• Death Wave

  • The Star Quest Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Ben Bova
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 10 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (866 ratings)

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Death Wave  By  cover art

Death Wave

By: Ben Bova
Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
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Publisher's Summary

Six-time Hugo Award-winner Ben Bova chronicles the saga of humankind's expansion beyond the solar system.

In Ben Bova's previous novel, New Earth, Jordan Kell led the first human mission beyond the solar system, where they discovered the ruins of an ancient alien civilization. But one alien AI survived, and it revealed to Jordan Kell that an explosion in the black hole at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy has created a wave of deadly radiation, expanding out from the core toward Earth. Unless the human race acts to save itself, all life on Earth will be wiped out.

When Kell and his team return to Earth many years after their departure, they find that their world has changed almost beyond recognition. Not only has a second wave of greenhouse flooding caused sea levels to rise, but society has been changed by the consequences of the climate shift. Few people want to face Jordan Kell's news. He must convince Earth's new rulers that the human race is in danger of extinction unless it acts to forestall the death wave coming from the galaxy's heart.

©2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2015 Blackstone Audibooks

What listeners say about Death Wave

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

complete let down don't waste a credit! !

complete let down, the first book was so so. interesting enough to give you hopes of the second book being an ok listen. unfortunately this book is full of improbable drama making you spend the entire book asking yourself how can these people be so stupid, and saying things like ya right. not only that but it's completely predictable. very hard to finish...

12 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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The Strongest Book in the Trilogy, but Not Great

I don't believe Ben Bova is a smart man. His characters certainly aren't. I don't know how they exist several hundred years into humanity's interstellar future and just don't get basic physics. Perhaps recent declines in human intelligence do extrapolate to Bova's vision of humanity in Death Wave, but largely characters' motivations and associated plot developments just seem sort of stupid. With that said, this book has some insights into human behavior that are spot on, and should have anyone living in 2021 questioning everything their public servants are doing and saying. These little nuggets of verisimilitude, sadly, aren't enough to make this decent book great.

I also don't believe Bova can manage a deadline. Perhaps the publisher gives him inadequate time to complete a novel, but this book exhibits the same issue as every other one of his books: the solution just magically presents itself with no logical progression or development. The last chapter or two just feel like the antagonists say, "Okay, we give up. You can have it your way." It's not the most satisfying ending, and the subsequent books in the trilogy will offer no better sense of conclusion, but this one book is decent on its own.

I can't advise you'll find super smart science fiction here as you will in The Expanse series, but Death Wave is good enough for some cheap, mindless entertainment. Attempt enjoyment at your own risk.

9 people found this helpful

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Death Wave

Star Quest Series consists of three full-length novels that span hundreds of decades. 

Listenable SciFi series. The plot basics center on a radioactive wave of light/energy expanding from the center of the Milky Way core; it will take thousands of years for the wave to reach earth, and protections are implemented. It is up to earthlings to travel the galaxy helping to protect other life forms found. And find them they do!

Although connected via the light wave, the books stand alone in that characters are unique to each story.

Narrated nicely by Stefan Rudnicki, no complaints.

8 people found this helpful

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Not great. Annoying universe. Dumb characters

Interesting premise. Only decent thing about it

Narrator sounds like he's constantly trying to make as deep voice as possible. Almost like that chick from Portlandia when she play a male characters. Gets annoying.

Characters all seem to be clueless blowhards that imagine themselves to be the most important smartest people to ever exist.

Imagine being stuck in a room for hours with 100 of the most intolerably uninteresting, insufferable, self interested borderline dunces you can imagine...

That's this book

5 people found this helpful

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Ya right. 🙄

The plot requires everyone to be stupid. I gave it 6 hours and I just can't continue.

4 people found this helpful

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Pretty good romp

I don't know when this was written, but it reminds me of all that Great Science Fiction from when I read it as a kid. Before I knew what l post-modernism was, before it's alienation entered the field. But from this perspective, of 2018, part of me wants a bit more than this.Glad we are past Buck Roger's, and past Doc Savage. Past a few more, skipping the super heros, and then through Ben Bova's sensitive world of Morally Certain Characters and bad guys more complex than Evil. Which is my world view too. But it's not quite enough anymore, I think. I don't know where it will go next, what our time needs next, needs most. But this book was a wonderful respite. Thanks Mr. Bova.

4 people found this helpful

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kept thinking this was written in the 50s

based on the female characters lack of independence and the sexist gender roles I kept thinking this was of the same vintage as the foundation series I just listened to. nope, work of modern art.

3 people found this helpful

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A must for every one .

I've been a long time fan of Ben Bova since my high school days . I've enjoyed all of his books and this was no exception .

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting premise, tediously rendered

I remember reading a bunch of Bova's work as a kid and enjoying it, but 9 chapters into this book i had to stop reading.

There were a couple interesting details:
* The eponymous death wave
* Social and environmental issues
* Alien precursors and advanced technology

But mixed in with the above were bits that just got under my skin:

Characters and description that keep repeating the same important details over and over again. For instance, we are teased repeatedly about a species from another star systems being completely human. But it's not part of a mystery being unraveled. Eventually one of the protagonists just tells everyone.

Similarly we are teased with the nature of the death wave and how important it is to deal with. Eventually finding out what it is and who it will hurt. The protagonists think about how important it is they do something about it. Then seem shocked when they get a message from a respected friend stressing this point.

Also, the one sci-fi concept that broke my suspension of disbelief was the FTL communication. Not the fact that it existed, but that, when faced with obvious evidence of FTL communication that any modern geek could deduce, scientists in the story NEVER THINK TO ASK ABOUT IT for, apparently months or years.

1 person found this helpful

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read the reviews

just dumb, uninteresting characters in a dumb, and I mean dumb story. I really don't understand how people can give this 5 stars.

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  • Tyrone poet
  • 05-25-22

Very thoughtful

I must admit that I have never read/listened to a sci fi with such an unique story line.
Yes the shelves are bulging with plot lines that the earth is in danger and our only option is to turn to space for help or rescue. But to ask people to help an unknown civilisation at a distance so far that the global population will have been renewed by a further five generations before we might know if we have been successful. This is where I found the storyline to be weak as the earth's population agrees to help too easily and there is very little debate about the issue. If you look at what's happening around the world at present with the lack of urgency present over the need to remove man made greenhouse gases in order to reduce the risk of near catastrophic climate changes in 30 - 50 years time, why would we agree that we will help alien planets 400 years in the future.

This is just the first book in a series of four so I am curious what way the plot will develop. But even allowing for my opinion of a defect in the plot the story is quite good 4out of 5 at the moment, not an excellent 5/5 but with three books to go there is room for anything to happen

1 person found this helpful

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  • luca risino
  • 01-17-22

Good but slow paced

bit slower in pace then the 1st book.
otherwise a good politics & problem solving sci-fi. felt like more of a set up for book 3 and I expect will have more going on like in the first book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • stig1875
  • 11-25-15

Another Ben Bova Classic

If you could sum up Death Wave in three words, what would they be?

Another great book in the ongoing colonization of space by man, reaching out to the starsand that is why I like Bens books because they interlink the whole picture.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jordan Kell and his New Wife trying to bring the earth inhabitants to help by saving the other intelligent's in this galaxy before the death wave hits.

Which character – as performed by Stefan Rudnicki – was your favourite?

Doug Stavenger the Old Man in the moon even though he didn't have a big part in the whole storey.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes the way it left me hanging after the abrupt end of the book and for the rest of the storey.

Any additional comments?

Yes Hurry up Ben and write the next installment of the Saga and keep the person who in my eyes makes your stories come alive, Stefan Rudniki.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Telford44
  • 11-16-22

Slow and Dull

This is the first Ben Bova book I've tried and think it's also going to be my last. Haven't managed to finish this, struggled through about 25% of it rarely have I been more bored and felt less invested in the all the characters of a book as I have with this one. It's hard to summarise what the book as I don't that anything has happened. I appreciate that it is a personal choice, but I do prefer books with more pace and action than this had provided in the first quarter.
Stefan did his best with the material but frankly there was very little for him to work with.

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  • DAVID G ROGERS
  • 10-11-22

Ridiculous plot

SF requires a suspension of disbelief like any other form of fiction and usually one can easily accept a couple of hypotheses and just read on. In this book the physical phenomenon of the title - the Death Wave - can be swallowed as can the devastation of Earth hrough unmitigated climate change. But everything else is just too plain silly, childishly simplistic characters most of all. Disappointing.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-23-22

OK but a bit slow

Felt that could have covered everything in half the time. For me lacking in depth. Characters were developed well which saved a 3 from me. Will not bother to move onto book 2

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  • Chickled Pillies
  • 08-04-22

brilliant

Absolutely loved this. a mix of sci-fi, politics, human nature and proverbs. one of Ben Nova's best works.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Call me Bob
  • 10-07-21

Naive crap

I have 4 hours left and am still waiting for the action to begin.
ALLMOST NOTHING HAPPENS in the entire book. I guess this is what the cold war felt like. Anyone COULD do something but no-one does.
This is not even the first book in the series.
It starts off after an expedition returns 200 years after leaving earth and finding a new planet that is also inhabited by humans.
I will not go into other details, if you get to dear the book the very few interesting parts are far and wide between.
Also the entire SF in this book is mostly old-fashion-so-advanced-it-could-be-magic. It's the same stile of "SF" the old authors use, very close to atomic this and intrinsic that. In this case it is "Dark Energy" and "Energy Screens".

So bottom line: Good that it's included or it would be a return. Much better books to listen to out there and not worth imho.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul D
  • 10-03-18

What a boring voice!

Science fiction, but not of the Startreck variety. Here it is the story and charactrs that are central, just happen to be set in a scientifically advanced future. The problem with this is alwys the need to 'explain' the future, usually in the form of lectures delivered by the characters explaing to each other.
An nteresting premise in the story but i found the characters a little plastic and the dialogue rather wooden. It could have survived this had not the narration been so boringly sleep inducing. Not interesting enough to overcome the drone and I'm afraid i just couldn't finish it

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  • Stephen
  • 01-24-18

Death wave

When ever I read or listen to a book buy Ben Bova, I’m always transported into a fantastic world that I love.