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Venus (The Grand Tour #18)

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  2,271 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
The surface of Venus is the most hellish place in the solar system. The ground is hot enough to melt aluminum. The air pressure is so high it has crushed spacecraft landers as though they were tin cans. The sky is perpetually covered with clouds of sulfuric acid. The atmosphere is a choking mixture of carbon dioxide and poisonous gases.

This is where Van Humphries must go.
ebook, 384 pages
Published May 15th 2001 by Tor Books (first published 2000)
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(showing 1-30)
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I've always seen Bova's books on the shelves in the bookstore, but I've never really had a desire to pick them up. The titles never really drew me in; the synopsis on the back of the books never really caught my interest--in fact, they hinted at plots which were very familiar within the genre written by other authors. Furthermore, I had a tendency to stay away from the veteran hard sci-fi writers (Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, etc.) because their works seemed, to me, dated & out of touch with th ...more
Christopher Hivner
Martin Humphries, a hedonistic and cruel billionaire lost his favorite son to the planet Venus. Alex's remains still lie somewhere on the surface of the planet. Martin offers a $10 billion prize to the person who goes to Venus and returns with his son's body. At the same time he cuts off his other son, Van, whom he detests. With no source of income, Van decides to go after the prize, having a ship built and gathering a crew. Since it's still his father's money paying for the ship, Van has to tak ...more
Cindi Blyberg
Aug 20, 2007 Cindi Blyberg rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, fiction
(june 2004) i can't believe i actually finished this. it was horribly written, and i barely cared about the hysterical characters--particularly the snivelling protagonist--to bother to turn the pages. still, the science (fiction) kept me reading til the lurid and quite predictable, comic book ending.
Mar 08, 2017 Delta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This is the first book I've read from Bova and I had some high hopes for it. It drew me in pretty quickly and for whatever reason I was really interested in the story. Looking back, I'm not sure why I was so interested, but I was. Then, the crew gets near the surface of the planet and the climax and conclusion seem to happen in a heartbeat. It felt like a let down.
Clark Hallman
Aug 22, 2012 Clark Hallman rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Venus by Ben Bova is part of the author’s Grand Tour series, which deals with the exploration of the planets in our solar system. Venus is the nearest planet to Earth and about the same size as Earth. However, it is closer to the Sun than Earth and Bova describes Venus as “the most hellish place in the solar system.” Its atmosphere is dominated by sulfuric acid and carbon dioxide, with only negligible traces of oxygen and nitrogen. The surface temperatures are well above 450 degrees Celsius (nea ...more
Oct 01, 2007 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-adult
Though I often consider myself more keen on good characterization and dialogue than a fast-moving plot, when it comes to science fiction, I tend to reverse my usual preferences. The unlikely hero in this book is granted with a sort of late bloomer-coming-of-age story, but many of the other characters never really become more than vaguely enigmatic. The plot however, doesn't really stop moving as the characters are catapaulted into one danger after another. Van Humphries must risk his life to emb ...more
Mar 30, 2009 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction, sci-fi
This was so laughably bad that I refrained from giving it just one star since it had me cracking up so often. Picked this out from the shelf while doing some light weeding (those fiction shelves are getting too crowded!)... The blurb inside the flap caught my attention. It contained what is quite possibly my favorite sentence of the past couple years: "Late in the twenty-first century, Van is the sickly, fearful second son of a tyrannical corporate tycoon." How could I not read this based on tha ...more
Aug 25, 2008 Matt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I almost didn't finish this one. In fact, I only stuck with it because I'd paid for a used copy. It just isn't a very good book. The main character is a typical protagonist, except the fact that he has a debilitating illness; there's your typical skeptical, asshole character, a villain, a love interest, etc... I found myself being able to predict the plot too easily and just not really caring what happened to ANYONE in the book. I got it because I'd heard a bunch of stuff about Bova being one of ...more
Erik Graff
Nov 04, 2015 Erik Graff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bova fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
During the Reagan period Ben Bova had written his Kinsman series, a science fiction piece beginning with 'Star Wars' planning on the moon. I'd liked the politics, the relevance and the main character--liked it so much that Bova's name had impressed itself on me enough to cause me, years later, to pick up this much later novel.

Although there's some relevance to contemporary politics here as regards climate change, this book is mostly about Venus, a character portrayed with about as much depth as
Steven Brandt (Audiobook-Heaven)
“Dad will kill you if he finds out.”

Alexander Humphries led the first manned expedition to Venus, and became among the first to die there. It was an unexplained equipment malfunction that doomed Alex’s ship and crew to rest on the toxic surface of Earth’s twin forever. In the two years since, there have been rumors that the malfunction may not have been an accident at all.

“Dad will kill you if he finds out.”

Van remembers the conversation like it was yesterday. His brother Alex was telling him ab
Feb 14, 2017 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Getting back to Bova's Tour of the Solar System and it is much as a I remember. Expedition to a planet, personal drama mixes with harsh realities of space and we have a quick and concise novel of interest. The premise: an expedition to Venus occurred and failed. The father of one of the dead puts out a bounty on brining back the remains of his son: $10B. This gets two biters, his younger son (Van Humphries) who he never really liked and his worst enemy, Lars Fuchs. Both make ships (or repurpose ...more
Leticia Harris
Venus, by Ben Bova.
Where to start with this book? Maybe I should start by saying that it’s book 19 in the Grand Tour series, however, don’t be discouraged to read it since most of the books in that series aren’t consecutive unless it’s a direct sequel. Venus is a science fiction book which is usually directed towards young adult or adult readers due to the complicated language or complicated subjects that younger readers wouldn’t necessarily understand. Just by looking at the book and reading th
Shaun Duke
Jan 16, 2009 Shaun Duke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If there is one thing that I have come to expect of Ben Bova it is that he can take any fantastically unbelievable idea and make it so real that you actually think that it could happen. This is the case with Venus.
Van Humphries is the last living son of Martin Humphries, having outlived his brother who died a few years before on a trek to the venusian surface to try to discover how a runaway greenhouse could explain the sudden warming on Earth. But his father hates him beyond reason. He's the ru
Mark Harding
A strange book in some ways. At first, it struck me as very ‘golden age of SF’, by which I mean that from a psychological point of view, the behaviour of the characters is completely unbelievable. A few examples are:

* Would Martin Humphries, a leading businessman, really throw a vast orgy, complete with prostitutes, all the camera lenses of the world’s (or worlds’!) press?
* The whole idea of a private individual planning a manned mission to the surface of Venus is a little hard to swallow - but
Van Humpries, son of Martin Humpries who is a cruel and self-centered billionaire, agrees to go to Venus to retrieve his brother’s remains lost on the planet. He agrees because his father cuts off his allowance leaving him penniless and he needs the ten billion dollar reward offered by his father to the person who brings back the remains (or some trace of it).

The plot was okay but not great. I liked the drama but I really felt like it became too much by the end. There were some enjoyable dramat
This wonderful Novel Novel written by Ben Bova. Martin Humphries is the head of the giant Humphries Space Systems and at his 100th birthday party announces a prize of ten billion dollars to anyone who can recover any remains of his eldest son Alex. Alex was killed two years previously on a mission to Venus. Van Humphries, Martin's son and younger brother to Alex takes up the challenge despite, and because of, a mutual dislike between son and father.

Van assembles a ship and crew and heads off to
Hazel M Bear
Dec 06, 2013 Hazel M Bear rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bought it from the used bookstore. Didn't realize it was semi-part of a series until I was about halfway through. The author has said though that one need not read these books in chronological order, and they can be read independently of each other, so it's no big deal. I finished it in three days :D

It was a smooth read, almost like a YA novel, but with a bit more meat than the average one. The quick read it provided didn't feel like a tease because I know Mr. Bova has written many other novels
Jul 06, 2016 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Fortunately, Bova's collection of planet-based books don't require you to read them in any particular order, or even to realize there's more than one. But I think Mars was quite a bit stronger than this.

The imagining of the planet was still amazing; Bova created a world that was fascinating and vivid and frightening. Unfortunately, he couldn't pull off the same for his characters. To a one, they were flat and dull and irksome. Some of them were meant to be that way, but there's a fine line betwe
Most of characters are fueled by rage. Anger and cruelty take up most of the books, leaving little room for scientific curiosities.

(view spoiler)
Russell Atkinson
Jan 26, 2016 Russell Atkinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Venus is my type of science fiction - more science and less fiction. Of course it is an adventure thriller, and the story line includes some impossibilities, but there is also a lot of hard science in there. It is set in future, a hundred years or so, when men have industrialized the asteroid belt and set up colonies on the moon and Mars. Venus, however, has never been explored by "boots on the ground." Van Humphries, the unlikely hero of the story, sets out to be the first, in order to recover ...more
Jun 21, 2008 Meagan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I didn't realize it when I started, but Venus is actually one of an extended series by Ben Bova. This particular installation follows the weak, ineffective, and largely unlikable Van Humphries, son of a powerful billionaire who can't stand his younger son. His older son Alex, Van's beloved brother, was killed on an expedition to Venus, and he places a very large reward for anyone who can bring back his son's body. Van, who will be left penniless without the reward, decides to undertake the missi ...more
Another in Ben Bova's 'Grand Tour' series, but this one is pretty much a stand alone and has little relation to other books except the general solar system exploration theme. Some characters are apparently from the Asteroid Wars books, but as I have not read any of them it didn't matter to me.

I'm a sucker for a decent scientific exploration story, so all of this series are pretty fascinating from my point of view. This one is about a mission to Venus (obviously) and a subsequent trip down throug
Peter Greenwell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cindy Matthews
I somehow missed reading Venus in Bova's planet series a few years ago, and when I had to take a long trip on the road, I thought I'd give it a try. What was I expecting? Well, some good science, some interesting characters,and plenty of action. Venus delivers all this, but it could have used a bit more science about Venus itself and less of the "space opera" characterizations, in my opinion. Our hero, Van Humphries, has a lot of self doubts and fears, but he overcomes them and makes a good show ...more
Leland Gilsen
predictable with a pretty naive hero
Aug 26, 2008 Arthur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With all the things he is not, Van, training to deal with it. You who are in opposition against him fight him. That is what he muses in his high adventure. Or a round trip to Venus, at the top of its clouds and certainly its secrets, and a kind of story that tell what is not left to wonder about all the times nor offered. All human beings on the earth and the moon, the future of life in cities without many of the concerns of being sick or immortal, witness indescribable adventures from space, th ...more
Feb 14, 2014 Joshua rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Thoroughly disappointed in this book. I thought the characters were shallow and contradictory. The story was ok but centered far too much around the characters floating in the super hot atmosphere of Venus, doing very little. What gets me the most is the whole book ends up being another bid for the climate change fanatics, most unimpressed, I'm certainly not suckered in by the money and power plays that have supplanted the minds of most modern day scientists. Brand me a denier if you will, but e ...more
Roger Ladd
Bova's contribution to the world of science fiction is well-known, and one can cut him some slack for a work that is not his best. Bova has a plan with this novel, to show the growth of a problematic character while examining the least-appealing planet in the solar system, and he does manage to do both. He also fits in some great quotes of Milton about burning lakes, and some good scenes. On the whole, this book was entertaining enough to finish, but not perhaps enough to recommend. There is one ...more
Nathan Burgoine
Mar 19, 2012 Nathan Burgoine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite liked this: if you can get past the very long time it takes the protagonist to develop a backbone and any sort of character strength, the story really takes off. The supporting cast is excellent, and I like the premise of the book: No one is really interested in going to Venus, but the billionaire father of an astronaut who died on Venus in the first attempt puts up prize money - all of his money - to the first person who can bring the body back.

And then cuts off his surviving son's allo
Jake Cohen
As the books in this series go, this one wasn't as good as most. The characters were flat with almost no development. The plot was fairly predictable, and some of the interactions between the characters seemed unrealistic and forced. For example, Van's possessiveness over Marguerite, despite having just met her and expressing no more than a cursory level of attraction to her. His obsessive jealousy when he thinks she is getting intimate with the captain. There's no plausible reason for it, eithe ...more
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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 (The Grand Tour, #1)
  • Privateers (The Grand Tour, #2; Privateers, #1)
  • Empire Builders (The Grand Tour, #3; Privateers, #2)
  • Mars (The Grand Tour, #4)
  • Moonrise (The Grand Tour, #5; Moonbase Saga, #1)
  • Moonwar (The Grand Tour, #6; Moonbase Saga, #2)
  • Return to Mars (The Grand Tour, #7)
  • The Precipice (The Grand Tour, #8; The Asteroid Wars, #1)
  • Jupiter (The Grand Tour, #9)
  • The Rock Rats (The Grand Tour, #10; The Asteroid Wars, #2)

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