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'Venus' by Ben Bova

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Posted by Ed Walker (1st Oct 2000, 18:41)

Originally published in Wyrmtongue October 2000.

Set in the same universe as his excellent 'Moonbase' and 'Mars' books this is his latest novel to be released in paperback.

The story describes the second manned expedition to Venus which is lead by Van Humphries, a spoilt rich kid whose brother, Alex, died in the fateful first expedition to Venus when his dirigible crashed in unknown circumstances. Upon learning that his father was cutting Van off and setting up a ten billion dollar prize for the recovery of Alex's body from the Venus surface, Van decides to try and recover the body and builds a dirigible ship, the Hesperos, suitable for use in the venusian atmosphere. Enroute from Earth to Venus the Hesperos is overtaken by a competing ship from the asteroid belt, upon reaching Venus both ships enter the atmosphere but the Hesperos is destroyed by a microscopic life form in the sulfuric acid clouds. Some of the Hesperos's crew manage to get picked up by the mystery ship, the Lucifer, which goes on to reach the surface where Van picks up an escape capsule from his brothers ship that contains Alex's body.

This is a very good book from one of the best hard SF authors around at the moment and proved to be a compulsive page turner, the physics of the story are spot on as usual and the possibility of life on Venus is covered very well. The descriptions of life one hundred years in the future are extremely good with the latest research on ageing and diseases carried through to their logical ends. The only possible drawback to this story is that at times it seems to move extremely slowly, but it is still well worth buying, but not possibly as your first introduction to Ben Bova's work.


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- Mars 1: Mars

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- Bova, Ben

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