Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Ben Bova

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7653-1788-9
Publisher: Tor

Book 13 in Bova's Grand Tour series, and a direct sequel to Jupiter (2001), wherein physicist Grant Archer led an expedition into Jupiter's planetary ocean in an attempt to study the enormous creatures that inhabit it.

Now director of the research station orbiting Jupiter, Archer has a staff of scientists ready and eager to send a vessel of highly advanced design into Jupiter's ocean hoping to communicate with the Leviathans, whom they suspect are intelligent. Before the expedition gets underway, however, super-rich paranoid megalomaniac Katherine Westfall arrives, determined to shut down the research for her own mad reasons. Finally, the vessel launches with four crew members aboard: curvaceous grad student Deirdre Ambrose; lanky, color-blind dolphin-communications specialist Andy Corvus; Dorn, previously a murdering cyborg, now a philosopher; and lecherous ship's designer Max Yeager. So enormous are the pressures in Jupiter's deep waters that they must breathe oxygenated fluid despite the vessel's crush-resistant design. On the station, Westfall goes through her humdrum evil machinations. Under water, the humans debate whether the Leviathans are intelligent, just as the Leviathans wonder the same about them. Had Bova devoted some serious thought and effort to developing his lumpish aliens, it would have been possible to overlook this horrendous casting-by-numbers and blatantly obvious plotting. But the upshot, with the exception of a few dozen pages of real excitement, is tedium alternating with embarrassment.

A book that has "contractual obligation" stamped all over it.