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Mars, Inc.: The Billionaire's Club Hardcover – 10 Dec 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books (10 Dec 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451639341
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451639346
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 945,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Garth A. Barber on 5 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
All about Billionaires rather than Mars, as the title suggested I guess!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is actually a very realistic scenario where some of the world's top billionaires club together to fund the first mission to Mars.
As usual Ben Bova crafts some really good characters with a entertaining & engaging plot that keeps you coming back to read.
Hope to see the sequel hit the book stories soon.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 22 reviews
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Stuck in the past (3.5 stars) 6 Dec 2013
By TChris - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Mars, Inc. is a book about an aging man written by an aging man. It has the feel of 1950s science fiction. Sometimes that's a good thing. I like the "sense of wonder" that pervades a lot of 1950s sf and Bova captures a little of that here. But in style and content, Mars, Inc. seems like a novel written by a science fiction writer who is stuck in the past.

A billionaire named Art Thrasher persuades other billionaires to invest in a manned mission to Mars because ... it's the right thing to do? Bova's optimistic view of capitalism, and of the willingness of billionaires to spend billions on a project that is unlikely to return their investment, seems naïve, but that's the premise. Thrasher spends half his time complaining that politicians have devoted their lives to spending his wealth and the other half complaining that politicians aren't giving more funding to NASA. He doesn't have much insight into his own hypocrisy but most people don't, so in that sense Thrasher is a realistic character. The fact that he's an old horndog is the most interesting aspect of his personality. In most other respects, Thrasher is a pretty boring guy, despite Bova's effort to give him the feistiness of a Ross Perot.

Bova generally skips over the details of rocket design and manufacture, focusing instead (in a fairly simplistic way) on politics and finance. He does give us a tour of the spacecraft, a conventional vehicle that has been described by sf writers hundreds of times. Eventually the plot incorporates a mystery theme as Thrasher suspects the Mars project is being sabotaged and that someone is trying to take over his company. Bova invites the reader to select from the several suspects he puts on display. The method of detection that uncovers the culprit has more to do with wishful thinking than forensic science, and the reveal is less than surprising.

While sex gives Thrasher something to do in his free time (and something to think about the rest of the time), a subplot of romance that emerges in the novel's second half would be at home in an old, black-and-white television sitcom. It contributes to the story's dated feel. Apart from being stale, the story as a whole just isn't as interesting as science fiction should be.

Mars, Inc. certainly isn't an awful novel. It moves quickly and it's easy reading. Bova is a capable writer who knows how to keep readers turning the pages. The story lends itself to a sequel and I might even read it. This time out, however, Bova didn't write anything that hasn't been written before, and long ago. I would give Mars, Inc. 3 1/2 stars if I could.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
An entertaining read 6 Dec 2013
By S. Crouch - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ben Bova's books are generally entertaining without being great works of literature and Mars Inc. The Billionaire's Club is no exception. The main character is Art Thrasher who manages to persuade a group of billionaires to contribute a billion dollars each year for five years to finance a human mission to Mars. Art feels that the Mars trip has to be done and there is no hope that NASA will ever do it given that the US Government space program seems permanently stuck in low earth orbit. Perhaps this book was inspired by "Inspiration Mars" the planned fly-by of Mars in 2018 sponsored by space tourist Dennis Tito. Art's plan is of course laughingly unfeasible but private enterprise looks like playing an increasing part in the future of the US space program. The technical problems of getting a human expedition to Mars are huge though and this book almost completely ignores them. It has to be said though that we are probably technically closer to landing on Mars than we were to landing on the moon when Kennedy made his famous speech in 1961.

In spite of all the technical faults though this is an entertaining read with Bova doing a better job than usual with his characters. Art's faithful private secretary, various business rivals and employees all play a major part. There is a conspiracy to sabotage the project and various romantic entanglements for Art. Overall I liked it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Mystery Novel with very little Science Fiction, from Ben Bova? 1 Mar 2014
By Timothy Pecoraro - Published on
Format: Hardcover
First and foremost I would like to admit that I don’t think I was the intended audience for this book. That being said however, most of what there is not to like about Mars, Inc. Has nothing to do with Hard Scifi at all. In fact, this book could have easily been a mystery novel with the Mars Mission as it’s backdrop. In fact, it is… There is very little to nothing about actually going to Mars in this book. Except perhaps what you would find in a 20 minute blurb on the Discovery Channel. The majority of the book is about the trials and tribulations of Art Thrasher and his need to get humans to Mars. But by the end of the book you are fully and completely sure you have been duped by a Scifi author into reading their first mystery novel. Because there is no little science here that it could have been cut out completely and it wouldn’t have made any difference to the main plot of the story.

For the majority of Mars Inc. I was bored and for the rest I was waiting to see if some revelation around the corner would foster a cool Scifi story but it never did. If this is Ben Bova’s bridge book to the mystery genre; good for him. If not, it’s a terrible book.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Billionaires fund a mission to Mars. Will they make it ?Who is the saboteur? 28 Dec 2013
By fastreader - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ben Bova has developed a writing style that incorporates great characters and a plot that keeps on giving. The pace is even and brisk, there are no slumps in it. Nor is it wound up and wound down.

What this means are that his books are a joy to read.

In this book we find Art Thrasher trying to move the USA to the next stage and that stage is exploring the planets. In fact Mars will do just fine.

The only problem is that to government such a venture is pretty low on their priority list. Thrasher thinks it would be cheaper and faster for the private sector to do it then government anyway.

Soon he is talking to various billionaires in the country with a proposal for them each to invest one Billion dollars per year for 5 years. If he can get 20 billionaires to participate he figures One Hundred Billion Dollars should get them to Mars, and back.

He raises the money and then the fun starts as he runs into brick walls when dealing with government and someone seems intent on destroying the program.

Will humanity get to Mars ?

You’ll have to read the book to find out. RECOMMENDED
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Excellent. Definitely worth reading 4 Dec 2013
By Steve G - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book. Author Ben Bova created compelling characters and excellent dialogue. There was no gratuitous violence. It was fun to read. There is science, romance and finance. There is also a who-dunnit aspect to the book that was very well done (pun intended). The book was hard to put down and it had me at the edge of my seat up to the end. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys science fiction. And if you don’t enjoy science fiction, try this book and you will. The story is universal enough that it should appeal to everyone.
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