A Summary of Half Way Home

Ruby wants to know what the story is about in order to better judge the mood of the covers. Here you go, Ruby:

In the distant future, planets are settled by vat-grown colonists. The expense of sending generations of humans on several-hundred-year journeys is too much, so they instead launch 500 human blastocysts and an automated collection of machines to raise them and prepare the landing site for them.

This process normally takes 30 years if the planet is found viable. If it’s found unviable, the colony is aborted immediately. The odds are roughly 50/50, which is pretty outstanding considering the prize for the sponsoring country: owning a planet, all its resources, and a launching pad for more conquests.

50/50. A coin flip. Except, nobody took into account a third alternative: a coin that lands on its edge and remains there, teetering and precariously balanced. Half Way Home is about just such a planet. A place half way between viable and abort. Our protagonists are awakened at age 15 with only a portion of their training complete. Their colony is on fire — a fire it purposefully started — but now it’s trying to save itself. The abort procedure is being … well, aborted.

Less than sixty kids survive that first night. They are the colony rejects. The lowest on the hierarchy. They would have been the last to be woken up. Unfortunately for them, the abort sequence goes the same direction. Now they need to do more than merely survive, they need to find a way to ensure future generations have a chance. But first they must convince the colony AI that they even have a right to live. And if they can get beyond that, they might find their worst enemy isn’t their new home, or the circumstances that led to their near-death. It may be each other…


WhoopWhoop! I feel so honored (or like I’m a royal PITA). Either way, I’m thrilled to learn more. Sounds like Lord of the Flies meets some of our greatest science fiction. A couple of different stories have popped into my head since reading this. Phew, things could really get rough up there.

Ok, well now that I have the gist, I can comment on the great covers you’ve been posting!

1. LOVE the tag line on the first design: Half born, half trained, half dead. Love it. The overall design, while beautiful and dreamy, does not tie into this story line for me at all.

2. Dislike the carved treebark design.

3. I like the weird ganglia design the best. It really suits the story and it’s bizarre and beautiful and memorable. This one grabs me. Firmly.

4. I think the first tree feels too frivolous and light for the subject matter to me. It is a bit LoTR — or more accurately, Hobbitish. Pretty picture, but the wrong tone.

5. Gorgeous artwork, and it could work. I still prefer the ganglia design, but I could understand if you went with this one. It’s got an entirely different feel to it. More primordial ooze and return to the swamp going on, which is suitable. But the ganglia speak to me of elemental biological imperatives and all of the things INSIDE which makes us who we are regardless of society or environment. Different messages, fo sho.

Glad you have to decide and not me. I just want to read it, cover be hanged!

Thanks for the GREAT input, Ruby. And for motivating me off my ass to finally post a decent summary. I swear, the choice of cover is one of the hardest things I go through in bringing a book to fruition. I sincerely value every word of advice.

Oh, and I’m sorry the comments don’t all arrive as soon as you post them. I used to allow that, but had trouble with spammers.

Awesome feedback from Ruby!! Good point about the LoTR/Hobbit thing. I think I have a bias because in my head I prefer adventure (LoTR) to what I used to think of as SciFi so I always imagine others would too and want to get them to get into the story without missing it due to bias. So I always push the adventure side of the plot and can see myself doing that with the cover art too….hmmmm