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Half the Day is Night
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Half the Day is Night

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  167 ratings  ·  17 reviews
War veteran David Dai has come to ocean-bottom Caribe to work as bodyguard to Mayla Ling, banker and scion to the undersea city's old-money set. But as Mayla negotiates the biggest deal of her life, she draws the attention of terrorists who threaten to plunge her, and David, back into the nightmare of his violent past.
Paperback, 375 pages
Published January 30th 1996 by Tor (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 299)
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Wealhtheow
In the underground city of Caribe in the near-future, Mayla is in the midst of tense financial negotiations. Her insurance agency requires her to have a bodyguard, so she hires David Dai, a former French soldier with an injured knee and a veiled case of PTSD. After terrorists approach David for help and then make an attempt on Mayla's life, David vanishes into Caribe's underworld. Mayla soon follows.

Starts wonderfully, but peters out into mind-numbing quotidian detail and plots that the main cha
...more
Becky
This book didn't grab me until page 126, but I'm so enamored with China Mountain Zhang and McHugh's short fiction that I kept plodding along anyway.

McHugh does a great job creating an interesting near-future science fiction world and immersing readers in her characters' lives. David and Mayla spend the novel disoriented and traumatized. There's a definite pleasure reading about non-heroic characters dealing with tense situations in fumbling, human ways.

But the plot / pacing were muddled, and on
...more
Lanise Brown
I had high hopes for Half the Day Is Night by Maureen F. McHugh. Sadly, while the book has the most amazing world-building and realistic characters, it fails to provide the tension and suspense this story desperately needs.

Half the Day Is Night is a science fiction novel that's also presented as a thriller (as the book jacket describes). Supposedly, it's a thrilling ride through the lives of David Dai and Mayla Ling, the story’s protagonists. However, David and Mayla’s lives appear so realistic
...more
Kelly
While the characters fall flat, the backdrop steals the stage.

With the exception of Mothers & Other Monsters, I’ve read all of Maureen McHugh’s novels and anthologies. (“Devoured” is more like it, having consumed them all in the space of just a few months.) While somewhat enjoyable, Half the Day is Night is not McHugh’s best work.

Perhaps the lackluster reviews I saw previous to reading the book colored my perception of it, but I had trouble empathizing with – or even caring a whit about – th
...more
Althea Ann
When French/Asian war veteran David Dai accepts a job as a security guard to a female banker in the Caribbean, he's expecting to be able to get away from the violence and trauma of fighting in Africa. However, the underwater domes of the cities of Caribe and Marincite are hardly the tropical paradise he was unconsciously expecting. Rather, they are torn by poverty and social unrest, and plagued by corrupt and incompetent authorities. The resentful former holder of his job is still at his employe ...more
Madeline Ashby
I really wanted to finish this. Truly, I did. I had a big long car trip with which to do so, and everything. And after reading a recent post by Charlie Stross on reading more work by female writers, I decided to give this one a go. It was very engaging in its first half, but then the characters begin making decisions that make very little sense -- one protagonist decides to simply disappear from accusations that have yet to be made, while another succumbs to corporate pressure and loses her life ...more
Craig
Most people regard HALF THE DAY IS NIGHT as McHugh's weakest novel, but I always believed is was one of the best. True, the characters are over-shadowed by the setting and plot, but in this case I see that as the strength of the latter rather than any weakness in the former. It's a fine book, well worth the time of giving it a chance.
Eleanor R
This is my least favorite by this author, though that's not saying much... I just loved the other books I've read by her (China Mountain Zhang, Mission Child, Nekropolis) a lot more. The first half has still really good: McHugh is wonderful at creating a believable setting and inhabiting it with interesting characters. But this setting seemed even less fantastic and the plot even more aimless than usual, and by the end, I was just finishing it to finish it.
Andreas
Apr 29, 2008 Andreas rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody - skip this book!
I didn't like the book. The setting itself is not bad but the plot is very boring. I also didn't understand the motivation of the characters and stopped caring after a while. A waste of time. Better read Nekropolis or China Mountain Zhang.

It's are real pitty because someone who starts with this book will never pick up a book from the author again.
Kris
I love her, but this isn't her best...read Mothers and Other Monsters instead. I love it so much, I gave a copy to my grandmother. How she felt about it, I don't know, but it's the principle. Anyway, I did appreciate the world she created here, but the story felt choppy.
Genevieve
Set in a city on the floor of the Caribbean ocean in the fairly-near future. I liked the believable and not U.S.A.-based worldbuilding, but was a bit disappointed by the plot and what the characters ended up doing--there was potential that seemed to me to be squandered.
Jed
My fascination with the mechanics of the underwater city couldn't make up for a weak story and seemingly unedited prose that often rambled on without purpose. A disappointing followup to China Mountain Zhang.
Brandon
The author's style take a bit of getting used. It is lacking in emotion, kind of dry. Story is okay, characters are good. The ending is a bit contrived though.
Phil
A little too much intrigue and not enough relationship for me. But a well thought out "dome under the ocean" setting and a good escape from our own suburban lives.
Jennifer
While the writing was good I had a difficult time relating to the characters. I so wanted to like this book especially since my cousin gave it to me.
Dawn
It all started out good and about half way through it turned very strange indeed! I couldn't even finish the last 1/4 of the book!
Corey
This was pretty good. Some funny grammatical errors in the finished book. Where are the editors these days?
Katie
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Dec 15, 2014
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Maureen F. McHugh (born 1959) is a science fiction and fantasy writer.

Her first published story appeared in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in 1989. Since then, she has written four novels and over twenty short stories. Her first novel, China Mountain Zhang (1992), was nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula Award, and won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. In 1996 she won a Hugo Award for h
...more
More about Maureen F. McHugh...
China Mountain Zhang After the Apocalypse Nekropolis Mothers & Other Monsters: Stories Mission Child

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