Mercury (Grand Tour Series #8)

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Overview

"Saito Yamagata thinks Mercury's position will make it an ideal orbit point for satellites that could someday create enough power to propel starships into deep space. He hires Dante Alexios to bring his dreams to life. Astrobiologist Victor Molina thinks the water at Mercury's poles may harbor evidence of life and hopes to achieve fame and glory by proving it. Bishop Elliot Danvers has been sent by the powerful Earth-based "New Morality" to keep close tabs on Molina's endeavors, which threaten to produce results contrary to fundamentalist
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Overview

"Saito Yamagata thinks Mercury's position will make it an ideal orbit point for satellites that could someday create enough power to propel starships into deep space. He hires Dante Alexios to bring his dreams to life. Astrobiologist Victor Molina thinks the water at Mercury's poles may harbor evidence of life and hopes to achieve fame and glory by proving it. Bishop Elliot Danvers has been sent by the powerful Earth-based "New Morality" to keep close tabs on Molina's endeavors, which threaten to produce results contrary to fundamentalist teachings." "Three of these men are blissfully unaware of their shared history and how it ties into one of mankind's greatest tragedies. Years before, visionary engineer Mance Bracknell made his own attempt to help man progress into space by building a ladder to the stars: a glistening tower stretching thousands of miles into the air, anchored by spans of steel to a satellite in geosynchronous orbit. But technological endeavor was no match for human passions, and greed and jealousy provoked terrorists to an act of sabotage that resulted in the death of millions." There's no telling how many more will have to die before Mance has his revenge.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
In Mercury, one of the destinations on Ben Bova's epic Grand Tour saga (Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, et al.), a disgraced engineer weaves an intricate plot to take down the people who ruined his life. The stage for his vengeance is the barren, heat-scorched planet of Mercury.

Maverick entrepreneur Saito Yamagata has come out of his self-imposed seclusion to begin a project on Mercury devoted to generating inexpensive power for the growing human habitations throughout the solar system. Also involved in the project are Victor Molina, a self-absorbed astrobiologist; Elliott Danvers, a sanctimonious preacher in the fanatical New Morality Church; and Dante Alexios, an intense, enigmatic engineer in charge of the mission. Unbeknownst to all, Alexios is actually Mance Bracknell, a visionary engineer turned pariah after the project he was heading -- the construction of a massive skytower in Ecuador -- crashed to earth, killing more than 4 million people. Danvers, Molina, and Yamagata all played integral roles in Bracknell's downfall: Danvers was a spy for the Church, Molina falsely implicated Bracknell during the subsequent trial and ended up marrying his fiancée, and Yamagata's corporation was behind the project's sabotage. Now decades later, Dante has his fiery revenge.

Like the other novels in Bova's Grand Tour -- a series of loosely connected tales about humankind's expansion throughout the solar system -- Mercury is built on hard science but powered by the emotional entanglements of its characters. While nothing in life is guaranteed, Ben Bova's storytelling prowess -- with his trademark blend of scientific speculation and enthralling romantic and political intrigue -- comes close. Paul Goat Allen
Booklist
"A guaranteed crowd-pleaser!"
Publishers Weekly
Set in the same future universe as the author's asteroid series (The Silent War, etc.) and sharing such major players as the Yamagata Corporation and the religion of the New Morality, Hugo-winner Bova's well-plotted fourth planet novel (after 2003's Saturn) features a classic love triangle, backed by the occasional Greek chorus of scientific explanations. While astrobiologist Victor Molina and engineer Mance Bracknell (disguised as Dante Alexios) vie for the affections of Victor's wife, Lara Tierney Molina, Saito Yamagata attempts to create an efficient, inexpensive staging area on Mercury to send ships into deep space. Meanwhile, Bracknell schemes to exact revenge for his destroyed past. Ten years earlier, Bracknell's efforts to create another efficient, inexpensive method of launching spaceships called "The Sky Tower" was sabotaged by Bishop Danvers of the New Morality, as well as by Molina and Yamagata's son, Nobu. Millions of innocents died as a result. The moral questions raised by Bracknell's complicated retribution scenarios about the rights of victims for revenge and the immoral consequences of moral acts add depth to an otherwise standard tale of space adventure. Agent, Barbara Bova. (May 4) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In the near future, the planet Mercury looms large in the sights of men and women who see Earth's future survival in harvesting the solar system. Some want to use the tiny planet as a satellite orbit point, others seek evidence of life in the polar water, while one man craves revenge for a past tragedy of monstrous proportions. Continuing his exploration of the solar system, sf veteran Bova presents a dramatic tale of ambition and vengeance coupled with an absorbing look at the inner solar system's smallest and most elusive planet. Fans of the author's technological expertise and his strong prospace bias should enjoy this action-packed tale. Recommended for most libraries. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Another entry in Bova's series melodramatizing the near/medium-future exploration of the solar system (Powersat, 2004, etc.). This time, various movers and shakers are drawn to the planet Mercury. Ruthless industrialist Saito Yamagata, given a second life thanks to medical nanotechnology (he died of cancer, was frozen, revived and cured), conceives a grand idea: He will send mankind to the stars. So, Yamagata hires space engineer Dante Alexios to build a fleet of power satellites in orbit about Mercury. Laser boosts from the powersats will push spaceships to the stars. But Yamagata wonders why, though they hadn't met before, Alexios seems so familiar. Meanwhile, exobiologist Victor Molina receives an anonymous tip about some rocks found in a crater on Mercury. The rocks, Molina finds, bear traces of life! To Molina, also, Alexios seems weirdly familiar. Soon after, Molina triumphantly broadcasts his discoveries, Bishop Elliot Danvers of the reactionary New Morality arrives; his mission is to discredit Molina. It gives nothing away to mention the story's central section-Bova makes no attempt to conceal the broad outlines of his plot-in which, ten years ago, genius engineer Mance Bracknell built a space elevator; attacked by terrorists, the structure fell to Earth, killing millions. Bracknell was blamed, thanks in part to testimony by Molina and Danvers. Yamagata's role in the disaster was, apparently, even more direct. As a result, Bracknell was banished from Earth and lost the love of his life to Molina. No prizes for guessing who's who, and how this all links up. A humdrum addition to this wide-ranging but, lately, flagging series.
From the Publisher
“With Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein gone, Bova, author of more than 70 books, is one of the last deans of traditional science fiction. And he hasn’t lost his touch.” —Kansas City Star on Venus

"Recalls the work of Heinlein in his Destination Moon mode, or Hal Clement in any number of stories: a day-after-tomorrow tale crafted with near-journalistic purity...It's a difficult, demanding mode to pursue, and not many choose to nowadays. But Bova does it magnificently." -Paul Di Filippo, Scifi.com

"This audio version, as you expect from Macmillan Audio, is very good and when you listen to the narrators, it's like being re-introduced to old acquanintances." - SFCrowsnest.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765343147
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 3/7/2006
  • Series: Grand Tour Series , #8
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 483,085
  • Product dimensions: 4.15 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

A six-time winner of science fiction's Hugo Award, a former editor of Analog and former fiction editor of Omni, and a past president of the National Space Society and the Science Fiction Writers of America, Ben Bova is the author of over a hundred works of science fact and fiction. He lives in Florida.

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Read an Excerpt



Mercury



Planet Novel #4



By Bova, Ben


Tor Science Fiction



Copyright © 2006

Bova, Ben

All right reserved.


ISBN: 0765343142



SURFACE RESCUE

"I'm really stuck here," Molina called, a hint of desperation in his voice. "I need you to help me. What are you doing up there?"

Alexios heard himself say, "I'm coming down. It'll take a few minutes. Hang in there."

"Well for Christ's sake don't dawdle! I'm sloshing in my own sweat inside this frigging suit."

Alexios smiled again. You're not helping yourself, Victor. You're not making it easier for me to come to your aid.

But he pushed the door of the tractor's cab open and jumped to the ground, almost hoping that he'd snap an ankle or twist a knee and be unable to save Victor's self-centered butt. Angry with himself, furious with Victor and the other two, irritated at the world in general, Alexios marched to the winch and wrapped the cable around both his gloved hands.

Slowly he began lowering himself down the steep side of the gully.

"What are you doing?" Molina demanded. "Are you coming?"

"I'll be there in a few minutes," Alexios said between gritted teeth.

I'll save your ass, Victor, he thought. I'll save your body. I won't let you die. I'll bring you back and let you destroy yourself. That's just as good as killing you. Better, even. Destroy yourself, Victor. With my help.


Continues...




Excerpted from Mercury
byBova, Ben
Copyright © 2006 by Bova, Ben.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.


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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Bova's best work

    Mercury
    by, Ben Bova
    (2005), Tor Science Fiction
    ISBN - 978-0765343147

    Ben Bova - who has been writing science fiction for more than 40 years, including books such as Moonrise and Titan - continues his Grand Tour series about the colonization of the solar system with Mercury. The story begins in the late 21st century as three characters - Astrobiologist Victor Molina, "New Morality" Bishop Elliot Danvers and Billionaire developer Saito Yamagata - come to the scorched surface of the planet closest to the sun. Each has their own myopic agenda, but they are all unaware that they have been lured there by Mance Bracknell so he can avenge the rolls that the three of them played in his destruction a decade earlier.

    The story really drags early on and it is difficult to have empathy for any of the characters. They are all uniformly shallow, egotistical and appear oblivious to what any of the others are doing. The second act goes back in time to try and explain where Mance's wrath originated and the pace of the storytelling picks up a bit, but by then there was little chance to salvage any interest in what would happen to any of the characters. In the finale, Mercury makes a clumsy attempt to make some sort of moral statement of the responsibility of big business and the evil of religious zealots in a future where seemly everyone lives as extremists, but by then the whole story seems unimportant.

    Even Bova's usually engaging science fiction imagery seems to have been sacrificed in this installment. Maybe it was a product of the barren landscape of Mercury, but there just wasn't anything interesting or unique about the world-building which is a prerequisite of science fiction writing. This book really failed to live up to some of Bova's other writing and it was a struggle to finish. Mercury is not one of his best works.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2005

    A bit of a departure from the Grand Tour

    Bova's Grand Tour has taken us to the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. Now, on to Mercury. This book, however, is a bit different from the others. The planet Mercury is really just a bit player. In the other books, the planets (or Moon) themselves were co-stars. The Alexios (Bracknell)/Molina/Tierney love triangle is front and center. Most of the book actually is set on Earth and the Asteroid Belt, not Mercury. If you're into hard science fiction and want to know more about the planet, you won't find much here. Perhaps that's because Mercury is much less interesting than the other planets. As usual with Bova's stories, the characters are well-developed, with their own strong points and flaws. The story is well done and interesting. It's more romance novel and tale of revenge than science fiction. As long as you know what you're getting into, it's a pretty good read.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An interesting science fiction thriller

    Industrialist Saito Yamagata died from cancer, but his body was frozen, eventually nanotechnology provided a remedy, and cured him; he has a second chance at life and plans to live it to the fullest. He plans to provide mankind a venue to the solar system and ultimately the stars though a previous effort headed by Mance Bracknell a decade ago led to death and destruction, and ultimately exile of the chief engineer from Earth.................... To achieve his stellar objective and avoid the earthly disaster of Mance in which millions died, Saito hires Dante Alexios to build a fleet of satellites to orbit Mercury. From these man made moons, spaceships will venture throughout space. Though he is positive he never met his space engineer, Saito wonders why Dante seems so familiar to him in a déjà vu way. At the same time, exobiologist Victor Molina learns that rocks found on Mercury include remains of a life form. Victor turns to Dante for help, but wonders why the space engineer who he swears he never met before looks so familiar. Meanwhile Bishop Elliot Danvers of New Morality plans to disgrace Molina..................... Ben Bova provides an interesting science fiction thriller that will please his fans although ironically readers will know the connections between the prime characters long before most of the protagonists figure it out, which removes some of the air from the suspense. The cast is solid as readers will accept the brilliance and abilities of the different engineers to achieve their objectives including a personal agenda and the world they live in. Though not quite his best work, Mr. Bova writes a fine tale that paints an interesting picture of the future in outer space.................. Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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