Bova's Grand Tour

WhiteWolf

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I did a search to see what interest there was in this, but found only two threads. The interest was there, but not focused, so even though I'm pretty new here, I thought I would start a thread of my own for it.

Ben Bova has attempted to do something very ambitious, to write a novel or series of novels that details the exploration of man into the solar system, with there being at least one book written for each planet or moon or phase of expansion.

The books, however, were not published in chronological order, so one of my biggest questions starting out was, what is the correct chronology of the Grand Tour?

I had to go to Bova's Official Website (http://www.benbova.com/gtchron1.htm) to find it:

(From the Man himself!)
GRAND TOUR CHRONOLOGY
Many readers have asked about the chronology of the Grand Tour novels. What is the time sequence of the various stories? Such a chronology is difficult to compose, because many of the novels overlap one another in time. Mars and Moonrise, for example, overlap considerably. Given that caveat, here is an approximate time sequence for the Grand Tour novels, with the actual year of publication given in parentheses. Remember, however, that any of these novels can be read completely independently of the others. There is no absolute need to read the novels in any particular order.

1. POWERSAT (Tor Books 2005)

2. EMPIRE BUILDERS (Tor Books, 1993)

3. MARS (Bantam Books, 1992)

4. MOONRISE (Avon Books, 1996)

5. MOONWAR (Avon Books, 1998)

6. RETURN TO MARS (Avon Books, 1999)

7. THE PRECIPICE (Tor Books, 2001)

8. JUPITER (Tor Books, 2001)

9. THE ROCK RATS (Tor Books, 2002)

10. SATURN (Tor Books, 2003)

11. TITAN (Tor Books, 2006)

12. THE SILENT WAR (Tor Books, 2004)

13. MERCURY (Tor Books, 2005)

14. VENUS (Tor Books, 2000)

TALES OF THE GRAND TOUR (Tor Books, 2004)
This work contains stories that span much of the timeline of the Grand Tour.

Of course, there will be more to come.

(PRIVATEERS)
Privateers, Tor Books (September 1, 1993), was written as a warning while the U.S. space program was floundering and the USSR's was moving slowly but steadily ahead.
To paraphrase Ray Bradbury, some science fiction is written not to predict the future, but to prevent it.

So, although PRIVATEERS features Dan Randolph, who is a prominent character in several Grand Tour novels, its background is different enough so that I don't regard it as part of the Grand Tour scenario.




And there you have it.

Even though the purpose of this thread is a discussion of the books and the author, I would also like to know who here has read these books, and if it is worth the investment of time and money to read them all. You see, I started out by reading MARS a year and a half ago, and then MOONRISE last year, and I am nearly finished reading MOONWAR. They have all been excellent books, and I have no doubt that I'll start RETURN TO MARS sometime very soon.

But how are the rest of the books? Anyone read them? And what about Bova's non-Grand Tour books?

The Moonbase books were hard to find, as it seems they are falling out of print. I find this peculiar given the pledges of many nations to begin taking the necessary steps to establish permanent colonies on the moon, and the moonbase books do an admirable job of speculating on the financial and political crises that could arise from it, as well as the practical matter of technology (specifically the complications of near-future use of nanotechnology). The Moonbase books really should get a new printing because of this, regardless of some of the harsh criticism they've gotten for their heavy-handed style.

Personally, I think Bova's style is very good. It can be a bit dry and impersonal at times, but not always. And even taking the risk of writing books like this and calling them The Grand Tour means to me that there will inevitably be some sacrifices made in characterization to tell the larger tale.

Well this has been my take on just the first three books anyway, so what is yours?

If one of the main jobs of science fiction is the speculation of future human endeavors, then Bova's Grand Tour is a very practical look at the first steps that must be made before we can get to all those other great worlds we read about in SF.
 

Quokka

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Ive almost bought these before but they only had one or two and I couldnt tell what order they went in so decided to wait. Even if it doesnt really matter I still prefer to read in the order they were written. Will have to keep an eye out for them second hand.
 

williamjm

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Even though the purpose of this thread is a discussion of the books and the author, I would also like to know who here has read these books, and if it is worth the investment of time and money to read them all. You see, I started out by reading MARS a year and a half ago, and then MOONRISE last year, and I am nearly finished reading MOONWAR. They have all been excellent books, and I have no doubt that I'll start RETURN TO MARS sometime very soon.

But how are the rest of the books? Anyone read them? And what about Bova's non-Grand Tour books?
I read Mars and Return to Mars a few years ago, although I didn't actually realise they were part of a larger series at the time. I liked Mars, it did seem like a mostly plausible description of the first mission to Mars. Return to Mars was still reasonably good but did largely feel like a retread of the first book and didn't add anything interesting to the concept.

Only other Bova book I've read was Colony which I thought was very poor, the plot was ludicrous and the characterisation was awful. The Mars books were much better, this may be because they were written over a decade later (IIRC), so Bova had time to become a better writer.
 

chrispenycate

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Well. in reading your list I discovered several I haven't yet obtained.
I used to be a great Bova enthusiast, but the rock rats series somewhat cooled my ardour.
 

chrispenycate

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The two "Mars" books, the moon books, empire builders and Jupiter, and I think Venus, but I've just spotted that I omitted buying "Titan" because I have another book with the same title (two, actually) and I got confused.
Plus a fair number more of his not in the same series.
And I don't know why I went off the asteroid series; normally it's one of my points of interest, but after the precipice and the rock rats I sort of tapered off. Perhaps I'll reread them and remember why.
 

Dr. Atomic

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I read Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mercury, and both Mars books. Meant to read Titan but somehow lost track.

I've also read Colony.

I can't say I loved either Mars book, but Jupiter was great, and Mercury and Venus were good. I can't remember Saturn... I think I'll give them a re-read, now that it's all been brought up.
 

Rodders

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I've read quite a few of these and really enjoyed them. I haven't read much past the rock Rats trilogy though.

I knew that they were all set in the same fictional timeline with some characters featuring across, but i didn't realise that they were part of a Grand Tour.
 

rojse

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I've read much of Bova's Grand Tour series. The science is great hard SF - interesting technologies, presented well to a layperson like myself, but the setting, plot and characters... oh, dear.
 

Sparrow

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Bova's Grand Tour is sort of hit and miss, some very good stories, while others aren't worth reading. I'm finding his views on politics & religion to be a bit old hat.

The latest work of his that I read not long ago was Mars Life... and_it_was_horrible.
 
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