Monday, June 26, 2017

Empire Builders by Ben Bova - Book Report #188

Ben Bova has been writing my kind of science fiction for decades and I continue to enjoy every book I've read so far.

You have to approach his books with a pulp mindset.  The characters can sometimes be a bit one-dimensional which is okay with me.  In Bova's stories plot is king and characterization is secondary.  What you get are easily identifiable characters that behave and predictable ways, just like most movie thrillers.

I've been trying to read his Grand Tour series of books but he has written it out of order making it challenging to read in some kind of order.  Even the internet has difficulty putting the series in some kind of chronological order.

It is best to read each book as a stand-alone even though they are loosely connected.

In any case I liked Empire Builders, especially in a time with an Elon Musk in the world.  There are times I feel Musk has read Bova's stuff.

Dan Randolph, the owner of Astro Manufacturing loses everything and becomes a wanted criminal.  He finds his way into the underground society living on the moon where he plots his return and revenge.

I consider myself a futurist at heart and it hurts me to read about powerful people who try to prevent others from fulfilling their visions of a better place for humans by leveraging technology.  Power and money, baby!  Power and money corrupts so many minds.  Bova does a pretty good job of showcasing how powerful people control each other.

Yes, I liked the book.  But there are some flaws that many readers will have difficulty with; one-dimensional characters, obvious plotting and especially his treatment of some of the female characters will leave the reader wincing.

Overall, it still makes for a good read if you focus on the progress of humanity into space and how money can be made out there while solving some of our environmental problems.

Ben Bova

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