FSFH Book Review

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Abnett, Dan
Adams, Douglas
Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto
Allen, Roger MacBride
Allie, Scott
Allston, Aaron
Anderson, Kevin J.
Barclay, James
Barnes, Steven
Baum, L. Frank
Bear, Greg
Bendis, Brian Michael
Bischoff, David
Bisson, Terry
Blackman, Haden
Bova, Ben
Bowen, Carl
Brooks, Terry
Canavan, Trudi
Card, Orson Scott
Chadwick, Paul
Clarke, Arthur C.
Clarke, Susanna
Clemens, James
Collins, Paul
Crichton, Michael
Crispin, A. C.
Cunningham, Elaine
Daley, Brian
David, Peter
DeMatteis, J. M.
Denning, Troy
Dick, Philip K.
Dickens, Charles
Dietz, William C.
Dixon, Chuck
Donaldson, Stephen
Eddings, David
Edginton, Ian
Elrod, P. N.
Erikson, Steven
Feist, Raymond E.
Foster, Alan Dean
Fraction, Matt
Furman, Simon
Gaiman, Neil
Gemmell, David A.
Gerber, Michael
Gibbons, Dave
Golden, Christopher
Goodkind, Terry
Goodwin, Archie
Graham, Mitchell
Grant, Alan
Green, Jonathan
Green, Laurence
Guggenheim, Marc
Hagberg, David
Hambly, Barbara
Hamilton, Laurell K.
Hand, Elizabeth
Harras, Bob
Harrison, Mick
Heinlein, Robert A.
Herbert, Frank
Herbert, James
Hine, David
Hobb, Robin
Howard, Robert E.
Jacques, Brian
James, Charlie Hamilton
Jenkins, Paul
Jeter, K. W.
Johns, Geoff
Jones, J. V.
Jordan, Robert
Jurgens, Dan
Karpyshyn, Drew
Kennedy, Mike
Kerr, Katharine
Keyes, Greg
King, Stephen
King, William
Knaak, Richard A.
Kube-McDowell, Michael P.
Lawhead, Stephen
Layman, John
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Lewis, C. S.
Lieberman, A. J.
Loeb, Jeph
Lorey, Dean
Lowder, James
Luceno, James
Lumley, Brian
Macan, Darko
Manning, Russ
Martin, George R. R.
Marz, Ron
Matheson, Richard
McCaffrey, Anne
McIntosh, Neil
McIntyre, Vonda
Michelinie, David
Millar, Mark
Miller, John Jackson
Miller, Karen
Milligan, Peter
Moench, Doug
Moesta, Rebecca
Moore, Alan
Nicholls, Stan
Nicieza, Fabian
Nylund, Eric
O'Neil, Dennis
Ostrander, John
Paolini, Christopher
Perry, S. D.
Perry, Steve
Pratchett, Terry
Pullman, Philip
Quinn, David
Reaves, Michael
Reed, A. W.
Reed, Brian
Rice, Anne
Richardson, Nancy
Roberts, Adam
Rowe, Matthew
Rowling, J. K.
Rubio, Kevin
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn
Salvatore, R.A.
Shelley, Mary
Shultz, Mark
Simone, Gail
Simonson, Louise
Simonson, Walter
Smith, L. Neil
Spurrier, Simon
Stackpole, Michael A.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Stewart, Sean
Stoker, Bram
Stover, Matthew
Straczynski, J. Michael
Stradley, Randy
Strnad, Jan
Sutcliff, Rosemary
Tolkien, J.R.R.
Traviss, Karen
Truman, Tim
Turtledove, Harry
Tyers, Kathy
van Belkom, Edo
Veitch, Tom
Wagner, John
Watson, Jude
Whitman, John
Williams, Sean
Williams, Tad
Williams, Walter Jon
Windham, Ryder
Wolverton, Dave
Woodring, Jim
Wurts, Janny
Yeovil, Jack
Zahn, Timothy
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Reviewing Literature
The Books of Ben Bova

Ben Bova holds degrees from both the State University of New York and Temple University, Philadelphia.  Editor and President of the Science Fiction Writers of America, Bova has written shed-loads of SF novels.  He and his wife live in Connecticut and Florida.
Average Review Score: 4 out of 5 (2 books)

Part of Bova's loose Grand Tour series, 'Mars' tells the story of mankind's first journey to our nearest neighbour.  It centres around Jamie Waterman, a man of Native American descent, who is added to the international team of scientists at the last minute.  Bova's science is solid and believable, but like Arthur C. Clarke, he know that it is important to make the actual people the focus of the story.  There is plenty of tension created by politics, international and sexual, and the interpersonal relationships develop well.  The actual events on Mars itself make for excellent reading, although vitamin C deficiency isn't necesarily the most dramatic threat he could have featured.  The book's only real failing is that it belabours old prejudices that really shouldn't be a factor.  The American-Russian thing is one such, but by far the worse offender is the constant references to the persecution of the Native Americans.  I mean, it gets to the point where you think 'brush the chip off your shoulder and get over it'.  I'm not trying to trivialise the issue, but it simply wasn't relevant.  There's also a rather hideous stereotype of an Englishman too.
4 out of 5
'Listen to the wisdom of the Old Ones:'
Part of the Grand Tour series.  Now, I'll give you three guesses as to which planet in the solar system this book deals with...  The reason for the interplanetary mission is slightly different here however.  The ruthless and arrogant billionaire Martin Humphries sets a challenge worth ten billion dollars; for someone to recover the remains of his eldest son who crashed on Venus years before.  The first to take up the challenge is Humphries' younger son, Van.  The relationship between these two characters started off as painfully cliche, with the father resenting the son for a) killing the mother in childbirth and b) surviving when the older child died.  Basically, think Denethor and Faramir in Lord of the Rings.  The other character to take up the challenge is the secretive and rage-filled Lars Fuchs, determined to get one over on his old enemy Humphries.  Together with the cliched family dynamic and the fractured skip-a-bit nature of the first few chapters, I found it hard to get into this book.  However, if you persevere, you will be rewarded.  The story becomes intriguing and thrilling once the descent into Venus' sulphuric acid clouds begins and soon had me hooked.  The twist in the family tale is fairly predictable, but is a hell of a lot better than how it starts off.  In the end it is the ferocity of Venus as a planet which steals the show, even if Bova's otherwise brilliant descriptions are occasionally marred by overuse of the Hell metaphor.
4 out of 5
'I was late and I knew it.'

If you liked Bova:

The I strongly recommend Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey books (particularly '2010: Odyssey Two').

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