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Leviathans of Jupiter: The Grand Tour Series | [Ben Bova]

Leviathans of Jupiter: The Grand Tour Series

In Ben Bova’s novel Jupiter, physicist Grant Archer led an expedition into Jupiter’s planet-wide ocean, attempting to study the unusual and massive creatures that call the planet their home. Unprepared for the hostile environment and crushing pressures, Grant’s team faced certain death as their ship malfunctioned and slowly sank to the planet’s depths. However, one of Jupiter’s native creatures—a city-sized leviathan—saved the doomed ship.
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Publisher's Summary

What secrets lurk in the depths of Jupiter’s oceans?

In Ben Bova’s novel Jupiter, physicist Grant Archer led an expedition into Jupiter’s planet-wide ocean, attempting to study the unusual and massive creatures that call the planet their home. Unprepared for the hostile environment and crushing pressures, Grant’s team faced certain death as their ship malfunctioned and slowly sank to the planet’s depths. However, one of Jupiter’s native creatures—a city-sized leviathan—saved the doomed ship. This creature’s act convinced Grant that they were intelligent, but he lacked scientific proof. Now, several years later, Grant prepares a new expedition to prove it once and for all. The new team faces dangers from both the hostile environment and from humans who will do anything to make sure the mission is a failure—even if it means murdering the entire crew.

©2011 Ben Bova (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Fully realized characters and a fast-action plot…Bova’s fans and hard SF lovers should flock to his latest novel.” (Library Journal)

“Multiple Hugo winner Bova’s 18th Grand Tour novel is a quick-paced space adventure.” (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (128 )
5 star
 (39)
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3.8 (99 )
5 star
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3 star
 (21)
2 star
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Story
3.9 (101 )
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3 star
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2 star
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 (6)
Performance
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  •  
    Conker La Crescent, MN, United States 07-10-12
    Conker La Crescent, MN, United States 07-10-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    5
    5
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    "Deeply Flawed"

    I'm quite sad that this novel isn't good as there are good ideas present within. The fact that I spent five bucks and wanted something worth my money is also present, but let's forgo that.

    The biggest problem is the antagonist of this book. Westfall is completely unneeded given the plot of exploring an alien planet and trying to make contact with the life there. The whole novel could have hinged on "Man vs Alien" and "Man vs Environment" and been better for it. Westfall's inclusion is unnecessary, made even worse in that her character is completely idiotic. Her motives are downright stupid, as are her actions. Other characters are intimidated and afraid of her, apparently forgetting that they are all weeks away from Earth orbiting Jupiter; she's powerless there. Many of the main characters, and the protagonist, know she's up to something sinister, but they never confront her on this like rational people. She honestly ruins the novel.

    The book is a slow moving mess, preferring to absorb itself in politics rather than the alien planet and the alien life. It's not until around hour 12 or so that the characters make it to Jupiter. Too much time is spent on board Station Gold in an attempt to establish unneeded and poorly constructed sub plots. There's a lengthy time devoted to two of the main characters talking with dolphins, trying to prove that they are smarter than they appear, and it all falls flat.

    One of the main characters, D, is a girl. Now, there are some small hints at how she needs to take care of herself and watch out, but those don't go anywhere. I know it's odd to wish a book to take a turn to the dark side, but seeing as Station Gold is a closed system with a finite amount of men and women, the possibility of sexual assault and the like is surely there, yet never dealt with. Everyone finds D attractive, yet only two people flirt with her, and one of those people does it more as a joke than anything else.

    Some of the characters, just in general, seem stupid in regards to what they say and do. This isn't the kind of realistic stupidity, but more the kind that is needed to advance the plot.

    There are also brief mentions of religion, but the author doesn't do anything with them. Unlike C.S. Lewis who based his entire science fiction stories around religious themes, those in this novel appear and disappear at random, almost acting as subliminal messages than actual motifs or themes. It's both annoying and disappointing.

    There are good ideas here, but it takes too long to get to them. Some aren't even contemplated. I will say, it's narrated really well which can make or break an audiobook.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lady Pamela New Mexico 04-11-15
    Lady Pamela New Mexico 04-11-15

    And Buffalo George

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    87
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    Story
    "Life Elsewhere?"

    The question this book asks is "If we met an alien life form, how would me determine if it was intelligent? Also, how would the alien life form determine if we were intelligent? Westfall's inclusion as antagonist is unnecessary, made even worse in that her character is idiotic, her motives are stupid, as are her actions. I would have liked to see more politics by the Leviathan elders as it would have been the aliens discovering about us and about paradigm changes. Ben Bova knows how to tell a good story and I want to see if the heroine returns.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer MARION, IA, United States 06-29-12
    Amazon Customer MARION, IA, United States 06-29-12

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    33
    4
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    "Don't get this book"

    Don't waste your money and buy this book. I have tried to read Ben Bova years ago and forgot why I stoped at only the one book. His writing is awful. How many times do we have to hear a conversation "He said..." "She said..." "He said..." "She said...." "He said..." on and on and on. Come on, when writing conversations between two people, we, the readers, can follow without labeling every line. He also wrote obvious lines like when two characters were talking, then the female character had to explain the motive of the male's portion of the conversation....Like we couldn't figure that out ourselves. I will not listen to another Ben Bova book again and I will remember why..

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JSH 05-28-12
    JSH 05-28-12

    Clinical treatment and research awareness. Sci-fi to Science to Maximim PC/parenting. How to best network HDMA? 70% SciFi-thrillers-30% science

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    "Another hit as expected."

    Bova ia consistently excellent. I grew up on sci fi and he is one of the greats.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy LANCASTER, CA, United States 07-18-11
    Randy LANCASTER, CA, United States 07-18-11 Member Since 2010

    Auto Repair shop owner. I love Yoga, and playing my Fender Stratocaster. I Walk my dogs twice a day.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    65
    ratings
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    35
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    Overall
    "Gotta love Bova"

    I will work my way through Bova's solar system and enjoy every minute of it.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-5 of 5 results
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  • S. Morris
    London, UK
    4/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not As Good As "Jupiter""

    Having read and enjoyed the forerunner to this story I selected "leviathans
    of Jupiter" as my next read so that I could find out more about the
    mysterious creatures we encountered in that first story, "Jupiter". I was
    also wanting to see how the main character in the prequel, Grant Archer had
    got on and so I looked forward to this book despite the generally
    unfavourable reviews I had read.

    In summary, I found the novel not quite as good as the first story and I put
    this down largely to some of the characters. As I have said in my previous
    reviews, Bova has a somewhat hit and miss record when it comes to getting
    his characters right and he has got some misses here. However, what I think
    was the worst aspect of the book and one I've seen repeated on several other
    Bova stories is the multi-narrator format. In my view this type of format
    doesn't work or perhaps I should say that it might work better if the choice
    of narrators was better. Stefan Rudnicki did his usual competent job of
    narration but alas his contributions were minimal. The first English
    accented female narrator we hear in the story that describes Jupiter to the
    listener tends to have a tone in her voice as if she's relating the
    narrative to a group of 10 year olds sat in class which was slightly
    irritating. There is another English accented female that does the majority
    of the Catherine Westfall character and she does the Australian accent
    perfectly. However, she does a an almost pantomime rendition of all male
    characters in an over attempt to compensate for a deeper male voice.

    The narrator that performs the "D" character was OK but when she spoke the
    lines of the Corvis or Yeager characters she tended to sort of do it as if
    they were almost shouting or were exclaiming everything. The fewest
    contributions were by another American accented female who largely spoke the
    Linda character and her voice was awful. Grating and nasal sounding it
    really was so bad it left me reducing audio volume as she spoke.

    I get the aim of doing this narration approach as it supposedly allows
    better distinction between the main characters by having different speakers
    voice their parts but to me it undermines the series continuity of having a
    single narrator in the form of Rudnicki. Also, I found that when two
    narrators had to voice the same character at times that accents used were
    different. Catherine Westfall for example was clearly meant to be an
    Australian but one narrator made her sound more English. A middle eastern
    character was made to sound somewhere between Irish and Jamaican by one
    female speaker. Stefan Rudnicki is far better at multiple accents than the
    other narrators featured and so should've just narrated the entire book as
    he did with the prequel story, Jupiter and many others in the Bova series of
    books.

    That Bova trait of getting characters so wrong occurred with the Catherine
    Westfall antagonist. It surprises me that someone so fundamentally flawed
    and petty could be in such a position of authority. Her motivations were
    like that of a grasping child and frankly were just silly.

    After reading the first book featuring Grant Archer I was expecting to see
    him figure a lot more in this story but alas he was really a minor player.
    This tale centers around a new group of people with Archer as station
    director largely on the fringes.

    I do like the way that the Deidre or "D" character came to know her new
    friends along the way as she travelled to the station but I noticed what
    appears to me to be an error in the writing as we hear mention of Yeager /
    Max as a character in a scene where "D" is sat with Corvis before the Max
    Yeager character is even introduced.

    For some inexplicable reason the orbiting research station apparently is at
    one-sixth Earth gravity and I'm sure it was at a full Earth gravity in the
    previous story. Why a rotating station should be at much less than Earth
    standard gravity seems another of those non-sensicall things Bova does at
    times. No mention is made either of how a Lunar gravity that is so much
    lower than Earth normal affects the dolphins which are present on that
    station and recently brought there from a standard gravity environment.

    As another reviewer mentioned, we don't get into the Jovian ocean until
    around hour 12 of the story. I didn't find this so much of a problem myself
    as the rest of the story from that point is all pretty much taking place in
    the ocean with the Leviathans.

    The book finally explores new aspects to the Leviathans and their
    interaction with the humans trying to make contact with them. Bova has some
    interesting concepts here as to how the Leviathans communicate and their
    social structure and also makes the more unusual and interesting point that
    an alien species may communicate and think at a vastly different speed to
    ourselves which isn't often postulated in science-fiction.

    Bova's depiction of the cybernetic character, Dorn, is rather dated and
    crude in that he has a half metal body and thus sounds akin to the sorts of
    cyborg we saw on shows like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century back in the
    1980's. This is where Bova seems to lack sophistication in his vision of
    technology in the future especially when you consider when the book was
    written.

    For me this story wasn't as enjoyable as the first based around Jupiter and
    possibly this was largely down to the multi-narrator format. However, the
    way the characters were written was also the reason. In the latter stages of
    the book the "D" character is heard more than once saying things like "Oh,
    why does my chest hurt so much. Oh yes, it's the pressure.". This sort of
    over exposition also lends an air of more pulp science fiction to Bova's
    novels which is something I remarked upon in my review of "Jupiter". In
    addition, the way the Corvis and "D" characters end up together just seems
    so simplistic and cheesy like an old Mills & Boon story.

    Not as good a read as the prequel "Jupiter" and the narration format was
    something I didn't much like but the pay off to a large degree is the
    contact with the Leviathans toward the end of the book. This alone went a
    long way to satisfying my curiosity about these creatures which was worth the
    read.

    Not one of Bova's best but worth a listen if you've read "Jupiter".


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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