- By Ben Bova


  • Title: Venus
  • Author: Ben Bova
  • ISBN: 9780812579406
  • Page: 334
  • Format: Paperback
  • Venus 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 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.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 Or die trying.His older brother perished in the first attempt to land a man on Venus, years before, and his father had always hated Van for surviving when his brother died Now his father is offering a ten billion dollar prize to the first person to land on Venus and return his oldest son s remains.To everyone s surprise, Van takes up the offer But what Van Humphries will find on Venus will change everything our understanding of Venus, of global warming on Earth, and his knowledge of who he is.

    1 thought on “Venus

    1. 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 th [...]

    2. 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 [...]

    3. (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.

    4. 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 bo [...]

    5. This is the first book I've read from Bova and I had some high hopes for it. It drew me in pretty quickly and for whatever reason I was really interested in the story. Looking back, I'm not sure why I was so interested, but I was. Then, the crew gets near the surface of the planet and the climax and conclusion seem to happen in a heartbeat. It felt like a let down.

    6. 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 Celsiu [...]

    7. 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 [...]

    8. 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 that a [...]

    9. 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 th [...]

    10. 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 [...]

    11. 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!

    12. 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.

    13. “Dad will kill you if he finds out.”Alexander Humphries led the first manned expedition to Venus, and became among the first to die there. It was an unexplained equipment malfunction that doomed Alex’s ship and crew to rest on the toxic surface of Earth’s twin forever. In the two years since, there have been rumors that the malfunction may not have been an accident at all.“Dad will kill you if he finds out.”Van remembers the conversation like it was yesterday. His brother Alex was te [...]

    14. Getting back to Bova's Tour of the Solar System and it is much as a I remember. Expedition to a planet, personal drama mixes with harsh realities of space and we have a quick and concise novel of interest. The premise: an expedition to Venus occurred and failed. The father of one of the dead puts out a bounty on brining back the remains of his son: $10B. This gets two biters, his younger son (Van Humphries) who he never really liked and his worst enemy, Lars Fuchs. Both make ships (or repurpose [...]

    15. Venus, by Ben Bova.Where to start with this book? Maybe I should start by saying that it’s book 19 in the Grand Tour series, however, don’t be discouraged to read it since most of the books in that series aren’t consecutive unless it’s a direct sequel. Venus is a science fiction book which is usually directed towards young adult or adult readers due to the complicated language or complicated subjects that younger readers wouldn’t necessarily understand. Just by looking at the book and [...]

    16. If there is one thing that I have come to expect of Ben Bova it is that he can take any fantastically unbelievable idea and make it so real that you actually think that it could happen. This is the case with Venus.Van Humphries is the last living son of Martin Humphries, having outlived his brother who died a few years before on a trek to the venusian surface to try to discover how a runaway greenhouse could explain the sudden warming on Earth. But his father hates him beyond reason. He's the ru [...]

    17. A strange book in some ways. At first, it struck me as very ‘golden age of SF’, by which I mean that from a psychological point of view, the behaviour of the characters is completely unbelievable. A few examples are:* Would Martin Humphries, a leading businessman, really throw a vast orgy, complete with prostitutes, all the camera lenses of the world’s (or worlds’!) press?* The whole idea of a private individual planning a manned mission to the surface of Venus is a little hard to swallo [...]

    18. This wonderful Novel Novel written by Ben Bova. Martin Humphries is the head of the giant Humphries Space Systems and at his 100th birthday party announces a prize of ten billion dollars to anyone who can recover any remains of his eldest son Alex. Alex was killed two years previously on a mission to Venus. Van Humphries, Martin's son and younger brother to Alex takes up the challenge despite, and because of, a mutual dislike between son and father.Van assembles a ship and crew and heads off to [...]

    19. Bought it from the used bookstore. Didn't realize it was semi-part of a series until I was about halfway through. The author has said though that one need not read these books in chronological order, and they can be read independently of each other, so it's no big deal. I finished it in three days :DIt was a smooth read, almost like a YA novel, but with a bit more meat than the average one. The quick read it provided didn't feel like a tease because I know Mr. Bova has written many other novels [...]

    20. Fortunately, Bova's collection of planet-based books don't require you to read them in any particular order, or even to realize there's more than one. But I think Mars was quite a bit stronger than this.The imagining of the planet was still amazing; Bova created a world that was fascinating and vivid and frightening. Unfortunately, he couldn't pull off the same for his characters. To a one, they were flat and dull and irksome. Some of them were meant to be that way, but there's a fine line betwe [...]

    21. Most of characters are fueled by rage. Anger and cruelty take up most of the books, leaving little room for scientific curiosities.(view spoiler)[Seriously, the protagonist's father is always telling him he's a runt, and wishes he'd never been born. It's just unpleasant to listen do. I can't relate to a protagonist like that. Then he meets this other guy, who beats him up and threatens to kill him. Turns out that's his biological father. Then they become friends, only for the guy to die from hav [...]

    22. Venus is my type of science fiction - more science and less fiction. Of course it is an adventure thriller, and the story line includes some impossibilities, but there is also a lot of hard science in there. It is set in future, a hundred years or so, when men have industrialized the asteroid belt and set up colonies on the moon and Mars. Venus, however, has never been explored by "boots on the ground." Van Humphries, the unlikely hero of the story, sets out to be the first, in order to recover [...]

    23. I didn't realize it when I started, but Venus is actually one of an extended series by Ben Bova. This particular installation follows the weak, ineffective, and largely unlikable Van Humphries, son of a powerful billionaire who can't stand his younger son. His older son Alex, Van's beloved brother, was killed on an expedition to Venus, and he places a very large reward for anyone who can bring back his son's body. Van, who will be left penniless without the reward, decides to undertake the missi [...]

    24. Another in Ben Bova's 'Grand Tour' series, but this one is pretty much a stand alone and has little relation to other books except the general solar system exploration theme. Some characters are apparently from the Asteroid Wars books, but as I have not read any of them it didn't matter to me.I'm a sucker for a decent scientific exploration story, so all of this series are pretty fascinating from my point of view. This one is about a mission to Venus (obviously) and a subsequent trip down throug [...]

    25. Right. This story is nothing short of entertaining. It's put together in a simple and rapid style that never bogs down in narrative or exposition. Therefore, you're not burdened by authorial style and/or excess. In this regard the book is a winner.But alas, overall it is not a winner. The characterisations never transcend cartoon or comic book. They are all painted with a very broad brush. It's also difficult to relate or empathise with the protagonist deeply - he's the coddled, cosseted, wimpy [...]

    26. I somehow missed reading Venus in Bova's planet series a few years ago, and when I had to take a long trip on the road, I thought I'd give it a try. What was I expecting? Well, some good science, some interesting characters,and plenty of action. Venus delivers all this, but it could have used a bit more science about Venus itself and less of the "space opera" characterizations, in my opinion. Our hero, Van Humphries, has a lot of self doubts and fears, but he overcomes them and makes a good show [...]

    27. With all the things he is not, Van, training to deal with it. You who are in opposition against him fight him. That is what he muses in his high adventure. Or a round trip to Venus, at the top of its clouds and certainly its secrets, and a kind of story that tell what is not left to wonder about all the times nor offered. All human beings on the earth and the moon, the future of life in cities without many of the concerns of being sick or immortal, witness indescribable adventures from space, th [...]

    28. Thoroughly disappointed in this book. I thought the characters were shallow and contradictory. The story was ok but centered far too much around the characters floating in the super hot atmosphere of Venus, doing very little. What gets me the most is the whole book ends up being another bid for the climate change fanatics, most unimpressed, I'm certainly not suckered in by the money and power plays that have supplanted the minds of most modern day scientists. Brand me a denier if you will, but e [...]

    29. Bova's contribution to the world of science fiction is well-known, and one can cut him some slack for a work that is not his best. Bova has a plan with this novel, to show the growth of a problematic character while examining the least-appealing planet in the solar system, and he does manage to do both. He also fits in some great quotes of Milton about burning lakes, and some good scenes. On the whole, this book was entertaining enough to finish, but not perhaps enough to recommend. There is one [...]

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