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Mercury (The Grand Tour #17)

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  801 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
"Saito Yamagata thinks Mercury's position will make it an ideal orbit point for satellites that could someday create enough power to propel starships into deep space. He hires Dante Alexios to bring his dreams to life. Astrobiologist Victor Molina thinks the water at Mercury's poles may harbor evidence of life and hopes to achieve fame and glory by proving it. Bishop Ellio ...more
Paperback, 370 pages
Published by Hodder (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,364)
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Keith Bell
Apr 26, 2013 Keith Bell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-reading some Sci-Fi that I had sitting around and am enjoying Bova's series. Many of his books are linked even if only by one common character or event. Some day I will go through them all just to find those links... probably not.
This novel was an okay, quick read. It wasn't great, but then again I haven't found any of Ben Bova's novels great. I like how he writes about the colonization of the solar system I just do not think he presents it very well. In all of his novels it is too much about power and revenge and politics... and this novel isn't any different.

The plot was well written and well presented but it was too focused on the politics and less on the planet. I didn't like his characters either; we have the stere
Another good piece of writing from Bova, though the title is slightly misleading, as the only real purpose that Mercury serves in the story is that of a fairly obvious metaphor for Purgatory (one of the chapters is even titled 'Purgatory'). In many science fiction works, the alien worlds upon/around which the stories occur are often fleshed to a point where they stand out as characters unto themselves (Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy jumps to mind); Bova's celestial locals, however, often fe ...more
Chad Sayban
Saito Yamagata believes the sun-scorched, barren surface of Mercury is the perfect place to generate the power needed to send ships off into deep space. Astrobiologist Victor Molina is looking for evidence that life actually exists in the ice of Mercury’s poles. Bishop Elliot Danvers wants to make sure that his beliefs are affirmed and Molina finds nothing. But what none of them realizes is that they share a common connection to the collapse of the geosynchronous space elevator on Earth years ea ...more
Jan 07, 2012 Thomas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mercury, by Ben Bova, starts out with great promise as a science fiction story complete with good science, exotic and dangerous celestial locations, and interesting, motivated characters. The book is essentially divided into three sections, the first two of which are outstanding and set the stage for a conclusion which turns out to be less than thrilling. The third and final section was a bit of a disappointment for a number of reasons. It is fitting that the two most interesting characters spen ...more
Phil Giunta
Apr 19, 2011 Phil Giunta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
revious to Mercury, I had just completed Ben Bova's As On A Darkling Plain and I can tell you that Dr. Bova certainly enjoys his love triangles. In Mercury, brilliant engineer Mance Bracknell constructs the Skytower, a space elevator, in Ecuador alongside bioengineer Victor Molina. The tower stretches beyond Earth's atmosphere to a space platform in geostationary orbit. Bracknell's success inspires him to break out of his reticent shell and ask his girlfriend, Lara Tierney, for her hand in marri ...more
E A M Harris
Apr 21, 2013 E A M Harris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of Ben Bova’s ‘Grand Tour of the Solar System’ series that I’ve read. The other one was ‘Jupiter’ and I think this one is better. This is definitely a story about people.
It is about how Saito Yamagata, business tycoon, achieves his dream even as he fails his life; about who Dante Alexios, engineer, is and why he sets out on a path of vengeance; about Victor Molina’s fall from a position of importance and respect as a scientist. The mighty mostly fall on Earth, but find their t
Jun 09, 2010 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what it is about Ben Bova that bores me to tears. The book is good hard SF. The plot however is weak and the characters are, intentionally, despicable.
Dante Alexios aka Mance Bracknell has been tasked by the Yamagata corporation to build an array of solar reflective mirrors on Mercury to inevitably power starships out of the Solar system. Work comes to a screeching halt when atrobiologist Victor Molina, on an anonymous tip discovers signs of life on Mercury. Molina and others search
Jan 13, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
I thought that a book called Mercury would actually be about Mercury. But, the planet only takes a small portion of the book's length. The rest is a revenge plot, most of which unwinds in flashback. Is it a tragedy or a love story, or both? The plot has shades of twisted romantic love, career, greed, and religion gone awry. In the end, i found myself looking for the Count of Monte Christo.
William Johnson
I guess I thought a book called Mercury, being contained in a universe surrounded by books about planets, would actually be about Mercury.

But, Mercury only takes up about 33% of the book's length. The rest sets up a fun, but slightly melodramatic revenge plot, most of which is told in flashback.

I won't give away anything but Bova does a good job of universe building here and, much like the title of the book itself, we are tricked quite easily into thinking one group of people are our heroes and
A passable entry in the Grand Tour series. It is basically a revenge story that has a few twists and turns but in the end is predictable. If you are reading the series you should read this as it ties characters and events together and advances the overall arc but as a standalone it is average.
Norman Howe
A man framed for the death of millions seeks revenge. Character motivations are less than believable in this boilerplate SF novel. And Bova gets some easily-verified technical details wrong.
Jun 25, 2010 Steve rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This was crap. Bova typically explores the implications of some technological advancement on society. This was character study on revenge, and character development has always been a Bova weak point. His characters have typically been caricatures of space opera archetypes. Not that theres anything wrong with that in the context of his typical story, but without those larger issues to explore this book was a mess.

I can see why the failed space elevator story is important for the universe of the G
I've read 210 pages of this continually sleep-inducing book, and I just can't read anymore. I can't. I won't.

A note to all writers: Writing a lame revenge drama with uninteresting, unsympathetic, unrelatable, two-dimensional characters and setting it on another planet does not make the book science-fiction.

Science-fiction is great because it looks at events, ideas, philosophies and says, "What if that continues? What if you make that bigger and more encompassing? What would the world be like?"

Luke Cushanick
2. That's my score out of 10 on the Bechdel Test.

Other than a lack of any women who do anything I he book, it's a solid scifi story with few plot holes or deus ex machina exceptions.
Hugh Mcaloon
Apr 16, 2015 Hugh Mcaloon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked it. Good old-fashioned straightforward story-telling. Nice mental imagery, too.
Rod Hyatt
May 01, 2014 Rod Hyatt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joy to read
Jul 22, 2011 Joshua rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
This is the first thing I've ever read by Ben Bova despite the fact he's written a ton of sci-fi dating back at least four decades. You can really tell what era he started writing in as this is just old-school science fiction where adventure and suspense is more important that technology and the distant future. Despite the fact the action takes place on Mercury, this feels like an "earth" story due to Bova's style rooted in all the golden age sci-fi tropes. Fun, but nothing really below the surf ...more
Sep 14, 2009 Derek rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It is not a terrible book. It is the usual Ben Bova you have come to expect. The story is a driving force and the characters are as compelling as they have always been. Bova manages to craft a realistic world but falls short with his trademark side stories. In some books they are great, in some they fit seemlessly into the story. In this novel, they are just distracting. If you skip these chapters, about the indigenous life of Mercury, then the book is probably much more enjoyable.
Joan Huehnerhoff
another great stop on the Grand Tour.
Henry Watts
Revenge is a dish best served interplanetarly.
Mar 11, 2011 CJ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Rerated, as I reread it. The science is incidental, and the story is disjointed to an extent that made it hard to get through. The huge historical diversion in the middle destroyed the flow of the story, and considering the level of societal controls in Bova's Planets'verse, the entire vengeance plot was contrived at best, kludgy at worst.
May 20, 2013 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is one of Bova's poorer books. I'm used to one dimensional characters in Bova's books, but the stories are usually interesting and fast paced enough to overcome it. I found many of the characters' impulses and reactions simplistic and found myself wondering if real people could act like the characters as they were portrayed here.
Aug 04, 2011 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For sometime I had been interested in reading a Ben Bova book. This was the one I choose and while it may not be the best book to start with it gave me a feel for the author. I was underwhelmed by the book. I would much rather have read something in the Retrieval Artist (Rusch) style. Perhaps I am being to picky...
Jun 22, 2007 Kurt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick sci-fi read. Liked the way he treated the after effects of global warming (the flooding, the dislocation of coastal peoples, the resulting government repression, etc.) pretty matter-of-factly. Humankind deals with it, but years and years later society still has to deal with the problems. Story has some nice plot twists.
Aug 26, 2015 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ben-bova
I actually quite liked this book. I believe for the most part that the science behind much of what is portrayed in the story will someday possibly come to pass.
This story is of loss, love, revenge, absolution and so much more.
Jan 06, 2012 Dustin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook. The cast of characters was pretty entertaining. As for the story, the book was less about inter-planetary travel and extra-terrestrial discovery than just an elaborate revenge story. This was only my first foray into The Grand Tour, so I intend to read more titles from this series.
Brian Finifter
Yeesh, why is Ben Bova such a big deal? Cardboard characters, stolid plotting, and the prose of a somewhat talented 14 year old. The science is reasonably nice but it's nothing amazing. Am I just coming to this too late? Has Kim Stanley Robinson ruined me for all other hard science fiction?
Sep 02, 2013 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good grand tour novel. I love when space elevators are addressed. The notion intrigues me and I hope to live to see one built or ground broken at least. Much of the story happens on earth. Mercury features an interesting time line and bova delivers an unexpected ending.
Oct 28, 2011 Kalle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Good stuff, the narrative structure worked well. The chapters were short and the writing to-the-point and easy to read. Mance/Dante was a great and tragic character, at first I didn't like him at all, but by the half-way point of the book I was rooting for him.
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Ben Bova was born on November 8, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1953, while attending Temple University, he married Rosa Cucinotta, they had a son and a daughter. He would later divorce Rosa in 1974. In that same year he married Barbara Berson Rose.

Bova is an avid fencer and organized Avco Everett's fencing club. He is an environmentalist, but rejects Luddism.

Bova was a technical writer fo
More about Ben Bova...

Other Books in the Series

The Grand Tour (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • Powersat
  • Privateers (Privateers, #1)
  • Empire Builders (Privateers, #2)
  • Mars
  • Moonrise (Moonbase Saga, #1)
  • Moonwar (Moonbase Saga, #2)
  • Return to Mars
  • The Precipice (Asteroid Wars, #1)
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  • Jupiter

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