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Award-winning author Ben Bova brings us New Earth, his latest tale of science fiction in his Grand Tour series.
The entire world is thrilled by the discovery of a new Earthlike planet. Advance imaging shows that the planet has oceans of liquid water and a breathable oxygen-rich atmosphere. Eager to gain more information, a human exploration team is soon dispatched to explore the planet, now nicknamed New Earth.

All of the explorers understand that they are essentially on a one-way mission. The trip takes eighty years each way, so even if they are able to get back to Earth, nearly 200 years will have elapsed. They will have aged only a dozen years thanks to cryonic suspension, but their friends and family will be gone and the very society that they once knew will have changed beyond recognition. The explorers are going into exile, and they know it. They are on this mission not because they were the best available, but because they were expendable.

Upon landing on the planet they discover something unexpected: New Earth is inhabited by a small group of intelligent creatures who look very much like human beings.

Who are these people? Are they native to this world, or invaders from elsewhere?

While they may seem inordinately friendly to the human explorers, what are their real motivations? What do they want?

Moreover, the scientists begin to realize that this planet cannot possibly be natural. They face a startling and nearly unthinkable question: Could New Earth be an artifact?

384 pages, Hardcover

First published July 16, 2013

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About the author

Ben Bova

540 books961 followers
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 was an avid fencer and organized Avco Everett's fencing club. He was an environmentalist, but rejected Luddism.

Bova was a technical writer for Project Vanguard and later for Avco Everett in the 1960s when they did research in lasers and fluid dynamics. It was there that he met Arthur R. Kantrowitz later of the Foresight Institute.

In 1971 he became editor of Analog Science Fiction after John W. Campbell's death. After leaving Analog, he went on to edit Omni during 1978-1982.

In 1974 he wrote the screenplay for an episode of the children's science fiction television series Land of the Lost entitled "The Search".

Bova was the science advisor for the failed television series The Starlost, leaving in disgust after the airing of the first episode. His novel The Starcrossed was loosely based on his experiences and featured a thinly veiled characterization of his friend and colleague Harlan Ellison. He dedicated the novel to "Cordwainer Bird", the pen name Harlan Ellison uses when he does not want to be associated with a television or film project.

Bova was the President Emeritus of the National Space Society and a past President of Science-fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

Bova went back to school in the 1980s, earning an M.A. in communications in 1987 and a Ph.D. in 1996.

Bova has drawn on these meetings and experiences to create fact and fiction writings rich with references to spaceflight, lasers, artificial hearts, nanotechnology, environmentalism, fencing and martial arts, photography and artists.

Bova was the author of over a hundred and fifteen books, non-fiction as well as science fiction. In 2000, he was the Author Guest of Honor at the 58th World Science Fiction Convention (Chicon 2000).

Hollywood has started to take an interest in Bova's works once again, in addition to his wealth of knowledge about science and what the future may look like. In 2007, he was hired as a consultant by both Stuber/Parent Productions to provide insight into what the world is to look like in the near future for their upcoming film "Repossession Mambo" (released as "Repo Men") starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker and by Silver Pictures in which he provided consulting services on the feature adaptation of Richard Morgan's "Altered Carbon".


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5 stars
265 (14%)
4 stars
634 (33%)
3 stars
619 (32%)
2 stars
287 (15%)
1 star
83 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 295 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa.
146 reviews5 followers
August 1, 2013
A weak 3. More of a 2.75 for me. While the first several chapters drew me in & I was entertained, I ended up being fairly disappointed and by the last few chapters had to force myself to finish. The behavior & dialogue of the scientists/space explorers was too juvenile to be believable. We are introduced to only 2 native inhabitants of New Earth and these are the only 2 with which the Scientists/Explorers interact. The inhabitants of New Earth come across as phony/automated. The love story between explorer Jordan & New Earth's Aditi had no emotional build up, is suddenly all "Oh, Darling!" and just doesn't do anything to enrich the plot. I really wanted to love this story but it just wasn't there for me.
Profile Image for Lobstergirl.
1,698 reviews1,227 followers
October 26, 2018

As vast swathes of Earth succumb to climate change's rising oceans, with the moon and Mars colonized and other planets found to have unintelligent life, a spaceship with twelve inhabitants arrives at the unexplored planet in another solar system called New Earth. They awake from their 80-year cryosleep to find that a laser beam is being pointed at them from the planet, which turns out to be inhabited by extremely humanlike aliens. Do the humanesque beings mean them good, or ill? How quickly will the ship's team leader be having sex with an alien woman? (In a few days.) When the alien woman performs a sophisticated upload of software and data into a human brain, does her lover exclaim, "I had no idea you were so....competent"? Absolutely. Are there unattractive, mannish, or overweight human women on the space team? Yes. Is there a pair of brothers, named Jordan and Brandon, does Jordan unattractively call his brother "Bran," in the most cringeworthy moments do the brothers call each other "big brother," "little brother," even "baby brother"? Yes. Does anyone on earth ever call their brothers "big brother," "little brother," or "baby brother"? I've never heard it done, except on soap operas.

The book is written at an easy-reader level. Just in case we might miss a reference, another character will helpfully explain it:

"Interesting," said the geologist. "I'm dating the rocks. You know, argon/potassium ratios, uranium/lead ratios, that sort of stuff."
"Calculating their age from the amount of radioactive elements in them," Jordan said.

As soon as the door slid shut behind Adri's departing back, Thornberry said, "I feel like Dr. Faustus."
"Making a deal with the devil?" Longyear quipped.

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of this 2013 novel (even more shocking than the fact that 100 years from now they're still using flip phones) was the presence of so much slacks. I felt like I was trapped in a 1974 Sears catalog.

"He was wearing casual pearl gray slacks and an open-necked light blue shirt..."
"Brandon was already in the sitting room, wearing his own slacks..."
"Although she was wearing a casual blouse of light blue atop darker slacks..."
"She was wearing a short-sleeved light tan blouse and dark brown slacks."
"As usual, Thornberry wore a rumpled shirt that hung over his loose, comfortable slacks."
"Within minutes a handsome young man in a dark tunic and slacks appeared..."
"Twenty minutes later Jordan entered the dining hall, wearing a fresh pair of light blue slacks and an open-collared white shirt."
"...a young man in a comfortably loose white tunic and dark blue slacks hurried across the observatory's stone floor..."
"Dressed in slacks and an open-necked shirt, Jordan found Meek in the dining area..."

I feel like the troubling issue of so many slacks should be solved before humans attack all the climate change and population issues. Also, why do some aliens wear slacks, and others wear long, loose robes? This is never explained. Jordan is given three robes to wear, but he shuns them in favor of the slacks. He also has a pair of jeans back at the spaceship - which go unworn for 99% of the book! The man must have his slacks!

The ladies, at least the ones who aren't overweight and mannish, wear slacks, or skirts, or shorts, and blouses. The alien women often wear shorts and blouses. "She was wearing a knee-length skirt of dark blue and a short-sleeved blouse of a lighter shade." "She was wearing a ruby red blouse, tan shorts, and a happy smile." "Aditi walked beside him, looking fresh and happy in a knee-length skirt of dark green and a short-sleeved white blouse." Does Jordan notice how the women fill their clothes? Yes: "He noticed how nicely she filled the clothes she was wearing." "Even in the drab once-piece [sic] jumpsuit she was wearing, Elyse's generous figure was eye-catching." There was so much knee-length skirt going on I started to wonder if this was Christian fiction. No sex or even fondling is ever actually described.

Profile Image for Kevin.
69 reviews8 followers
August 23, 2018
If you are looking for hard SF that takes an interest in its characters beyond plot devices, you will need to look elsewhere than this novel. It is hard to imagine scientists who travel thousands of light years to explore new planets with genuine scientific interest acting with such persistent immaturity; but when your characters barely extend beyond the second dimension, you get high school drama enacted by full grown adults.

This is a persistent problem with much mainstream SF of this sort. The world and scientific problems Bova creates are interesting enough to keep me reading til the end, and his allegory relating to global warming is heavy handed but no less timely. But when everyone from humans to aliens is so superficial it is hard not to ask if their possible extinction is any great loss.
Profile Image for Josh.
299 reviews3 followers
August 18, 2013
Wow. I must say that the ending of this book ruined the whole thing for me. I loved the concept, but the execution was very poor. Mr. Bova's other novels are far superior. Read Jupiter and the Leviathans of Jupiter. But it seems with New Earth, the author has reached preachy status. Earth is being destroyed by climate change and humans send a ship out to the first possible earth-like planet in the Sirius system. It's as if the author didn't have a full-fledged story in mind, just a little political agenda. That's fine generally because I like books with a point and perspective. But the plot is so predictable with no real conflict. There's even a chapter with a character from a previous book that has NOTHING to do with the rest of the book. She never even comes back. Maybe the author has a running storyline to connect between his books, but it seems like that just leads to meandering storytelling that goes nowhere. Everything is too easy. Discovering a new planet should be way more exciting. However, I did read the whole thing because it is rather a fun read. Just don't expect too much.
Profile Image for Andrea.
378 reviews53 followers
August 7, 2013
Reads like a Star Trek episode.
Not worth the time invested, which luckily, as a consequence of the facile quality of the writing, was only a few hours.
Profile Image for Scott.
Author 2 books12 followers
January 25, 2014
This is my first Ben Bova book. Can't say I'm aching for another. Bova tries to do a "first contact" story mixed with cautionary environmentalism, astrobiology, and something resembling a love story. Maybe if he'd taken any of the distinct elements seriously, it would have worked out, but each aspect is superficial in this hodgepodge. I finished it, so I can't put just 1 star.
Profile Image for Noah Goats.
Author 8 books20 followers
September 12, 2020
It drives me nuts when the drama of a story is driven by an artificial lack of communication between two characters (or between groups of characters). Jack knows something, and everything would be resolved if Jill knew it too. But even though it would be natural for Jack to share the information and for Jill to ask for it, neither of them does anything. So we have a bunch of drama that feels fake and unnecessary. New Earth is built almost entirely on this kind of bogus set-up.

There are other details of this story that are similarly irritating. These astronauts travel lightyears to get to a planet orbiting Sirius, and then when they find intelligent life that is clearly non-threatening they freak out and want to run home (even though it’s perfectly obvious that these aliens are so advanced they could easily prevent any escape attempt if they wanted to). When NASA picked the original astronauts they chose the cream of the crop, men who were brilliant and courageous. I don’t believe people in the future would pick this ship full of whining losers for such an important mission.

Still, although I wish this book was better, I enjoyed it and will probably read the next in the series.
Profile Image for ElwoodRadley.
164 reviews13 followers
March 30, 2022
I really enjoyed this book. The characters aren’t anything special, and the writing is pretty straightforward, but the plot kept me very interested.
Profile Image for Jim O'donnell.
7 reviews
August 25, 2013
The New Earth by Ben Bova will only interest science fiction fans alone.

It begins well with a crew of 12 arriving at a planet nicknamed New Earth, to investigate the possibility of living there, as our Earth as we know it is being destroyed by global warming.

The story then takes a turn as they meet intelligent life on the planet, an advanced race (who are friendly towards them). The story then begins to drag as characters who at the beginning rush to find answers and endanger themselves to test ideas become quick to trust their new friends and not challenge every idea immediately.

The characters all hold onto that one play of xenophobia as the writer points out through the perspective of the aliens. Some characters trust the locals, some don't, they argue, ask the aliens more questions and then the cycle continues.

Answers about the inhabitants of New Earth that could have been answered early on weren't and questions that should have been asked evaded the characters minds, which could be frustrating to read.

The characters themselves were flat and for the most part predictable. The lead character holds memories that torture him from his past, but they never make you feel they're a danger to his mind, just an inconvenience. While the aliens themselves are bland and nothing you haven't encountered before.

Ben Bova's writing style is easy to approach and the universe is interesting. The future he has created holds fun ideas for science fiction. Through this book you only catch a glimpse of those ideas as he occasionally sets a short interval in a location away from New Earth in order to explain the politics surrounding the crew of twelve's mission.

If you are a science fiction fan you will find this book entertaining and fun, but you will not be blown away.
Profile Image for Dan Post.
22 reviews1 follower
December 1, 2016
[Audio Version]
Imagine a future where climate change is threatening the human population. Imagine the good fortune of finding an earth-like planet waiting to be explored and possibly colonized. Unfortunately, it will take your team 80 years to get there, 8 years before earth receives their first transmissions and another 80 before they get home. So far, so good. Except, I guess things are so bad on earth that it’s unthinkable to send their best. So somehow they manage to put together a team consisting of the dumbest experts imaginable.

Had I been reading this book either in a traditional format or on a Kindle I think I might have put it down and continued on to something else after a chapter or two. It’s possible that because an actor was reading to me, and I was stuck in traffic anyway, that I was a little more patient in allowing this story to play out than was warranted.

So, without going into spoilers, how can I be so down on the book and yet listen through to the end? I can’t say. It may be that this book was the sci-fi novel equivalent of an episode of Gilligan’s Island. You know what happens in the end. You know that the castaways will do something petty and stupid to bring about that end. Yet, because you like some of the actors you stick around and watch the inevitable take excruciatingly long to happen.

I’ve not read Ben Bova before. It’s my understanding that he is a well-respected author and that this may not represent his best work. Oh well, while I’m not about to rush out looking for another Bova novel to read, I won’t let this one stop me from picking up another should it appear that it might interest me.
Profile Image for Clark Hallman.
371 reviews13 followers
January 31, 2014
New Earth by Ben Bova focuses on twelve astronauts on a spaceship who spent eighty years in cryonic suspension during a voyage to New Earth, i.e., an Earth-like planet in the Sirius star system. Shortly after they awaken and land on the planet, they are shocked and frightened to discover that the planet is inhabited by human-like beings. Surprisingly, the aliens initiate first contact with the twelve humans, who react with varying degrees of skepticism, fear, distrust, loathing and hostility, but also with benevolence and even attraction. This book focuses on the tenuous relationships between the aliens and the humans. Although the aliens appear to be very friendly and welcoming, some of the humans just can’t seem to set aside their fear and distrust. It is also difficult for the human space travelers to accept the environmental similarities of New Earth and Earth. I found this book to be extremely interesting. The development of the relationships between the humans and the scientifically-advanced aliens is fascinating. Although this story does not contain much violent action, it conveys much anxiety and tension along with many surprises as the story unfolds. I liked this book very much and recommend it to any science fiction reader. Those readers who enjoy interplay and diplomacy between character factions and/or stories set in highly creative technological environments should particularly enjoy this book.
Profile Image for John (JP).
519 reviews3 followers
July 26, 2013
The plot of New Earth is on its surface simple. Its a first contact story. After discovering an earth like planet in the Sirus system, as told in Bova's earlier novel Farside, send a group of 11 scientists, and one administrator to explore it. To everyone's surprise the planet is already populated by an advanced civilization.The twist is these people have never developed space flight and seem genetically far too close to human beings for things to seem normal.
Bova uses this scenario to explore questions that have haunted his books from the start of his writing career and my reading of him. What is the nature skepticism? How do you go from disbelief to belief when it's impossible to have 100% of the facts? How do you come to trust another person or civilizations truth claims?
Unlike Bova's other novels where the characters were secondary to the technology and therefore you had weak or stereotypical characters. This book have persons with strong and varying motivations for their actions and decisions. This made the book worth reading. The story is not perfectly executed. There open questions such as why send a crew of 8 men and 4 women on a long term deep space mission? And at times I felt the book borrowed a plot point from Spider Robinson's Variable Star. But beyond those flaws this was a good story.
Profile Image for Denis.
Author 1 book19 followers
March 3, 2016
For some reason, I expected this to be a 'modern' scifi story, having been published 2015, but it read as if it had been written decades ago; as if it were written by a golden age pulp writer still in the business since the days of old editor Campbell Jr. at Analogue or Fred Pohl at Galaxy or If. Then I recalled that Ben Bova had to have been born in the thirties (1932 actually) and has been publishing since 1960, therefore, it's no surprise that he can easily emulate such a 'classic' approach to the genre.

Here, in "New Earth", we have a motley crew come awake from cryogenic support in a spaceship that had been sent on a mission to Sirius, eight years before, to explore an Earth-like planet. The crew consists of stereotypical two dimensional 'outcast' characters representing various cultures of the world – a la Star Trek or van Vogt's “Space Beagle”. An Irishman physicist, a female Asian astronomer, a Xenobiologist, a Caucasian Captain and his brother and so on...

Personally, I enjoy this sort of thing and never tire of it. It is more a Star Trek-type story rather than Twilight Zone. The crew end up making first contact on this “New Earth” with aliens that seem very much human, and each member of the crew has their own suspicions of the overly friendly beings.

Much like the best of A. C. Clarke's work.
Profile Image for Rusty.
Author 10 books26 followers
November 5, 2021
Look, I’m not going to lie about this one. It sucked. So much so that of the other 8 or 9 Grand Tour books I’ve read might have been sullied by being part of the same fictional universe that this is part of. I mean, I’m older now, tastes change, but I have a hard time believing the other books in the series were this bad when I read them.

Cause, seriously, it sucked pretty hard. What was wrong with it? Well, the typical sort of nonsense, people who are supposed to be smart acting like idiots, dialogue between characters that is juvenile at best, and a plot that felt like it was pulled from an episode of Star Trek where Kirk kept banging local women on the planet they were visiting that week and everyone else gets jealous.

I think there may be a sequel but there is no way in hell I’ll be reading that one. I’m done with Bova’s grand tour. I think this was written late in his life, and he’s a legend, but this was lazy dialog, dumb character motivations, and an obvious plot. It’s a trifecta of lame.
Profile Image for Scotchneat.
611 reviews9 followers
August 31, 2013
Great idea for a story, and with typical Bova treatment, we see all of the good and the bad that might be if humans do come in contact with aliens.

Earth has been in bad shape due to ecological disasters for some time, and a small group of people who had been sent to an earth-like planet many years ago are now waking up to see what they find. They are expecting reinforcements, but Earth has decided it's not politically expedient to invest in another starship.

So they are left to figure out what to do when they meet an extraordinary race on this new planet, who are remarkably human.

The ending felt a bit rushed, and rather optimistic, quite frankly. But maybe that is what we need to balance out all of the catastrophic ideas we have of what will happen when we have this chance.
May 21, 2014
I've been a longtime Ben Bova fan, and New Earth is now in my top 3, along with Moonwar and Mars. This book has shades of Asimov all over it, but it was so well done that I consider it an homage instead of a clunky knock off. Bova does a great job of creating a new storyline, but providing continuity with previous story lines. Once again, Bova goes to his theme "humanity must grow beyond the earth". He does a great job of making scifi relatable, while still getting higher concepts across. If you're going through the tour of the solar system, this a great stop in Bova's imagination. I highly recommend reading earlier books in the series so you can recognize the Easter eggs and flashbacks.
Profile Image for Allan Caplan.
26 reviews2 followers
August 9, 2013
I've found most "Grand Tour" books quite entertaining, but they are formulaic. Everyone's all happy-dappy, a saboteur emerges, the New Morality comes in and imposes its brand of civilization

New Earth goes off that script. Yes, earth is going to hell in a handbasket,

Some of the characters from the Tour make "cameo" appearances, from Doug Stavenger to Pancho Lane.

If you like Bova's previous books, New Earth won't let you down
Profile Image for A.
370 reviews8 followers
December 30, 2018
I wish I could give it 0 stars. This is probably the worst book I read this year. A bad Star Trek episode mixed with a worse soap opera.

The premise is interesting, and it’s easy to read. That’s all te praise I can give to it. The rest involves characters that are not only flat, but simply stupid and unprofessional (supposedly they are elite scientists chosen for the most adventurous space mission the human race has seen).

I remember half reading another book by Ben Bova and I kind of enjoyed it. This one was pure disappointment from beginning to end.
Profile Image for Richard.
594 reviews14 followers
October 5, 2018
This is the second time I have read Ben Bova's New Earth. The first time was as the 21st book in his series The Grand Tour. This time I read it as the 1st book in his series Star Quest Trilogy. That alone is interesting - using the same book at the end of one adventure and the start of another.

New Earth centers around human's first contact with an intelligent species from another part of the universe. The purpose of the mission was to investigate an Earth like world eight light years away that we thought was uninhabited so, upon arriving, the twelve explorers are totally unprepared for meeting this new race.

There are a number of great things about this book but several annoyingly bad ones. Without giving away the plot; issues of genetically programed xenophobia, shortsighted politics related to global warming, the psychology of group behavior, the issues of reproduction and over population, and our resistance to learning new ideas are some of the ways this book differs from many other first contact books. Unfortunately, Ben Bova manages to weave into this book his male chauvinism with most of the major players being men and focusing on the love interests of two of the main male characters.

I have now read over two dozen Ben Bova books. I find him to be a good writer who brings new ideas, or new slants on old ideas, to his Science Fiction Books. I just wish he would add a bit more hard science and take a sexual roles sensitivity course.
Profile Image for Alan Zendell.
Author 11 books15 followers
March 6, 2017
The basic idea of this book is a great one. It harkens back to the days of pure space opera many of us grew up with. But the story seems more like a fairy tale masquerading as science fiction. In addition it suffers from inconsistent character development in many of the main players, and the crew of this critical mission seem to be doing everything by the seat of their pants as if there had been very little planning beforehand. The love story aspects are sweet and innocent, like the ones we remember from decades earlier -- yet all this still leaves a more than likable story. It's one we want to like and invest in.

I can accept the fairy tale nature of the story, but to effectively look like science fiction, the science has to be plausible and consistent. There are a couple of places, however, where I wanted to scream, "Ben, how could you?" He's much too good a writer to have made such egregious errors. For example, we are told repeatedly that the story takes place on the planet Sirius C, 8.6 light years from Earth, and the journey to reach it at sub-light speed took eighty years. The characters lament that everyone they left behind is long dead when they awaken from cryo-sleep. Yet, three-fourths of the way through the book we meet the parents of one of the crew, in healthy middle age, lamenting that the World Council has abandoned their daughter. I'm guessing this brief interlude was a late insert necessary for future volumes to make sense, but it's a glaring error that could easily have been avoided. At a minimum the author should find a better editor.

Worse is the way the pivotal moment of the story is handled, when the scientist crew must be convinced that a deadly wave of radiation is sweeping the galaxy destroying everything in its path. We're told it was result of two black holes colliding 28,000 light years from Earth. We can skip over this flimsy explanation for the sake of the story, but not what follows. The skeptical scientists claim that if that were true they'd have seen evidence of it, but the wiser inhabitants of Sirius C point out that it the death wave is traveling at the speed of light, by the time they saw it through their telescopes it would have killed them. Plausible enough, but that makes a hash of the rest of the story line. How can anyone else know it's coming? The scientists are convinced by some transparent hand-waving involving astronomical evidence recorded by an older race on a another star. But we've already been told that all such evidence is impossible. Ugh!

Still, if you read it the right way, the book can be fun, and it sets some interesting ideas and situations in motion for the books that follow.
Profile Image for Tom Walsh.
573 reviews9 followers
December 30, 2020
First of his Books that I read upon hearing of his passing.

I’ve always had a strange relationship in Sci-Fi. I want to like it but most times that I try, I’m either lost in its terminology or bored before finishing, but I enjoyed this book.

One of the Critiques called it a little heavy-handed and preachy. I can see where a reader would say that but it was probably easier for a casual reader like myself to follow. It required less background in Sci-Fi.

I found Bova’s inclusion of the human dynamic between the brothers and the crew members well portrayed as well. All in all a good read. I’ll probably try another. Four Stars.
Profile Image for Leanne.
556 reviews14 followers
September 3, 2020
Good enough. The story was worthwhile, the characters kind of unbelievably unsuited for space exploration.

If you rolled your eyes at Heinlein's later work re: sex, this book will whip you back to that time. It's awkward, pointless, and male centered. The women in this book are...patronized, which is pretty much the usual for Science Fiction.
Profile Image for Fred.
79 reviews
May 23, 2022
My first novel by Ben Bova and I was disappointed in a number of elements: the weak characters, stilted dialogue and relationships ("Oh, darling" is said a lot), bad character descriptions (one has skin like mocha, another character is "pudgy"), and the narrative interruptions of characters back in the Solar system who had a tangential connection to the story. Also, apparently there are thousands of New Earth denizens but we only ever meet two. And of the 12 earthlings, a few never do anything.
Profile Image for Druss .
627 reviews12 followers
December 29, 2020
An interesting premise but not as good as I’d hoped. Read to commemorate his passing. A sad loss
Profile Image for Berry Muhl.
339 reviews19 followers
February 2, 2018
This was my second Bova, and my first sci-fi from him. I wasn't aware there was a Grand Tour series, so I'm going to have to start on it at the beginning when I have a chance.

I liked it, but it was a bit prosaic by speculative fiction standards. Not that the setting wasn't imaginative; it was, but the story's conflict was minimal, mostly a matter of personality conflicts. There is of course the spectre of something much worse lurking in the background, but it is only very late in the story, and at a very remote location from the main action, that this worseness becomes apparent.

The prose is pretty sparse most of the time, which makes the few poetic passages stand out memorably. There really isn't a whole lot to complain about other than a lack of serious action. I guess you could just say that's "slow." Most of the action takes place in the form of conversations, taking place between one human camp and another, intermediated by the protagonist, who passes on what one group has to say, participates briefly in the exchange, then runs immediately to the other group.

I found myself thinking back on Eon by Greg Bear quite a bit, as my mind wanted to try to composite the two novels into a single whole. While there is little narrative similarity between the two, and the authors' styles are different enough not to be easily confused, there are thematic parallels, and the primary characteristic of the respective settings is essentially the same (I'll leave it to the reader to discover that characteristic).

Not being familiar with the rest of the series, I can't put it into context, so have no real basis for comparison among the author's other works. But I can recommend it on the basis that it seems to be setting up a much grander story, one that hearkens back to Arthur C. Clarke in a big way. (Readers of 2001: A Space Odyssey will grasp that significance.)
Profile Image for Alex Telander.
Author 16 books149 followers
March 19, 2015
Bestselling science fiction award winning author, Ben Bova, returns after setting the stage with Farside. The new Earth-like planet has been discovered and studied, and now some years later the first exploratory expedition is on its way to the distant planet, which is already being called “New Earth.”

The trip takes eighty years each way, as the crew sleeps in cryonic suspension, never aging. By the time they return to Earth, 200 years will have passed. But for now the crew has no thoughts of returning home, but finding out just what is happening on this planet. As everyone is brought out of their long sleep, everything seems to be functioning normally. Before they know it a weird light is seen on the planet and the following day most of the crew go down to explore and discover.

It is soon discovered that “New Earth” is inhabited by a considerable population of very human-like beings. In fact, the similarities are bizarre and at times astounding. Apart from the fact that they are able to speak English, they have names from Earth’s mythology and history, and appear to know a lot about the planet the crew calls home. Clearly there is a big mystery here that needs to be solved; the question is whether these alien beings are friends or enemies?

Originally written on August 26, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.

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26 reviews
November 13, 2015
I devoured this book, finishing it relatively quickly.

- unique and engaging "first contact" story. I've read (and love) 1st contact stories and I love how this one is unique.
- and yet still has very "contemporary" feel to space travel. It's set in the not too distant future (a few hundred years) using known space travel limitations. Ie hard science.
- very little setup, dives right into the action.

- human dynamic! These PhD scientist who've spent a lifetime in sciences and went on the first space mission to another solar system behaved like unruly kids and very unprofessional. Totally unbelievable character motivation over and over.
- the dialogue between humans was at times really stupid and annoying at times. These humans are scared of the aliens and yet demand so much from them to the point of ungratefulness.
- strong anti-global warning message. The whole book, from the opening scene of Earth suffering from Global Warning to the messages from the alien, to the reaction of the human scientist was setup to drive this agenda.

And despite the unusually strong cons which would have sunk most other book into unreadability, I'm still rating this book a 4 star because the pros, especially the ideas, were that amazing.

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445 reviews10 followers
February 21, 2016
I have hope for mankind, that we will live in balance with the earth, stop killing our fellow men en masse and eventually leap to the stars! Bova sees it that way too, but "New Earth"'s plot twists and turns will keep you guessing at man's eventual fate as a species. Bova paints with a broad brush, touching on many timely topics of celestrial significance. Why haven't we heard from other intelligent species? What of the potential life in our own solar system? Could there be intelligence right around the corner, say in the oceans of Jupiter, just beyond our ken to detect it? If we were to meet another intelligent species, how would we react? Bova's conclusions may surprise you.
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