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The Rock Rats (The Grand Tour, #10; The Asteroid Wars, #2)
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The Rock Rats

(The Asteroid Wars #2)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,072 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Visionary Dan Randolph is dead, but his protégé, pilot Pancho Barnes, sits on the board of his conglomerate. Randolph's rival Martin Humphries wants to control Astro and drive independent asteroid miners like Lars Fuchs out of business. Humphries wants revenge against Pancho, and flame Amanda, now wife to Lars. Many will die. Many will thrive.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 16th 2003 by Tor Science Fiction (first published January 1st 2002)
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3.72  · 
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 ·  1,072 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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The second book in the Asteroid Wars subset continues the story of the human race moving out to exploit the resources of the asteroid belt. The two main corporations, Astro and Humphreys are still fighting for control with the prospectors and miners (the rock rats) caught in the middle. Things eventually escalate to violence and destruction.

most of this book as about corporate scheming and plotting, with a bit of action thrown in. The main villain is a never ending source of subterfuge and dirty
Nancy Shaffer
Oct 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: solar-system
Would someone put Humphries out of my misery and out of Amanda's misery, too? But don't let her get back together with Lars. She does better without a guy. I swear, whenever one of her husbands leaves the room to scamper off on one of their business trips or adventures, her personality 180's from lobotomized, morally clueless damsel in distress to interesting, independent woman so fast I get tennis spectator neck strain.

I think BB just forgot everything he wrote about the Precipice characters an
Emanuel Landeholm
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-sff
This is not a solid scifi-work. Just look at the cast. All the relevant women are Venuses and the men are ruggedly handsome. The Venuses and the ruggedly handsomes have fantastic sex. Venuses ask "but why?", and ruggedly handsomes tell us what we already figured out. That is Bova's entire repertoire right there.

Well, I did finish the book. There's actually more to the book than Venuses and ruggedly handsomes, you just have to keep on reading... A bit of interesting politics / space opera in ther
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
The Rock Rats continues the story of The Precipice, following the story of humanity's expansion into the Asteroid Belt and all the atrocities that entails.

Characterwise, this book is all over the place. Pancho is great fun, but we don't see nearly enough of her. Lars is ... kind of crazy and revenge driven, a long descent from liking him well enough in The Precipice. Amanda is pretty great, but only when she's away from either Lars or Humpries. Of all the marriages in the series thus far, why d
Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Follow up to The Precipice, this one picks up after Dan Randolph's death as many are racing to the asteroid belt to claim the riches that it entails. Many familiar characters from the previous novel return as Martin Humphries continues his evil ways to prevent anyone but him from gathering the resources everyone so covets. It is debatable what Humphries wants more, the money or the woman he clearly cannot have, Amanda, who happens to be married to one of the ones Humphries is trying to knock off ...more
Mike Pollack
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good book, it is a quick read especially since it look me less than a week. I found it to be a nice follow up to the initial one. The only continued problem I have is with the elementary approach at time with the obsessive ‘relationship’ one key character has with the other, there was also a somewhat distracting subplot of a clone baby but in the end it resolved itself adequately but it was a bit of a left turn too. Looking for to seeing how the story ends in the third installment.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great space opera, really epic.
Durval Menezes
Feb 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Standard-fare Bova space opera. Not great, but not bad either; comes with the territory of reading through the huge Grand Tour series: some books will be great (Mars, Jupiter) others not so much.
Competent space opera, continued next week.
Jul 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I probably would have given this 4 stars if the wife didn't annoy me so much. She was so whiny!!!
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Good Stuff: It's near-future SF. I'm a sucker for near-future SF. The conflict between characters takes center stage, personal motives are clear. The asteroid belt is an enormous wealth of resources, but this setting doesn't get enough attention in space SF. Good on Bova for that. The last quarter of the book is much better than the rest, enough to bring it up to a 2-star performance overall. Barely.

Bad Stuff: For the first three quarters of the story, the main characters are shallow, stupid and
Dec 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
It's been several years since Dan Randolph died on the first voyage to the Asteroid belt in the first fusion powered spaceship. And it's up to the rest of his crew to carry on his vision. Pancho Lane, pilot and astronaut, now sits on Astro Corp's board as Randolph's heir, leading the charge to build a station around Jupiter. Lars and Amanda Fuchs have their own small business, selling equipment to the Rock Rats, those who mine the asteroids, and helping them build a government. But all isn't wel ...more
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lars and Amanda Fuchs are barely surviving as prospecters in the Asteroid belt, but they want a better life for themselves and their fellow Rock Rats. They begin to build a habitat and open a supply depot, and they are a moderate success. But Humphries doesn't like this as it drastically interferes with his plans to rule the belt himself. He hires assassins to prey on the independant contractors and soon piracy is a common occurance. When Lars gets no help from the authorities, he takes matters ...more
Jul 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Wish I had known it was part of a serial. Didn't miss not knowing earlier books, but now stuck in following furter books in series.

Story by itself stands alone with an openend downer ending - which is typical of a series -- but I confess to almost giving up on the story when I saw where it was heading toward a crappy ending, but came back to it after I cooled down and the writing was good throughout. I read this book on recommendation, but I should have been informed it was part of series, as I
Mar 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Prospectors, espionage, pirates, space battles...oh, and Amanda. This would have gotten a higher rating from me except for one single character. She is described as both beautiful and intelligent but she certainly doesn't behave like an intelligent woman. The character of Amanda is a goop. She marries a guy she isn't that crazy about just to avoid another man's affections. She desperately wants to return home but she lives in shabby conditions on Ceres for years to please her husband. When he ev ...more
Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The Asteroid Wars in a series by Ben Bova, one of the four sci fi writers I read most often: Bova, Bear, Benford, and Banks. I think Bova indulges in too much melodrama, but he's also very good at providing plausible (sometimes barely plausible) explanations on how humanity overcomes the distances of space, creates artificial gravity, alleviates loneliness, lives in a dreary tin can without going mad, sends communications across light-years of distance, dispenses justice in a vacuum of law and a ...more
Ned Leffingwell
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ben Bova writes enjoyable, character driven hard sci-fi. This is the grimmest of his books that I have read so far. Most of his other stories have focused on exploration. This one focused on the lengths that people will go to get what they want. I think that this book has one of the best examples of how space combat might actually work. I did read the book "Venus" before reading this one. It has the same characters but takes place at a later time so there were some things in the story that were ...more
Mar 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
Part two of the Asteroid Wars. I used to keep coming back to Bova and his Grand Tour of the Solar System. Maybe I’m just a sucker for near future tales of men and women trying to tame the solar system. This book made me stop. It is just plain boring. Amanda may be beautiful but she and the other characters feel about as emotional as puppets. Furthermore, I simply don’t buy the story. After slogging through about half the book, I gave up.
Michelle Stone
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
I love Ben Bova's books. This was no exception. The rock rats mine the asteroid belt for valuable metals to quench humanity's never ending hunger for the stuff. Politics and some attention to real science made the story very interesting to me. Bova's politics seemed slightly petty at times, or so I thought when I originally read the series. I couldn't say that now. I think he was prophetic in that regard.

I've always wanted to travel to space. This book took me as close as I'll ever get.
Gene Sheppard
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is typical Bova and a good read with exceptional characters and world building. The future world he creates is believable and your disbelief is easily suspended.

I still have heartburn over Bova lending credence to _climate change_ all four of the Asteroid War novels.
I recommend all of the Asteroid War novels.
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another solid Ben Bova book. The Grand Tour series books can be read each on their own or in order.
The story in this will stand by itself just fine. If you have read the ones previous to this you will know a few of the names ahead of time but it is not needed to understand the plot. I would recommend reading them in order but it is not required to follow the history here.
Austin Unseld
This book is a continuation of the Precipice. The rock rats continue to fight for their independence in the asteroid belt. HSS fights to form a monopoly in the asteroid belt. Humphreys is fought by Astro Corporation and Lars Fuchs.
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grand-tour
I liked this one except a character from the previous book acted totally out of character compared to the first book . It was annoying but I still liked this book .

2017 I wrote that in 2014 but I now do not know what I was talking about ? I still liked it
Mark Edlund
Mar 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
Formulaic, cardboard characters and I am sure that several laws of physics are broken during the space "battles" Second book of a series. Liked the post-green house collapse of Earth but the characters left me uninvolved.
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
Another Sci-fi mixed with political intrigue. Don't want to give away the ending, but all the bad guys prospered and the good guys stayed neutral and (mostly) alive. C'mon! Oh, now I get it. There's a sequel.
Feb 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-read, own
Not as good as the first novel in the series since you are basically accustomed to the ideas introduced. The action does pick up though with realistic space battles (due to piracy) being the main focus.
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
A definite improvement from the first book, "The Precipice". The world and characters were more flushed out. Enjoyed the kind of cowboy feel to the asteroid mining. Seems though that the series has lost the urgency of the dwindling earth.
Fredrick Danysh
Lars Fuchs is newly married and sets off with his bride to prospect the astroids. But he has problems. A rich man wants to control astroid mining and wants his wife. Plus his wife is not happy living as a prospector.
Rob Roy
Aug 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
An exploration of the nature of revenge and lust for power. As always, Ben Bova's characters are real people for whom you care about, even to an extent the villains.
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
book two in the asteroid wars.
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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 Asteroid Wars (4 books)
  • The Precipice (The Grand Tour, #8; The Asteroid Wars, #1)
  • The Silent War (The Grand Tour #11; The Asteroid Wars #3)
  • The Aftermath (The Grand Tour, #12; The Asteroid Wars, #4)
“reired but he still runs Selene, the power behind the throne. He ifts an eyebrow and everybody hops to do what he wants.” As they walked through the lush shrubbery and trees that filled he grotto, Verwoerd said, “I wonder what it is that he wants now?” Humphries threw a sour glance at her. “That’s what I pay you o find out.” The cocktail reception was out in the open, under the dome of he Grand Plaza next to the amphitheater that housed all of Scene’s theatrical productions. When Humphries and Verwoerd arived, Pancho Lane was standing near the bar deep in earnest conversation with Douglas Stavenger. Nearly twice Humphries’s age, Doug Stavenger still looked as young and vigorous as a thirty-year-old. His body teemed with naomachines that kept him healthy and youthful. Twice they had naved him from death, repairing damage to his body that ordinarily vould have been lethal.” 0 likes
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