Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Venus (The Grand Tour, #18)” as Want to Read:
Venus (The Grand Tour, #18)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(The Grand Tour #18)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,666 ratings  ·  118 reviews
The surface of Venus is the most hellish place in the solar system. The ground is hot enough to melt aluminum. The air pressure is so high it has crushed spacecraft landers as though they were tin cans. The sky is perpetually covered with clouds of sulfuric acid. The atmosphere is a choking mixture of carbon dioxide and poisonous gases.

This is where Van Humphries must go.
Paperback, 405 pages
Published May 15th 2001 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 2000)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Venus, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Venus

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,666 ratings  ·  118 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Venus (The Grand Tour, #18)
Oct 14, 2011 rated it liked it
I've always seen Bova's books on the shelves in the bookstore, but I've never really had a desire to pick them up. The titles never really drew me in; the synopsis on the back of the books never really caught my interest--in fact, they hinted at plots which were very familiar within the genre written by other authors. Furthermore, I had a tendency to stay away from the veteran hard sci-fi writers (Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, etc.) because their works seemed, to me, dated & out of touch with the ch ...more
Christopher Hivner
May 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Martin Humphries, a hedonistic and cruel billionaire lost his favorite son to the planet Venus. Alex's remains still lie somewhere on the surface of the planet. Martin offers a $10 billion prize to the person who goes to Venus and returns with his son's body. At the same time he cuts off his other son, Van, whom he detests. With no source of income, Van decides to go after the prize, having a ship built and gathering a crew. Since it's still his father's money paying for the ship, Van has to tak ...more
Aug 20, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: scifi, fiction
(june 2004) i can't believe i actually finished this. it was horribly written, and i barely cared about the hysterical characters--particularly the snivelling protagonist--to bother to turn the pages. still, the science (fiction) kept me reading til the lurid and quite predictable, comic book ending.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-scifi
I was shocked to find that Venus was part of a huge series, but read that I didn't necessarily have to read the other books in order to read the story. I agree because I had no issues with understanding what was happening; the author did a good job of world-building and explaining character backgrounds. However, after reading what the other novels were about I can't help but feel that I may have enjoyed it more if I had read more of the books set prior to the events of this book.

I liked this b
Sean Callaghan
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a whole bunch of fun. I will definitely be looking for more of the Grand Tour novels.
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: retro-reviews
Playboy takes his father's bait of a 10 billion dollar reward to claim his bother's ashes from the hellish surface of Venus. Very entertaining. I wanted to read more Ben Bova (I read this 20 years ago="retro reviews") and I think I will.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Just finished my first Ben Bova book. Even though it’s nearly 20 years old, I actually really enjoyed it. I don’t want to give away anything but I really liked the directions Bova took the story. I’ll definitely return to The Grand Tour series in the near future! A solid 4 stars! Overall, it was fun, light, and well paced.
Clark Hallman
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Venus by Ben Bova is part of the author’s Grand Tour series, which deals with the exploration of the planets in our solar system. Venus is the nearest planet to Earth and about the same size as Earth. However, it is closer to the Sun than Earth and Bova describes Venus as “the most hellish place in the solar system.” Its atmosphere is dominated by sulfuric acid and carbon dioxide, with only negligible traces of oxygen and nitrogen. The surface temperatures are well above 450 degrees Celsius (nea ...more
Oct 01, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-adult
Though I often consider myself more keen on good characterization and dialogue than a fast-moving plot, when it comes to science fiction, I tend to reverse my usual preferences. The unlikely hero in this book is granted with a sort of late bloomer-coming-of-age story, but many of the other characters never really become more than vaguely enigmatic. The plot however, doesn't really stop moving as the characters are catapaulted into one danger after another. Van Humphries must risk his life to emb ...more
Aug 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
I almost didn't finish this one. In fact, I only stuck with it because I'd paid for a used copy. It just isn't a very good book. The main character is a typical protagonist, except the fact that he has a debilitating illness; there's your typical skeptical, asshole character, a villain, a love interest, etc... I found myself being able to predict the plot too easily and just not really caring what happened to ANYONE in the book. I got it because I'd heard a bunch of stuff about Bova being one of ...more
Mar 30, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi, adult-fiction
This was so laughably bad that I refrained from giving it just one star since it had me cracking up so often. Picked this out from the shelf while doing some light weeding (those fiction shelves are getting too crowded!)... The blurb inside the flap caught my attention. It contained what is quite possibly my favorite sentence of the past couple years: "Late in the twenty-first century, Van is the sickly, fearful second son of a tyrannical corporate tycoon." How could I not read this based on tha ...more
Erik Graff
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bova fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
During the Reagan period Ben Bova had written his Kinsman series, a science fiction piece beginning with 'Star Wars' planning on the moon. I'd liked the politics, the relevance and the main character--liked it so much that Bova's name had impressed itself on me enough to cause me, years later, to pick up this much later novel.

Although there's some relevance to contemporary politics here as regards climate change, this book is mostly about Venus, a character portrayed with about as much depth as
Chris Hatziemmanuel
Mar 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
Somehow this managed to have all the sexism of a good 80s Larry Niven novel with none of the fun to balance it out (also keep in mind most of those books are at least 35 years old). Plus, somehow this was written in 2000 which is kind of appalling considering the ridiculous misogyny and racism throughout. Ridiculous as in I was laughing incredulously as I read it.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
18 books in and Venus is the only body this side of Saturn that the Grand Tour hasn't explored, so it seems a perfectly fitting place to end (I'll get back to that). There's something of a continuation of the The Asteroid Wars, with Martin Humphries and his sons as the focus of the books. One (Alex, (view spoiler)) attempted to be the first to reach the surface of Venus and died in the attempt. The other (Van, (view spoiler) ...more
D. Krauss
Aug 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
Memory is such a tricky thing. It golden-hues the gilded. It makes serious mistakes. Like thinking all those grand names from the past are still grand.

About ten pages into this, I was ready to toss it across the room. With some astonishment, because this was Ben Bova, Ben freakin’ Bova! one of those grand names from my scifi obsessed youth, up there with Heinlein and Asimov and Clarke and what the heck? It was terrible. Poorly written, ridiculous plot, even more ridiculous stock characters: the
Paul Weiss
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hard sci-fi pioneering space exploration at its very best!

Martin Humphries, a fabulously wealthy industrialist living on a lunar colony, passionately despises his second son, Van. Cruelly labeling him as "the runt" and bullying him relentlessly as a directionless, untalented weakling, Humphries blames Van for the death of his wife during Van's birth and, in fact, resents him for even being alive. Humphries' beloved eldest son, Alex, who Van also loved dearly, lost his life in the first manned ex
Doctor Moss
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
One of the great things a science fiction book can do is give an imaginative but realistic experience of what it would be like to go to a place that has never been visited before, like the planet Venus. Bova goes to some lengths to make his story feel realistic, taking what we know of Venus -- its crushing, corrosive atmosphere and furnace-like heat -- and creating the mix of technology and courage needed to explore it.

There are a lot of elements to Bova's story, maybe too many -- a main charact
Robert John
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laurel Chandler
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall I enjoyed the story of Van and his dangerous expedition to Venus.
The plot weaves true science with science fiction, along with a dark family story.
I have read other Ben Bova novels (the Mars series) and find his writing to be very well researched and creative.
Some of the plot moves a bit slowly, but the last part of this novel was quite riveting and imaginative.
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in futuristic space travel and the human conflicts that arise from ambitio
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my first ever science fiction novel read and I absolutely loved it. This is one of my favorite books ever. It's a page turner right from the beginning through to the end. There's plenty of action and the characters feel so real like they are your friends. There's twists throughout and you don't know what to expect on their journey to Venus and what will happen when they get there.

I'm definitely reading more from Ben Bova and would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to read a fi
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I first started reading this novel, the storyline seemed somewhat simplified - and a throwback to the pulp sci-fi stories (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). Bova's story is a quest to explore Venus, but thankfully turns into an interesting page turner. Yes, things seem to happen to easily in the beginning, but the characters and plot grow on you. By the middle of the book, it becomes a page turner. It's definitely worth picking up!
Lesa Loves Books
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2018
A very soapy space opera that is redeemed by the the science, suspenseful planetary exploration, and Venus. What a strange planet! It rotates backwards from our other planets but so slowly that its day is longer than its year!

Cool beans:
Captain Fuchs reminds me of Papa Hemingway.😎 Van and Fuchs discuss Paradise Lost several times. ❤
And it is proven that human activity impacts climate change... duh! 🌎

Mike O'brecht
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a decent book. The beginning was a bit tough to get through. The main character was a horrible person and hard to get behind, but the “discovery” of what’s on Venus was extremely interesting.

Following that, the main character finally came to his own and the story got really exciting.

Definitely a decent book to get your feet wet into this author.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was published in 2000? What kind of archaic, boring story is this? I’m on page 109 and I don’t think I can finish it. All the characters are awful or incredibly underdeveloped. 50s stereotypes of male and female space explorers inhabit this book. If I can muster to finish this book I’ll update the review, but damn... this author is a popular sci fi writer? Not for me.
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another enjoyable read by Ben Bova but for the love Pete he's got to cut back on the word "sardonic". After about the 50th 'sardonic' or 'sardonically' variation I swear I was about to snag a can of white out and just squirt it in my eyes before taking this puppy back to the library.
Durval Menezes
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
So-so plot, so-so characters... but the science part is good, I actually learned a thing or two about Venus I didn't know already (after going to Wikipedia to confirm they were science and not fiction).
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books
Interesting concept, unbearable protagonist.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really like Bova. His sci-fi is just entertaining. Not exotic. I can relate to the story. I will continue to read his stuff frequently.
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Extremely good; long but grabs you and doesn’t much let go.
Paul Grant
A little slow to get going, but the story built steadily to the expected conclusion
« previous 1 3 4 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: Venus, by Ben Bova 1 9 May 14, 2019 11:23AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Venus (The Grand Tour #18) by Ben Bova 3 12 Sep 02, 2018 08:07PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Songs of Distant Earth
  • Hellboy, Vol. 7: The Troll Witch and Others
  • Flashforward
  • Opowieści z meekhańskiego pogranicza. Północ - Południe
  • Старик Логан. Полное издание. Том 1
  • Jorun de la Forge (Nains, #6)
  • Wolverine Noir
  • Aldoran (Mages #1)
  • Старик Логан. Полное издание. Том 2
  • Commencement (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, #1)
  • Classic Star Wars: A New Hope
  • Earth
  • The Boys, Volume 2: Get Some
  • Monkeys Are Made of Chocolate: Exotic and Unseen Costa Rica
  • Walking with Wolf: Reflections on a Life Spent Protecting the Costa Rican Wilderness
  • Kritik der mörderischen Vernunft
  • In Asia
  • Briefe in die chinesische Vergangenheit
See similar books…
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)

Related Articles

"Do you want to write a sci-fi short story?" Blake Crouch asked Andy Weir. This is how Forward, the brand-new collection from Am...
67 likes · 14 comments