The author of "October Sky" takes readers back to his West Virginia hometown in the fall of 1959. Homer "Sonny" Hickam and his fellow Rocket Boys are in their senior year, and the town of Coalwood is at a painful crossroads. The strain is also felt by Sonny's family. With the holidays approaching, the arrival of a beautiful outsider brings ...Read MoreThe author of "October Sky" takes readers back to his West Virginia hometown in the fall of 1959. Homer "Sonny" Hickam and his fellow Rocket Boys are in their senior year, and the town of Coalwood is at a painful crossroads. The strain is also felt by Sonny's family. With the holidays approaching, the arrival of a beautiful outsider brings unexpected changes in both the Hickam family and the town.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2000-09-15 In his bestselling memoir, Rocket Boys (which became the 1999 movie October Sky), former NASA engineer Hickam looked back at the mining town of Coalwood, W.Va., when the 1957 ascent of Sputnik prompted Sonny and his teenage pals to launch their own rockets and aim at the stars. This sequel is set in 1959, when Sonny is a high school senior, still sending up rockets at "Cape Coalwood," at local launches that became full-scale social events with numerous spectators: "Even the Big Creek cheerleaders came, dressed in full uniform." Hickam digs deeper into his own family life, recalling an ambivalent relationship with his father, the superintendent of the local mine: "My dad was, in many ways, [a] general, plotting strategy and tactics against an unyielding foe, the mine itself." Hearing the constant miner's cough in her own house, Hickam's mother, Elsie, wants to leave the coal dust-covered community for the "fresh, clean air" of Myrtle Beach, since "she knew very well lung spots never got smaller, only bigger," but Homer Sr. is determined to stay and save the mine. Amid the resulting household tension, Sonny suffers from an inexplicable sadness, despite his growing relationship with a local girl and his various science and writing projects. His recollections are occasionally reminiscent of the youthful exploits in tales by Jean Shepherd and Ray Bradbury, but Hickam's voice is his own. Recalling a lost eraDthe transition between small-town life and the dawning of the new technological ageDhe brings his American hometown to life with vivid images, appealing characters and considerable literary magic. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2000-11-06 Not really a sequel to Hickam's first memoir, Rocket Boys (which was made into the successful movie, October Sky, and dealt primarily with his gang of misfit friends and their inventive, adventurous exploits) this book, set around Christmas 1959, is a study of the town of Coalwood and how a fast-moving world affects a small community resistant to change and the introspective teenage boy in its midst. Hickman's reading is flawless. His voice and perspective?as a man looking back on his childhood?convincingly conveys experience and a reminiscent tone, while at the same time sounding so full of youthful exuberance that listeners will be certain they hear the voice of teenage Homer himself. Coalwood, W.Va., is a coal-mining town. Homer Hickam Sr., the author's father, is the superintendent of the mine and resented by the workers. To his children, he is a formidable man, and his imaginative second son, Homer Jr., aka "Sonny," obsessed with the 1950s space race, does not want to follow in his father's black, dusty footprints. With Christmas fast approaching, the tension in the town grows as layoffs threaten miners' jobs, until Sonny's father takes a huge risk to save them and the town's livelihood. Simultaneous release with the Dell hardcover (Forecasts, Sept. 18). (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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