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Beacon 23

by Hugh Howey

Series: Beacon 23 (complete novel)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4271746,632 (3.74)5
"For centuries, men and women have manned lighthouses to ensure the safe passage of ships. It is a lonely job, and a thankless one for the most part. Until something goes wrong. Until a ship is in distress. In the twenty-third century, this job has moved into outer space. A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at many times the speed of light. These beacons are built to be robust. They never break down. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. "--… (more)
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» See also 5 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I've read and enjoyed Howey's [b:Wool Series|13453029|Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1)|Hugh Howey|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1349614200s/13453029.jpg|18979356] and [b:Sand |20509356|Sand Omnibus (Sand, #1-5)|Hugh Howey|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1389416278s/20509356.jpg|32464091]. I've read and NOT enjoyed Howey's [b:Half Way Home|8428985|Half Way Home|Hugh Howey|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1276131208s/8428985.jpg|13292213]. I know that he's capable of some very deep writing. At first, I was thinking that this book (/collection of stories) would end up being not unlike [a:Stanisław Lem's|10991|Stanisław Lem|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1246185166p2/10991.jpg] various books, in that the only constant among the stories was the setting and a character. But after the 3rd or so story, some of the off-hand and cryptic comments that the unnamed (ok, ok... "Digger") protagonist made start solidifying, and we learn that there is much more to this story than we were lead to believe.
A quick diversion - both my father and stepfather served in Vietnam, and while I grew up aware of this fact, it's only been within the last couple of years that I've learned just how traumatic that experience was for my dad. I was lucky to have done my own military service between conflicts (getting out shortly after Desert Storm ramped up), and therefore don't have to deal with the effects of PTSD directly. But one of the things that I've only recently began to comprehend was just how much my dad was struggling with PTSD; to the point where I can honestly say that much of who _I_ am today can be traced back to _his_ PTSD issues.
So reading this book, the back half of which deals rather heavily with PTSD, I couldn't help but place my father in the narrator's shoes. That helped add some weight (for me) to a story that ended up being quite a bit weightier than I expected.
Although I really shouldn't have been THAT surprised - Howey DOES have a pretty good track record with me, after all.

This line still haunts me (paraphrased slightly):
You don't cry just because you're in pain - you cry to let others know that you're in pain ( )
  KrakenTamer | Oct 23, 2021 |
Another Hugh Howey masterpiece

Once again Hugh Howey takes us on an epic journey through space and the meaning of life and death. I am not a sci fi lover but I will continue to read anything by Mr. Howey. ( )
  scttbull | Sep 3, 2021 |
Quick read. Indie publishing has led to the resurgence of old forms, because this is actually a serial novel, simultaneously available in five short parts.

I think the episodes work okay on their own, but they don't really live up to the promise of that first story. It sets the scene for a high-stakes, high thrill tale, but what we really get is a character piece about PTSD with a weak romance added on at the end. ( )
  MCBacon | Aug 2, 2021 |
This is a book that if you read it one way is absolutely crap. However, if you read a different way, is brilliant. The main character is battle worn from a never ending war and just wants to be left alone. So in the infinitive wisdom of NASA, they allow him to be in charge of a Beacon, a very important bit of machinery in space that allows space travel to happen.

The issue is, how much of this story is the lead character hallucinating, and how much of it is actual truth (within the bounds of the story). And that is where the brilliance of this book happens. If you read it at face value, this story makes no sense at all - how our main man stops an intergalactic war with nobody but a spunky tuner and acquires an alien cat. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Jul 4, 2021 |
So now I'm a fan of Hugh Howey.

War, peace, politics, and questioning your own mental stability.

Are you crazy if you talk to a rock? If you name it? Sure, you might think of Tom Hanks and Wilson... but Wilson didn't talk back. Wilson didn't insult Tom. And Tom never suspected that Wilson was smarter than him. Then again, maybe the rock really isn't a rock. Maybe people and events are(n't) happening?

A galactic war that spans into the past and threatens to end the future, for more than one space-faring species.

And (aside from the occasional, brief, memory) it all takes place in a tin can in space. A small, cramped, beacon that facilitates FTL travel across the galaxy.

Beautifully written (much more beautifully than this crappy review) and insightful. It made me think of The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman.

Now I have to read the rest of his stuff. Cool. ( )
  James_Patrick_Joyce | Oct 24, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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"For centuries, men and women have manned lighthouses to ensure the safe passage of ships. It is a lonely job, and a thankless one for the most part. Until something goes wrong. Until a ship is in distress. In the twenty-third century, this job has moved into outer space. A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at many times the speed of light. These beacons are built to be robust. They never break down. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. "--

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