cover image Power Challenges

Power Challenges

Ben Bova. CAEZIK, $28.50 (236p) ISBN 978-1-64710-018-6

The fourth Power novel (after Power Failure) from the late Bova (1932–2020) feels like two stories tied loosely together: a thoughtful, slow-burning narrative about the political fight to put man back on the moon, followed by an action-packed, military-centric story about a strategy to keep the world safe from nuclear war. Returning hero Jake Ross, the science advisor to the U.S. president, is the father of the Artemis program, which aims to bring humanity to the moon—and eventually beyond. Though the program faces many obstacles, Jake has the guts and cleverness to outmaneuver all of them. Though thought-provoking, the stakes to Jake’s story feel mild as there’s little doubt that he’ll succeed, and the climax is underplayed as the novel switches its focus to Capt. J.W. Hazard, the head of a military space station within a globally cooperative satellite network, first conceived by Jake, to prevent a nuclear war. Now those who oppose the network have a plan to spark the nuclear apocalypse—and Hazard must play long-shot odds to stop them. While the execution is somewhat flatter than Bova’s typical work, the far-thinking ideas and the characters’ determination to grab the last hope are characteristic. Fans won’t want to miss this coda to Bova’s prolific literary life. [em]Agent: Eleanor Wood, Spectrum Literary. (May) [/em]