HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Book Review: Ben Bova – The Aftermath

Posted by HelenEdith on December 9, 2009

(Sequel to the Asteroid Wars Series)

Ben Bova is the author of many realistic science fiction novels set within the Solar System. He devoted several volumes to The Asteroid Belt and the war which broke out between companies wanting to gain control of the resources out there. The action in this book takes place after the wars are over, and follows up on the destruction of the habitat Chrysalis, in orbit around Ceres.

A spaceship, the ore carrier Syracuse is coming in to dock when Chrysalis is attacked. Piloted by Victor Zacharias; and with his wife Pauline and two children Angie and Theo aboard, Syracuse comes under attack. Victor dumps his load to put his attacker off, but realises that a slow ore carrier cannot outrun the attacking ship, so he separates the command pod of Syracuse from the rest of the ship to draw the attacker off.

Pauline and her teenage children feel abandoned, but set to work bringing the backup command pod online. Unfortunately, the attack has left them low on fuel and with no working communications, so they drift through space until their trajectory brings them back towards civilisation, a journey which takes several years.

Meanwhile, Victor has managed to send out a distress call which is picked up on Earth by someone monitoring for intelligent life beyond the Solar System. It is a disappointment to them when they realise the pulse they are receiving comes from much nearer to home, but is a great relief to Victor, who is rescued before he starves or his air runs out.

The story follows both Victor’s travels as he seeks his wife and children; and life aboard Syracuse as Zach desperately studies and tries to shorten the time until Syracuse will return to the Asteroid Belt.

We also revisit the Alien artefact which made an appearance in the final volume of the Asteroid Wars Series. It has a bearing upon the story, as it can change the course of some peoples’ lives, and has in fact turned the attacker of Chrysalis into the priest Dorn who is scouring the solar system for drifting bodies and giving them funeral rites.

Dorn, the priest with the past, is woven into this tale with Ben Bova’s usual skill, and once again he’s come up with a satisfying and believable read.

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