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(The Grand Tour #1)

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  1,172 ratings  ·  117 reviews
Two hundred thousand feet up, things go horribly wrong. An experimental low-orbit spaceplane breaks up on reentry, falling to earth over a trail hundreds of miles long. And in its wake is the beginning of the most important mission in the history of space.

America needs energy, and Dan Randolph is determined to give it to them. He dreams of an array of geosynchronous
Paperback, 424 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Tor Books (first published 2005)
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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 ·  1,172 ratings  ·  117 reviews

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I’ll review this properly when I’ve finished screaming internally.

Update 5/20/19: Still screaming.
Jan 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
This is really bad and normally I wouldn't have finished it. However, its characterization and plot points became so predictably farfetched that it transcended into something amusing and I kept reading just to see what new amazingly clunky thing would happen next. Thus it became good like an Ed Wood movie!
Naive roughneck space cowboys do not become CEO's of multibillion high tech startups.
US senators are not unbelievably beautiful and sexually desirable.
Terrorist masterminds do not put their
aPriL does feral sometimes
Dan Randolph is focused on a single goal - to be the first privately-owned company to deliver solar power to the people of earth, starting with Americans, from an orbiting space platform, thus saving the environment by reducing reliance on fossil fuels. He has has bulldozed past endless American regulatory agencies, each one requiring mountains of paperwork and inspections of his engineering plans and facilities. He walked away from the love of his life, Senator Jane Thornton, when it became ...more
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book almost made me root for the terrorists. Dan Randolph is one of the most unintentionally unlikable protagonists ever, a hotshot business CEO and former astronaut, he does very little of note for the vast majority of the book and succeeds for no other reason than he is as American as Donald Trump and Hulk Hogan and about as likable as a combination of the two. That's not to say the terrorists, read: muslims, are any better, while their leader has managed to infiltrate western business by ...more
Dec 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, ebooks, mainstream
Having just finished Energized by Edward M. Lerner, I was directed toward the Ben Bova novel that was actually written earlier, and tells basically the same tale.

A bonafide hard-SF novel, the science in Bova's novel is actually much lighter than what Lerner includes, but in either case it's not likely to scare away any non-techie readers, and as such both novels are decidedly mainstream thrillers.

Plotwise, both novels feature a gigantic (2.5 miles square in Bova's book) solar cell satellite that
Jake Hahn
Jul 28, 2016 rated it liked it
I really liked the book and would have given it four stars except it was overly simplified. The other problem I had with it is that they used the two stupid phrases double damned and rain makes apple sauce about 50 times each and it was sickening after the 5th time.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thriller
This is my first acquaintance with Ben Bova and what a letdown it was! I was expecting solid science-fiction book and instead I had to suffer through a mediocre techno-thriller with 'paint it by numbers' plot riddled with logical holes through which a satelite could pass without any problems whatsoever. What's worse, the story is populated by a bunch of characters who, pretty much to the last man and woman, could serve as caricatures of the archetypes in this particular genre. And then, just to ...more
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 09-stars
This was truly a great listen. I was in the hunt for a new SciFi series, as I have exhausted Orson Scott Card's "Enderverse" a long time ago. And then I find the "Grand Tour" series by Ben Bova off to a great (chronological) start - and even narrated by none other than Stefan Rudnicki !!! (The voice of God). Oh, man ... a good SciFi thriller and Stefan Rudnicki. I'm in heaven ...
Dave Packard
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible, laser
Sticking my toes in the Grand Tour series... I’m not quite sure how this one fits in, but I enjoyed the sci-fi as thriller mood of the book. Fast paced and hard to put down. I will continue on and see how it goes!
D.L. Morrese
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
I had a hard time getting into this story. None of the characters were likeable, admirable, or exhibited any traits that prompted me to care what happened to them. The protagonist, and most of the other characters (including politicians, businessmen, and engineers), behave like emotionally unstable teenagers being dragged around by their gonads. There was a point in which the protagonist practically has a temper tantrum when speaking with his ex-girlfriend (who is now a US senator) that almost ...more
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
It hurts to write this because I love Ben Bova. It was just too long, too drawn out and too boring. Not a vital read in the Grand Tour series.
Morgan Johnstone
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Yep, this book is a really good read. I found myself actually researching some of the things it talks about and I enjoyed it.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I last read most of the The Grand Tour in high school or earlier, jumping about from book to book in no particular order. I don't even know if I read The Grand Tour, especially given that it might not have been out yet. It's a bit of a strange book, set first chronologically but written decades after others in the series. I was looking for an audiobook series to listen to next and this seemed worth a try.

Plotwise, it's near future science fiction, with a world similar enough to the modern world
Jan 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
This is such a dumb novel, and gives me no hope for this entire series. Someone described it as a soap opera masquerading as science fiction, and it's completely true.

Let's start with the tropes:

Power-hungry Japanese: UGH.
Anti-American jihadist Arab: COME ON.
Secretive Arab group: Is this 24 on FOX?
Ladies Man Entrepreneur: hahahahahahahahahahaha come on

Then let's go with the one dimensional character interactions throughout the novel, which really only gravitate between 'I want to kill you' and '
Brett's Books
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'd recommend Powersat with reservations, the premise is interesting, as is the genre: a political thriller with science fiction elements. PS was not overly long, or without clever ideas, and I enjoyed large stretches of it. My only complaint really was the protagonist: Dan Randolph, an immoral and juvenile person who is conversely a "titan of industry." Randolph is at turns a genius, and yet unable to control himself around women, and interestingly with no concept of the consequences of his ...more
Geoff Battle
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Powersat is, chronologically, the start of Ben Bova's series 'The Grand Tour' (which later includes Mars, Jupiter, Moonrise etc). This is a standalone book following the creation of a satellite which can beam solar power to Earth in the form of microwaves. This technology would remove the Middle-Eastern stranglehold on fuel, and therefore comes under threat from some rather two-dimensional terrorists. Although the book never becomes tiresome, the plot is not particularly clever, and it seems if ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
The plot was interesting, but the book was hindered by a lot. Some of the biggest hindrances can be summed up in one word OUTDATED. It is extremely sad when a science fiction book can be called outdated, but the themes and concepts were so steeped and marinated in xenophobic, Islamophobic, and misogynistic language of the late 80's early 90's this read more like a James Bond story than a story with great themes like energy independence, science being held up by governmental red tape, and the ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was an ok book, could be a bit shorter. MC's are unlikable dan was pathetic in his chasing after his old flame, made worse by the fact that he succeed and Jane the motivated senator became the Jane the adulterer risking humiliation for herself and her soon to be president husband. I dont judge it too harshly because I think they were meant to be that way.
The plot of terrorists sabotaging the powersat is OK, my fav parts was at the start when it was about trying to find money to keep the
Paul Calhoun
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I usually find something to say, but here, I kind of don't have much. It was well written, but somehow I never quite got into the story. Maybe it's the 2005-ness of it. Just a little too reliant on the politics of the time. Anyways, I might get back to the Grand Tour later, but this hasn't really grabbed me such that I want to go out and get the next book immediately.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not sci-fi at all. Cheap thriller with stupid space startup CEOs, super hot senators, terrorist masterminds, all entangled in all possible clichés of love, lust, death, etc.
Oct 03, 2019 added it
Interesting to see some science with a political tone.
Jeff J.
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm a fan of Ben Bova but this isn't one of his better books. It's advertised as part of his Grand Tour series but it's earth-based setting makes it a hard sell.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Classic Bova. Read all I can find by this author. Some out of print volumes still on my radar. Check out Ben Bova, steeped in science, space, and challenger to ‘last frontier’ space fiction readers.
Kittens McGee
Aug 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Sexist and incredibly poorly written. This man desperately needs an editor.
Adam Weiler
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Dan Randolph is kindof a dirtbag. If you can get past that, the idea of getting a powersat up in orbit, and the powers doing their best to prevent it from happening, it's a good story.
Iron Mike
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Good book. Not sure I ever read a Ben Bova, although he's been around for a long time. This one was a fun ride, along the lines of Dan Brown, but with a sci-fi-like spin to it. Not too bad.
Aaron Warren
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It was ok, but the ending wasn't great
Ralph Carlson
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One hell of an awesome thriller. Great book.
Kathy Parrish
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of Ben Bova for many years. This was a great book. It gets into that world pretty easily and keeps you interested until the last page.
Rowan Smith
Oct 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Found out there is a Mars 2, then I found out that it's part of a whole set of 22 books of which Mars was #3. So had to double back to the very first book "Powersat". Enjoyable, but for some reason even though it was only about 2 weeks ago I finished it, I can't remember the ending...Would write more, but It was kind of a nice break to get "back to earth" for a book or so. Was alright.
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Goodreads Librari...: Powersat (The Grand Tour #1) by Ben Bova 3 12 Sep 02, 2018 08:06PM  

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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

Other books in the series

The Grand Tour (1 - 10 of 22 books)
  • 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)
  • The Silent War (The Grand Tour #11; The Asteroid Wars #3)
“As long as we're tied to Middle Eastern oil we're tied to Middle Eastern politics. We're hostages to the terrorists and nutcases who want to wipe out Israel and the United States because we support Israel.” 4 likes
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