Two hundred thousand feet up, things go horribly wrong. An experimental low-orbit spaceplane breaks up on reentry, falling to earth over a trail hundreds of miles long. And in its wake is the beginning of the most important mission in the history of spaceflight.
Americans needs energy, and Dan Randolph is determined to give it to them. He dreams of an array of geosynchronous powersats, satellites that gather solar energy and beam it to generators on Earth, freeing America from its addiction to fossil fuels and breaking the power of the oil cartels forever. But the wreck of the spaceplane has left his company, Astro Manufacturing, on the edge of bankruptcy.
Worse, Dan discovers that the plane was sabotaged. And whoever brought it down is willing-and able-to kill again to keep Astro grounded.
Now Dan has to thread a dangerous maze. The visible threats are bad enough: Rival firms want to buy him out and take control of his dreams. His former lover wants to co-opt his unlimited-energy idea as a campaign plank for the candidate she's grooming for the presidency. NASA and the FAA want to shut down his maverick firm. And his creditors are breathing down his neck.
Making matters even more dangerous, an international organization of terrorists sees the powersat as a threat to their own oil-based power. And they've figured out how to use it as a weapon in their war against the West.
A sweeping mix of space, murder, romance, politics, secrets, and betrayal, Powersat will take you to the edge of space and the dawning of a new world.
Listen to more in Ben Bova's Grand Tour series.
©2005 Ben Bova (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Bova gets better and better, combining plausible science with increasingly complex fiction." (Los Angeles Daily News)
The story itself, I like a techno thriller and this delivered on that well. But I find Stefan Rudnicki's voice to be very mono-tone which makes is a hard listen.
I found his voice to be very mono-tone, but the most annoying thing was the editing. There are at least 15 bad edits in this audiobook if not more. Many times a sentence or partial sentence is repeated, and in one case it was repeated twice. This is by far the worsted edited audiobook in my audible library of around 100 books.
"Great book but substandard recording"
this is a great story Ben Bova has done a great job with it and the narrator Stefan Rudnicki does a fantastic job as always HOWEVER there are several places throughout the book where all the different "takes" from the author are included one after another. what i mean is a sentence is repeated three or four times each time with a slightly different inflection in the narrators voice. then the story just continues on as normal for a while till you get to the next one. I'm half way through the book and so far the most notable occurrence of this is in chapter 24 starting about 3:40.
Very annoying. this needs to be fixed and re-released
"Great Narration, Good Story, Terrible Editing!"
It kept me interested, which is enough.
This is a good thriller with interesting characters and a decently-paced plot. Not much action until the climax, but the build-up is worth it. Stefan Rudnicki is an excellent narrator who does a good job with accents and expression. I would have given it a higher overall rating, but the poor editing is unacceptable for a commercial offering. Still, if you can look past the mistakes, it's worth a listen.
"Not the best from Ben Bova"
I am ambivalent on this question. I kept waiting for resolution, and it left me mildly dissappointed.
Yes, notwithstanding this presentation, I am a Ben Bova fan, esp. the Solar System series. Difficult to ignore the impact of Bova in the speculative fiction genre.
Stefan owns Bova ( or maybe it's the other way around?! ) His accents, his dynamics, his nuance. One of my favourite performers, esp. of Bova.
Therefore, he brings this story to life far better than my imagination ever could at this point.
Cut back on petroleum usage.
Unusual for Bova in the sense that this book is largely a free standing effort. Even more political in nature than previous efforts, it loses the plot sometimes as it get's hung up on politics ( White House, oil, sexual, etc. ) and that does diminish it, for me at least.
A qualified thumbs up, with many caveats however.
"Interesting idea, horribly cliched execution"
Excellent performance and a great idea.
As it was meant to set the stage for the rest of the series it ended pretty much as expected. This is probably the biggest fault of the book, it's not very original in it's execution.
Terrrrrrror in Space
As much as I admire the idea the book hasn't really aged all that well. One example is that one of the characters feels the need to explain the term "wind farm" to another (side) character.
Overall, as said above, the idea of the Powersat etc. is interesting, the science appears to me solid too. Where it falls down is just how cliched the characters and their actions are. There was no surprise in it for me.
So I give it an A for the idea, but only a D for the execution.
"Political Thriller More Than Sci Fi, But Good!"
I would have passed this over had I not seen the Grand Tour banner attached to the title.
It's a political thriller with plausible science unpinning the narrative. As far as the Grand Tour goes, I am looking forward to more exploration of the outer solar system, but this satisfied me for now.
While it is a shame that Blackstone released this somewhat rough cut instead of a properly edited recording, I can't say that it was terribly upsetting to me personally. Stephen Rudnicki is such a wonderfully gifted narrater, it was interesting to hear his alternate inflections and retakes. But please, Blackstone, this is not podiobooks, you're getting paid, so next time review your work before selling it.
"Poor editing gets in the way"
As noted already, there are several places where the narrator re-reads lines. It is quite disturbing.
Otherwise, the story is entertaining, but not really in the science fiction genre. You could imagine it taking place five years from now with no great stretch of technology.
More a terrestrial drama of human proportions than SciFi. Also, a study in super egos and the differing perspectives of business versus politicians. The book stretches credibility with quick reaction launches of a commercial space plane. I particularly enjoyed the CEOs problem solving when grounded for flying by government bureaucracy. Typical Bova.
"Nothing about this book felt right"
I really struggled to finish this book but did so because I had recently returned the last 4 books and desperately wantes to break my streak. The characters are not believable and act, talk and think like juveniles. The whole world feels like a cartoon characterization bettered by many TV shows aimed at toddlers in a novel that is trying to be serious.
"captivating, conspiracy, Great story."
conspiracies, corporate espionage, and unpredictable plot twists that illustrate heroes can be male or female and when the good guys win it's always with great personal cost.
"I want the Powersat to work!"
This is an older book so some of the technology is behind the times now. But everything else is relevant--the political, corporate, and international backstabbing are all still very timely. The human interest level here is supplied by the separation of the main character and his would-be wife. She went off to Washington and he went off to space; they can't get over each other, can't leave their other love. And then they did stupid things like disparage the other's life choice: "You still playing in space?" and "You care about that political crap?"
You would thing that cheap, renewable, clean energy would be everyone's dream, but it isn't. The oil, coal and automobile industries would suffer, and the countries that depend on exports of these would be bankrupted, so there is lots of opposition to this concept that would really benefit the world.
The characters are real enough that we lament their deaths, or cheer their downfall. The narration is great. The story is long and satisfying. All in all a good read with technology, corporate espionage, political playoffs, thug intimidation, and greed, greed that cares not a whit what corpses lie in its wake.
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