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Mercury | [Ben Bova]

Mercury

Despite Mercury's desolateness, there are still those who hope to find diamonds in the rough. Saito Yamagata thinks Mercury's position will make it an ideal orbit point for satellites that could someday create enough power to propel starships into deep space.
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Publisher's Summary

Despite Mercury's desolateness, there are still those who hope to find diamonds in the rough. Saito Yamagata thinks Mercury's position will make it an ideal orbit point for satellites that could someday create enough power to propel starships into deep space. He hires Dante Alexios to bring his dreams to life. Astrobiologist Victor Molina thinks the water at Mercury's poles may harbor evidence of life, and hopes to achieve fame and glory by proving it. Bishop Elliot Danvers has been sent by the religious sect, "The New Morality", to keep close tabs on their endeavors, which threaten to produce results that contradict biblical teachings.

©2005 Ben Bova; (P)2005 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

What the Critics Say

  • 2005 Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award, Science-Fiction/Fantasy

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (161 )
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Overall
3.8 (39 )
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4.2 (39 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Daved Baker San Francisco 07-18-05
    Daved Baker San Francisco 07-18-05 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of Ben Bova's best"

    I've now read or listened to all of Dr. Bova's "Grand Tour" series and "Mercury" is second only to "Saturn" in my book. It has all the great themes and characters you expect from Bova, deftly exploring what some see as the un-avoidable conflict between science and religion, and others may view as nut cases versus normal people (you decide which is which). It's a little faster paced than "Saturn", and there are a few of the same characters (unfortunately no Poncho Lane in this book). The recording technique of using 3 or 4 different voices really adds drama and atmosphere to the narration. Overall very entertaining as well as thought provoking.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Travelers Rest, SC, United States 04-04-06
    L. Travelers Rest, SC, United States 04-04-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Bova!"

    This is more of a "Mature brand" of Sci-fi. Bova does an excellent job of mixing politics, religion, and "human characters" to tell the story...

    No.. There's not a lot of laser blasts and desperate daring-do, but it's mature science fiction for those of us that enjoy the real life "Grey areas" of human character, and thinking about what is possible in the not-so-distant future.

    As in real life, there is no clear-cut good and evil, and you start out feeling one way, change what you may have believed about midway, and then change your mind again at the end... It's not some mushy "And they lived Happily ever after" story, as so many stories are... it shows the fallible nature of humans, their grand achievements, and their capability for evil.

    If it were a paper book, I'd say it was a "page turner"... but since it was an audio book, I found myself wishing they'd read faster in many parts. The innocent aren't so innocent, and the guilty may not be so guilty, or maybe more than guilty, depending on your personal point of view.

    I have to say, I was not a big fan of Bova in his early years, but I've yet to listen to a more recent book that has left me wanting. I may have to get "Saturn" despite some of it's poor customer reviews, since the rest of the books in the series have provided me MANY hours of entertainment, and that's ultimately what it's all about..

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 09-14-06
    David United States 09-14-06 Member Since 2005
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    "A grand story in the traditions of Ben Bova"

    Ben Bova has become one of my favorite Science Fiction writers. Mercury, like many of Ben Bova's other books, is written around the same future history and events (e.g.,Saturn, Jupiter, etc) but is mostly about other topics and event and not so much about the planet Mercury itself. The motivation for the main character was revenge, which I found too shallow a motivation for such an otherwise intelligent character, but overall, the books themes and events kept me listening to the end. I'd have preferred a better set of outcomes, but I didn't write the book so didn't get to choose the endings. I'd read this book again if I had it to do over again.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Vancouver, BC, Canada 08-15-05
    James Vancouver, BC, Canada 08-15-05 Member Since 2002

    Satisfied Audible listener since 2002. I mostly listen to Sci-fi and anything by Stephen King.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Big Disapointment."

    I have read (and liked) lots of Bova's other books, but this one left me cold. The plot is preposterous in places, full of holes in others. The characters are mostly very two dimensional and their motivations are sketchy at best. Some of the science is interesting but the story did nothing for me.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew SEATTLE, WA, United States 12-24-13
    Matthew SEATTLE, WA, United States 12-24-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bring your sunscreen!"
    Would you try another book from Ben Bova and/or the narrators?

    Of course. I am now addicted to the series. Between Ben and Stefan,it's a wonderful journey. Most likely will get to hearing them all.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    More on Mercury, less high school jealousy.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, and Stefan is wonderful on this one. He is rivaling Hill and Brick in my heirarchy of performers these days.


    Do you think Mercury needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Well, we heard alot more about the SkyTower, and not nearly enough about Mercury, so, in that context, yes, we do.


    Any additional comments?

    The series tends to be rather derivative and repetitive, BUT the characters and plotlines, connected as they are, are compelling enough to keep the listener caring and connected. This is not the best, but it is does add to the series in many ways. Recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 07-05-14
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 07-05-14 Member Since 2010

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bait and Switch"

    MORALITY DOESN'T COME IN SHADES OF GRAY
    I got this book for two reasons: 1. Bova's book Venus had a scene in it that actually made me feel that I was in the atmosphere of Venus. 2. Mercury seems to be the forgotten planet, few people ever write about it, so I wanted to learn more about it. As it turns out this book is a soap opera and only about 1% of the story takes place on Mercury. Instead it is a story about a space elevator built on Earth. I guess Bova did not believe Clarke (several times), Robinson, Benford, Fortschen, Reynolds, Steele, McDevitt, Niven, Sawyer, Heinlein, Baxter and many others had done a good enough job writing about space elevators, he had to spend the majority of his book, supposedly about Mercury, writing about a space elevator on Earth. He could not even do like Robinson did and build it on the planet in question.

    IT'S ALWAYS BETTER TO BE LUCKY THEM SMART
    To prove this saying, Bova has one of main characters have so many good luck consequences that have to happen to make the soap opera continue happen that it will make your head spin. He follows this up by making another main character be so stupid it is annoying and he has to be stupid for the so called plot to go forth. He gets an anonymous e-mail from someone about an important science discovery and he does not think twice about it be anonymous. He does not even think about why it was sent to him, a fairly unimportant scientist. His wife says she has gotten a lot of love letters from him, which he sent none, he does not question this either. Most Bova book reviews go on about his science credentials, yet he often writes soap operas instead. Usually there are lots of science to go with the poorly written drama. This book does not even do that. There is some science that is inserted like readings from a dictionary.

    ABSENCE OF PROOF IS NOT PROOF OF ABSENCE
    Having said all this, the book is not a total loss. I did listen all the way through. It has some interesting parts, such as the dictionary inserts and the discussions on science and it's consequences. I was also surprised by a small statement he made which is just glanced over. In his future earth, he has Israel eliminated and he says the Middle East is a lot more peaceful because of it. It is quick and he does not dwell on it, but a pretty brave statement. (Not saying I agree, but always happy to see an author take a chance and do the politically incorrect thing.)

    So, if your interested in reading another book on the space elevator being built on Earth, you might enjoy this or if you like really bad soap opera, you will love this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Dean Wood
    2/14/10
    Overall
    "Mercury, a great tale"

    This book was brilliant, another great novel by the most excellent Ben Bova. I initially thought that this would be rather dull, but the author intermeshed the extreme environment of Mercury with a great story about an engineer who worked on a project that failed. I found this book very interesting, the technology totally believable and the story gripping at every stage. This was a story of revenge and its consequences. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to other readers.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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