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Mercury (Ben Bova's Grand Tour of the Solar System) [Hardcover]

Ben Bova
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

14 Feb 2005
The closest planet to the Sun, Mercury is an airless, heat-scorched world where temperatures rise to four times higher than the boiling point of water. But this vision of hell is also a planet with unlimited solar power - worth a fortune to the space tycoon Saito Yamagata if he can find a way to harness it. He has hired the enigmatic Dante Alexios to establish a research station on the surface of the planet and find a way to turn that solar energy into portable power satellites. But Yamagata is secretly also preparing the way to a very different dream: he wants to travel to the stars themselves. And Alexios has his own obsession, a plot to lure an old enemy to this hellhole of a world and take his revenge for one of the worst disasters in human history.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (14 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340823941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340823941
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,629,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'The science fiction author who will have the greatest effect on the world.' Ray Bradbury 'A masterful storyteller' Vector 'A splendid book ... of his many books, Mars must be the most important.' Arthur C. Clarke 'Fun, thought-provoking, pacy and stylish ... Gives a good read while turning your eyes to what might be in the not so distant future, just like Clarke and Asimov used to do so well.' SFX on VENUS 'Vivid, poetic and wonder- provoking.' Foundation on JUPITER

About the Author

An award-winning editor, President Emeritus of the National Space Society and a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, Ben Bova is also the author of more than one hundred futuristic novels and non-fiction books. He and his wife live in Florida.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Patchy and disappointing 18 Mar 2005
Mercury is the latest in Ben Bova's 'Grand Tour of the Solar System' series. Set in the near future it describes a world divided into an authoritarian mix of new religious fundamentalist governments, massive multinationals and heroic scientists and pioneers picking their way through the solar system planet by planet (including the Asteroid belt, setting for the last three books). Mercury is a tale of revenge and Bova is at his best when describing the interplay of human relations and betrayals that forge his characters. Unfortunately the rest of the book is poorly realised and feels unfinished. Admittedly Mercury is perhaps the least interesting of the planets, being a big baked rock, and Bova tries to expand the story with an extended flashback describing the first space elevator and, later, one of the characters' exile to the Asteroid belt. There's nothing here that hasn't been done before and I got the feeling that Bova was retreading old ground, or plagiarising others (I won't spoil the plot but the catastrophe half-way through the book is lifted wholesale from Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars series). His peripheral characters are weak. The arrogant Japanese corporate boss has stepped straight from the pages of Michael Crichton's Rising Sun and trots out the old cliched mistakes about Japanese businessmen being closet samurai. Grammatical errors and poor proof-reading ('despondent' repeated twice in the same paragraph) suggests this book was trotted on out autopilot for the sake of completeness. If you're into the series it's worth reading, if not, I'd either turn to the brilliant Moon series, Jupiter or wait and hope Bova gets back on form with the next planet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm.... 31 Dec 2005
I want to love Sci-fi, really do, and the genre has spawned some excellent books. But this was a struggle. It reads like an excellent author going through the motions, the result is not bad, but it's not excellent. There's some good science in it and an interesting interplay of characters, but they all move about like chess pieces, its very two dimensional. The book also suffers (as does so much sci-fi unfortunaltely) from a very lame depiction of religious characters. What is it with sci-fi and religion? Why do all the religious types veer between Grand Inqusitor and crisis mode? Religious people in sci-fi are either out to win the world or falling from grace with an extended bout of 'sin'.
That said, all of the characters are limited in this way, it reads like a hard sci-fi novel that's lite on true character. I might take my fellow reviewers advice and try the Moon series or 'Jupiter', but the main thing is this, I know Bova's reputation and he is good, really good; so come on Mr Bova, try better next time, because you are capable of so much more!
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2.0 out of 5 stars A miserable attempt by Ben Bova 10 Jun 2006
Ben Bova has written some excellent books, but sadly this one disappoints. The plot is weak, with characters and ideas from earlier books now over-used. Mercury itself plays a very small part in the story - much of the story is set on Earth - and the "big event" in the book is a poor shadow of a plot line in Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars series.

Fortunately, Ben is running out of planets.
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