Hugh Howey took the SciFi world by storm with Wool a few years back, but has been relatively quiet since then. I read somewhere that he bought a boat and is floating around the ocean somewhere — good for him! So it came as a pleasant surprise that a new Howey novel was out.

The premise of Beacon 23 was interesting: A NASA astronaut in a one-man space station deep in the galaxy, and obviously well in the future. The purpose of the beacon is to act as a hyperspace navigation beacon for ships traveling around the galaxy. Apparently the colonization of the galaxy has gone quite well, but the beacons are lonely, boring places to work.

It’s a short novel, but quite exciting, with the protagonist thrust into a number of odd and difficult situations. It’s also an emotional dive into post-traumatic stress syndrome and other consequences of war. That aspect seemed a little less authentic to me, or at least less original (what would I know about PTSD).

The story has been sold to Hollywood developers for a potential television series. It’s in development by a team that created the short-lived Terminator TV series, so I’m not overly optimistic about that. And let’s be blunt: There’s not a lot of material or a tremendously deep story here. I still don’t get why the amazing story of Wool hasn’t appeared on our home theater screens yet, but I guess Ridley Scott has that one tied up in “turnaround”. (sigh) Oh well, eventually that will expire and perhaps someone will pick it up then. In the meantime, maybe these guys can make something out of Beacon 23.

 

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