cover image Moonrise


Ben Bova. Avon Books, $23 (417pp) ISBN 978-0-380-97302-6

It's the 21st century and the world is on the brink of a scientific renaissance. The U.S. government has finally had the good sense to privatize the development of outer space and, as a result, a number of scientific advances are in the offing. New rocket technology makes it possible to reach any place on Earth within an hour. Nanotechnology promises incredible medical breakthroughs. Not everyone appreciates these scientific marvels, however. Radical environmentalists and religious fundamentalists want to turn back the clock. Standing against the neo-Luddites is Masterson Aerospace, which is involved in most of the major scientific breakthroughs of the day. Unfortunately, Masterson is crippled from within when its CEO apparently commits suicide and his wife, Joanna, backs her lover, Paul Stavenger, a former astronaut, over her mentally unbalanced son, Greg, in the board election that follows. Thus begins a power struggle that eventually leads to murder and the near destruction of Moonbase, where most of the novel takes place. The family intrigues are far-fetched at times, but Bova's picture of life on the moon and the technology necessary to sustain it is highly believable. Although his villains sometimes thin into one dimension, his protagonists, Stavenger and his son, Doug, are both well developed. A former editor of Analog, Bova (Mars) is a longtime supporter of the colonization and industrialization of outer space. His many books on this subject, both fiction and nonfiction, have sold well over the years and this newest work should be no exception. 35,000 first printing; author tour. (Nov.)