A book by Ben Bova

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Character driven story

  • Jul 5, 2003
  • by
Ben Bova's "Venus" is a fairly good story. I was a little turned off at first because it is written in first person, which I am not a big fan of and hadn't read a first person novel in a really long time. However, about halfway through the book, I realized the importance of the first person point of few when other strong characters were introduced.

This is less a science fiction story and more a character journey in a scientific world. If you are looking for hard core scientific observations and manipulations I recommend other stories, such as Kim Stanley Robinson's "Red Mars." However, there is a lot of speculative science fiction the Bova introduces on the interior of the Venusian world, which is interesting and facinating.

It does take a while for this book to really grasp you, but none-the-less it is worth the read if you are a Bova fan, or interested in our solar system. It is great the way Bova has researched the real world of venus, and then put in his own fantasy elements based on possibilities.

To sum up, this is a first person book that is driven by the characters. It is more the characters coming to realization of who and what they are and them trying to overcome their weaknesses while completing their objectives than hard core science. My favorite character is definately Fuchs.

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September 23, 2010
Great write-up!
More Venus reviews
review by . September 18, 2001
. . .with this shallow, unbelievable novel.Ben Bova has, over the years, provided the Science Fiction reader with solid "hard-science" fiction novels, set in the near future, exploring technological ideas which are reasonable. Although character development has never been his strong suit, this has not, to my mind, been a significant detraction.Until now.In this novel, Bova's reliance on science is far weaker than in his novels dealing with Mars or the Moon -- and bases his plot around a totally …
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About this book


Ben Bova picked his villains well for this fast-paced, popcorn-and-Milk- Duds matinee: Topping the playbill is our sister planet, Venus itself, which Bova matter-of-factly describes as "the most hellish place in the solar system." Sci-fi authors (Bova included) have all but colonized Mars by now, but few have boldly gone to the aluminum-melting, sulfuric-acid-soaked surface of the Morning Star. Venus proves a mighty, unthinking antagonist indeed--frustrating the efforts of sickly but likable rich kid Van Humphries to land there and recover the remains of his older brother Alex, who died two years earlier on another ill-fated mission.

Van gets pushed back and forth between the book's two lesser villains--his mean old cuss of a father, Martin Humphries, who's posted the $10 billion Venus Prize to the first person to return Alex's body, and Lars Fuchs, a belligerent asteroid miner and Martin's arch-nemesis, who's also decided to make a go at the purse.

Characterizations ride coach on this high-adventure flight, but remember that we're talking about Ben Bova here. It's hard to dispute the master's choices as you're following Van's well-researched, thrills-and-chills descent through Venus's pressure-cooker atmosphere. With solid science, a palatable environmental message (how could you resist commenting on greenhouse gases in a book like this?), and an inspiring character arc for unlikely hero Van, Venus delivers guilt-free, man-against-nature SF in a tight, page-turning package. ...

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ISBN-10: 0812579402
ISBN-13: 978-0812579406
Author: Ben Bova
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Science Fiction
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