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Homer Hickam

Author of Rocket Boys

27+ Works 5,626 Members 134 Reviews 5 Favorited

About the Author

Homer H. Hickam Jr. was born in 1943 in Coalwood, Va. and earned a degree in industrial engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1964. He served in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1972, rising to the rank of captain. Hickam also served as an engineer at the Army Missile Command in Huntsville, show more Ala. and with the Army Corps of Engineers in West Germany. He has been with NASA since 1981. Homer Hickam is a rare combination of practicing scientist and literate storyteller. As a NASA trainer he has taught astronauts to walk on the moon. As an author he has written a poignant, personal memoir about how he became an aerospace engineer. In Rocket Boys (1998) Hickam tells how his fascination with rockets began in the 50s Sputnik space race, developed into a teenage rocket club, and led to Hickam's winning a gold and a silver medal at the National Science Fair in 1960. His inspiring story, told with honesty and humor, had its beginnings as an article in Smithsonian's Air and Space magazine in 1994 and is being adapted as a motion picture. Hickam's other book Torpedo Junction: U-Boat War Off America's East Coast, 1942 (1989) is also praised as a literary achievement. It is a fascinating, fast-paced narrative that draws on his background as a scuba diver and explorer of sunken ships. Hickam has also written several shipwreck articles for major magazines. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: courtesy of Homer Hickam


Works by Homer Hickam

Rocket Boys (1998) 3,160 copies
The Coalwood Way (2000) 457 copies
Back to the Moon (1999) 273 copies
Sky of Stone: A Memoir (2001) 254 copies
The Keeper's Son (2003) 205 copies
Torpedo Junction (1991) 201 copies
The Dinosaur Hunter: A Novel (2010) 132 copies
Crater (A Helium-3 Novel) (2012) 122 copies
The Ambassador's Son (2005) 119 copies
Red Helmet (2008) 115 copies
We Are Not Afraid (2002) 58 copies
Crescent (A Helium-3 Novel) (2013) 40 copies

Associated Works

Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out (2008) — Contributor — 347 copies
The Best Christian Short Stories (2006) — Contributor — 71 copies
Hildegard of Bingen: Selections from Her Writings (2005) — Introduction — 62 copies


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Common Knowledge



What was fact and what was fiction? You don't rightly know, but the author traces his parents' path from West Viginia to Florida and back again. Was there really and alligator named Albert? Maybe. But it does explain why his mother liked South Carolina, retiring there after his Dad died.
nancynova | 30 other reviews | Feb 5, 2024 |
Didn't realize the copy I listened to was abridged.
dmmjlllt | 59 other reviews | Jan 2, 2024 |
I enjoyed the movie before I read the book. Now, well... Reading the book makes the film incredibly disturbing at best.

It was oddly compelling for a book featuring such backward sexist, homophobic thinking throughout. I think part of the reason is because it's a lot closer to the truth than the film ever got. The things the film did in reaction to this telling of the 'story', such as it is, of the Rocket Boys, are rather creepy. The film made the book!protagonist's cat into a love interest. The film made women prizes. True, Book!Homer still thinks of women in a stereotypical young adult male fashion, but it's better than what the film did. Book!Homer at least acknowledges that women aren't these stereotypical cheerleader/pretty things that are only good for dances. They have their own lives and get down and dirty and have their own investments in life.

Homer's mother is much more of a character. She's got chutzpa. His father is much more of a sexist, homophobic prick. His brother is a sexist prick.

I also really don't like how they stuck to Hollywood formula for the gang of protagonists. Homer and Co. are far more intellectual in the book. I don't get what the problem is with showing a protagonist who is stereotypically nerdy in some ways who is also interested in stereotypically non-nerdy things like football and roughhousing. Not that either of those are good things, but it would have helped people see that the definition of a 'nerd' as we see it today has quite the range.

I also think it's odd that Homer got something of a reputation boost in the film among the school crowd. Thinking logically, even in the film logic his original position in the social hierarchy before he spoke to Quentin the first time makes no sense. He's still the son of the guy most kids' parents dislike. His brother is a big football star who doesn't really like him who should be a subject of envy. It doesn't work.

Honestly, the movie's kind of shit in light of that. It's a feel-good film that does so many things wrong and sticks to formula too much to sacrifice other things. Even if some parts are more realistic to fact that others, the film just isn't good. And it's still pretty sexist, although the book tries pretty hard to put that to shame.

Overall it was a quick read and showed a better understanding of the town and local history and gave Homer and Co. a lot more credit for their work. Don't watch the movie. Read this.
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AnonR | 59 other reviews | Aug 5, 2023 |
Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam is a seriously funny book that will take you on one wild adventure.

Books like these are always my favourites - they tell fun and inviting stories and welcome you into someone else's world. I also identify as an 'old soul' so I get a real kick out of reading books about the past. This book, Carrying Albert Home, is about Homer's parents taking a pet alligator back to Florida. Yes, you read that right, they are transporting an alligator. Along the way they get themselves in lots of trouble and difficult situations, all of which are hilarious!

This book did feel like it would fit into the niche market. It's a fictional comedy based on true stories that weren't exactly true... It's so weird, but lovely. If you're looking for a book that's out of the ordinary, I think this book would be one excellent fit!

To be honest though... this book isn't my type of novel. I did enjoy reading it as a change from my normal selection, but it just didn't hit me as well as I wanted it to. The book is long and at times feels like too much. I had to put it down and pick it up a few times to really get through the story. It's not boring and it's written in a beautiful manner, it's just not made for me as a reader. There will be readers out there who are dying to read this book, but it just isn't my style. My rating for this book reflects the fact that it wasn't a book for me. In reality, I think this book is a solid 4.0 for the average reader, but based on my rating score it's a 2.

Overall, if I had to describe this book in a series of words they would be: quirky, spontaneous, eccentric, outlandish and zany.

2.0 out of 5.0 stars - it's just not my type of book, but it is absolutely lovely and I highly recommend it.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
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Briars_Reviews | 30 other reviews | Aug 4, 2023 |



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