Meanwhile, Carter Carleton, an anthropologist who was driven from his university post by unproven rape charges, has started to dig up the remains of a Martian village. Science and politics clash on two worlds as Jamie desperately tries to save the Mars program and uncover who the vanished Martians were.
©2008 Ben Bova; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"[A] gripping and convincing conclusion....Bova deftly captures the excitement of scientific discovery and planetary exploration. This compelling story, balancing action and plausible political intrigue, will easily be enjoyed by both fans and newcomers." (Publishers Weekly)
"Another attention-grabbing entry in a series that continues to grow in stature, scope, and complexity. Once again, Bova in top form." (Kirkus Reviews)
And Buffalo George
This book is a sci-fi novel with the theme of religion versus science. Science is represented by the planetary explorers of Mars, who are studying the planet after discovery of 60 million year old human-like life. A group of earthly religious fundamentalists has become so politically powerful that it can determine the outcome of elections. New Morality leadership sees the archeological work being done on Mars as a threat to its core religious beliefs--it wants the project shut down. I believe it's obvious that Bova sees the religious movement as a fanatic fringe; he even states that when religious movements become too powerful, conflict results. Lots of conflict in the book, but the resolution seems like an afterthought. The book just sort of ends, leaving the reader to wonder what the result might be...the epilogue gives a clue. I liked the book. It was exciting--makes one think.
Based on this installment in the Mars series, Ben Bova does not do back story very well. If you start here, you will probably find the characters to be paper thin and the story much to do about nothing. If you have the background of the first two stories, it hangs together fairly well.
Still, I was disappointed in this installment of the series. I really enjoyed the first two installments of this series which I have on audio tape and would give them 4.5 to 5 stars. Bova did an excellent job in the first two of creating suspenseful tales about the exploration of Mars, and I listened to them several times. This book seems more a polemic on fundamental Christianity than on the exploration of the solar system. Bova's caricature of Christian belief is over the top. As one of the majority of Christians who do not find conflict between faith and science, I thought his continuing tirade on faith versus science heavy handed and unconvincing (at one point he portrays a young high school student's persecution at the hands of the faithful for wanting to learn about Mars. He stopped just short of portraying Christians drowning kittens.) He did a much better job of finding some balance to the subject in his novel Jupiter (which I heartily recommend). If you have read/listened to the first two, go ahead and pick this one up to see how the saga ends (although you may want to wait for an Audible special). If you haven't read the first two installments, I think you will be disappointed if you start here.
Being I was in the car and a captive audience, yes. I was very interested to see what Jamie Waterman would be doing in this book and how things would progress on Mars.
The politics! This book became very political which added nothing to the story but showed Ben Bova as being a total left wing looney.
I liked Jamie Waterman in the entire trilogy.
No. It would not make a good movie.
The mars exploration in the book seemed more plausible then the politics. The politics was so far out there it seemed to be more science fiction then the main story. It was a veiled attempt to make the religious right look like a bunch of religious zealots and to show the devastation of man made global warming which is a total hoax.
I have purchased all of Ben Bova's Mars series books and enjoy almost every novel dealing with Mars exploration.
This final chapter of his trilogy has an interesting take on Mars exploration and justly updates many technological issues with the prior two books.
However, the weak link (even more so than the prior two books) is the author's unbelievable use of racial stereotypes of Native Americans and Christians. The ham handed use of phrases such as "that damn redskin", "that damn Navaho", etc by characters referring to the main character (Jamie Waterman) is totally unbelievable and distracting. His treatment of Christians as even worse (if possible).
The primary redeeming quality is the performance of Stefan Rudnicki who's uncanny knack for dialect enables the listener to identify with a diverse cast of multi national characters. One of the best audio books renderings to date.
Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.
I have found the characters in all three volumes of this series to be childish beyond belief. I'm not sure about Bova's background (note to self: have to look that up), but I can't accept that the type of people who would be selected for a series of missions to Mars would behave like 5-year-old children. It's routine, in this series, for team members to flatly refuse the orders of their assigned superiors with no attempt to hide/disguise it. Sorry Ben, but I believe the carrot and the stick wielded by any future interplanetary mission commanders would be too potent for mutiny to be a routine occurrence. Sure, there are behavioral outliers in any system, but not to the extent that Bova would sell to us. The ending of the series, was contrived and uninspired.
Bova tries to explore, throughout the series, the conflicts between science and religion. In fact, it's a major theme. It could have added value to the work, if not done in such an unrealistic, over-the-top way. Bova puts large numbers of significant religious leaders on the intellectual level with those who still say the moon landings were all a hoax. Again, there are always a few nuts in the mix, but they are not dangerous unless violent. It's the sane-sounding extremists in any belief system (secular or religious) who are a threat. Bova totally missed the mark. It will take several tremendously positive reviews before I will be spending my reading $$$ on Bova's work, again.
That said, I always enjoy Stefan Rudnicki's work. He has the kind of voice that adds enjoyment to the experience and a great deal of ability.
As science fiction, this book wouldn't challenge a teenager. As fiction, this book gave away the plot within the first couple of chapters. The ending was so contrived it groaned. The characters were two-dimensional and wooden. The overwhelming theme of the book is that conservative religious thought is at odds with scientific practices and theories. I decided to listen to the book to see if the author might come up with some new or novel ideas on this long-standing debate. I could have had a Mars bar and been more satisfied. On whole, I can't find enough value in this book to recommend anyone listening to it.
The narration was clear and competent, but a bit too slow and steady for my tastes.
"Excellent Mars novel."
I liked all Ben Bova's Mars novels. I thought they were all plausible predictions of the exploration of the red planet. This is an excellent last chapter in the series. I just wish there was another book to read as this was very enjoyable.
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