Beacon 23: A story about a man at the edge of space, forced to face his inner demons.
4.5 out of 5
So far at the edge of Sector 8 (so far out that it should be Sector 9) sits Beacon 23. Each beacon has a “keeper” in them to make sure that if anything goes wrong it can be fixed quickly. This is where we meet Digger. He is alone at the edge of space with just his thoughts and memories. Follow five stories (that were originally posted as serial fiction).
The narration, done by Ryan McCarthy was excellent. He really voiced the character. It felt like Ryan WAS Digger. The book was well-paced and incredibly well narrated. There really weren’t many other characters to voice and to me that was okay. Ryan’s voice proved the perfect narration for this loner out in space. Quality was perfect and will be enjoyed by a lot of listeners.
I have to start the “my thoughts” part of this review out admitting that I am a Howey fan even though I never finished Wool (I started reading it during a dark period in my life and couldn’t bring myself to finish it). After reading this, I remember why I liked Howey’s stories so much.
The character development is great. The point of view was drastic, but in a good and heartbreaking way. The story revolves around a former war “hero” who has requested to be the keeper of a Beacon way out on the edges of space for NASA. Throughout the story you find out bits and pieces of the story as to why he is considered a hero, why he doesn’t think that he is, and exactly what happened to him on that day.
His aloneness reminded me of The Martian. His humor reminded me a bit of Watney from The Martian too, but this was a totally different story. The story took a dark turn and weaved in serious mental issues (like PTSD and severe anxiety) in with humor that would have me one minute almost in tears and the next clutching my stomach and laughing.
The story is dark and tragic, but I am really glad that I read it. I really felt like I knew Digger by the end. I’m also glad that I didn’t read this as the different “episodes” came out. Only because I would have wanted to whole story, not just bits and pieces of it.
Summary of enjoyment by parts of Beacon 23:
Part Two: Pet Rocks – easily my favorite story. It’s funny and sad. I flew through this one.
Part Four: Company – just made me happy.
You needed all the parts to understand the full story, so after those two parts it would go: 5, 1, and then 3 for the level of enjoyment. Though if I individually rated each story – none of them would have gotten under a 4 out of 5 stars.
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 23rd 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.
Hugh Howey is the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde saga and the New York Times and USA Today bestselling WOOL series. The WOOL OMNIBUS won Kindle Book Review’s 2012 Indie Book of the Year Award — it has been as high as #1 on Amazon — and 40 countries have picked up the work for translation. Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian are adapting the work for 20th Century Fox.