Monday, April 11, 2016

Powersat by Ben Bova - Book Review #154


This is the kind of stuff I like.  Plausible SF without aliens or FTL.

Bova has been delivering this kind of fiction for decades and I really enjoyed this audio book.

That's not to say it was perfect, to be honest I found his love scenes to be ham-fisted and the women were depicted in an antiquated way; only ONE woman was not driven by love.  That's not to say they were not strong or smart, each one was, but the underlying driver was that they were in love with the main character Dan Randolph.

Randolph himself was irrationally in love with a senator to the point that his proclamations of love to her grated on me.  I found myself saying, "Really??" a lot.

Okay, many of the characters were just a bit off, but one must remember that Bova has been writing this kind of thing right from the tail end if the pulps and for the entire life of the paperback thriller era.  His plotting was excellent, his villains were diabolical and Randolph's competitors were formidable.

I kept thinking that this was very close to what Elon Musk and SpaceX must have felt like when they were getting started.  Without the body count.  That's not to say the book is very violent.  The industrial espionage within was believable and the action sequences were thrilling and cinematic.

All in all, none of it felt impossible and I found myself wishing SpaceX would take up the challenge of developing space based power generation.  Randolph and Musk share the same vision, they want to make the world a better place and are willing to take fantastic risks to get it done. They are men of vision.

Perhaps that is what makes this book work for me; there is a real life Dan Randolph, and Tony Stark rolled into one and he is Elon Musk.

Go SpaceX!

Go Ben Bova!

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