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    THE PRECIPICE by Ben Bova (see his website)


    TOR, October 2001

    Dan Randolph has spent his life in a failed attempt to save the earth from her own errors. Now, global warming has accelerated, the seas are rising, and starvation is a real threat. Worse, politics prevents the earth from taking full advantage of space technologies and Dan's company teeters on the brink of bankruptcy. When a rich, if crooked entrepreneur suggests using fusion ships to mine the asteroid belts, Dan sees a way to finally make a difference, or lose everything.

    Set in a near-future earth, author Ben Bova presents a frightfully realistic view of how the world may go. In the face of obvious disaster, the Earth has changed--but not in always constructive ways. The dominant New Morality movement sees anything that changes the present as a threat, and Dan's old enemies unite to prevent him from achieving his dreams. Only by using forbidden nano-technology, and by relying on a wild pilot/thief, can Dan have a chance to achieve his dream.

    Bova is a long-time master of science fiction (click here to see reviews of other books by Ben Bova) and writes a smooth and convincing tale. Both Dan Randolph and space-jock Pancho Lane are well developed and motivated characters. Bova, however, missed a chance to move his novel up a notch by making villain Martin Humprhies one-dimensional rather than allowing him a misguided heroism of his own.

    Unlike many other novels of the near-future dystopia, Bova believes that the heroic individual can make a difference, and that makes THE PRECIPICE an enjoyable read. The novel is the first of THE ASTEROID WARS series, but may be read independently.

    Three Stars

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