Hoover, H M

Tagged: Author

(1935-    ) 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. First 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, set on Earth, investigates a political revolution against an Alien occupier of an Earth which has been treated as roughly as its imperialist citizenry had been treating 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 two young protagonists of This Time of Darkness (1980), a tale for younger children, transcend the bleak Underground Pocket-Universe society in which they have 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. 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. [JC]

Helen Mary Hoover

born Stark County, Ohio: 5 April 1935

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