Jupiter: A Novelby Ben Bova
Grant Archer only wanted to study astrophysics. But the forces of the "New Morality," the coalition of censorious do-gooders who run 21st-century America, have other plans for him.
To his distress, Grant is torn from his young bride and sent to a research station in orbit around Jupiter, to spy on the scientists who work there. Their work may lead to the/p>
Grant Archer only wanted to study astrophysics. But the forces of the "New Morality," the coalition of censorious do-gooders who run 21st-century America, have other plans for him.
To his distress, Grant is torn from his young bride and sent to a research station in orbit around Jupiter, to spy on the scientists who work there. Their work may lead to the discovery of higher life forms in the Jovian system-with implications the New Morality doesn't like at all.
What Grant's would-be controllers don't know is that his loyalty to science may be greater than his desire for a quiet life. But that loyalty will be tested in a mission as dangerous as any ever undertaken-a mission to the middle reaches of Jupiter's endless atmosphere, a place where hydrogen flows as a liquid, and cyclones larger than planets rage for centuries at a time.
What lurks there is more than anyone has counted on...and stranger than anyone could possibly have imagined.
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By Ben Bova, Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2001 Ben Bova
All rights reserved.
GRANT ARMSTRONG ARCHER III
Despite being born into one of the oldest families in Oregon, Grant Archer grew up in an environment that was far from affluent. His earliest memories were of watching his mother rummaging through piles of hand-me-down clothes at the Goodwill shop, looking for sweaters and gym shoes that weren't too shabby to wear to school.
His father was a Methodist minister in the little suburb of Salem where Grant grew up, respected as a man of the cloth but not taken too seriously in the community because he was, in the words of one of the golf club widows, "churchmouse poor."
Poor as far as money was concerned, but Grant's mother always told him that he was rich in the gift of intelligence. It was his mother, who worked in one of the multifarious offices of the New Morality in the state capital, who encouraged Grant's interest in science.
Most of the New Morality officials were suspicious of science and scientists, deeply worried about these "humanists" who so often contradicted the clear word of Scripture. Even Grant's father urged his son to steer clear of biology and any other scientific specialty that would bring the frowning scrutiny of New Morality investigators upon them.
For Grant there was no problem. Since he'd been old enough to look into the night sky with awe and wonder he'd wanted to be an astronomer. In high school, where he was by far the brightest student in his class, he narrowed his interest to the astrophysics of black holes. Although Grant thrilled to the discoveries on Mars and out among the distant moons of Jupiter, it was the death throes of giant stars that truly fascinated him. If he could learn how collapsed stars warped spacetime, he might one day discover a way for humans to use such warps for interstellar journeys.
He longed to work at the Farside Observatory on the Moon, studying collapsed stars far out in the cold and dark of deep interstellar space. Yet Grant had been warned that even at Farside there were tensions and outright dangers. Despite all the strictures of the New Morality and the stern rules laid down by the observatory's directors, some astronomers still tried to sneak time on the big telescopes to search for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. When such prohibited activities were discovered, those responsible were inevitably sent back to Earth in disgrace, their careers blighted.
That did not bother Grant, however. He intended to keep his nose clean, to avoid antagonizing the ever-present agents of the New Morality, and to study the enigmatic and entirely safe black holes. He was careful never to use the dreaded word "evolution" when speaking about the life cycles of stars and their final collapse into black holes. "Evolution" was a dangerous word among the New Morality eavesdroppers.
By the time he was finishing high school, he had grown into a quiet, square-shouldered young man with a thick thatch of sandy-blond hair that often tumbled over his light-brown eyes. He was good-natured and polite; the high school girls considered him a "delta" in their merciless rating system: okay as a friend, especially when it came to help with schoolwork, but too dull to date except in an emergency. A shade under six feet tall and whipcord lean, Grant played on the school's baseball and track teams, no outstanding star but the kind of reliable performer who made his coaches sleep better at night.
As his senior year approached, Grant was offered a full scholarship in return for a four-year commitment to Public Service. The service was inescapable: Every high school graduate was required to do at least two years and then another two at age fifty. The New Morality advisor in his high school told Grant that by accepting a four-year term now, he could get a full scholarship to the university of his choice, with the understanding that his Public Service would be in the field for which he was trained: astrophysics.
Grant accepted the scholarship and the commitment, his eyes still on Farside. He went to Harvard and, much to his delighted surprise, fell in love with a raven-haired biochemist named Marjorie Gold. She made him feel important, for the first time in his life. When he was with her, the quiet, steady, sandy-haired young astronomy student felt he could conquer the universe.
They married during their senior year even though he knew he'd be off to the Farside Observatory for four years while Marjorie would be doing her Public Service with the International Peacekeeping Force, tracking down clandestine biological warfare factories in the jungles of southeast Asia and Latin America.
But they were young and their love could not wait. So they married, despite their parents' misgivings.
"I'll come down from Farside at least every few months," Grant told her as they lay together in bed, contemplating the next four years.
"I'll get leave when you're here," Marjorie agreed.
"By the time I'm finished my four years I'll have my doctorate," he said.
"Then you can get on a tenure track at any university you like."
"And after the four years is over we can apply to have a child," Grant said.
"A boy," said Marjorie.
"Don't you want a daughter?"
"Afterward. After I learn how to be a mother. Then we can have a daughter."
He smiled in the darkness of their bedroom and kissed her and they made love. It was a safe time of Marjorie's cycle.
They both graduated with high honors; Grant was actually first in his class. Marjorie received her Public Service commission with the Peacekeepers, as expected. Grant, though, was shocked when his orders sent him not to the Farside Observatory on the Moon but to Research Station Thomas Gold, in orbit around Jupiter, more than seven hundred million kilometers from Marjorie at its closest approach to Earth.CHAPTER 2
"... WHICH SIDE YOU'RE ON"
Grant's father counseled patience.
"If that's where they want to send you, they must have their reasons. You'll simply have to accept it, son."
Grant found that he could not accept it. There was no patience in him, despite earnest prayers. His father had been a meek and accepting man all his life, and what had it gotten him? Obscurity, genteel poverty, and condescending smiles behind his back. That's not for me, Grant told himself.
Despite his father's conciliatory advice, Grant fought his assignment all the way up to the regional director of the New Morality's Northeast office.
"I can't spend four years at Jupiter," he insisted. "I'm a married man! I can't be that far away for four years! Besides, I'm an astrophysicist, and there's no need for my specialty at Jupiter. I'll be wasting four years! How can I work on my doctorate when there's no astrophysics being done there?"
The regional director sat behind a massive oak desk strewn with papers, tensely upright in his high-backed chair, his lean, long-fingered hands steepled before him as Grant babbled on. His name was Ellis Beech. He was a serious-looking African American with dark skin the color of sooty smoke. His face was thin, long with a pointed chin; his eyes were tawny, somber, focused intently on Grant without wavering all through his urgent, pleading tirade.
At last Grant ran out of words. He didn't know what more he could say. He had tried to control his anger, but he was certain he'd raised his voice unconscionably and betrayed the resentment and aggravation he felt. Never show anger, his father had counseled him. Be calm, be reasonable. Anger begets anger; you want to sway him to your point of view, not antagonize him.
Grant slumped back in his chair, waiting for some reaction from the regional director. The man didn't look antagonized. To Grant's eyes, he looked as if he hadn't heard half of what Grant had said. Beech's desk was cluttered with paper, from flimsy single sheets to thick volumes bound in red covers; his computer screen flickered annoyingly; he was obviously a very important and very busy person, yet his phone had not beeped once since Grant had been ushered into the warmly paneled, carpeted office.
"I was supposed to go to Farside," Grant muttered, trying to get some response out of the brooding man behind the desk.
"I'm fully aware of that," Beech said at last. Then he added, "But unfortunately you are needed at Jupiter."
"How could I be needed —"
"Let me explain the situation to you, young man."
"The scientists have had their research station in Jupiter orbit for nearly twenty years," Beech said, stressing the word "scientists" ever so slightly. "They have been poking around with the life-forms that exist on two of the planet's moons."
"Three," Grant corrected without thinking. "Plus they've found life-forms in Jupiter's atmosphere, as well."
Beech continued, unfazed. "The work these scientists do is enormously expensive. They are spending money that could be much better used to help the poor and disadvantaged here on Earth."
Before Grant could respond, Beech raised a silencing hand. "Yet we of the New Morality do not object to their work. Even though many of those scientists are doing everything they can to try to disprove the truth of Scripture, we allow them to continue their godless pursuits."
Grant didn't think that studying the highly adapted algae and microbes living in the ice-covered seas of the Jovian moons was a godless pursuit. How could any attempt to understand the fullness of God's creation be considered godless?
"Why do we not object to this enormously expensive waste of funds and effort?" Beech asked rhetorically. "Because we of the New Morality and similar God-fearing organizations in other nations have seen fit to establish a compromise with the International Astronautical Authority — and the global financial power structure, as well, I might add."
"Compromise?" Grant wondered aloud.
"Fusion," said Beech. "Thermonuclear fusion. The world's economic well-being depends on fusion power plants. Without the energy from fusion, our world would sink back into the poverty and chaos and corruption that spawned wars and terrorism in earlier years. With fusion, we are lifting the standards of living for even the poorest of the poor, bringing hope and salvation to the darkest corners of the Earth."
Grant thought he understood. "And the fuels for fusion — the isotopes of hydrogen and helium — they come from Jupiter."
"That is correct," Beech said, nodding gravely. "The first fusion power plants ran on isotopes dug up on the Moon, but that was too expensive. Jupiter's atmosphere is thick with fusion fuels. Automated scoopships bring us these isotopes by the ton."
Grant asked, "But what's that got to do with the scientific research being done at Jupiter?"
Beech spread his hands in a don't-blame-me gesture. "When we of the New Morality pointed out that the money spent on those scientists could be better spent here on Earth, the humanists of the IAA and the major money brokers of our global economy demanded that the research be allowed to continue. They absolutely refused to shut down their research activities."
Good, thought Grant.
"So the compromise was struck: The scientists could continue their work, as long as it was paid for out of the profits from the scoopship operations."
"The fusion fuels pay for the research operations," Grant said.
"Yes, that's the way it's been for the past ten years."
"But what does all this have to do with me? Why are you sending me to Jupiter?"
"We know what the scientists are doing on the moons of Jupiter. But last year they sent a probe into the planet itself."
"They send lots of probes to Jupiter," Grant pointed out.
"This one was manned," said Beech.
Grant gasped with surprise. "A manned probe? Are you certain? I never heard anything about that."
"Neither did we. They did it in secret."
"No! How could —"
"That is why you are being sent to Jupiter. To find out what those godless humanists are trying to achieve," Beech said flatly.
"Me? You want me to spy on them?"
"We need to know what they are doing — and why they are not reporting their activities, not even to the IAA."
"But I'm no spy. I'm a scientist myself!"
Beech's solemn expression deepened into a scowl. "Mr. Archer, I'm sure that you assume that you can be a scientist and a Believer, both at the same time."
"Yes! There's no fundamental conflict between science and faith."
"Perhaps. But out there at the research station in Jupiter orbit, scientists are doing something that they don't want us to know about. And we must find out what they're up to!"
"But ... why me?"
"God works in mysterious ways, my boy. You have been chosen. Accept that fact."
"It's going to ruin my life," Grant argued. "Four years away from my wife, four years wasted out there doing God knows what. I'll never get my doctorate!"
Beech nodded again. "It's a sacrifice, I realize that. But it's a sacrifice you should be glad to offer up to heaven."
"That's easy for you to say. I'm the one whose life is being turned upside-down."
"Let me explain something to you," Beech said, tapping the paper-strewn desk with a fingertip. "Do you have any idea of what the world was like before the New Morality and similar organizations gained political power across most of the world?"
Grant squirmed slightly in his chair. "There were lots of problems ..."
Beech spat out a single, sharp "Hah!" His eyes were the color of a lion's, Grant realized. He was staring at Grant the way a lion watches a gazelle.
"I mean, economically, socially —"
"The world was a cesspool!" Beech snapped. "Corruption everywhere. No moral leadership at all. The politicians gave in to every whim that any pressure group expressed. They took polls and strove for popularity, while the people's real problems festered."
"The gap between the rich and poor got wider," Grant recited, recalling his high school lessons.
"And that led to terrorism, wars, crime," Beech agreed, his voice rising slightly. "Civil wars all over the world. Terrorists with biological weapons."
"The Calcutta Disaster," said Grant.
"Three million people killed."
"And São Paolo."
"Another two million."
Grant had seen the videos in school: piles of dead bodies in the streets, emergency workers in space suits to protect them from the lethal biological agents in the air.
"Governments were paralyzed, unable to act," Beech said firmly. "Until the spirit of God was returned to the corridors of power."
"It was something of a miracle, wasn't it?" Grant muttered.
Beech shook his head. "No miracle. Hard work by honest, God-fearing people. We took control of governments all around the world, the New Morality, the Light of Allah, the Holy Disciples in Europe."
"The New Dao movement in Asia," Grant added.
"Yes, yes," said Beech. "And why were we successful in bringing moral strength and wisdom into the political arena? Because religion is a digital system."
"Digital. Religious precepts are based on moral principles. There is right and there is wrong. Nothing in between. Nothing! No wiggle room for the politicians to sneak through. Right or wrong, black or white, on or off. Digital."
"That's why the New Morality succeeded where other reform movements failed," Grant said, with new understanding.
"Exactly. That's why we were able to clean up the crime-ridden streets of our cities. That's why we were able to put an end to all these self-styled civil rights groups that actually wanted nothing less than a license to commit any sinful acts they wanted to. That's why we could bring order and stability to the nation — and to the whole world."
Grant had to admit that from what he'd learned of history, the world was far better off with God-fearing, morally straight governments in power than it had been in the old, corrupt, licentious days.
"We are doing God's work," Beech went on, sitting even straighter than before, his hands splayed on the desktop, his eyes burning. "We are feeding the poor, bringing education and enlightenment to all, even in the worst parts of Asia and Africa and South America. We have stabilized world population growth without murdering the unborn. We are raising the standard of living for the poorest of the poor."
Excerpted from Jupiter by Ben Bova, Patrick Nielsen Hayden. Copyright © 2001 Ben Bova. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Ben Bova is a six-time winner of the Hugo Award, a former editor of Analog, former editorial director of Omni, and past president of both the National Space Society and the Science Fiction Writers of America. Bova is the author of more than a hundred works of science fact and fiction. He lives in Florida.
Ben Bova is the author of more than a hundred works of science fact and fiction, including Able One, Leviathans of Jupiter and the Grand Tour novels, including Titan, winner of John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation in 2005, and in 2008 he won the Robert A. Heinlein Award "for his outstanding body of work in the field of literature." He is President Emeritus of the National Space Society and a past president of Science Fiction Writers of America, and a former editor of Analog and former fiction editor of Omni. As an editor, he won science fiction’s Hugo Award six times. Dr. Bova’s writings have predicted the Space Race of the 1960s, virtual reality, human cloning, the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars), electronic book publishing, and much more. He lives in Florida.
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At hs res 2
For Camp Jupiter. ~Peter &psi
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Loves your stody
I am finding it difficult to read and enjoy this book due to the huge number of typos. This appears to be an inherent issue with all nook books and is I presume due to the method of input, but when I pay $8 for a book I want it to be reasonably well presented.
Jupiter had some of the most outstanding science fiction I have ever read. The intricate explinations of the setting and the science of the mission are wonderful. Ben Bova does a great job at making the mission seem so real. However, there are numerous side tracks embedded into the story, and they take away from the magic. I would be reading, and suddenly, there would be a refrence to a woman's body, and it made me go, 'Whoa. Why is that there?' Then, of course, it would get back on track with the science, which was again outstanding. Therefore, as I stated above, the book contains great science, but horrible sidetracks, and those sidetracks secure this book's spot at three stars
I loved this book and I think that this a book all science fiction fans should read
I found Ben Bova's Jupiter by accident and I am glad I did. It was a very interesting book. I have never read any of his books and now I am looking forward to collecting them all. Jupiter was a great book. I only wish it was alittle longer..lol. I definetely reccomend this book.