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The Precipice (The Grand Tour, #8; The Asteroid Wars, #1)
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The Precipice (The Asteroid Wars #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,255 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Once, Dan Randolph was one of the richest men on Earth. Now the planet is spiraling into environmental disaster, with floods and earthquakes destroying the lives of millions. Randolph knows the energy and natural resources of space can save Earth's economy, but the price may be the loss of the only thing he has left--the company he founded, Astro Manufacturing.
Martin Humph
Paperback, 432 pages
Published December 15th 2002 by Tor Science Fiction (first published February 1st 2001)
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Jul 10, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Interesting storyline but I was turned off by some sexist aspects. Every chapter Amanda appears in mentions at least once how nicely she fills out her spacesuit, and then she decides to marry a guy she doesn't know partly to avoid the creepy guy who also wants to marry her. Had the book been published 40 yrs earlier it would have been understandable. I'm undecided about whether to continue with the series...I will probably give it another try at some point.
John Loyd
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Precipice (2001) 422 pages by Ben Bova

Bova gives a glimpse of Earth in a post global greenhouse era. Ocean levels have risen, etc. After that most of the book is set in space including the moon colony Selene.

Dan Randolf is the major owner of Astro maunfacuturing a company on its last legs if it can't find a new source of income. Dan sees an opportunity to help Earth by mining the asteroids. Martin Humphries is a financier who sees profits and an opportunity to take over Astro. Humphries int
Buster Whaley
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Part one of the Asteroid Wars series (and overall part of Bova’s Grand Tour of the Solar System), in which Mr. Bova takes us on yet another journey through corporate near future space. A decent read if you like Bova, but nothing special.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
One of a four part series, hoping to finish the other three keeping a pace of two chapters in anyone sitting. otherwise I may lose the core of the story.
Jun 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a perfect example of what is known as hard science fiction. In other words, strictly factual in it's scientific premise, no fantasy elements.
Oct 20, 2012 rated it liked it
This is old-school space opera, with heroes and villains and some science thrown in for validity. Fluffy, but a reasonably good read. It's the first of a trilogy and I do plan to keep going.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love the Grand Tour books by Bova, and this one fits right in with the entire saga he has created. The earth has reached greenhouse hell, and Dan Randolph knows that going out into the solar system to harvest minerals for industry is the way to save the earth's economy, and perhaps the earth itself, as well as make Randolph extremely rich. Martin Humphries agrees, but is only interested in the money potential, earth status be damned. Thus begins the race to the Asteroid Belt to claim this trea ...more
Geoff Battle
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Falling between Moonwar and Jupiter, The Precipice details Dan Rudolph's next venture, the asteroid belt. In true Bova style hardcore science-fiction is less favoured than intrigue, political backstabbing and bouts of gung-ho heroism. The Precipice villains are underdeveloped and somewhat stereotypical and although the story has an interesting concept and finale, as a whole it is somewhat flat. It reads like a story-by-numbers rather than an insightful piece of sci-fi and although it's never dul ...more
Cathie Stumpenhaus
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am rereading this trilogy and am being reminded that most of the characters are not very appealing. The "good" guys continually make poor choices and are constantly assuming that the slimy characters would not do evil deeds. Too gloomy and frustrating. The science fiction aspect is not too dated.
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's pretty good but not much happens. I guess it's the start of a series.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Quite disappointing - just a regrind of other themes and plot points.
Gary Foss
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is "hard science fiction" meaning that it consistently abides by real world physics, though it does present those ideas in a speculative way. Bova does a good job presenting those concepts, though he does occasionally go into "info dump" mode in a way that reads as a little obvious.

As hard science fiction, one can quibble about the nature of the content. For instance, Bova's story centers on the opening up of the asteroid belt by corporate interests in order turn a profit, make history
Andre Steyn
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
its one of those books that you don't put down until you have finished it.
it is a solid but simple hard scifi suspense story.
Nancy Shaffer
Sep 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: solar-system
Firm 3.5, except for Bova totally destroying one of his best long-term strong female characters. But at least he introduces a new one.
Daniel Lynch
Jan 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I have finished on my new ebook reader and I am glad I read this fantastic piece of literature from one of my favorite Science fiction authors - Ben Bova.

I started reading Ben's work when I was in University. To tell the truth I had never heard of his name before when I saw the fantastic artwork on his novel - Titan. It was sitting on the top of the bargain bin at the local news agency and I thought I would give it a shot since the blurb on the back seemed interesting. Boy
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
And we're back! Set a few decades after Moonwar, Selene, formerly Moonbase, is a thriving city built around nanotechnology. But things aren't looking so great for Earth, as the greenhouse cliff disasters have begun. Dan Randolph, former low-earth-orbit privateer now CEO of Astro Corp, wants to mine the asteroids and move industry and production into orbit. And he'll do it at cost, making no profit. But Mitt Rom-, er, Martin Humphries, billionaire CEO and Atlas Shrugged fan, wants to take over Ra ...more
Mar 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not interested in continuing the series. Though I enjoyed and appreciated the "hard science fiction" aspects of the book (space travel takes time, there are no transporters nor phaser weapons), I found the characters to be prescriptive and cliched, and the dialogue sounded like it was written by a teenager imagining how adults speak. I gave it three stars instead of two because I am giving the author the benefit of the doubt - the audio version I listened to was addled by too many readers ( ...more
Francis Gahren
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Once, Dan Randolph was one of the richest men on Earth. Now the planet is spiraling into environmental disaster, with floods and earthquakes destroying the lives of millions. Randolph knows the energy and natural resources of space can save Earth's economy, but the price may be the loss of the only thing he has left--the company he founded, Astro Manufacturing.
Martin Humphries, fabulously wealthy heir of the Humphries Trust, also knows that space-based industry is the way of the future. But unli
This is the first book by this author I have read and I really enjoyed it. In the novel, Earth is in crisis. Global Warming has crashed down on us, and with heavy flooding, little food and little energy, the future doesn't look good. Dan Randolph, owner of a huge space-faring corporation, is also losing money, but he is offered the chance to mine the Asteroid belt for the precious minerals, metals and water that they contain. Only Humpheries, the guy doing the offering, has other ideas in mind. ...more
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. For the most part this is very plausible science fiction. The characters are well developed and mostly enjoyable. Though occasionally I find some of logic of their actions and motivations a bit flawed, but that's people I suppose. I'm also not completely sold on the protagonist's view that mining the asteroid belt would be such an all encompassing answer the world's escalating environmental and ecological problems, but it made for a good excuse for a great story. I am ...more
Doc Kinne
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This turned out to be a better, and indeed a bit different book, than Moonwar. Here we begin to get farther out from our current tech level, but not by much. The science is as hard, but somehow the story was less repetitive.

And the best quote:

"[Dan] was glad that he ahd decided to keep his public relations team intact, despite layoffs in other corporate departments. Fire the accountants and the lawyers, he reminded himself. Get rid of the paper shufflers and bean counters. But keep the people
Aug 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
Such good ideas, such bad writing. Generic cliched villians. The whole reason the antagonist in the book does things is because "he's evil." That's pretty much his whole justifcation, he's evil and wants to rule the moon.
*sigh* The characters are so flat and one dimensional, and so little in the book happens. The whole first two thirds of the book that involved designing the fusion rocket and getting it ready for space could have easily been tossed in favor of something showing real adventure or
Dail Kyle
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good read...Tied on to his previous book with little quips (The Poacher's Son) as flashbacks.. Kept me in suspense until nearly the end...Did a masterful weave of the characters and their interaction with the story line...Suspenseful, action, lots of beautifully written descriptions of the surrounding countryside of Maine...Left enough 'open doors' for the possibility of future novels taking off from the seeds planted during the story line...I would recommend this to anyone who likes suspense, ...more
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you're wondering where else the human race can live, so is Ben Bova as he narrates "The Precipe" taking place in a not so distant satellite compare to other heavenly bodies--the moon.

Nanotechnology first came to my knowledge through this book and I was amazed of it's possibilities in the novel and in reality--though some would make it to realization, you'll be just content of how it makes the story close to reality.
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
An outstanding example of speculative fiction that feels as if it's really happening, in The Precipice Bova manages to conjure up a futuristic setting that feels totally real and solid. While the characters aren't all everyday people and he takes a bit of artistic license in presenting them to advance the story, I felt that it was perfectly appropriate for this type of story. If half-stars were allowed I might have given it 4.5.
Will Hudson
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a great intro book into what I hope continues to be a really good story. Pancho Lane is one of the coolest female anti-heroines I have read. She doesn't see herself as a hero, but she definitely is. Mr. Bova has a way of writing realistic science fiction that you can see as a possible near future for humankind. I think this is the second or maybe third book of his that I have read, and I am really glad I found this new author.
Fredrick Danysh
Dec 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Climate change is destroying the Earth and the New Moralality is against technology. Dan Randolph and Martin Humphries struggle for possession of fusion rockets and the mineral wealth of the astroids. Pancho Lane is a space pilot who tries to do the right thing while protecting her incarcerated sister.
Elaine Nelson
Jan 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
Thoroughly entertaining adventure story. (He tries to tackle gender & beauty issues in the interplay between a female viewpoint character and the other main female character, and it sorta works, although jeez, can the descriptions of OMG TEH HOTNESS of the secondary character. Passes the Bechtel test too, IIRC.) Looking forward to reading #2, which I suppose says something.
Apr 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Precipice seemed much lighter than his other writing, more like a novella but I greatly enjoyed it anyway. His message resonated with my libertarian sensibilities, trust no one with power, private or public. The story was predictable, especially having read Moon Wars previously but it was nice to see familiar characters.
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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 Asteroid Wars (4 books)
  • The Rock Rats (The Grand Tour, #10; The Asteroid Wars, #2)
  • The Silent War (The Grand Tour, #11; The Asteroid Wars, #3)
  • The Aftermath (The Grand Tour, #12; The Asteroid Wars, #4)