Aided by a brilliant Soviet linguist and a lovely young student, Stoner planned a desperate mission, a wild, heart-stopping gamble to preserve the legacy of the star voyager for all mankind.
©1981 Ben Bova; (P)2006 Blackstone Audiobooks
"The most plausible and convincing account I have ever read of how the human race might really react to first contact." (Analog)
"Voyagers marks the return of one of SF's pros to his favorite subject: first contact. The bureaucratic politics of space is classic Bova...and the sense of awe when Stoner finally gazes upon an alien is pure art." (Chicago Tribune)
As someone who views Arthur C. Clarke's "Rendezvous With Rama" as the ultimate novel about man's first contact with extraterrestrials, I tackled this novel by Ben Bova eagerly. A strange object approaches the Earth from somewhere "out there," and the powers of Earth scurry about to find out what it is and what it means. It is Bova's vision of what the political, social, and theological ramifications of such an event might have been in the early 1980s. Very little of this book is about the alien itself; rather it focuses on how the U.S. and Soviet Union jostle to be the first to make actual contact with the visitor. Written seemingly with a movie screenplay in mind, the novel really never met my expectations, and it falls well short of Rama.
This is probably the most plausible first contact story. If you know what SETI stands for, you will enjoy it. Could this strange object be natural? Could intelligent beings travel across interstellar space? Would they be friendly? Would they want to contact us? Would the government try to keep it a secret? Would there be panic in the streets? All of these questions are considered in this novel with plenty of political intrigue and a love story thrown in. The narration by Stefan Rudnicki is excellent. Listeners should realize that while this is a new audiobook production, the original novel was written before the fall of the Soviet Union.
I've been an Audie Awards judge since 2008. I have enjoyed audiobooks since the days when they were called "Books on Tape".
This is one of those books (or series of books) that you have to put yourself into the mind set of "alternate reality" when you read it as it is about a future with a Soviet Union and giant pre-hubble telescopes (in space) and mainframe computers in the future and CRT monitors in the future... You have to read it with the same mindset as you would if you were watching old TV shows like Space 1999 or early Star Trek or if you were reading 1984... I went through all three of the Voyager novels as the characters were likeable and the plot was interesting, but I wasn't overall impressed. This was my first Ben Bova novel and I found some of the character's philisophical waxings were on subjects that are quite tired these days - where they may have been cutting edge 20 years ago. If I were looking for a Good Sci Fi novel, I'd look elsewhere. This book is probably for long term Ben Bova fans.
Although I have heard Ben Bova's name mentioned for years and years as a great sci-fi writer, I never made the time for one of his books until this one. I chose Voyagers because I wanted a Bova book and because it was featured on the front page of Audible.
I thought this story was terrific. The listener must bear in mind that it was written in the early 80s (probably late 70s), so the technology is laughable, but it seemed very realistic to me. I advise you just to read it as a period book and it will make perfect sense. I loved it and I recommend it to anyone that likes hard SF.
WARNING THIS BOOK IS NOT SCI-FI.
I struggled through all three books looking for a great Sci-fi thriller and all you get is "World Peace", Let's get along with nature", and "Let's redistribute the world wealth". What you get out of 3 books and 34 hours is 2 hours of Sci-fi and 32 hours of pure tripe. These three books were an insult to myself and any other Sci-fi fan. Bova was selling a Sci-fi book to finance his soapbox and I am insulted. Bova is off my list for ever, and and unless your into being insulted, Bova should be off your list to. The first volume rates two stars for the two hours of Sci-fi. Book II and III need to be rated -10.
This is the worst Bova book I have read or listened to.
The first 80% of the book is a soap opera, the last 20% is just STUPID.
this book only qualifies as being science fiction because of some unkown "comet" heading toward earth.....otherwise it's seven brides for seven brothers......people sitting around talking to eah other about irrelevent things....trying to fill pages.....i can barely stand it....
While this book purports to be a realistic analysis of human reaction to a first-contact situation, the first-contact aspect occupies a remarkably small portion of the overall text. The bulk of the book is dedicated to the sexual (and occasionally romantic, but mostly as seen through the eye of out-of-control sexuality) exploits of various deplorable characters. This might itself be interesting enough except that the book is wildly sexist and the models of human sexuality and romance drawn here are disturbing at best, with the majority of the sexual interactions bordering on rape. Throw in a little bit of completely stock, stereotyped cold-war paranoia and a Russia taken directly from the cheesiest of 80s thrillers, and excise the bulk of anything even approaching a plot and you have little to commend this book. I did continue through to the end so that I could feel as if I was reviewing it from a complete perspective, and it did get a little better toward the end. For one, the distance from the worst of the sexual exploitation, which primarily happens in the first half to two-thirds of the book, helps suspend the distaste in the romantic relationships that eventually come out. For another, the book does, toward the end, begin to garner some semblance of a plot, ultimately presenting what feels like the first third or so of an interesting story. I would almost have been compelled to continue with the second and third book had I had even the slightest interest in any of the characters.
The reading by Stefan Rudnicki is reasonably decent, with accents provided where necessary and characters easily distinguishable. However, toward the end of the book especially, a second (uncredited on Audible) narrator comes in who made me cringe each time she read due to her wildly inappropriate emotional presentation, all characters coming out as whiny children, mad, venom-spitting, seething men or dreamy new-agers.
Definitely two thumbs down from me.
This book caught my attention because I am a science fiction fan. I was hoping that the story line would be more about the space craft and what they found out about it.
This story is only a tiny bit about the UFO and mostly about what would happen on earth if we discovered a UFO. The author dives into the politics, world vision and discerning opinions of nations and individuals.
At times the story wandered and lost me but overall I enjoyed it.
clwalker IT Admin
I used to read Bova when I was younger, but I certainly didn't remember his sexist bent. The story was decent, but all of his portrayals of female characters were what I would consider very sexist. The younger ones were all either sex objects or used their bodies as currency. The older ones were sterotypical obnoxious old crones. Very few showed much intelligence. Maybe a sign of the times, but pretty disappointing and one dimensional.
"Classic Sci-Fi beautifully narrated"
This is the first book in the Voyagers trilogy - and it's all three books that tell the complete story. Fortunately, Audible has them all available. Even better, they are all narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, a maestro at accents who tells the entire tale with great skill and compassion.
The trilogy tells the story of Keith Stoner, an astrophysicist and ex-astronaut who is the first to discover that the solar system is being visited by an extra-terrestrial spacecraft. Voyagers I covers the story of Stoner going out to space to rendezvous with the alien visitor. In Voyagers II we find that Stoner was fundamentally changed by the experience. In Voyagers III, we see how these changes impact upon the whole evolution of the human race.
It's a great story, classic science fiction by one of the literary heroes of my youth. I recommend the entire trilogy.
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