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Hoover, H M

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1935-2018) US author, all of whose novels of sf interest have been written for the Young Adult market or as Children's SF for younger readers. The first of these were Children of Morrow (1973) and its sequel, Treasures of Morrow (1976), a Ruined Earth sequence which, in describing a reactionary state and its pro-Technology successor, plumps cautiously for the latter; the books demonstrate a smoothly searching style and a grasp of character. Hoover soon showed her competence with a wide range of venues and themes, though she retained an emphasis (perhaps surprising, but challenging) on the Dystopia and on various kinds of Ruined Earth: The Delikon (1977), for instance, investigates a political revolution against an Alien occupier of Earth, which has been treated as roughly as its Imperialist citizenry had been treating the natives of other planets. The protagonist of The Rains of Eridan (1978), set on an Alien world where scientific stations are assaulted by waves of seemingly unnatural fear, uncovers the mystery without betraying the methods and goals of science. Return to Earth (1980), set a millennium hence in a vast Space Habitat and on Earth, humanizes a thriller plot through its close portrayal of a growing friendship between an old man and a young girl – friendship between generations being unusually evident in Hoover's work. The habitat where Away Is a Strange Place to Be (1990) take place is more Dystopian.

The two young protagonists of This Time of Darkness (1980), a tale for younger children, experience a Conceptual Breakthrough, which takes the narrative form of a heuristic set of ramps leading upwards, enabling them to transcend the bleak Underground Pocket-Universe society in which they had been raised. Another Heaven, Another Earth (1981) intriguingly presents a complex vision of human limitations on a colony planet which is demonstrably inimical to life (see Colonization of Other Worlds). The Winds of Mars (1995) rather more darkly features the exposure to a loving daughter of her father's tyrannical rule over a fragile independent Mars.

Throughout, Hoover shows a deft attentiveness to the problem of engaging her readership in tales of worlds whose solidity precludes easy triumphs for young protagonists, but which gives them a chance to achieve an enlightened freedom; always there is a sense that in the end the lessons awaiting readers in her texts are unequivocally meant to be learned. Her novels are, in the best sense, didactic. She should not be confused with the children's author Helen Hoover (1910-1984). [JC]

Helen Mary Hoover

born Stark County, Ohio: 5 April 1935

died Locust Grove, Virginia: 22 August 2018




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