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Sunday, April 19, 2020

UranusUranus by Ben Bova
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've been reading SF for a long time and I've seen Ben Bova's name on the bookshelves all the time... or at least I used to... and yet I never once picked up a copy. So strange.

So when I saw that Bova had a new book on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance.

I've had this impression of his novels as a series of colonization pieces set across the solar system, and Uranus certainly fits that description.

But honestly? I expected more along the lines of keeping the habitat functional and the personal heroism of a few or a group... just not this.

It was notably light on science. And the story had this prostitute with a heart of gold thing going on, not to mention... get this... an honestly good preacher-man gathering up a number of the despondent, taking them away from their bad old lives... to Uranus. Hmm. It's almost like I read a novel version of a Saturday afternoon made-for-TV B-Movie. It wasn't bad, but it was definitely average. Not meh, but we have a colony funded on nefarious deeds and then it fights its own corruption and... it's... revolution-lite.

All the elements are there, including some I really do like, but the storytelling is definitely formula.

That's not to say it's all average, however. Two parts were actually rather cool, but the coolness comes from the ideas behind them rather than the way they're brought into the full story.

Want to know why Uranus is so messed up, compared to the rest of the Solar System? (Good stuff.)
How about seeing a Satyagraha treatment on the page? (Also good stuff.)

However... while the last bit suffers a bit in execution, it's still MOSTLY pretty good. At least in spirit.

I won't say this is a great novel or anything more than an average one, but it has sparked my interest in finding some of the author's very best works and trying them out as a comparison.

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