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Gunpowder by Joe Hill


by Joe Hill

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648278,462 (4.44)2



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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Excellent novella - I'm looking forward to more from this author ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
Yet another wonderful story from Joe Hill. I hope that he continues this story, because even in 81 short pages, he's managed to perfectly create these characters and make me care for them, and this novella is more like a prelude to a larger story. One that I absolutely want to read.

The world (or I should say universe) that Hill has created is fascinating, and brutal. Militaristic, scientific, political, but on this little world, nicknamed "Gunpowder" by these special boys, they have a job to do and a safe haven to do it in, with their guardian Elaine to watch over them.

When Elaine finds out that her orders have changed, and she's got to leave these boys, whom she raised from babies, in the hands of those who would seek to use them as weapon manufacturers and weapons themselves, well... all hell kinda breaks loose.

I really enjoyed this one... I wish there was more. I'll cross my fingers for another installment!

PS. The cover art is gorgeous! Wouldn't mind a graphic novel for this story... it would translate beautifully to that style. :)

( )
  TheBecks | Apr 1, 2013 |
By Joe Hill
PS Publishing
ISBN 978-1-848630-14-7
81 pages (Novella - 22,600 words)

Gunpowder is an aptly named unstable planet out on the galactic fringe. It is a cold, bleak, desolate place selected for terraforming. The technicians, however, are not your run-of-the-mill scientists but a group of not-quite-human children who have had their DNA manipulated. They have been created to breathe and live in the atmosphere without mechanical means and, more importantly, they have psychic abilities that will help them achieve their goal. But they are outcasts from Earth and the hope is that they may one day save it from a future devoid of resources.

Then war comes to the galaxy and the boys’ unique psyforming capabilities are enlisted by a mysterious stranger sent by the military. With nothing more than the power of their imaginations they can create the raw materials for missiles powerful enough to destroy moons. They can dream into existence spacecraft strong enough to fly through a supernova without being damaged. They can give the universe a military force so powerful that no one would dare defy it. And the military wants them as weapons. The question is… do they want to become soldiers for a society that has cast them off?

And one child, the deficient boy, without a psyforming ability and with the word VOID imprinted inside his glowing eyes, holds the key. What sacrifice might he make… for love?

Joe Hill’s first published venture into the realm of Science Fiction rates a resounding YES! If Gunpowder is a prologue to more stories set in this same multi-verse I can only hope that they are published soon.

4 ½ out of 5 stars

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin ( )
1 vote TheAlternativeOne | Sep 8, 2009 |
When I hear the name Joe Hill, the last thing I am thinking about is Science Fiction. Horror -yes, dark fantasy - yes. But science fiction is away from anything I had read from him. Hold on - I had to use past tense here. Because Gunpowder is old fashioned Science Fiction... and it is a good one at the top of this.

In the future, the biology and science had improved enough to create genetically improved children that not only can live in a non-earth like planet but also have the Talent to change things with their will. And as in any story for a group of kids, there is one that is different, that lacks the talent even though it has the same changes in his DNA. I won't surprise anyone if I say that this kid is not without any powers - he is just different and this difference will turn out to be crucial for the whole novella (although it sounds almost as a cliche - the different person helps everyone - it does not sound as a cliche in the story itself).

The first half of the story is just following the lives of these kids and of their 'mother' and is slowly revealing the world they live in. And this story is interesting enough - they are just a group of kids and they behave almost as such even if they are special ones. But then one day everything changes... and they need to make the same decision as any person may need to: what will you do if everything you had ever known and everything you ever hoped for get changed just as if you are just an actor in someone's play and not a real breathing human.

I hope that this is just the first story in this world -it is a finished story but the world is so nicely built and there is enough that can happen in the future... ( )
1 vote AnnieMod | Jul 13, 2009 |
The premise: Elaine lives on the planet R2 as the caretaker of a group of boys who have the Talent of psyforming: essentially, they can terraform a planet using their imaginations in far less time than it'd take traditional technology. Only one of the boys, Charley, doesn't have the Talent save for a tiny sliver of it, but beyond that difference, life on R2 is peaceful, until news of an outside war disrupts their lives, and the boys are presented with a new, dangerous mission.

My Rating

Must Have: for Joe Hill fans, it's worth every penny. It's a lovely, tightly written little novella that's a treasure to own. If you've not read Joe Hill but don't want to check out his horror, this SF novella is worth the cash, though it may be more cash than you're willing to pay. I hope that Hill is able to get this released in some kind of collection or something later, because it's a fantastic little read, and I'm very glad I got a chance to get my hands on it. Hill's pretty much solidified himself as a must-read author for me, and I'm looking forward to the rest of his work.

Review style: there's really not a whole lot to spoil in this book. It's a novella, and a very short one at that. I read it in one sitting with no trouble. It's another one of those that I can't talk about without spoiling it, so I apologize. If you don't mind the spoilers, you can read the rest of my review in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.


Happy Reading! ( )
1 vote devilwrites | May 25, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Read as a cautionary tale, Gunpowder successfully depicts what happens when the needs of the many impact upon the desires of a potent few
added by andyl | editThe Guardian, Eric Brown (Feb 7, 2009)
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