Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Venus by Ben Bova

Venus is another stop on Bova's Grand Tour. Alex Humphries, the son of a wealthy and powerful man, Martin Humphries, was lost on an expedition to Venus a few years prior to the start of the story, while trying to obtain, for the Greens, evidence that Earth's global warming is similar to the planetary greenhouse effect that has always enveloped the Planet of Love. When Humphries offers ten billion dollars to the first person who returns his son's remains, his other son, Van, who has been a sickly drone most of his life, decides to outfit his own expedition to compete for the prize, which will make him independent at last from his domineering and cruel father.

His only competition will be the expedition mounted by Lars Fuchs, an asteroid miner whose business was ruined and whose wife was stolen by the elder Humphries twenty years ago. Fuchs' ship is named Lucifer, and he spends much of his time in the story quoting Satan's lines from Milton. But there's more to Fuchs than his public persona would suggest, and he actually is one of the more interesting characters in the story by the end.

The best part of this book, however, is all of the fun details that Bova includes about the environment which he believes exists on Venus' surface, and in its cloud layers, and his suppositions about what sort of life might survive in such a vicious place. It ain't Carson of Venus, folks, or even Between Planets; it's nearly literally Hell, which suits the captain of Lucifer just fine, and our "hero" Van not as much.

No comments: