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The Jovian Dilemma

Narrated by: Geoffrey Boyes
Length: 6 hrs and 41 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Life on the planet Jupiter? Former Senator Mitchell Ryan had always been told the violent, storm-tossed world was devoid of life. He had dismissed rumors of a strange life form living in the energy rich atmosphere as mere fantasy. In a solar system gone mad with civil war, the last thing he needed was an unknown factor to complicate his mission to supply critical energy resources to Earth and its fracturing colonial empire. But he soon discovers the Jovians are the least of his worries. Confronted with several mysterious deaths, sabotage, and similar acts of terrorism - possibly perpetrated by wealthy politicians who profit from the current crisis of fear - Ryan faces a dilemma that will change his life and determine the fate of the solar system forever. A suspense thriller with elements of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Contact, you'll be kept on the edge of your seat until the end. 

©2019 John L. Flynn (P)2019 John L. Flynn

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hooked from Beginning! A Throwback to Great SF!

First, let me say that I don't like most contemporary science fiction. The Golden Age of Isaac Asimov, Arthur Clarke, L. Ron Hubbard, Robert Heinlein, and Ray Bradbury has given way to uninspired, cliché-ridden stories about the military fighting aliens on cardboard worlds or alternate histories that are not all that alternate. Science fiction used to be the literature of ideas and ideals. Most modern sf is pretty lame, with the occasional work of brilliant genius. Robert Sawyer's Calculating God was a truly welcome surprise, for example. I am also pleased to say The Jovian Dilemma by Hugo-nominee John Flynn is equally brilliant and full of real genius. In the next century, part of the solar system is colonized and at war because of limited, natural resources. A rare form of energy is discovered in the atmosphere of Jupiter, and the race is on by competing powers to control that new resource. The earth has sent a Republican senator to oversee the project, and in a page stolen from today's political climate, he may be tainted by his association with previous, nefarious powers that seek to profit from the discovery on Jupiter. The real discovery, however, is that there is a very unusual lifeform, living in the Jovian atmosphere, which may or may not be sentient. Do we give into the politics of the power and greed, or protect the Jovian's natural environment? That is the dilemma. This very rare work of science fiction stands head-and-shoulders above most of the dreck that is produced today, and is a welcome throwback to Clarke and Asimov, asking very real questions about man's place in the cosmos, what determines sentience, and where did we all come from. I was hooked right from the beginning, and loved this book! It deserves a Hugo. If you want your mind enhanced (like a blast from the Krell educator) and want to think about the big questions science fiction used to ask, then you'll want to read this book. A welcome relief from all the crap that is out there.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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James Cameron, Here is Your Next Movie!

Recently, I watched James Cameron's History of Science Fiction, and during the segment on "Aliens," I thought Flynn's The Jovian Dilemma should be the subject of Cameron's next movie. Forget Avatar 2. Right here is everything any Hollywood filmmaker would ever need to make an Oscar-winning story. There's political intrigue, the desperate hunt for a saboteur and assassin, a love triangle, the quest for survival, civil war on a galactic level, the struggle of good versus evil, first contact with an alien species, and ultimately the answer to life, the universe, and everything! I cannot imagine too many stories out there that would make as great a movie as this one. I love this story, and will happily buy the very first ticket to a big budget adaptation! See you at the movies!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Speculative Fiction at its Best!

The Jovian Dilemma is speculative fiction at its best! You're not going to find cute, little robots, faster-than-light travel, rayguns and space battles, time machines, aliens who look and act like humans, the Force, magic and wizards, cyborgs or mutants, superheroes, parallel worlds, or any of the crap that science fiction has regrettably become. This book is about first contact between humans and aliens who are so totally alien they do not fit any conventional definitions; it is built solidly upon science that may be just one step removed from today's technology. Speculative fiction is generally plausible, realistic, possible and yes, it has to be real with a speculative element. I was very impressed with Flynn's book, and if the rest of his SF is as good, I can understand how he received three Hugo nominations as a writer. As far as I am concerned, he deserved to win a Hugo for this great work. Well done!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Great Work! Visionary Speculation Come True!

I had not planned to write a review of this work. Just leave 5 stars across the board for such an extraordinary work. But when I read a recent, totally biased, juvenile and clearly uninformed review, I knew that I needed to defend this excellent work from the fan boys of the world who only read comic books while living in their parent's basement. Those comments reveal no experience with real science fiction, except for - perhaps - what was gleaned from comic books and sci-fi movies. I see nothing wrong with Styrofoam cups on a space station, particularly when they are ultimately going to be recycled into a new cup. And yes, we have that technology now, and I see no reason why it would not be employed a hundred years from now. I suppose you're going to stock the station with your mother's favorite china? I really don't think so. I also contend the details are very well researched; in fact, Flynn has proven he has a powerful imagination, considering that when the book was written in 2005, many of the discoveries that we have made about Jupiter since then were just theories and have now been proven as fact. Only a visionary would be able to make such speculation and have it come true. Yes, that is the genuine trademark of a great science fiction writer! When you compare The Jovian Dilemma with other works in the current science fiction marketplace, the other works are all the poor, derivative copies of superhero and sci-fi rip-offs, while Flynn's work is a true work of genius. Throw away your comic books, and start reading the good stuff from Heinlein and Clarke and Asimov. Once you do read some of the masters, you'll find that Flynn is following in their footsteps as one of the new masters of science fiction.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Great Characters! Totally Believable!

The Jovian Dilemma is the third of Flynn's books that I've listened to, and whether the genre is mystery or science fiction, this author has a very real talent for creating great characters. I loved the Kate Dawson books because Kate and her fellow characters were so well written; even the Antagonists in those stories are more than just bad guys doing bad things; they are as richly textured and totally believable as the rest. I will admit that, when I first started listening to the audio book, I didn't like Ryan, the protagonist. He was vain, self-serving, self-important and a Republican who had served the Senate under somewhat dubious circumstances. Men like Ryan have only one interest, and that's lining their pockets with money and power. However, the events of the story changed him, and he emerged much to my surprise as the good guy. His girlfriend "France" similarly surprised me. She seemed like such a light-weight, at first. A bimbo who's sole purpose in the story was to provide sex, and yet she also changed. When one of the characters is killed, she reacts in a way to his death that was not at all on my radar. Each of the characters, including the Jovian Cloud Dancer, surprised me, and while their actions were consistent with the story, I began to see them as very real figures, totally believable on the page. Flynn has a very real talent of creating great characters who, in turn, make his stories seem very real, genuine. I like that, and look forward to listening to more audio books from him in the future.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Strong Female Characters at Emotional Core!

Based upon my previous reviews, most of you already know that I am a feminist, and I seek out books that have a strong female character. Flynn's Kate Dawson series features one of the best female characters in recent detective fiction; she is a homicide detective who works for the San Francisco Police Department, and is very well-written by author "John" Flynn; I still think he is actually a she. I decided that I would give his science fiction novel, The Jovian Dilemma, a listen. The novel features two female characters, one named "France" and the other named Yukiko Takahashi. I figured that "France" (she has another name, but Station Commander Ryan refers to her as "France" because that is where they met) would be the bimbo sleeping with the male lead, but she actually surprised me. She is a scientist who is working hard on behalf of the Jovians, and may be the reason why Ryan changes his mind about the aliens. She also plays another role, but to say anything more would be to ruin the suspense of the story. I was surprised to find out she wasn't just some dumb bimbo the author inserted into the story for sex; she turns out to have a real heart, especially in terms of the nerdy character she works with. A pleasant surprise, in fact. Yukiko, the female lead in the story, also surprised me. She has made the initial contact with the Jovians, and she works doggedly to prove them sentient and worthy of first contact with mankind. She is a mother of a little child whom she shares custody with her mother-in-law. She is also the widow of the first astronaut to visit Jupiter; there's a wonderful flashback that fleshes out her character nicely. These two strong female characters are at the emotional core of the novel, and make the story a rich one that can be enjoyed by female readers. I plan on reading more of Flynn's Kate Dawson books, but it was a pleasant diversion to read a science fiction novel from Flynn with believable female characters. No one has convinced me yet, however, that Flynn isn't a female writer, masquerading under a male name.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Lifelong Science Fiction Fan Loves This Book!

As a lifelong science fiction fan, I attend 8 to 10 SF conventions a year. Some of them are relaxacons with a couple of hundred fans in attendance, and others are huge with 80-to-90 thousand people in number. I went to DragonCon this year over the Labor Day holiday, one of the huge conventions, and met author John Flynn. He was speaking about the Roswell crash in 1947 on one panel, then Project Blue Book and the notion of life in the universe on another. He was well-informed, articulate, funny, and totally compelling. I enjoyed his speeches and panel discussions. After the convention, I picked up several of his books, and started reading or listening to some of his work. They were very interesting, and I could see why Flynn had been nominated for several Hugo awards. Then I came to The Jovian Dilemma. This was clearly his masterwork, his labor of love. The book was in one word: "Fantastic." I absolutely loved it! I have read hundreds of science fiction novels over the years, and this one I would rate among the best. In the same class as Stranger in Strange Land and Dune. The story focuses on the aliens who live in the atmosphere of Jupiter. They are referred to as Jovians. They are benign creatures who feed on the energy-rich environment of Jupiter. Of course, their feeding habit puts them squarely in opposition to the humans who have come to the Gas Giant to steal their resources. This is the main conflict in the story...and where the title comes from. I've read some of the other reviews here, and of course nearly every one refers to the conflict as a critique of global warming and climate change. There is that. But what is far more interesting to me - as a lifelong science fiction fan - is the way in which the humans and Jovians attempt to make first contact. Flynn has really done his homework here, and those scenes are among the most compelling in the story. Of course, there are the usual ingredients of a sci-fi thriller, including sabotage, assassination, political intrigue, hostile environments, space travel, etc...so the kid inside you will find this all enjoyable. I cannot rate this book higher than 5 stars, which it truly deserves. I hope my review here will encourage you to read one of the finest words of recent science fiction. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. See you at the next SF convention!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Should be Made into Big Budget Sci-Fi Movie!

I had a recent six-hour flight, and this audio book was better than most of the available movies. In fact, The Jovian Dilemma should be made into a big-budget sci-fi movie. Clearly better than Ad Astra. I liked the action, the deep psychological and environmental underpinnings of the story, and the message from the author about climate change. Perfect audio book for a long flight or a long drive. Thanks!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Big Thumbs Up from Sci-Fi Book Club!

My Sci-Fi Book Club recently selected The Jovian Dilemma, based on the fact the author was a three-time Hugo Nominee, for our book of the month. I'm pleased to report our choice was an excellent one. The story was fast-paced at 6 hours, but proved to be a fun read with all the political and espionage and intrigue. Several key people aboard the space station are targeted for assassination; one unlucky guy just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and he gets caught in an apparent act of sabotage, when someone takes out the station's communications room. But that is just the backdrop for an extraordinary tale of first contact between the Jovian lifeforms on Jupiter and representatives of mankind that are screwing around with the Jovian's precious environment. Add a brilliant but flawed politician, a duplicitous love interest, a virtuous and good-hearted scientist who first discovered the Jovians, a slimy political operative, and you've got the makings of a tell-all conspiracy about political corruption that seems ripped from the headlines of today's New York Times. Nearly all of the members of our group loved this book, and have ranked it as one of our top books this year. The lone standout was our resident nerd who wanted everything explained to him, even though we all agree this was a work of science fiction and not a science text book. I am hoping one day he learns the difference but then he's partial to Godzilla movies and doesn't have a whole lot of taste when it comes to excellent story-telling. The rest of us, as I said, loved the book. Well worth the read.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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SF Responds to Climate Change!

Cool! A science fiction novel which is about climate change and the environment. I've read a couple of John Flynn's thrillers, and liked them very much. Check out my reviews. Up to this point, I knew he was a good writer, with great characters, highly suspense-filled plots, lots of action and romance. What I didn't know is that he has a real soul and conscience. The new audio book of The Jovian Dilemma has all of the hallmarks of Flynn's thrillers. After Protagonist Ryan takes control of a space station orbiting Jupiter to oversee a mining operation for a rare, much-needed resource back on Earth, several mysterious deaths occur and a deadly act of sabotage. He is catapulted into the role of police detective, and must get to the bottom of things in order to discharge his duties. So far, a predictable thriller, set on a space station. But then, Flynn introduces us to the Jovians, a species living in the gas giant. They are gentle, somewhat whimsical, and intelligent beings, but their lifestyle is threatened by the mining operation which is stripping away their home, in much the same way greedy, rich companies are stripping away Earth's environment and causing climate change. The parallels are truly frightening, but not in a preachy sort of way.. We should send this book to every politician in Washington D.C. I loved this book, and have recommended it to every member of my book club.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful