Titan (Grand Tour Series #10)

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Overview

Hugo Award-winning editor, author, scientist, and journalist, Ben Bova is a modern master of near-future science fiction and a passionate advocate of manned space exploration. For more than a decade, Bova has been chronicling humanity's struggles to colonize our solar system in a series of interconnected novels known as "The Grand Tour."

Now, with Titan, Ben Bova takes readers to one of the most intriguing destinations in near space: the extraordinary moon of Saturn which made ...

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Titan (Grand Tour Series #10)

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Overview

Hugo Award-winning editor, author, scientist, and journalist, Ben Bova is a modern master of near-future science fiction and a passionate advocate of manned space exploration. For more than a decade, Bova has been chronicling humanity's struggles to colonize our solar system in a series of interconnected novels known as "The Grand Tour."

Now, with Titan, Ben Bova takes readers to one of the most intriguing destinations in near space: the extraordinary moon of Saturn which made international headlines last year when the Huygens probe sent back remarkable images of its strange landscapes.

2095. After long months of travel, the gigantic colony ship Goddard has at last made orbit around Saturn, carrying a population of more than of 10,000 dissidents, rebels, extremists, and visionaries seeking a new life. Among Goddard's missions is the study of Titan, which offers the tantalizing possibility that life may exist amid its windswept islands and chill black seas.

When the exploration vessel Titan Alpha mysteriously fails after reaching the moon's surface, long buried tensions surface among the colonists. Eduoard Urbain, the mission's chief scientist, is wracked with anxiety and despair as he sees his life's work unravel. Malcolm Eberly, Goddard's chief administrator, takes ruthless measures to hold onto power as a rash of suspicious incidents threaten to undermine his authority. Holly Lane, the colony's human-resources director, must confront the station's powerful leaders to protect the lives of its people. And retired astronaut Manuel Gaeta is forced to risk his life in a last, desperate attempt to salvage the lost probe.

Torn by intrigue, sabotage, and an awesome discovery that could threaten human space exploration, a handful of courageous men and women must fight for the survival of their colony, and for the destiny of the human race.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
This installment of Ben Bova's Grand Tour saga (Venus, Jupiter, et al.) takes place on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. There, in the midst of what could be the biggest scientific discovery in the history of humankind, political and philosophical conflict threaten to destroy everything the 10,000 inhabitants on the space habitat Goddard have spent years working toward. As the annual election of chief administrator draws near, Goddard's incumbent head honcho, Malcolm Eberly, is doing everything possible to gain one more year of control. Eberly's intentions are anything but honorable; he's a ruthless con man pursuing a lucrative dream of mining Saturn's rings for water ice. Opposing him are people like Nadia Wunderly, a maverick scientist who believes that there is life within the rings; Holly Lane, the head of the ship's human resources department, whose agenda revolves around lifting the ban on childbirth; and Edouard Urbain, the tightly wound chief scientist whose wayward exploratory vehicle is trekking across Titan incommunicado. They are desperate to stop Eberly's wild get-rich-quick scheme before extraterrestrial life forms are destroyed, the inhabitants of the space habitat are killed -- or something much worse...

The prolific Bova has been a mainstay in the genre for more than five decades, in large part due to his masterful blend of visionary hard science themes and deeply moving, character-driven plotlines. Titan is no different, featuring an impressive cast of passionate and courageous characters, as well as some jaw-dropping scientific speculation -- vintage Ben. Paul Goat Allen
From the Publisher
Praise for the novels in Ben Bova's epic science fiction saga, "The Grand Tour":

"Ben Bova continues his epic of solar system exploration by taking refugees from Earth's formidable fundamentalist theocracies on the long voyage to Saturn. The pacing is brisk, and—now that Arthur C. Clarke has retired and Charles Sheffield has departed—Bova is definitely the man to do justice to the astronomical marvels of the Saturnian system with its enormous potential as a second home for humanity, especially in the complex environments of its moons. Loud, prolonged applause, then, for the strengths of this book." —Booklist on Saturn

"Bova proves himself equal to the task of showing how adversity can temper character in unforeseen ways." —The New York Times on Venus

"Ben Bova's latest near-future SF thriller supplies a suspenseful ride and plenty of high-tech hardware as it builds to a climactic confrontation over Washington, D.C." —Publishers Weekly on Powersat

Publishers Weekly
In the latest planetary saga from Hugo-winner Bova (Mercury, etc.), the solidly hypothesized science enthralls, especially down on the surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan. On Christmas Eve 2095, the exploring vehicle Titan Alpha lumbers around that mysterious minus-183-degree Celsius world of black snow, seeking traces of life. Meanwhile, the human story-chiefly centered on the space habitat Goddard, in orbit above Saturn-lurches along as laboriously as Alpha, the tensions among the various stereotypical characters simmering fitfully but rarely coming to a savory boil. Chief scientist Edouard Urbain makes predictable compromises to save his brainchild, Alpha. Retired CEO and gee-whiz astronaut Pancho Lane takes off on a hairy deep-space jaunt to save Saturn's rings from exploitation from "slimy SOB" Malcolm Eberly, Goddard's power-hungry leader, once lover to Pancho's reborn sister, Holly. The novel resolves the many personal conflicts in a flurry of silly political maneuvers as old as Aristophanes' Lysistrata-bring 'em to heel by denying 'em sex-but the result is not half as entertaining or so thought provoking. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In Titan, Bova returns to his group of novels based on solar system exploration that began with Mars (1992) and continued with Mercury (2005). In his classic style, Bova uses the latest in hard scientific facts mixed with sf and a talent for storytelling to weave a tale of political intrigue and drama. In 2095, the human-made space habitat Goddard is in orbit around Saturn. An explorer spacecraft named Titan Alpha is sent to the surface of Titan seeking evidence of life forms in the methane-rich atmosphere, frozen seas of black ice, and encrusted islands that make up Saturn's largest moon. However, as soon as Titan Alpha lands, a mysterious programming subroutine blocks all transmission back to the Goddard, leaving chief scientist -Eduoard Urbain to save the mission. Meanwhile, the Goddard's leader, Malcolm Eberly, initiates a game of politics designed to keep himself in power. The use of four narrators (Amanda Karr among them) makes Titan hard to follow at first, but then listeners will get used to the distinctly different voices. Recommended for libraries with strong sf collections.-Tim Daniels, Georgia State Univ. Lib., Atlanta Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765343154
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 3/6/2007
  • Series: Grand Tour Series , #10
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 4.17 (w) x 6.69 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Read an Excerpt

Titan

24 DECEMBER 2095: ON THE SHORE OF THE METHANE SEA

It was nearly dawn on Titan. The thick listless wind slithered like an oily beast slowly awakening from a troubled sleep, moaning, lumbering across the frozen land. The sky was a grayish orange, heavy with sluggish clouds; the distant Sun was nothing more than a feeble ember of dull red light smoldering faintly along the horizon. No stars in that smog-laden sky, no lightning to break the darkness; only the slightest hint of a faint glow betrayed where the giant planet Saturn rode high above.

The ice-covered sea was dark, too, with a brittle, cracked coating of black hydrocarbon slush that surged fitfully against the low bluffs that hemmed it in. At their bases the bluffs were ridged, showing where the feeble tides had risen and then fallen back: risen and ebbed, in the inexorable cadence that had persisted for eons. In the distance a methane storm slowly marched across the sea, scattering crystals of black hydrocarbon tholins like a blanket of inkdrops swirling closer, closer.

A promontory of ice suddenly crumbled under the relentless etching of the sea, sliding into the black waves with a roar that no ear heard, no eye saw. Slabs of frozen water slid into the sea, smashing the thin sheet of blackened ice atop it, frothing and bobbing in the water for a few moments before the open water began to freeze over once again. All became still and quiet once again, except for the low moan of the unhurried wind and the ceaseless surging of the waves. It was as if the promontory had never existed.

Titan rolled slowly in its stately orbit around the ringed planet Saturn just as it had for billions of years, as dark and benighted beneath its shroud of ruddy auburn clouds as a blind beggar groping his unlit circuit through a cold, pitiless universe.

But this slow dawn was different. A new kind of day was beginning.

A sudden thunderclap boomed across the ice-topped sea, so sharp and powerful that shards of ice snapped off the frozen bluffs and tumbled splashing into the dark crust below. A flash of light lit the clouds, casting an eerie orange glimmer over the shore of the sea.

Through the clouds descended a thing utterly alien, a massive oblong object that swayed gently beneath a billowing canopy. It descended slowly toward the rounded hillocks that edged the dark, turbid sea. As it neared the icy surface another flash of brilliant, searing light burst from beneath it with a roar that echoed off the ice mounds and across the wavelets of the murky sea. Then it settled slowly onto the uneven surface of one of the knolls, squatting heavily on four thick caterpillar treads as its parachute canopy sagged down to droop over its edge and halfway to the black encrusted sea.

The creatures living in the ice burrowed deeper to escape the alien monster. They had neither eyes nor ears but they were delicately sensitive to changes in pressure and temperature. The alien was hot, lethally hot, and so heavy that it sank through the soft surface mud and even cracked and powdered the underlying ice beneath its bulk. The ice creatures moved pitifully slow; those directly beneath the massive alien were not fast enough to avoid being crushed and roasted by its residual heat. The others nearby wormed deeper into the ice as quickly as they could, blindly seeking to escape, to survive, to live.

Then the black tholin storm reached the cliffs and swirled over the alien monster. Silence returned to the shore of Titan's frigid sea.

Copyright © 2006 by Ben Bova

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    insightful Grand Tour of Titan

    In 2095, the man-made space habitat Goddard with ten thousand on board also goes into orbit around Saturn. The Goddard sends explorer spacecraft Titan Alpha to the surface of the Saturn moon of TITAN seeking evidence of any form of life in the black ice frozen seas or the island that make up the orb. However, something goes wrong with the probe leaving chief scientist Edouard Urbain to defend what happened and to gain support to salvage the mission. --- Meanwhile Goddard¿s leader Malcolm Eberly turns to the rings for what he hopes will prove a strong investment even as he wants to shut down Urbain¿s wasted project because feels no money can be made from one cell life forms or other endangered species that reside in the way of progress and development. Former CEO Pancho Lane plans to stop Malcolm from exploiting and strip mining the rings even if it means a suicide ride into space to succeed. His sister and Malcolm¿s ex lover Holly Lane worry over the welfare of the colonists as incidents begin to happen that could ultimately prove lethal. --- Ben Bova¿s latest Grand Tour of the solar system is an intriguing tale in which the extrapolation from current scientific information on Titan leads to terrific hypotheses that outstrips in many ways the human aspects of the story line. Fans will gain plenty of understanding about conditions on Titan, the Saturn rings, and to a lesser degree the planet from Mr. Bova¿s usual delightful theorizing extracted from the known information. Though the conflicts between the Goddard leaders never take charge of the plot and their resolution seems too simple for these fiery adversaries, no one explores outer space quite like Mr. Bova does. --- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    STARFIRE

    Im Starfire. If im talking about real life i might call myself Kitty Frog.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 21, 2009

    Ben Bova, TITAN

    It failed to convey a sense of drama or suspense; quite predictable in so many areas. It's a sequel to previous SATURN, but lacks the punch packed by the first volume, even if it's not completely dependent on it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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