cover image Death Wave

Death Wave

Ben Bova. Tor, $25.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7950-4

This unpolished sequel to New Earth brings space traveler Jordan Kell back to his native soil. Isolated on his return to Earth and protected by a World Council security team, Kell finds Earth changed in his absence, but not changed enough. The aged and wealthy still exert control over the young and aimless. As Kell urges his fellow humans to become interstellar heroes, the World Council tries to tighten its grip on humanity's destiny. Many of the characters are more types than individuals, representing ideals instead of fully developed people with their own consistent motivations. The settings and culture are vividly rendered, though the composition relies heavily on repetition. The last third of the book loses steam as Bova applies the brakes on adventure, instead using coincidence and absurdity to arrive at a risible conclusion. There is talk of grand space odysseys but none of the promised thrills. The reader who continues trudging through this final section will reach a satisfying but contrived and somewhat unearned conclusion. Agent: Barbara Bova, Barbara Bova Literary. (Nov.)