entertain first and foremost, but hopefully it will also provide some food for thought and I suspect that different people will see it differently.My obsession with Hollow World continued through the fall even though I had to repeatedly stop working on it to go over edits on the new Riyria Chronicle books. I estimate that I wrote the whole thing in about six weeks, a good sign as my best books have flowed effortlessly like that one did. I gave it to my wife who was very skeptical about the whole project. She doesn’t like science fiction and my descriptions of the story made her sneer like she had smelled something spoiled.She read. I waited.The next day I was greeted with hugs and kisses and a request for a Hollow World sequel. That’s when I knew for sure that I had something special.Off went the manuscript to my agent and my editor at Orbit, as well as to my most trusted beta readers. Responses were very positive. My agent loved the book, and while my editor also felt the book was great, she had a problem. Outside of Space Operas (a sort of fantasy set in space) no one was buying science fiction anymore. Orbit reluctantly passed on the book. Other professionals cited the same thoughts. Good book. Great story. Won’t sell.This just pissed Robin off. My job is to write the books, but my wife has taken it upon herself to sell them, and the idea that she couldn’t make a success out of Hollow World was something of a personal challenge.Years ago I had written a book entitled A Burden to the Earth, which I thought was the best writing I’d ever done—and it may well be—but the book was rejected out of hand because it wasn’t sellable. The frustration from this caused me to give up writing for twelve years. I’m not doing that again.So I announced I will be self-publishing Hollow World—but I want to do it right. Too often self-published authors are ridiculed for sloppy craftsmanship: errors, typos, poor layout, bad grammar, awful cover art. This scrutiny comes from the simple fact that many self-publishers do skimp on these aspects of their books. I won’t be doing that.Having been traditionally published, I’ve seen the process of how the big houses use freelance talent to produce books. There’s no obstacle that prevents any author from hiring the same professionals New York does—well, except for the costs. Hiring great editors and cover artists isn’t cheap. But they are worth every dime they earn.My wife, being the genius that she is, came up with the idea of running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of this book. We already met our goal, and the costs for paying Betsy Mitchell, the long time editor-in-chief at Del Rey (who has worked on the manuscripts of authors like Michael Chabon and Terry Brooks), and the talent of Marc Simonetti, the amazing artist (who provided cover art for folks like George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and the covers of the French translation of the Riyria Revelations) are covered.But paying production, is not the only advantage that traditional publishing provides. Usually there is an advance that pays the bills until royalties start coming in. I'm contractually prohibited from releasing any books between April 6, 2013 and Jaunuary 20, 2014. Revelations was bought in 2011, and Chronicles in 2012, so with Hollow World not being picked up my revenue shot in the arm for 2013 went with it. Yes, it will start earning money in 2014, but that's still a long way off. Fortuately, the Kickstarter has the potential for providing that advance as well.At this stage, the Kickstarter is acting like a "pre-order." Books (ebook, signed trade paperbacks, and limited edition hardcovers) are being bought now (before the April 6th cut-off date) and will be delivered in June or July (which will be 6 or 7 months prior to the official publication. This seems to be a good thing for both me and my readers. They get the book early, and I get the production costs covered and an advance, just as if I had professionally published. It seems like a win-win to me...Did I mention my wife is a genius?So what began as a summer love has—nine months later—resulted in a spring baby shower for my unexpected return to self-publishing. If you want the book early, stop by the Kickstarter (it ends April 4th and after then people will have to wait until January 20, 2014) and remember a good college education costs a lot these days.

  • Bookwraiths
    2018-08-21 14:30

    Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews Hollow World was a novel that I was really excited about reading. I mean, one of my favorite fantasy authors, Michael J Sullivan, penned it, and it promised to be a science fiction novel in the mold of H.G. Wells classic The Time Machine, which is one of my childhood favorites. So, all the stars seemed to be lined up for me to thoroughly enjoy this one. Unfortunately, the novel and I quickly took a dislike to one another, and while I did finish it, I cannot say that I enjoyed the experience. The plot of this novel centers on one Ellis Rogers: an ordinary guy who seems to have a good life. He is married, has a comfortable job, and even has a best friend named Warren, who has been along for life’s rocky road since high school. But though everything seems great with Ellis’ world from the outside, things are not so rosy within. First, he and his wife hardly have anything to do with one another anymore. (Years before, their only child committed suicide and that loss was so devastating that it has become a wedge holding them apart.) Second, Ellis has just discovered that he has a terminal illness and that he has only six months to live! In a situation similar to Ellis, most people would be paralyzed with fear by this diagnosis and struggle with what to do with their short time remaining. Should they submit to grueling medical treatments that have little hope of saving their life? Maybe, head off to finally complete all those childhood adventure that are on their bucket list? Or perhaps, they would just patch things up with their loved ones? However, Ellis doesn’t go through all these myriad emotional choices, because as soon as he gets the diagnosis he knows exactly what he intends to do: fire up the time machine in his garage and head off into the future!Sure, there are drawbacks to Ellis' plan. I mean, he doesn’t know if the time machine will actually work, and even if it does work, it is a one way trip. Plus, he has no idea what he will find in the future. But even knowing all that, Ellis doesn't see any reason not to give it a try. So without a word of goodbye to his wife, our middle aged adventurer heads off into the future to find a cure and begin his new life!As he speeds off into the unknown, Ellis has his own perception of what the future will be like. Flying cars, robots, and all those other Jetson-esque things, most likely. But what he finds is something so different that it shocks his “modern” twenty-first century sensibilities. Before our cure-seeking hero can get a grip on how different the world is, however, he finds himself stumbling into the middle of a murder. Something that is unheard of in this peaceful world. Quickly, he is drawn into the investigation, as he is the only person qualified for the job, since he is the only person alive who has ever experienced a murder – even if his experience was through murder mystery novels.Once the investigation begins, it quickly leads to an unexpected place and an unexpected person, and Ellis is forced to make a choice about whether this human utopia should be saved or destroyed. A decision that requires him to make a judgment on whether the new, non-traditional Earth and its values are good or bad!After reading that description, I am sure this novel sounds very interesting to many of you, and no doubt, a few of you might wonder how I could have given it only two stars. In response, I must admit that I wanted to love this book, and as I finished the first few chapters, I tried very hard to convince myself that this was going to be another of Mr. Sullivan’s enjoyable rides. However, the simple fact is that Hollow World was just not for me. To expound why I did not love this novel, let me establish something up front: I really, really do not like stories that are political in nature or preachy about social issues. Whether that is a religious novel disguising itself as a fantasy tale or a social activist work that markets itself as an adventure story, I am just instantly turned off by morality plays. Sure, they were fine when I was a teenager, but now I really do not enjoy them. The simple fact of the matter is that I read for escapism reasons: I want to be transported away from the present world with all its modern sensibilities and endless debate regarding political and social issues and experience for a few hours something new and wondrous that causes the present to fade away. So obviously, my destination of choice is not going to be a future Earth where classic religious beliefs and modern sensibilities clash to see which is more palatable and correct. In summation, Hollow World is Mr. Sullivan’s time machine social commentary. It extrapolates on what heaven is, what is god, how can mankind create utopia, and what forms do love come in. Whether that type of story will be to your liking is based upon your personal reading tastes and whether you enjoy modern, morality plays. If, however, you are searching for a grand adventure tale or an escapist vehicle, this one is probably not for you. I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank both of them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.

  • Bradley
    2018-08-24 21:31

    What can I say? I liked this reimagining of Well's Time Machine better than the original.It's full of fully modern sensibilities and SF concepts and even brings about a cool 50's villainiazation among a populace that has miraculously found a post-scarcity paradise, true gender equality because sexual dimorphism has been eradicated (but not orgasms:), and an old school SF idea of making God through better tech. In fact, there was a lot of good mirroring and exploration of ourselves, what we think about God, sexual identity, and especially love. And for those of us that have to have a bit of murder and intrigue and nuclear blasts and teleportation into space and other galaxies, we have that, too, and it's cool.It's not exactly popcorn fiction. It owes beyond that and it is serious, but for all that, it was also great fun.What is it about predominantly fantasy authors producing even better SF, anyway? It seems to be happening more and more often, or maybe it's all my sampling error. ;)

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    2018-09-17 15:48

    Hollow World was easily one of my top reads of 2013. I was fortunate to receive the ebook version early because I was a backer in the Kickstarter campaign, a project I pledged my support to as soon as I found out about it because I am a fan of the author. At the time I had just finished reading his Riyria Revelations series and was still coming off from the high, so I was pretty keen on the idea of seeing Hollow World take off.First, though, a bit of history: in his afterword, Michael J. Sullivan writes that he first took this project to Kickstarter because while everyone he spoke to about it loved the concept behind the book, the general consensus was that this kind of story just wasn't marketable. The science fiction landscape these days is dominated by space operas, military sci-fi, or books from established franchises. It seemed there was very little room left for Hollow World and its good old cross-genre time traveling tale about a 58-year-old man dying from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, who decides to journey into the future in the hopes of finding a cure. To be honest, reading about the reasons why Sullivan ultimately decided to crowdfund Hollow World came as a surprise to me, especially after just having finished the book. Yes, the story is undoubtedly very different than what is typical in the mainstream right now, and Ellis Rogers would not be what you would call a traditional protagonist. Yet the character's adventure through time is no less extraordinary. Hollow World tells the tale of a man who has played it safe his whole life until he has nothing left to lose, and what he finds in the far, far future is way more than just the freedom from his illness. It's a great time for speculative fiction right now, with what I've noticed is an increased interest in cross-genre novels and so many great and original ideas having found their way into being published in recent years. I thought surely -- SURELY -- this book could have found a place. In any case, thank goodness for small press and self-pubs as well as sites like Kickstarter, because Hollow World is probably my new favorite book by Michael J. Sullivan, right up there with Heir of Novron. I think his style suits a book like this very well, with its modern character and simply astonishing setting. The story was compelling from page one, with its masterful introduction to Ellis in the moments after he first receives the life-altering news about his disease. Both character development and world building are Sullivan's greatest strengths, and it was easy to establish a connection with Ellis right away. But that feeling of "Oh wow, this book is something REALLY special" did not hit me until later, when we actually find ourselves in Hollow World. The author has created a breathtaking version of the future.It's obvious that Michael J. Sullivan drew inspiration from The Time Machine, and he even makes mention to H.G. Wells' classic in his Author's Note. How Ellis Rogers managed to travel forward in time in a disembodied old van seat surrounded by a stack of plastic milk crates isn't the point of Hollow World -- it's the character's story, its fascinating concepts and the heartfelt emotions it invoked, that will make this book stay with me for a long time. Authors of time-travel fiction have long speculated on the future of our planet and humankind, and Sullivan has accomplished something truly amazing with Hollow World, mixing together elements from many different genres including science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller and suspense, action-adventure and even a bit of romance. This confluence of ideas from so many different genres is likely what made the book such a tough sell to publishers to begin with, but its multiple facets is actually what I enjoyed the most. In fact, Hollow World is like a study in pluralities. There are some heavy subject matters within, from interpretations of God and religion, to sociological discussions of hive mind versus individuality, harmony versus chaos. It asks questions like, when does a utopia become a dystopia, and does it matter from whose perspective we look at? Is it worth it to trade comfort and security for freedom? Or how about sacrificing peace and happiness for a sense of accomplishment? Is there a middle ground? Why can't we have it all? Even though I thought I knew the answers, reading this book was an eye-opener. Ellis Rogers' journey to Hollow World changed his understanding of life and love, making him rethink all the things he thought he knew, and I found myself naturally immersed in his experiences. At certain points, the story made me so angry I wanted to smack the main character upside the head; at others, I was so moved that I was almost in tears. Whether or not you'll find yourself shocked, disturbed, ecstatic, annoyed, or deeply touched (I was all of these and more), Hollow World is a character-driven story packed with intensity and emotion.I rate this book highly based on pure enjoyment factor; Hollow World is so many things, but without a doubt, the best part about it is also its most obvious duality: that is it at once a light and entertaining read, but also heavy on important issues and philosophy. Most important of all, this story will make you think and feel. I absolutely loved it.

  • seak
    2018-09-18 19:23

    Michael J. Sullivan has made a name for himself by not only mastering the self-published market, but by making the transition to traditional publishing. Successful on both fronts, Sullivan continues to publish books whether a publishing house wants to pursue it or not. This is ideal for an author because their ideas need not be limited by whether a traditional publishing house can make money or not. The author can just write stories.In the case of Hollow World, it was the best of both worlds. Traditional publishing passed on the idea so Michael decided to self-publish it with the help of Kickstarter. There, he obtained the money for two excellent editors who are known for excellent work in traditional publishing markets. Once this got going and the interest was obvious, Tachyon publishing jumped on board - a smaller house, but with plenty of audience reach. I jumped on the Michael J. Sullivan bandwagon when he was self-publishing his Riyria Revelations series (because that's how cool I am). I took a safe bet, what with blogs and forums being abuzz at the time, which is the effect Goodreads and blogging have had on my life. I tend not to read many bad novels anymore.Wow, lots of rambling today.Hollow World is a time travel novel about a distant future when individuality has been obliterated in favor of peace and longer life. Sullivan explains in the introduction that the reader shouldn't get bogged down in how time travel works in his novel because that's not the important part - it's about exploring the new world and the characters who are doing it. And at the same time, I was perfectly convinced that time travel could work the way it's explained.But I think that was a good primer. This book is science fiction, but it's not really about the science. Okay, it's not about the science at all. It's about the future society, the trade-offs, the character interactions, and a compelling mystery to boot.It's amazing how many trade-offs we, as a society, are willing to endure. We accept automobiles because of how useful they are, yet they cause how many thousands of deaths a year. David Foster Wallace has a short article on the trade offs of the patriot act and our lack of public discussion about whether we, as a society, were willing to sacrifice our privacy for security. Are we willing to trade individuality for peace, for longer life, for the cure to cancer and any other disease? That's what Hollow World invites you to discover and that's only peripherally. Against this background, he throws in a page-turning mystery where in a world with no disease and crime is unheard of, murders are suddenly occurring. Michael J. Sullivan proves his hand at science fiction and ideas just as he proved it in his excellent fantasy series, The Riyria Revelations and Chronicles. I had a great time with this one. Yes, there were some parts you have to suspend disbelief, but I was engaged with the story too much to care, and it is time travel so you have to expect that. Hollow World is a place you want to keep exploring. Sullivan's typical style is present here, no getting bogged down with info-dumps. The pages fly by and you get the necessary information as you go. This was a great break in my typical epic fantasy heavy reading schedule and highly recommended.4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)

  • Kaora
    2018-09-18 17:47

    While I am a huge fan of Sullivan's Riyria series, I can honestly say this one wasn't for me.Time travel books and I don't normally get along. There are a few exceptions, such as Endymion, but for the most part the ones I've tried just didn't work for me. It isn't my preferred type of science fiction.So this book already had a strike against it, but I love Sullivan's work. So I tried it.Ellis Rogers has just discovered his wife's infidelity and given a grim prognosis in the same day. With nothing left to lose, he decides to try the time machine he has built in his garage to travel to the future. Stepping out of the machine he finds himself in a world much different from the one he left.I think the largest part of why I struggled with this one was I couldn't care for the main character. He was a weak man, one content to stand there and do nothing. This combined with the slow pace at the start building up his home life and the new world was almost unbearable. As a result I struggled to get into the book. Yet some of the ideas intrigued me, and I thought that maybe I could grow to like it. It did raise some interesting points about how the world two thousand years ago could differ from today. I thought maybe I could begin to like it.No one would demand compensation to keep people alive. You make us sound like monsters, as if people wouldn't help others unless they got something out of it.Then halfway through the book finally got its footing, but other issues started to appear. The villain was flat and uninteresting with very little motivation.The issues raised about love and Christianity felt a little bit like I was being spoon-fed a point of view, rather than raising issues for introspection and left a bad taste in my mouth. I came expecting a story and got a heaping helping of someone's morals.And then there was the ending. Where so many things were left in my opinion unresolved.Really frustrating.

  • Sarah Anne
    2018-09-19 18:47

    I cranked through this puppy in a day and it was fun. It's a very suspenseful book and I was surprised at how quickly I got hooked into it. I'm glad I chose not to do audio because I was reading at about three times my normal rate in order to find out what was going on.Ellis find out that he has six months to live so he decides to finally use that time travel device in his garage. You know, that one we all have? So he sets it to travel two hundred years in the future and pretty much nothing goes right after that :) The beings who live in the Hollow World were quite fascinating. Their struggles for individuality were sometimes touching and sometimes heartbreaking. The portals were super cool, though. And the Makers. There was actually a lot to love about this and I'm so glad I finally got around to reading it. I've owned it for two years.

  • Rob
    2018-09-07 20:35

    Executive Summary: A large departure from his Riyria books, Hollow World was still something I really enjoyed, but is likely not for everyone.Full ReviewI was a little nervous about reading and reviewing this book. I've been fortunate enough to exchange several emails and discussion posts with Mr. Sullivan over the last few months after discovering his Riyria books late last year.Fortunate may not be the best word since Mr. Sullivan seems to go out of his way to interact with his fans. I hate writing reviews for books I don't like to begin with, so the notion of writing a review for an author I've actually talked with a bit was weighing on the back of my mind as I set down to read this book. Thankfully I really enjoyed the book, so none of that matters. The book was a bit slow to start. Ellis Rogers is an unhappy man living in the present day who receives a terminal illness prognosis. Medical technology just isn't ready to solve his illness yet. His solution is to finally use the time machine he's been building in his garage to travel to a time when he can receive the treatment he needs.So if read that setup as I wrote it, I'd probably not be too interested in reading the book. Thankfully this isn't a book that spends much time dwelling on whether someone (even an MIT graduate) could build a working time machine in his garage in 2014, or any of the other technological advances written about in this book for that matter. If that sort of hard science fiction is what you're looking for, you're going to be disappointed here.What this book is about really is the nature of humanity. Politics, Religion, and especially love. You know, the stuff you're not really supposed to talk about in many social settings? For this reason alone I think many people may not enjoy this book. Especially those with more conservative leanings.From my personal experience, most humans are social creatures. Why else would something like Facebook be so popular? They crave attention. Some more than others, but most people seem to need it to at least some degree. People want to be loved. Whether it is the platonic love of friends, the familial love of blood relatives, or romantic love of that special someone. It is our relationships with others that make life worth living.The other major aspect of this book is what is happiness? Is Mr. Sullivan's Hollow World a utopia? A dystopia? Somewhere in between? A world where there is no more crime, war or disease. No more hunger? No more greed? Does that sound wonderful to you, or downright boring? Maybe a little of both? He also explores what it means to be human and unique. Are genetically engineered genderless clones still human?I think this makes for both a great and divisive discussion book. Mr. Sullivan does a good job at presenting some of the different arguments, and leaves it to the reader to decide. For me personally I think that nothing is so black and white. The antagonist of this book makes some really good points. He also has some really awful ideas.I hope that most of his Riyria fans will enjoy this one, but I suspect that won't always be case. I spent a lot more time thinking about the ideas in the book rather than just enjoying the ride. It's not the type of book I'd want to read on a regular basis, but one that I find enjoyable from time to time.

  • Chris
    2018-09-07 13:39

    Anyone who has been reading science fiction for a while, or has ever read some of the classics of the genre, knows that its greatest strength (along with its sister genre, fantasy) is in being able to explore ideas about real life in a setting that divorces itself from all our preconceived notions about those ideas. You can write about robots and explore the intricacies of slavery, or tell the truth about the Vietnam War by writing a book about spaceships and time dilation. This is what classic science fiction has pretty much always done, and done quite well.But at some point in more recent history, the genre took a turn and people lost sight of that. Writing about the future as a way to examine where humanity's current choices might lead eventually just became about figuring out what cool new stuff we might invent as we got more technologically advanced. The ideas being explored were more scientific than anthropological or psychological. Of course, who better to have these interesting ideas than scientists? And so these brainiacs came up with all sorts of interesting visions for our technological future, and the hard science fiction genre came into favor.The great loss I have felt from this shift is that with so much focus on science, stories built out of visions of technology rather than humanity, the stories and characters tended to suffer. The novels often seem to me to be excuses to make believe about cool gadgets or scientific theories, rather than telling a compelling story or creating believable and sympathetic characters whose fates matter to the reader.That brings us to Hollow World, a traditional science-fiction story written by a guy who has really interesting things to say about humanity, and who knows how to tell a story. Sullivan follows in the tradition of Heinlein and Vonnegut, using time travel and a speculative future to explore interesting ideas about people, and tells an interesting story with compelling characters in the process. What would happen if we really achieved world peace, ended hunger, and all those other great dreams that seem so out of reach? Every unique person today craves a place to fit in, but what if the situation were reversed? How does one find fulfillment when there's no such thing as important work to be done? What is love, really, and is there any such thing when everyone's needs are already met?This is the kind of science fiction novel I love, in every sense. It probably helps that I am both a Christian and a time travel junkie, and both are concepts this book focuses on pretty heavily without getting preachy (I get the sense that Sullivan has thought a lot about God and faith but there's little indication of his own personal beliefs; another success, in my opinion).I'm glad I Kickstarted this project sight unseen, my expectations were easily surpassed. But I'm terribly sad that the big publishers didn't see a market for this, or more accurately that they might be right. I hope this sells a million copies and shows the industry that people still want stories they can connect to and which get them thinking about our own humanity.4.5 stars

  • Skylar Phelps
    2018-08-21 16:50

    My favorite kind of science fiction is focused on discovery, exploration and storytelling. I do enjoy themes and underlying messages that question current social issues and challenge moral perspectives AS LONG as the themes don't bog down the story but are approached through the storytelling itself. Hollow World succeeds at keeping the focus on the plot while offering up some of these questions and themes. Certain aspects of the underlying messages reminded me of Heinlein or Bradbury, whose novels I sometimes read more because I feel like I should read them and not because I want to... Like they're medicine or educational or something, but I thought MJS did a superb job at never dropping the entertainment baton that so often happens when tackling such themes. The concept for the story is engaging from the beginning and only improves as it progresses. The characters are wonderfully portrayed and the tone of the story was unique to other works produced by the author. Well done Michael!

  • Timothy Ward
    2018-08-24 18:39

    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.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.

  • Grumpus
    2018-09-04 19:29

    Wow, I feel very lucky to have stumbled upon this little known (to me anyway) gem. This is the second one that I was fortunate to have found this year. The first being The Martian. Surprisingly, I believe that I first encountered them through ads on Goodreads. I don’t know if they are using Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think to target my interests using an algorithm based upon the books I’ve read or not. Either way, the recommendations have proven very effective in my case. You’re welcome, Otis. You can send the money directly to my PayPal account. *big grin*It is written in the manner of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. A man with a terminal illness builds a time machine in order to travel into the future (but you can’t go back in time). He ends up more than 2,000 years in the future in Hollow World. People are now androgynous, all looking like naked Ken dolls, and live below the surface of Earth. I don’t want to give away too much but suffice to say the world is a very different but still familiar place. I enjoyed the characters tremendously and loved learning along with the protagonist the way future society functions. The wondrous awe that the author instilled in me as I read this was spellbinding. There is a murder to solve but how the story unfolds in this future world is a work of genius.As I’ve indicated in previous reviews, I know a great book when I’m sad to depart from the characters at the end. I've enjoyed my time with them but now we have to part. That’s the way it was with this one. Therefore, five stars!A quote at the end of the book was particularly poignant and made me reflect even further. “What is love? It not lust or dependence or infatuation or familiarity. Love isn’t a fondness or butterflies in your stomach. Love is the degree to which you are willing to sacrifice your own interests for those of another. It doesn’t matter what sex you are. It doesn’t matter who you are or were. It matters only you care more for someone else than you do for yourself.” Very well said, indeed.Oh, by the way, this was an audiobook with brilliant narration. Jonathan Davis. Great voice, perfect choice.P.S. I hope there is a sequel!

  • Evgeny
    2018-09-20 18:44

    Ellis Rogers has a terminal illness which will kill him in about half a year. He does not care about it as he also has a time machine in his garage. It only works if one goes to the future, but he hopes they will develop the cure in about 200 years where he intends to go. With nothing to hold him back he uses the machine, but due to an unknown problem he ends up in quite different time from what he expected. First a word of warning: if you think this will be anything like Riyria Revelations in sci-fi settings, this book is not for you. If you want to read a very good time traveling tale which deals with a lot of topics from modern life, jump right in. The topics I mentioned vary between liberal/conservative views, homosexuality, individuality, religion - just to name a few. I already mentioned this is not sci-fi version of Riyria Revelations, but I was not entirely truthful. I am happy to say that the unexpected plot twists typical for the fantasy series are here as well. I also found it very refreshing to read about future which is not altogether depressing; different, but not depressing. 99.9% of sci-fi books make me wonder whether there is an unannounced competition between the authors who try to outdo one another painting more and more bleak picture of what our life will be. I can really use some optimism in here. The final result is 4 solid stars. I guess it is safe to say Michael J. Sullivan the sci-fi writer delivered.

  • WarpDrive
    2018-09-11 21:24

    This book brilliantly represents what good quality Science Fiction should (or could) be - an opportunity to raise timeless and fundamental questions about the tension between society and individuality, the opposition between order and harmony on one side and striving and competition on the other side, the complex relationship between technology and society, and the surprisingly blurred border between a dystopian and an utopian society. Fundamental issues such as the deep nature of the human condition(I think that the best SF is the one that forces us to carry out an exploration of ourselves, acting as a virtual mirror of our weaknesses, ambiguities and strengths), and the value of family, love and friendship (as highlighted by the somewhat troubling and ambiguous, but evolving and ultimately fascinating relationship between the main character and Pax), are also investigated with thought and originality. An original, interesting and enjoyable book. It is not perfect (parts of the the plot are quite predictable, some of the characters are a bit caricatural, and there are parts where significant suspension of disbelief is required); this is all undeniably true, but on the other hand I must also say that this book represents a good example of original Science Fiction, capable of conveying a message and of raising interesting points of reflection and discussion. Definitely recommended - at least this is an author that has got something interesting, meaningful and even somewhat provocative to say (which is increasingly difficult to find with so much recent SF, to be honest).

  • Veronique
    2018-09-08 21:42

    Hollow World is one addictive read. I started yesterday and could not stop :O)Having grown up with books from H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, I have always had a penchant for old style scifi stories. This novel taps into this while offering a combination of fast-paced adventure, crime thriller and discovery of a new world.Ellis Rogers lives a pretty ordinary life, one he barely shares with is estranged wife. Everything changes however when he finds out he has only months to live. Suddenly, faced with the certainty of death, he decides to try his luck with the experimental machine he put together in his garage. Will it kill him or will it take him into a future where he might find a cure?The narrative does something similar to The Time Machine, whisking a character into the far future, and focusing less on the science aspect and more on the adventure, while commenting on several thought-provoking issues. The world Sullivan creates is intriguing to say the least, and I could recognise several elements from today that the author extrapolated into this possible outcome. (view spoiler)[This civilisation not only acquired advanced technology, relocating inside the planet, but also eradicated gender, ageing and physical differences. I found this fascinating and especially how it affected their lives, relationships, and identity. Is it better, worse, or just different with positives and negatives elements? It does however make you think, not just about this future but also about our world Now (hide spoiler)]Ellis is a likeable character, decent, intelligent and often funny, but also one who struggles deeply with his personal demons. Meeting this new humanity forces him to re-evaluate his perception and understanding of himself. My favourite character however was Pax who truly stole the show (Alva, Sol, and the Geos close behind).I hope there will be a sequel because I want to find out more about this Hollow World and its inhabitants.

  • David
    2018-08-26 14:49

    This is a wonderful book about Ellis Rogers, a man who designs a one-way time machine. He has a terminal disease, and intends to jump about 200 years into the future, perhaps to find a cure for his disease. However, a miscalculation sends him about 2000 years into the future, and finds a society that lives in a beautifully sculpted underground "Hollow World". In this world there are no longer two sexes--just one, androgynous sex, all genetically identical. The "three [technological] miracles" ensure that there are no wars, little strife, and no fear or want for resources. In a world where everybody does things (tattoos, clothing, etc.) to make himself stand out from the crowd of look-alikes, Ellis is instantly recognized as someone uniquely different.However, Ellis is followed by an old friend of his, Warren, who sees the Hollow World as an abomination. He sees a society where there is no individuality, no striving, and no belief in God. Embedded within the story is a murder mystery which Ellis tries to unravel. This mystery gives the novel an exciting aspect, but the most interesting part of the story is actually the philosophical arguments between Ellis and Warren, when they discuss the pros and cons for the Hollow World society. Is it worth it to have a society where there is no war or famine or hardship, in exchange for the lack of individuality and striving? Is Hollow World a utopia or a dystopia?

  • Matt Gilliard
    2018-08-25 17:44

    It’s always an interesting proposition when an author jumps to another genre. Will the elements of their successes in one venue parlay into equal success in another? Will the story be as entertaining as the previous works, despite a complete change of storytelling scenery, with different tropes and expectations? Readers of this blog are well aware that I’m decidedly more comfortable with fantasy novels, only branching into science fiction rarely. So when I heard that Michael J. Sullivan was using Kickstarter to produce a science fiction story, I was curious to see if my love for Sullivan’s work would extend to a story outside of the Riyria series. I’m happy to report that not only does Hollow World establish Sullivan as a force to be reckoned with in any genre he chooses to ply his talent to, it also is a prime example of one of the reasons speculative fiction is so important. Hollow World is an excellent and thought provoking novel that tackles big issues yet does so in such a way to allow the reader to draw their own conclusions once they reach the end of this thoughtful, entertaining and compelling science fiction murder mystery.Hollow World is the story of Ellis Rogers. Ellis has just been given a death sentence. He has a terminal illness and has less than a year to live. Locked in a loveless marriage, and still grieving of the loss of his son, Rogers decides to take the biggest gamble of his life and attempts to travel forward in time to find a cure, using a time machine that he had previously assembled as an intellectual exercise in his garage. Even if the machine works, this journey can only be a one way trip, but with nothing left to loose, Ellis pulls the trigger on his reckless plan and finds himself thrown forward two thousand years into the future. What he finds there is a planet changed by energy crisis, climate change, and resource shortages. The surface of the planet has been reclaimed by Mother Nature with almost all traces of human inhabitation washed away by the passing of time. Even the human race is vastly changed, with no more disease, hunger, war, gender, sex, or even death. This new strain of the human race lives beneath the surface of the planet in a vast network of underground chambers that have been engineered into a veritable paradise. But all is not well; Ellis’ arrival coincides with a murder, the first anyone in Hollow World has ever seen. Along with his new friend, Pax, Ellis begins to explore his new environment while trying to solve the mysterious murders that seem to be following him. Will he solve the mystery in time, or will all of Hollow World be destroyed by forces that Ellis himself accidently unleashed on the seeming utopia.Sullivan tackles big issues in this novel, with everything from religion, identity, homophobia, death, and love being explored as Ellis considers his place in this new world as well as the world he left behind for a chance at a new beginning. It’s not uncommon for fiction to explore social issues, but Sullivan manages to layer this story with so many complex themes without losing sight of the personal narrative of Ellis or the thriller elements that drive the plot. From here on out, when someone mocks me for reading speculative fiction and insists that such fantastic stories have no lasting value, I will be pointing them to Hollow World. This is a novel that has so much more going for it than pure entertainment value, though it has plenty of that.Fans of Sullivan’s fantasy novels, will find that Sullivan’s gift for character is on full display in his first foray into science fiction. Ellis is definitely an every man whose past weighs heavily on not only his soul but his body as well. While Rogers is no warrior, he manages to get by on a mix of courage, conviction and luck. He’s a hero without sword or armor and I’m certain readers will find him easy to relate to and cheer for. But the real accomplishment is in the Sullivan’s handling of the supporting cast. Ellis’ companion, Pax, is a real treat, with his obvious compassion and desire to assert his own individuality in a society where conformity is the norm is a breath of fresh air and makes him an ideal guide as Ellis navigates his new environment. With the inhabitants of Hollow World all but indistinguishable from one another, Sullivan had his work cut out for him, but manages to infuse the characters with enough personality to make them all stand out as individuals.Hollow World is in many ways a quieter novel than Sullivan’s other novel, with the action more spaced out, though there are certainly a tense section or two. But the real action is internal as Ellis contemplates his place in this new world and whether or not this world is any better than the one he left in the end. It is that contemplation of the human condition and the way Sullivan questions our assumptions about our society as a whole that makes this one of the best novels, I’ve read this year. If you are a fan of novels that leave you thinking about the world you live in and your place in it, or just a fan of character driven stories that aren’t afraid to take chances, then this is a book for you.

  • Pauline Ross
    2018-09-20 19:33

    This is a break away from fantasy for the author, but not very far. It’s technically science fiction - a guy builds a time machine in his Detroit garage, and after a diagnosis of terminal cancer he decides he has nothing to lose by trying it out. He sets things up for a jump two hundred years into the future, where, if he’s really lucky and survives the jump at all, there may be a cure. But - oops, slight miscalculation, and here we are two thousand years on. There’s a certain amount of arm-waving about quantum this and that, but the sciencey bits are not what this is all about. To be honest, it felt a lot like a portal story, where an ordinary joe from the present day finds himself in - well, alternate universe, past, future, whatever. So I’d say it’s as much fantasy as science fiction.The future the author draws for the reader is an interesting one. Humans have abandoned the surface of the planet altogether after a series of ecological disasters destabilised everything, and now live in the Hollow World of the title, giant caverns using advanced technology to recreate a pseudo-earth environment. Given the ability to create pretty much everything they need, people fill their days with art, or entertainment, travelling through portals or - well, whatever they want to do. They are also immortal, and virtually everyone is build to a universal genderless pattern, the only way to distinguish one individual from another being a chip embedded in one shoulder. Again, there’s a certain amount of arm-waving over the science, but it worked perfectly well for me.If the science isn’t a big part of the story, the author brings his traditional strengths to bear - compelling characters and an action-packed roller-coaster of a ride that leaves you on the edge of your seat. There are murders and mysterious people who are trying to kill our hero, a renegade setting himself up as a cult leader, a conspiracy and finally a big world-ending threat that has to be tackled head on because the clock is ticking... There were moments when I had to put the book down momentarily to remind myself to breathe.As for the characters, there’s only one who matters - Pax, the genderless future-person, one of millions of identical people, who nevertheless turns out to be very much an individual. You wouldn’t think it possible for a clone (and that’s essentially what he is) to be differentiated from his/her/its compatriots, but Pax is one of those characters who just leaps off the page, larger than life and quite unforgettable. Because he’s neither male nor female, almost everything he does, or rather the way he does it, calls into question our own attitudes to the two genders. Just writing this paragraph underlines the difficulty - I’ve resorted to called Pax ‘he’ by default, and he Pax isn’t either he or she. It’s a testament to Mr Sullivan’s writing skill that he (definitely a he! even without the famous moustache, now sadly consigned to history) side-steps the issue so deftly. I don’t think he ever uses a gendered pronoun for any of the Hollow World residents. I’ll admit to not being too sure about Pax to start with (we do like to put everyone in boxes, and you just can’t with Pax), but by the mid-point Pax was definitely my favourite character.The rest of the characters, even our time travelling hero himself, Ellis, seem a bit grey and dull by comparison. His pal Warren is something of a caricature, his wife Peggy never gets a chance to shine, and few of the Hollow World residents stand out (Sol, maybe, and the AI vox Alva, with an honourable mention for the Geomancers - I loved their yay! a crisis! attitude). It’s not at all that they’re poorly drawn (they’re mostly great characters and in other circumstances I’d be raving about them), they only seem slightly flat by comparison with Pax, who is the true hero star of the show.The real joy of ‘Hollow World’ is the many themes that weave through every page of it. Themes like gender, the purpose of religion, what God is, traditionalism versus modernism, immortality, individualism, the nature of insanity, the meaning of love and a thousand more. It may sound churlish to complain, because too much SFF writing these days is lightweight, but in some ways there are almost too many layers of meaning here, too many themes crammed in. Then there were points where a character would declaim at some length about a certain philosophy, which is perhaps an unsubtle approach. But the author never beats us over the head with his own take on it. He simply allows his characters to express their own point of view and leaves it up to the reader to make up his/her (aargh!) mind.This is a clever and thought-provoking story, with loads of interesting ideas, some adrenalin-pumping action and plenty of humour. It took a little while to get going (the real world is always duller than an imaginary one), and some of Warren’s diatribes sagged a bit, but overall an entertaining read with Pax being one of my favourite characters of the year. A good four stars.

  • Chris
    2018-08-22 16:33

    I received a free eARC copy of this book from NetGalley....and I also bought a paperback from the author's website, because I enjoy and collect his work....and this is a great addition to that collection! First off, I'll say that I did not like it quite as much as Sullivan's Riyria books, but that's more from genre-preference than any issues with this book. This book is certainly a fine celebration of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, as well as being a seriously good novel in its own right. As the author admits in his introduction, his work is more fiction than science, as he uses fantastical methods of achieving his time travel method and the future world that's encountered there, in Hollow World. But at the same time, there's some real plausibility to it. I mean, suspending a little disbelief and it all falls into place nicely. Whether or not this ever could happen, it's explained well and works for the story.I wasn't surprised to like this book, but I was surprised at how much of a study of sociology, religion, and the human experience we ended up seeing. This book scores a big A+ for addressing social issues that make the reader think. So not only an enjoyable story, but one that leaves us looking at ourselves as well. It's a future that could come to pass, but it's also a good introspective of our present and past.Did I mention the world building? Yes, Hollow World has that as well. The society that Sullivan postulated in his future is very realistically detailed. It is a world any of us enjoy visiting, but one that could be scary to envision. Is this future better or worse than what we have? The answer is yes. Sullivan had several little gems in his writing that made the reading experience more enjoyable: "Maybe was just a convenient shield to hide behind when reality proved to be a bitch.""...but two dead bodies in front of a farmhouse had left them helpless. Ellis wasn't a cop, and had never served in the military, but he was from Detroit."Those are just two examples. I caught myself re-reading passages all through the book as they'd either made me chuckle, or were serious food for thought.This could have rated a 5-star book with me, except for the pacing. Don't get me wrong, the slowish pace worked very well for this book, and it did build up to a great payoff. It just didn't have me completely engaged all the way through in the way that I see a 5-star book doing to me. All in all that's a minor thing, and not even what I'd consider a fault in the story.So in summary, well done Mr. Sullivan! I will shelve my signed copy in a safe place for a future re-read.

  • Daniel
    2018-09-11 13:33

    A really interesting story about time travel. Fun, engaging, and never dull. Not a whole lot of characters but each one of them unique (oh the irony). The world itself is also interesting and i would like to visit it again in much more detail then offered here. Also it's nice to read a story about the future and that the future isn't bleak but... well optimistic, idealistic full of hope.And the logic behind it all is easy to follow so plus points there.One negative, for me, is the conflict itself cause i get the felling it's only there to add drama to the book and felt a bit tacked on.Still it gets a recommendation from me.

  • Straysod
    2018-08-31 19:51

    I was one of the backers for this book on Kickstarter and just received my digital copy. I don't think it's going to be published until next year, but I always try to write reviews right after I finish the book. I got it yesterday and started and finished it today. So if you read nothing else of this review, know that this author is good enough that I will read any and all of his books as soon as I get my hands on them, and this book in particular is good enough to be worth reading in one sitting.Everyone has a different idea of what a good review is, so in the end I write the things I'd like to know about a book when trying to decide whether or not to buy it. So while this might be a bit long (sorry), I'm not going to go into a lot of plot details. If the blurb was too vague for you (I hate blurbs, they never do a story justice) here's a slightly more detailed one that may or may not contain spoilers depending on how particular you are: (view spoiler)[ Ellis finds out he has a terminal disease and decides to finally use the time-machine he's been building in his garage. He goes forward in time looking both to escape his old life and to possibly find a cure. He finds a utopia that is not quite as perfect as it thinks, and the story revolves around both the vague but sweeping questions of the original blurb (What is love? What does it mean to be human?) and the more immediate problems of Ellis witnessing a murder committed in a society that has eradicated death, disease, crime, and poverty.(hide spoiler)]Tl;dr: A great book from an excellent author. Very detailed world, interesting concept for a future society, seems character and story driven rather than action packed or very technical. If you like sci-fi that will make you think, or read books of any genre because you enjoy well written, complex, and endearing characters, you will most likely like this. The long-winded review:Sci-fi (to me) has always revolved around the question of "What if?" What if this piece of technology existed? What if society evolved in this way? What would people be like, what would society be like, how would someone from our time and earth react to that? This book is an excellent example of exactly that kind of sci-fi. A well-written and gripping story imagining and working through a particular set of what ifs. It's not a super technical sci-fi, so if you enjoy very detailed, scientific descriptions of how time-travel/space travel/portals/weapons work, then this might not be your cup of tea. The story is gripping and interesting, but not super action packed, so again, if you're into epic battles or detailed fight scenes, this might not be for you. The plot has elements of mystery, but is relatively straightforward. The ideas and philosophies behind it, however, are extremely interesting and thought provoking, and probably the strongest/most intriguing part of the book. This book will (or at least should!) make you think, but definitely does not come across as a sermon or lecture like some sci-fi does. One of my favorite things about Sullivan's writing is how solid it is. The characters are rounded and complex, believable and well developed. There are no noticeable errors in basic things like grammar, continuity or format (something I used to take for granted until I found Goodreads and started finding/reading more self-published and free novels). The story is great. It doesn't have a huge amount of action, but more than enough to keep you turning the pages. The world he creates is breathtaking and incredibly well detailed -- something that I find not everyone can do. It takes a lot of skill for a writer to put a lot of detail into a world without the reader getting bored, to write well enough that you don't feel bogged-down or distracted by minutia. There are a handful of info-dumps, but they are not annoying and fit in well with the story. Sullivan does a great job of explaining a foreign place and time to both the reader and the time-travelling character without boring you with 50 pages of technical details. If you're still with me, I'll just add that if you like sci-fi or time travel, you should definitely buy this book. And if you liked this book, or you are also into epic fantasy, you should absolutely look into Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire, and Heir of Novron They are some of my all time favorite books.

  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    2018-09-10 18:34

    3.5 StarsI’m going to start by saying this is not the type of book I normally read. I’m a huge fantasy and a sci/fi geek but I can’t say that I’ve read anything quite like this. Hollow World sets itself apart by having a Hero that is a little outside the typical Main Character role and a future that I haven’t seen written before. The hero is older than the normal teen dream at 58 Ellis is terminally ill with about six months to live. Unlike other books that when the Hero is older he still looks twenty-five Ellis looks 58, he isn’t exactly out of shape but he has normal things like wrinkles and greying hair but I imagine possibly Alec Baldwin or George Clooney type so I’m totally fine with it. Being terminally ill gives Ellis the opportunity to let go of everything in his life and use the time machine he built in his garage trying to go about 200 years into the future. He overshoots it and lands about 2000 years in the future. This is when I really got into the story. I loved the idea of the future that was presented by Michael J. Sullivan. It was nothing like I was expecting, nothing like I’d really read in other books set in the future. Unlike dystopian novels where everything is completely messed and mostly horrible this is a future of near perfection, well almost there seem to have been a few murders lately and no one is equipped to deal with them.I won’t go into detail about the future as it was one of the most interesting parts of the book for me but it was sorta like star trek, meets demolition man (before the prison break), and a smidge of Gattica. Houses have systems with their own personalities, something like a replicator makes the things you need and there are artists that create beautiful hollowdeck like canvases that encompass entire cities and so on. At this point in the story I’m totally immersed and geeking out a bitWe don’t meet a lot of characters throughout the story but the ones we do get are awesome including Alva the home computer with and Aunt B vibe. Pax is our tour guide in the future and I really liked the character. I enjoyed the time Pax and Ellis spent together while working on the murder mystery. Up until about 60% the book was a solid 4 stars from me then it took a weird turn that I didn’t really jive with and fell to a 2 for a while only to redeem itself at the end. To really love the story you will have to love that twist and I just didn’t.That said I liked the risks the book took with unconventional heroes and romantic interests. Love in the future is very different and there is a slight romance or a sort. There are also a lot of underlying philosophical quandaries that could be great discussion topics. Even in the future people are striving to become even better and more efficient. It was completely interesting the way the author presented the futures understanding of the time Ellis came from as well.I’d recommend this to anyone looking for something a little outside the mainstream box. ARC provided by Tachyon Publications, via Netgalley for an unbiased review.

  • Allison
    2018-09-18 19:42

    If you're a fan of Michael Sullivan's, you've probably heard by now that Hollow World is completely different from his Riyria Revelations series. It has a different tone, setting, and themes. There's a more modern feel with cultural references and modern language tossed about. But the sense of humor is still there, as well as the seemingly simple twists that somehow end up meaning more than I expected. It starts out in the present-day with a man who has nothing to live for (and is dying anyway) and so decides to try out his time machine. The future that Ellis experiences is really strange, but also cool. There's a sense of wonder at Hollow World - it's not a Dystopia, which I appreciated. But the world is not without its problems, and Ellis finds himself right in the middle of them. Along the way, he discovers what living really is and what he really cares about (too late?). I liked it. No wait, I even loved it. My only complaint is that I'd like to read more, which is the best place to be at the end of a book. I feel like I just got to know these people and had a small taste of their world, and I want to spend more time there. I do hope there will be sequels. **Received free arc for review

  • The Shayne-Train
    2018-09-16 20:24

    A man with nothing holding him to the present (except an incurable lung disease) hops in his ghetto-style time machine to THE FUTURE! Why? Because WHY NOT? And what he finds there is not at all what he expected.This may have been my favorite ever literary "glimpse of the future." And because we had our time-travel buddy Ellis to bring us along, we got a valid reason to have all the intricacies of the future civilzation explained to us. I'm a sucker for a fish-out-of-water story.And like the best sci-fi novels, it uses its plot to plumb deeper topics: Does religion cause war? Do we really need individuality? What is love? (Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more...)The characters are well-written and likable. The mysteries hinted at are entertaining and wrapped up satisfactorily. The technology is VERY "I wish I had that!" And the question of whether the future civilization is way better or way worse than our current one gnaws at you even after the book ends.I thought this was a near-perfect book, and I shall most definitely read more by this author. Thanks, NetGalley!

  • Amy
    2018-09-21 16:50

    Once I saw the promotional poster for this book, I knew immediately that this was a world I wanted to go to even if it is a future world accessible only by fictional time travel. And it turned out to be a world that I was sad to leave at book’s end, along with the adorable Pax and his bowler hat. This is the story of a man named Ellis who abandons everyone he’s ever known to take a one-way trip to the future. He sees the future as an escape from the life of the present, and perhaps the future holds a cure for his terminal illness. What he discovers is a Ray-Bradbury-esque world full of beauty and wonder. Climate change has pushed humans underground, but the 3 Miracles have brought heaven to this underground utopia. Immortality is a reality and nobody wants for anything. In a world where nobody has to work, many seek leisure in art, resulting of a world where you might take a shower in an indoor waterfall or port to an Ansel Adams photo location for a picnic.When Ellis first lands in the future, he finds himself immediately drawn into a friendship with Pax who himself is an odd person out among his peers. “The two of them just sort of clicked, like old friends who’d just met. Friends-at-first-sight, if there was such a thing.” It’s through this friendship and the adventures that he has with Pax that Ellis is finally able to find redemption from the mistakes of his past. The friendship between Ellis and Pax is worth everything that Ellis left behind. I love how Pax accepts Ellis as he is: “Your skin sags, and has all those great creases, like a beloved knapsack that has been taken everywhere and shows evidence of every mile.” This is a book that, at the surface looks like a straightforward time travel story, but its true strength is that it hits on several topics of depth. What is love beyond sex? Why do people need each other? What makes us human? What makes us unique? What are people truly striving for within religion? What do people long for? What is the point of life? Is there ever a justification for murder? How far do you have to go to forgive yourself? What barriers are worth breaking down for love? I keep finding books that become new favorites that I think everyone should read, and this falls in that category. It has a gorgeous setting, features time travel and a post-apocalyptic world, has well-developed characters, has a plot that is tightly woven, and is full of nuggets of wisdom. But I think this is the first time I’ve recognized my own personality in someone else’s writing. “Oh dear, if I wrote a book, I’d do that,” I kept saying to myself as I finished reading the introductory justifications at the beginning of the ebook version of the novel, the author’s book review, and the book’s afterward. They all go into the details of how the novel came about and various reasons for this and that. The book information the author provided on GoodReads was so thorough that I didn’t have to do any work other than copying and pasting it into the initial informational post for our book club. I also recognized my own personality in the way that the author portrays both sides of an issue with equal aplomb, equally able to sympathize with both sides of very different opinions and making me wonder whether he believes this that or nothing. The author says that “One truth doesn’t refute another. Truth doesn’t lie in the object, but in how we see it.” In other words, two people can have completely different opinions and yet they can both be ‘right’.” Ren is Hollow World’s Hitler, yet the author has him use life’s wisdom and an almost empathizable logic for his dastardly plans of upsetting utopia. Ren says that “Life is all about conflict. The pursuit of happiness—that’s life, not the achievement. It’s all about the journey…” Then Ellis says that “As twisted as Ren was, I understood him—even sympathized, because part of me was Ren.” I knew what the author was saying because part of me was Ellis and part of me was Ren as well. I don’t mean that I could sympathize with a Hitler-wanna-be, but that I understand the madness behind his logic, albeit a faulty logic. I don’t think I’ve ever looked up an author’s birthday before. But when you recognize your own idiosyncrasies, musings, and aphorisms in someone else’s writings, you just have to. And it turns out that the author is a Virgo with my same birth week, a personality type that seemingly thrives on justification, explanation, and seeing both sides of a point (among other things). I’m not usually a fan of fantasy, but I might be convinced to try one of the author’s other works which are all fantasy because Hollow World is such a work of art. But I’m hoping more strongly that some of the forthcoming novels the author mentions at the end of this book are sequels set in Hollow World. I need to dance with Pax in the rain again and explore more of the depths of this world of the future.

  • Matthew
    2018-09-03 17:28

    One of those books I went into with tempered or moderate expectations. And not because of the author, but namely the genre. I'm fairly picky when it comes to science fiction books, and honestly not all that well read. But having said that, my expectations were shattered. I still prefer Mr. Sullivan's Riyria work, namely because I'm a lover of fantasy first and foremost, but this book was outstanding. Probably my favorite time travel book to date, edging out the fabulous REPLAY by Ken Grimwood. Book quality aside, some may dislike it solely on the topics the book covers. Religion, politics, sex, gender norms, etc. I love reading, and especially discussing said topics, so it was right up my alley. Congrats on a great book MJS, especially reading the risk involved at the end. Love when the curtains are pulled back in the publishing world.

  • Michael
    2018-08-31 21:21

    Welcome to Zeitfuge - also known a Hollow World! This is the German edition of this novel, and while I can't read it (don't know German), I would very much like to.

  • Seregil of Rhiminee
    2018-09-05 19:40

    Originally published at Risingshadow.Because I enjoyed reading Michael J. Sullivan's fantasy novels (the Riyria novels), I'm glad that I had a chance to read and review his forthcoming science fiction novel, Hollow World. I can say that it was a pleasure to read this novel, because it was well written entertainment.Hollow World is an interesting and entertaining science fiction novel that differs quite a lot from other new sci-fi novels. It's a well written and charmingly old-fashioned story with a strongly beating heart at its core. It's a fascinating novel for readers who are interested in classic and modern stories about time travel.I think that the best way to categorize this novel is to say that it's a time travel novel. It can also be called social science fiction, because the author writes in vivid details about the changes in the society and how humans have changed and developed.Before I write more about this novel, here's information about the story:Hollow World is a story about Ellis Rogers. He is dying and has less than a year to live (he has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which can't be cured). He builds a time machine in his garage. When Ellis starts the time machine, he ends up in the year 4078. A lot has changed in the future. Everything he knew seems to have gone and things have changed. The whole world has changed and so have the humans: humans live underground in the Hollow World, falselight works as a sun, religions have disappeared, there aren't any diseases anymore, humans don't have any sexes anymore etc. When Ellis arrives to the future, he almost immediately witnesses a murder and meets Pax...As you probably noticed by reading this brief synopsis, there isn't exactly anything new in this novel, but that isn't the point of this novel. In my opinion the point of the novel is that the author explores the difference between our society and the future society, and by doing this he makes us think about morality, our lives and our humanity.Although several authors have already written about what happens to a person when he travels to distant past or to distant future, Michael J. Sullivan's approach feels delightfully humane and touching. The biggest reason for this lies in the author's excellent characterization. The protagonist, Ellis, is a man who has a past and that past has affected him, because the hardships and experiences that he has experienced have molded him. The author manages to make Ellis a realistic character by writing about his life, problems and incurable disease. I think it's great that he wrote easily about the protagonist's disease and his feelings about it and avoided being too sentimental with his descriptions.The author writes well about Pax and his life. I enjoyed reading about him and his compassionate nature. As he guided Ellis through the Hollow World and told him things about the world and their society, the author revealed significant details about him and his views about the happenings. It was great to read about the friendship between Ellis and Pax. Together, they tried to find out who had murdered people and their search allowed them to get acquainted with each other. It was nice to read how they got to know each other and learned new things from each other.Michael J. Sullivan explores difficult themes in this novel. He writes surpringly well about religion, sexuality and death. His vision of a society without religion and sexless human beings was fascinating. He writes about these themes in a pleasant style without being condescending. In my opinion he handled these themes admirably and was also capable of evoking an emotional response in the reader.The author has created an interesting vision of the future of mankind and the planet. It was fascinating for me to read about how the author explored the human condition. The differences between our society and the future society allowed him to write thoughtfully about the human condition, because in the future humans have modifed themselves in several ways: they've changed themselves by purging their bodies of diseases etc. The author has created a society that is free of wars, violence and diseases. When I read this novel, I noticed that he shows his readers that if something has been forgotten or discarded, something new comes to take its place and society adapts to the changes.One of the best things about this novel is that it makes its reader think about things. I think that everybody who reads this novel will think about the happenings and themes found inside its covers. It's almost impossible not to think about moral issues and the possible future of mankind after reading this novel.Although this novel contains quite a lot of different elements and themes, Michael J. Sullivan doesn't lose track of the main story. It could've been easy to lose sight of what's going on and drown the reader in deep exploration about philosophy and morality, but fortunately that doesn't happen in this novel. The author drives the story fluently forward by writing about changes in the society and delivering thriller elements every once in a while to keep up readers' interest in the story.This novel can be seen as a tribute to old time travel novels, especially to H. G. Well's classic science fiction novel, The Time Machine. When you read this novel, it's almost impossible not to think about The Time Machine. This novel is different from The Time Machine, because the author's vision of the future of mankind differs from Wells' vision, but there are similarities that are easily recognizable if you've read H. G. Wells. I found the similarities interesting, because I've always liked Well's novel and consider it to be one of the best time travel novels.I have to mention that the cover art by Marc Simonetti looks stunningly beautiful (it's a gorgeous painting). It's great that this novel has a good cover image.Hollow World is old-fashioned science fiction written in a modern way. I think that everybody who loves well written science fiction and time travel novels will want to read this novel, because it's a wonderfully old-fashioned sci-fi story. If you're familiar with the author's fantasy novels, you'll enjoy this novel too, because it's a good novel with excellent characterization.My final words are: this novel is well written and entertaining old-fashioned science fiction!

  • Mike
    2018-08-24 21:27

    Michael J. Sullivan's books are always so damn readable. He embraces classic tropes, to such a degree that his books can be called cliche, and Hollow World starts out the same. About halfway through this book, I found myself thinking that I should hate this book. There's absolutely nothing original to it, and (unlike Sullivan's Riyria books) I don't even like the protagonist. Yet because of Sullivan's mastery of writing as a craft, I was loving the book anyway.But about midway through, this book changed from a mishmash of a dozen different time travel and flawed utopia sci fi stories, and did indeed become something new.Not a perfect book. My big criticism is of the bad guy, who was a pretty one-dimensional stereotype. Luckily the book is more about the protagonist's internal issues than the external ones.But on the whole, an excellent read.

  • Nathan Coops
    2018-09-19 17:27

    There are very few books I finish where I could immediately start over at page one and be confident of getting even more out of it. Michael J. Sullivan’s Hollow World is one of those rare finds. Sullivan uses a very small cast of characters and a brief amount of pages to tell a very big story. It’s surprising, thought provoking fiction that challenges you to consider how you view the world and the relationships you have in it. It’s poignant, funny, and heartbreaking.I read this as part of a time travel club group read. The author will tell you that it’s not meant to be sci-fi. In the excellent added features of the book, Sullivan downplays the time travel device elements, but in my opinion he did a great job of making the hocus-pocus of time travel sound good.He is right of course, that the real story lies elsewhere. This a story of love, and loss, of friendships both old and new, religion, sexuality (and the lack of it), the nature of God, the meaning of life, and much more. Perhaps the wonder of the story is that it manages to address all these topics in a way that leaves doors open in your mind instead of closing them. Despite dealing with subjects of such depth, this book is delightfully fun to read. I blazed through it in a couple days because once I picked it up I found my other activities being immediately shoved to the back burner. It’s fortunate I started on a weekend.One of the elements of the story that stood out to me was the subject of personhood. The idea of who we are, even without the labels that become affixed to us by sex, race, age, social class, etc. The idea of our inherent uniqueness as individuals is beautifully highlighted by this world of Sullivan’s where everyone is the same. The relationships and subtle elements of human nature that are brought out in this tale will make you root for the characters, even the charming artificial intelligence housekeeper who you will want to have greet you and make you hot chocolate. The story makes you question just how much our behavior toward others is based on factors that have nothing to do with their real personhood at all. It’s a timely and excellent question and one that should be revisited frequently. This is a five star read for a lot of reasons. You could compliment the pace, the tension, the editing, the style, and have barely started your litany. I’ll let you enjoy those on your own. I will be recommending this book to everyone I know, not only because I was thoroughly delighted by it, but because it’s one of those books that might very well make you a better person just by reading it. That’s a gift I’d like to give everybody.