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New Earth [Hardcover]

Ben Bova

RRP: 14.74
Price: 14.57 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Audio, CD, Audiobook 20.65  
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New Earth + Farside (Grand Tour)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  85 reviews
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bova called this one in... 20 July 2013
By Paul Prince - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a long time reader of Bova, I expected better. While the premise of the story is intriguing, I found Bova's characters to be shallow contrivances, designed to create easy conflicts and even easier resolutions. They were lazily written and entirely unbelievable as Earth's first explorers to another star system. And as I didn't believe in the characters, and found their motivations and intentions to be paper-thin contrivances, I certainly didn't care about what they did or what happened to them. None of it rang true on any level.

While I forced myself to finish the book, I spent most of the time shaking my head at the implausible behaviors and clunky dialogue of these cardboard characters.

Had someone handed me this book without the author's name, I would have guessed it was a debut novel from a young writer with some talent but little training or experience, and I certainly wouldn't have passed it along to anyone else.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 1 Aug 2013
By D. Allen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've been a Ben Bova fan for a long, long time. While he's had a few clunkers in his time none come close to being as bad as this novel.

The three main characters are completely one-dimensional. We get the cookie cutter leader of the aliens who knows more than he is saying, the "leader" of the expedition with the painful past who doesn't actually do much leading in the novel because he's too busy knocking boots with, wait for it, the perfect native girl. The rest of the supporting cast (the scientists on this "scientific expedition") are so completely forgettable that the author feels it necessary to not-so-subtly remind us of their specialty every time that they're in a scene, "hey, why don't you go into the city and meet with this planet's astrophysicists to learn from them?", "hey, go meet with this planet's geologists and see if you can get some information from them", "you know, if you were to spend some time with this planet's biologists you could really learn a thing or two".

As for plot, ooooh, the bureaucrat in a team of scientists falls in love with the perfect native girl and immediately goes native. How very "dances with wolves". It takes 2/3rds of the novel for these "experts" to figure out that the planet has been terraformed although its been beating them in the face since they entered orbit. Also, the novel is full of redundant dialog. "She's as human as any of us", "this is the greatest scientific discovery in the history of mankind and you want to tuck your tails between your legs and run?", "he'll tell us what we need to know. we just need to ask the right questions", "her smile lit up the room [city, forest, planet, universe, whatever]", "isn't it great that we can eat food that's almost but not quite like food on Earth?", and the infamous "I'm going into the city". Oh yes, there's plenty of going into the city. Will he walk into the city? Will he drive into the city? Will he stay in the room provided once in the city or will he go back to the camp at the end of the day? Exactly how big is his cubical in the tent at camp? Did the size change in the four or five times its mentioned? Oh, the partitions are two meters tall? (told at least three times) Gripping.

Finally we get the hamfisted "global warming is bad mmmkay?" over, and over, and over, and over. "Damn our ancestors for not doing anything about global warming until it was too late!".

The plot finally starts to get interesting in the last 20 pages but then of course the story ends.

If this novel was by a self-published first time author my review would be something like "this story has potential but needs some scrubbing by a good editor". However, someone who has been in the game as long as Mr Bova should know better.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars New Yawn 25 July 2013
By bda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've been a Bova fan for years, and eagerly consumed just about every Grand Tour book. I had high hopes that "New Earth" would be a much better effort than the preceding novel, "Farside"(easily the worst Bova book, if not the most boring and tripe filled sci-fi novel I've ever read). He manages to succeed in laying out an intriguing mystery in "New Earth"...for about 100 pages. Unfortunately, it's book-ended by a slow start and baffling conclusion.

Bova has always been really lazy with character development. The personalities of his characters are either completely one-dimensional or inconsequential. Still, he manages to pull off good stories with enough of the hard stuff to keep fans like me happy. But, it seems now he is content to slack off on nearly every aspect of story and character development. There is almost no conflict or resolution beyond the very shallow dramas created by his paper cutout characters...no meat to any of it. I mean, the climax of this book occurs when a character is forced to change his mind about a belief. Really? And, what's the deal with the regular human technology? Apparently, two hundred years from now we can upload our memories to a computer but all communications are handled by Nokia. WTF. Lastly, what is Bova's fascination with eating? Literally, every five pages sets a scenario of "let's talk about what just happened over breakfast/dinner/brunch." And, stop repeating things we already know ad-nauseum like the distance between Sirius C or Meek's distrust of aliens. We get it.

I don't know what to make of these latest efforts by Mr. Bova. Either he needs a new editor or maybe some real soul searching on his current methods of writing. I love his other books, and I've re-read some of them a number of times. I can't see reading any more of his new work at this point.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 28 July 2013
By Patrick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was very excited at the thought of a new Ben Bova book. After reading it, not so much. The characters are shallow. VERY shallow. They do not come across as scientists and researchers much less emotionally developed adults. It read more like a sci-fi trash novel from the 60s written for 13 year olds than a modern sci-fi.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What is this?? 4 Sep 2013
By Stan Barton - Published on Amazon.com
Been a while since I read any of Bova's books and this one sounded interesting. Unfortunately, it was almost unbearable to read. The dialogue is so stilted and the character's motivations and behavior so unrealistic as to be laughable. For example, there's one stick-in-the-mud member of the crew who just can't believe that the "intelligent creatures" occupying the new planet mean the crew and, by extension, all humans, well. Finally, as he realizes the truth, he runs away. Yes, he runs away like a 5 year old child might. We find out that he's just scared that, as an astrobiologist, people will laugh at him because when he returns to Earth he won't have a lot of new discoveries. Yes, that's what he really does. Never mind that he's a hand-picked member of the first human starship crew who travel eight light-years to explore a planet with "intelligent creatures". He runs away because he's afraid people will laugh at him. Then there's Mr. Bova's obsession with making sure we know that the foxy alien girlfriend always wears color-coordinated clothes. Weird! On the positive side, there's not a lot of swearing and only mild sexual innuendo so you can let your kids read it without worry. So, thinking adults: skip this book and let your young teenage kids read it.
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