Monday, February 26, 2018

Moonrise by Ben Bova - Book Report #220

The thing I like about Bova's books are how the exploration and settlement of space are done by private companies.  Governments are usually a hinderance.

Masterson Aerospace is a conglomerate that builds clipper ships, vessels that can launch from earth to orbit and go beyond to the moon.  They also work on nanotechnology, build wall screens and run a moon base.  All of these things take money to run.  Some parts of the business are more profitable than others and some are hindered by world governments.

The novels centers itself on the precarious existence of Moonbase and its uncertain future.  Should the company close it or double down?  The conflict comes from the cold equations of the P&L sheet and the loftier goal of improving the future for humanity.

There are good guys and bad guys and Bova is not scared to kill anybody.  My only complaint, and this spans most of what I've read of his, is that his bad guys tend to be insane in some way.  I would find it much more compelling if the big drama came from a perfectly sane person working for his own interests.  Instead we get a bad guy with mommy issues who should have been in prison in the first part of the book.  Instead Bova keeps him around in a barely plausible way.

I've said this before; Bova comes from the pulp era of SF and I love that about him, it makes the stories super easy to get into.  But it makes his villains so cartoonish that the tension becomes cliché.

But, did the book do its job?  Was it entertaining?  Did I have a good time?  Did it make me wish for a future with spaceflight being as common as air travel?

Yes on all counts.  Which is why I read Bova.  He can still make you think about a future that should have happened if the Apollo program was not abandoned.

And for that reason, I believe he should be read.

If you find it in a second-hand bookstore, it's worth the five bucks to buy it.

Ben Bova

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