cover image The Aftermath: Book Four of the Asteroid Wars

The Aftermath: Book Four of the Asteroid Wars

Ben Bova, . . Tor, $24.95 (396pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0414-8

Hugo-winner Bova’s fourth Asteroid Wars novel (after 2004’s The Silent War ) is a bewildering attempt to exploit loose ends. When crazed assassin Dorik Harbin disables the spaceship Syracuse , an ore-carrier run by Victor Zacharias, Victor is forced to jettison an escape pod containing his wife and children. Unfortunately, the Zacharias family’s desperate efforts to survive are lost among a host of other stories. While son Theo and daughter Angela battle incredible odds to make their way back to inhabited space, Victor steals another spaceship, Pleiades , and goes looking for his family and Syracuse . Various other characters, including Harbin, who becomes a repentant priest named Dorn, go on quests in other spaceships. Chapters are named for the spacecraft in which they take place, which helps orient readers, but Bova doesn’t focus enough on the technical features of these ships or the natures of those in them to bring either to life. The action remains equally muddled. (Aug.)