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(The Grand Tour #20)

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,422 ratings  ·  235 reviews
Telescopes on Earth have detected an Earth-sized planet circling a star some thirty light-years away. Now the race is on to get pictures of that distant world that show whether or not the planet is truly like Earthand if it bears life. Farside observatory will have the largest optical telescope in the solar system and the most sensitive radio telescope, insulated from the ...more
Audio CD
Published February 12th 2013 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published February 5th 2013)
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Average rating 3.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,422 ratings  ·  235 reviews

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Feb 19, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I do not understand the high marks this book seems to be getting. I had forgotten my Ban on Bova when I put this book on hold at the library. But when faced with two-page chapters and nearly more white space than prose, it all came back to me. Once again, this is a novel that should have been marketed as a novella. Each chapter is at most four pages (and most are around two), which is intensely irritating. The story is a run-of-the-mill moon adventure, and frankly I've read better prose by peopl ...more
Chris Friend
Apr 29, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Good lord, this story was offensively and shallowly written. Any time a new character appears, we get a brief description of that character's clothing, followed by an assessment from another character of the newcomer's potential as a sex partner. And no, it's not subtle suggestions, either. The men are brazenly crass, and the women are sheepishly coy. Writing to stereotypes is bad enough. Writing to old stereotypes that people are working to move beyond, then expecting that to pass as characteri ...more
L Morgan
10 word review: horny middle school personalities conspire against each other; the moon
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Feb 23, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fanboys - emphasis on 'boys'
Shelves: sf, shit-lit

For a further review: .
Dropping this.
Boring writing, infodumps and this [TW for date rape and mansplaining]:

(view spoiler)
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Neeeeeeerds!
I gave this book one more star than I think it ought to deserve, simply due to the interesting scientific concepts presented. The story itself isn't particularly good though. The characters are extremely one dimensional... insultingly so in some cases. As others have pointed out, there are some lazy stereotypes floating around, and the main female character is infantilised to a degree which is completely unbelievable for an astronaut/scientist.

Also, as others have pointed out, early on the book
May 16, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I might have liked this, but I quit very early when the female lead recounts a drugged date rape, her first sexual encounter, where afterward she "rolls up the bloody sheet and decides to look on the bright side. At least that's out of the way." (I listened to the audio, so excuse an errant word.) I can't imagine any person - male or female - who would react that way. It's very offensive, and I couldn't read any further.
Feb 06, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Reads like a book written by some teenager.
May 17, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DOSSIER: The author does some worldbuilding to develop his characters, then is so fantastically lazy he inserts the information in a chapter entitled "DOSSIER".

The sad part is, the Dossiers contain more conflict than the actual story itself. This book has awful writing, with the author reminding us over and over again of the characters' eye colours in a world where everyone is a slim, trim sex object. Usually stories written in this manner get by on the merit of the SF ideas they contain, but t
Dec 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobooks, lemmed
OMG! I just listened to two hours of Farside by Ben Bova. I'm going to lem it and try to return it to Audible. I don't cry "sexist" at most books, but this is the most sexist piece of drivel I've ever read. It seems like it was written in 1953 rather than 2013. Add to the fact that 1/2 of the book so far has a female POV character and it's narrated by Stefan Rudnicki. He's a good narrator, but a very poor choice for this book. He has a very deep voice and can't do women well at all. UGH!

Andy Boyan
Jul 11, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-to-read
Sexist and trite. Plot points repeated every chapter in case you missed it the first 10 times. I'm not even exaggerating. I can't believe a company would publish this, let alone Tor. Absolutely horrible.
Apr 14, 2015 rated it liked it
It’s been a while since I read, never mind reviewed, any of Dr. Bova’s novels. In fact, the last one I reviewed was the Ben Gunn anthology, The Sam Gunn Omnibus (2007) back in, erm… 2007.

So what do we have here, eight years on? For those who don’t know, for over two decades Ben has been creating his own series of novels (The Grand Tour series) which explore different planets (and in this case, satellites) of the Solar System.

Here, in Farside, the spotlight is on the development of a huge radio-t
Clark Hallman
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Farside is another very good science fiction novel by Ben Bova, a six-time Hugo-Award winner. This novel takes place on the Moon, where a huge state-of-the-art optical interferometer telescope is being built on the farside of the Moon, i.e., the side that always faces toward outer space and never toward the Earth. The lack of an atmosphere and the emptiness of the Moon make it an ideal platform for such a telescope. The farside of the Moon is an ideal location for the observatory equipment becau ...more
Fred Hughes
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben Bova is one of my favourite authors. His stories flow effortlessly and the characters are believable and relatable, so with that taken care of, your only task is to read and enjoy the book. After all isn’t that why we read ?

The far side of the moon represents a golden opportunity for Dr Ulrich and his staff to build three giant mirrors and capture more detailed images of a planet called Sirius C. It’s nickname is New Earth as it appears to be in the goldilocks orbit (not too close, not too f
Ian Bott
Sep 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
This is the first book by Ben Bova I picked up. The most charitable thing I can say is that he must have founded his reputation on earlier and better works, because this appeared to me little more than the self-conscious and formulaic writing of an inexperienced teenager. And that is doing inexperienced teenage writers a disservice.

The plot was thin. Wooden characters were introduced, each with their own contrived backstory delivered in chapter-long slabs of infodump as dry as a history lesson.
Feb 01, 2013 marked it as lemmed  ·  review of another edition
No one's got the arc??

I hear Scott will read it.

It's out now. Does anyone care?

pg 114/367: I can read 45 pg/hr in this thing. It's a pretty easy read for a hard sf novel. It's mostly a 'moon drama', almost like a weekly tv show, with short chapters, but with nanotech. At first I though it as YA, since the first POV character was a young woman worried about her looks and the handsome man she was with. But then other characters enter the scene. Is it really just a race of who can see a faraway pla
Mike Howells
Oct 18, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tedious dialogue, dull description, predictable plot, ridiculous characters... not very good, really.

The characters act like truculent adolescents, throwing tantrums and trying to be Mr Big Guy. Nothing like any scientist or engineer I've ever worked with.

Most of the text is dialog, with many conversations that seem to add nothing to the story. There's very little room given to description of the moon bases, vehicles, or technology in general. The most we hear about is the depressing nature of
Kris Sellgren
Jun 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This hard SF novel about building 100-meter size telescopes on the far side of the Moon caught my attention. I'm an astronomer so I enjoyed the astronomy and the mirror and telescope construction. Bova's thorough research into telescope mirror construction shows. The characters were cardboard, and evaluated everyone as potential sex partners rather than future colleagues. The astronomer heroine was irritatingly passive. But I enjoyed the central mystery of why an engineer asphyxiated in his spac ...more
David Raz
Maybe this book works better as part of The Grand Tour or as the prologue to New Earth but on its own, a single-word description of this book would be: boring. If I had another word I would say "lazy".

I still want to start with the positive part. I found some of the science in the book pretty solid, especially life on the moon, travel on the moon, tele-operation etc. This is for me the main redeeming element of the book. However, I think this is far from being enough to sustain a book.

The book i
Jeffrey Pfaller
Ben Bova is a fairly prolific science fiction and fact author, and this is my first foray into his catalog. While I thought the concept held a lot of promise and the science behind the fiction was pretty rock solid, I found myself generally underwhelmed by the tale. It’s almost as if he was writing by formula, and a lot of the prose fell flat on the page. New character entering? Spend a paragraph describing them. Important plot point? Have a character repeat it at lease three times so we make su ...more
Farside reminded me how thoroughly satisfying classic hard science fiction can be. Ben Bova is one of the few living members of a fraternity that included such greats as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein. I am grateful that he is still around to entertain and thrill readers with his great and far reaching talent. Bova’s prose is crisp and precise, moving the story along.

Ben Bova evokes a near future where global warming has dramatically changed the world and a lowly moon base b
Elliot Cosubei
Jul 11, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misogynist-crap
My god, what a disappointment!
I had just read The Salmon of Doubt, by Douglas Adams, et al, and I was primed for some Sci-Fi, a genre I'd been woefully ignorant of for decades. (In books, that is; I've watched and adored countless crappy SF movies.) I saw this at my beloved village library. I read the description. It looked great. There were nano machines and space telescopes and moon bases and all sorts of science-y temptations. Supposedly. All that took a back seat to a pretty dumb soap opera
Carolina Casas
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
It starts off slow but it starts to pick up by the middle. For fans of high-packed action and adventure science fiction like the kind you see in successful block-busters, this isn't the kind of book for you. This doesn't mean it is not well written. Far from it. I am very critical when it comes to this genre, so believe me when I say that this is one of the best books of sci fi I have read in the year. There is a lot of intrigue, plotting and betrayal amongst the colleagues who are eager to be t ...more
Keith Bell
OK, is this the best Bova novel? No. Is it typical Bova? Yes. Keep in mind, this guy is now 81 yrs old. He's not the cutting edge anymore but he still tells a readable, fun story. All the cliche's of his style are still there but now, appear dated and odd. I'm OK with that. This story is part of his Grand Tour series. It could just be a short story fleshed out and probably is. His newest book "New Earth" puts Farside as a prequel. So treat this as a nod to his style set in a timeline of his own ...more
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-sci-fi
Seems like it was written in the 1940s of 1950s, with a few current terms dropped in like tweet. While a practical look at lunar settlements and astrophysics, and therefore on the science side of sci-fi, this novel has almost no character developments and an unfortunately stereotyped way of handling the female characters. Almost everyone here is an engineer or PHD, but you would never guess it with all the melodrama and backstory twists that belong on a telenovela. That said, it was nice to revi ...more
John (JP)
I hope this story is an opening to a much larger series, because on its own its not that good. The story centers around 2 rival teams of astronomers attempting to image the same earth like planet. Bova gives us no reason to care about either team. The flaws of each of the major characters come out of the stereotype handbook. One blind Nobel Prize obsessed astronomer, one drug addicted anti-hero engineer, one female with daddy issues, one female ex-mistress obsessed with power, and one sex obsess ...more
John Lowe
Eh, probably closer to 2.5. The story itself is pretty good, has some twists and moves along at a quick pace (not surprisingly as the writing is terse and the chapters all short). My problem with the book is that the characters are tropes from the 1940s and 1950s, which just felt odd in 2016 (or 2013 when book was written). It's pretty sexist and gross in areas, and all the female characters are either floozies who sleep around for power and money, or smart, cute women who don't know how beautif ...more
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As simple as these 'Grand Tour' books are to read I still enjoy them. I call them my science fiction soap opera reads. The story was predictable but there is enough science scattered here and there to keep me turning the page. Not great but for some weird reason they hook me and I like'em! Looking forward to the next book in July 2013!
Jan 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Good book... I've liked all of Ben Bova's books I've read so far. This book has a lot of political intrigue and company espionage as two different companies compete to build their own large telescopes to view a planet in another solar system. Nanobugs are used as a weapon and things start to go crazy...
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Stellar Bova!

Moon, lust, drugs, nanobugs eating everything! political intrigue, powered flight across the moon, Selene flexing political muscles.
Great fun, well crafted as always and a solid read.
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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

Other books in the series

The Grand Tour (1 - 10 of 23 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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