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The Precipice (Asteroid Wars) [Mass Market Paperback]

Ben Bova
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (15 Dec 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812579895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812579895
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.7 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,318,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Essef - Once, Dan Radolph was one of the richest men on Earth, but now that the planet is spiralling into environmental disaster, he must look to the wealth of the stars to save the economy. Martin Humphries is also aware of the potential of space-based industry, but he does not care if Earth perishes.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Precipice (the asteroid wars) by Ben Bova 2 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A "slow-burner" to begin with but necessary to set the scene. Ben bova does what he does best which is making the reader feel like they are actually there,living and breathing in the story itself. I love his style of writing and if you do too then this won't disappoint. Nothing more to say other than I need to download the next book in the series ASAP
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars book 18 May 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Havent had book yet.sent email bout this but cudnt open the 1 they sent bk.would be nice to get it as got other books in set n need this 1st
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interplanetary Imperialism 27 Aug 2006
By Arthur W. Jordin - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Precipice (2001) is the first SF novel of the Asteroid Wars series. In this volume, Earth has reached the greenhouse cliff, the threshold where the world's climate changes drastically in a very short time. Although the greenhouse effect had been hotly debated, the current evidence could not be rebutted. The icecaps were melting and storms tore savagely at human infrastructure.

Dan Randolph is one of the victims of the new weather patterns. Jane Scanwell died trying to rescue people stranded by the flooding of the Tennessee River. Dan had not known how much he loved her until she was no longer there.

Randolph is determined to alleviate the greenhouse effects as much as possible by moving industry into space and providing raw materials from the Belt. Only one asteroid has ever been brought to Earth in the past; of course, the operation bankrupted Sam Gunn, but it was successful. Now Dan needs a less expensive way to mine the Belt and Martin Humphries shows him such a method.

Lyall Duncan has developed a small fusion power source. Unlike most such sources, the Duncan fusion device is small enough to fit into an old cruise missile used as a test vehicle. The results of this test suggest that a large version would be capable of powering a manned vehicle to the Belt in record time.

Although Humphries has offered to underwrite the initial voyage, Dan just doesn't trust him. Humphries has made his billions by merging smaller companies into his Humphries Space Systems and Randolph's company, Astro Manufacturing, seems to be the old Humper's next target.

While Randolph tries to get other concerns -- public and private -- to fund the first fusion drive spaceship, Pancho Lane has been taken off her piloting duties and assigned, with Amanda Cunningham, to the new fusion drive project. Humphries has recruited her to spy on Randolph, but Pancho doesn't really know anything; besides, she has already confessed her extracurricular activities to Randolph, whom she is beginning to admire. Humphries, however, is still unaware of her new role as a double agent.

Randolph finally exhausts his list of earthside contacts and takes his case to the Moon. Douglas Stavenger, founder of Masterson Aerospace and leader of the Lunar succession from the old United Nations, is still chairman emeritus of Masterson and is government head of Selene. Stavenger has made full use of nanotechnology for maintenance of his body and thus looks much younger than Dan. As they talk, Randolph learns that Humphries has blocked any deal with Masterson by buying a majority interest in the company. Stavenger, however, points out than Selene is quite willing to partner with his company in the development of nanomachines to make fusion drive units.

This novel is one of many works in the Grand Tour universe. Most of the major players in this novel are also found in other unrelated stories. Moreover, three other novels are direct prequels to this work.

Bova has been writing Science Fiction for several decades and was editor of Analog magazine and fiction editor of Omni. Since 1992, he has been concentrating on the Grand Tour novels, with a common political background and an expanding technology. These novels relate the exploration and settlement of the Solar System, from Mercury to Saturn, using engineering solutions based on today's knowledge and speculation.

Highly recommended for Bova fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of interplanetary adventure, political intrigue and cutthroat capitalism.

-Arthur W. Jordin
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great entertainment from my favorite writer 6 Dec 2001
By Brent Ziarnick - Published on
Continuing the story of Dan Randolph, the hero of Ben's books Privateers and Empire Builders, I found this book to be very enjoyable. Ben Bova writes the clearest, most epic, and most believable near future fiction I've ever encountered. The Precipice is most interesting, though, because it combines storylines from many other books besides the Dan Randolph series, notably Moonbase and Moonwar, allowing me to become reacquainted with some characters I'd long forgot about. Also, Ben's book Venus alludes to the Asteroid War, and since The Precipice is just book one of a chronicle of the War, I'm going to be eagerly awaiting the next books.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Earth in the balance--one man must act 14 Jan 2002
By booksforabuck - Published on
Dan Randolph has spent his life in a failed attempt to save the earth from her own errors. Now, global warming has accelerated, the seas are rising, and starvation is a real threat. Worse, politics prevents the earth from taking full advantage of space technologies and Dan's company teeters on the brink of bankruptcy. When a rich, if crooked entrepreneur suggests using fusion ships to mine the asteroid belts, Dan sees a way to finally make a difference, or lose everything.
Set in a near-future earth, author Ben Bova presents a frightfully realistic view of how the world may go. In the face of obvious disaster, the Earth has changed--but not in always constructive ways. The dominant New Morality movement sees anything that changes the present as a threat, and Dan's old enemies unite to prevent him from achieving his dreams. Only by using forbidden nano-technology, and by relying on a wild pilot/thief, can Dan have a chance to achieve his dream.
Bova is a long-time master of science fiction and writes a smooth and convincing tale. Both Dan Randolph and space-jock Pancho Lane are well developed and motivated characters. Bova, however, missed a chance to move his novel up a notch by making villain Martin Humprhies one-dimensional rather than allowing him a misguided heroism of his own.
Unlike many other novels of the near-future dystopia, Bova believes that the heroic individual can make a difference, and that makes THE PRECIPICE an enjoyable read. The novel is the first of THE ASTEROID WARS series, but may be read independently.
Three Stars
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Science and Politics in the Future 14 May 2004
By Michael A. Newman - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really wanted to give this book 3 1/2 stars. Why I chose 4 is that it seems to give a realistic view of the near future where the moon has been settled to the point where it is now an independent nation. The Earth is beginning the cataclysmic effects from global warming. Nanotechnology has evolved to new heights to the point where nanobots can be implanted into humans to enhance the immune system to the point where human bodies no longer grow old. Religious fanatics have banned all such persons from the Earth because they feel that eliminating natural death is tampering with G-d.
Dan Randolph (from some of Bova's previous novels) has become a do-gooder enterprenur who wants to build a fusion powered rocket and begin mining the Asteroid belt for the benefit of humanity. He is teamed with Martin Humphries, the prototypical "evil capitalist" who will provide the funding to make a great deal of money with the ultimate goal of double-crossing Randolph and taking his company.
Randolph plans to use two women pilots to fly his expedition, the tough as nails Pancho (her real name is Pricilla, but she will sic her snake on anyone that calls her that) and Amanda, who is a combination of looks and brains. Humphries has plans to make Amanda his third wife and wants to prevent her from flying to the belt, because of the danger involved.
Why I didn't rate this book higher is because the characters seem to be stiff and the male/female relationships are extremely boring.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as his other books 12 Oct 2003
By Gary Riley - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've enjoyed all of Bova's books that chronicle the exploration of our solar system. Compared to his other books, however, this one wasn't quite as interesting. The strength of his stories is always in the science. This story had more focus on characters, which he doesn't handle quite as well. If you liked Moonrise and Moonwar, this book is worth reading since it's the next step in the progression of that story, but if you're just starting with Bova, his books Mars, Venus, and Jupiter are much more entertaining.
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