Homer Hickam, a former NASA engineer, is best known for his memoirs “The Rocket Boys” which was produced as the 1999 feature film, “October Sky.” While “The Rocket Boys” has received much well-earned attention, Hickam is the author of an excellent science fiction series set at a lunar colony about a century from now called “the Helium 3 Series” after a material that is found on the moon that could power future fusion reactors.
In terms of books that both spark imagination and contain true science, Hickam’s books are hard to beat. Many juvenile science fiction books are a little heavy on the fiction side and gloss over the science in the story. This is not the case wit Hickam. He keeps science and how it is applied front-and-center in his riveting stories.
The first book in the series is entitled “Crater,” about a teenage orphan living on the moon named Crater Trueblood. Crater works as a helium 3 miner who is sent on a secret mission that takes him across the lunar surface to face dangers from both humans, mutated humans, and the lunar environment. He is aided by Maria, the mine owner’s daughter, and a gillie, a sentient clump of slime mold cells. The depiction of a human inhabited moon is both original and breathtaking.
The second book in the series in “Crescent” which focuses on a genetically altered warrior by the same name who was taken prisoner by Crater Trueblood, instead of being killed in battle, something she finds disastrous. After she is falsely accused of murder, they escape from her captors. Together they join a caravan of miners headed for a legendary lunar ghost town called “Endless Dust” and must face more perils from murderous.
The two books harken back to the juvenile science fiction written by the late Robert Heinlein in the 1950s and 1960s. The characters are appealing and the situations and the conflicts they experience are imaginative and thrilling. Readers both young and old will enjoy the two stories.
This series is highly recommended for a young reader who is interested in science and space. Hickam is set to release a third installment in the series in the middle of 2014. We look forward to the new release.