Read Powersat by Ben Bova Online


Two hundred thousand feet up, things go horribly wrong. An experimental low-orbit spaceplane breaks up on reentry, falling to earth over a trail hundreds of miles long. And it its wake is the beginning of the most important mission in the history of space.America needs energy, and Dan Randolph is determined to give it to them. He dreams of an array of geosynchronous powersTwo hundred thousand feet up, things go horribly wrong. An experimental low-orbit spaceplane breaks up on reentry, falling to earth over a trail hundreds of miles long. And it its wake is the beginning of the most important mission in the history of space.America needs energy, and Dan Randolph is determined to give it to them. He dreams of an array of geosynchronous powersats, satellites which gather solar energy and beam it to generators on Earth, freeing America from its addiction to fossil fuels and breaking the power of the oil cartels forever. But the wreck of the spaceplane has left his company, Astro Manufacturing, on the edge of bankruptcy.Worse, Dan discovers that the plane worked perfectly right up until the moment that saboteurs knocked it out of the sky. And whoever brought it down is willing and able to kill again to keep Astro grounded.Now Dan has to thread a dangerous maze. The visible threats are bad enough: Rival firms want to buy him out and take control of his dreams. His former lover wants to co-opt his unlimited-energy idea as a campaign plank for the candidate she's grooming for the presidency. NASA and the FAA want to shut down his maverick firm. And his creditors are breathing down his neck.Making matters even more dangerous, an international organization of terrorists sees the powersat as a threat to their own oil-based power. And they've figured out how to use it as a weapon in their war against the West.A sweeping mix of space, murder, romance, politics, secrets, and betrayal, Powersat will take you to the edge of space and the dawning of a new world....

Title : Powersat
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780765348173
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 448 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Powersat Reviews

  • aPriL does feral sometimes
    2019-06-23 21:42

    Dan Randolph is focused on a single goal - to be the first privately-owned company to deliver solar power to the people of earth, starting with Americans, from an orbiting space platform, thus saving the environment by reducing reliance on fossil fuels. He has has bulldozed past endless American regulatory agencies, each one requiring mountains of paperwork and inspections of his engineering plans and facilities. He walked away from the love of his life, Senator Jane Thornton, when it became obvious their career choices six years ago would take them to opposite ends of the earth. Meanwhile, he is currently dealing with competition from a Japanese frenemy and a Texas oil consortium and last but not least, behind the scenes, a deadly Muslim terrorist organization is determined to kill the United States President while putting the blame on Randolph's space microwave energy delivery system! Published in 2005, 'PowerSat' is an electrifying story of space sabotage! From entrepreneur Dan Randolph's personal love life to his ambitious dream of building an earth satellite and a spaceship delivery system with his own funds, we readers are treated to thrill after thrill as Randolph struggles on valiantly through dozens of obstacles throughout the story, until an exciting finish which demands the attention of an all-night read!Warning gentle readers! I am going to be a little cranky and lecture-y for the rest of my review. I am getting on in my years...I could probably be a great grandmother in some circles. Books written by older authors bring it out in me, too. Or maybe I'm just off and running on a raaaaannnnttttt.I really enjoyed listening to this on audiobook years ago, and again now after I read it in an ebook format. To me, it reflects reality in two rather awesome ways - in predicting current 2016 ongoing private entrepreneur space-business efforts to launch delivery space ships and in what the private/public intersection of business is like for entrepreneurish libertarians(?!?). Like many authors, especially those writers of a certain age, who tended to dominate in certain genres in what used to be mostly a young male readership, Bova has a certain political as well as a sexist viewpoint, which he doesn't really hide very much. However, his books are exciting, and the technology was very realistic and up-to-date during the years of publication for his books, if made a little cartoonish for plot purposes; and he does have certain weaknesses as a writer, which were more noticeable in earlier books. In my opinion, he is good enough. But he CAN possibly hit what are very sour notes for liberals and women readers. IDK, generally the intellectual candy of the hard-ish science fiction, the entertaining overblown soap-opera tones, and the exciting vigor of the action carries me through the politically-incorrect spots.The GR ratings for this particular science-fiction novel are mixed, to say the least. To me, it is a fun fast-paced story.My opinion is 'Powersat' is possibly flawed in execution, but not because it is an outdated story (this year) or that it is reflective of sexist attitudes in its characterizations which supposedly no longer exist. In my opinion, the vividly described workplace and characters are due to an author who notices the real world around him, and he is using such material in an admittedly melodramatic, politically incorrect, male-oriented fashion. The only reasons I feel for 'modern' readers not entirely liking the plot of the novel on politically liberal grounds is that it weaves in a potboiler version of intricate politics and business realities, and it does so from the blinkered viewpoint of which many masculine entrepreneurs have. After all, the character Dan Randolph is a blinkered self-driving masculine entrepreneur. But he is otherwise humane in his outlook.Is Ben Bova an entrepreneurial-minded writer who has had collisions in other jobs which also required interfacing with government and company regulations? I suspect, yes, gentle reader. I noticed he is in the same generation as I am, too. I think it may be he is a blinkered libertarian entrepreneur with scientific leanings, struggling to be a little less politically incorrect. I don't know why, but as a liberal feminist, I can enjoy his books, anyway.The complaints about this novel I've read in reviews have ranged from sexism to boredom to that the characters are not realistic, to the characters being developed in an outdated manner. Well, maybe because I married a man 40 years ago who was a self-made Republican entrepreneur, who was also a small-plane pilot, and owned a 20-foot motor boat and, since he was a handyman too, and he still loves working on cars, as well as my own experiences, I can say with complete confidence I believe in the reality of the political and engineering world-building Ben Bova has created for his hero, Dan Randolph, circa 2005, and maybe also the 1980-1990 novels I see on Ben Bova's published list. I haven't read them yet.In the early 1980's I went to numerous association meetings (boat clubs, small plane clubs, my husband's work-related tool-company meetings) and I met men and women who functioned exactly as the people in this book - the beautiful educated wealthier white women were treated as 'somebodies', while the older or plainer or poorer less-educated white or 'other' racial women served the men food from the kitchen or ran errands; and all females talked mostly about children, home decorations, clothes or gardening in their self-separated seating area. Maybe inside their heads, these women I met at these settings were seething with feminist frustrations, but I didn't see it. I was the only one seething, which I expressed by refusing to serve the men and by sitting with the men; but I was 15 years younger than the next youngest woman and my husband didn't object. Plus I didn't talk, just listened. Most women didn't fight back on their forced roles, and pretty women enjoyed being admired by men, sexist or not. After all, having a privileged role is still a fine thing, however society is defining it or whatever the guilty pleasure. Many rich people today still live in a milieu in which someone transported from the 1950's would feel comfortable.I went to college late in life (late 1980's - early 1990's) so I was looking for computer programming work in my 40's. I can personally testify, after numerous and many shocking interviews with 'liberal' Seattle computer engineering/tech companies, I was exposed to the often 100% male programmer environment on Human Resources tours of the company, with women employed only as Human Resource managers, secretaries and receptionists. Why did they call me in for an interview, you might be asking? My guess it was just in case I was a young blond hottie, or maybe it was to be able to say they couldn't find any qualified female programmers despite having made an effort in recorded instance to government agencies. So, after a year of looking for a computer-related job, I ended up being a secretarial office manager for a Seattle engineering firm in the mid-1990's. The engineers were six men and one young beautiful non-English speaking Chinese girl who had struck the boss's eye on a trip he took looking for work for his engineering company in China. She was moved to Seattle on a special green card called an 'essential skilled worker' Eb-3 Visa. The boss, who owned the company, rewrote all of her assigned reports for clients, which were written by her in a fractured English, paid her half of what the men earned, which was still three times my salary. I know, because part of my job was doing the bookkeeper role and paychecks. In the year 2005, which was ten years after I moved on from the office manager job with the engineers, beautiful polished young women were being promoted and moved up in many successful tech companies, and such firms, and political organizations also, could then publicly exclaim how progressive their credentials were. Go to any mid-sized city library and check out the required annual financial reports of popular tech companies, especially the photos of any highly-placed women in public roles. Glasses are almost the only thing marring some of their lovely faces. Asian firms inevitably today still have young beautiful women fronting as the public face of the company.Once, I walked into a tech company for a job interview, which was working from a north of downtown Seattle, at a Lake Union address, next to a world-famous restaurant and Seattle Port Authority and City of Seattle government offices next door, a mostly glass and wood building. My job interview was to take place with a tech company where it looked as if all of the men were head-shaved or expensively styled, and/or bearded, all 30 to 50 year olds. The dozens of women all looked to be 19 to 21 years old, wearing tight short skirts (no pants), all with long perms (it was 1993), working in what looked to be an old-fashioned typing pool of sorts centrally located on an open-floor plan. All of the men were in closed door offices with windows looking out at the lake. When I arrived for my appointment and identified myself to a mini-skirted woman, I waited a long time past my appointed hour. Men kept appearing, looking at me with stunned concerned faces. Finally a shaved head 50-year-old man came out and grabbed me by the arm, and dragged me into a nearby conference room. He said very fast "sorry, we filled the position,", then he dragged me by the arm quickly outside to the sidewalk. I am not exaggerating. In Bellevue, Washington, a company in a glass and shiny metal building, who had written me one of the most enthusiastic offers of a job based on my resume I had yet received, directed me to their Human Resources Department for my appointment in their letter. The young woman who was supposed to interview me, if a one-second look at my 40ish-year-old face and then quickly standing up and walking around her desk to place a kind hand on my shoulder to turn me around towards the door counts as an interview, I was again told the position had been filled. I did not include my age on my resume, if you are wondering. What they saw on my resume was that I had recently graduated from college. And these were the forward-looking tech companies who did not place the requirement in their ad that the applicant for a computer job should be able to lift a 50-pound box of computer printer paper.The past is the past, right? This is 2016, and our society doesn't need women's liberation or race-based preferential treatment laws anymore, right? And, 'Powersat' must be so dated, now, right?My husband was a Republican (no longer) and he is white, and he still has conservative opinions, as do many of my relatives and his friends (I'm an outlier, gentle reader) so I heard and hear a lot of eye-opening conservative commentary which gave and gives my liberal democrat-socialist, half-Native-American heart quite a jolt. Many real-life self-made entrepreneurs are still mostly Republican or Libertarian in their thinking and in how they feel about the world socially. Some of these self-made types who are either professional engineer-entrepreneurs or who are those who learned some engineering/construction/handyman skills in the 'school of hard knocks' - mechanically minded, in other words - are socially liberal, but most are still quite instinctually unthinkingly scornful of people who are not white, male or without natural physical strength. They are intellectually rigid in their thinking and find it hard to move past their white-ish childhoods of church and teachings of self-reliance, and they are mentally oblivious to negative social barriers (except for those rules and regulations which seemingly are there to place roadblocks to their creativity), believing that everybody today has had the same opportunities and schools they did. Very few, actually, are being disingenuous in their beliefs, but honestly believe what they say they believe, having never examined other neighborhoods, social classes or lifestyles, much less their beliefs. They read manuals, mostly, if they are male, although younger ones are foodies, too.The mostly young and male, computer 'techie' world likes to see itself as socially liberal and woman/gender friendly - but I know for a fact it still has as far to go as the mostly male world of educated engineers and self-taught machinists. They still tend to be libertarian or Republican in the executive offices, and whether right or left libertarians or Republicans, tech and engineering companies, especially the small startups, tend to hire only young pretty women programmers, leaving older women out in the street. Fifty-year-old men are more likely to be hired than fifty-year-old women, but both older sexes are last hired, first fired. The exceptions to discriminatory hiring practices at tech and engineering firms are always the A-list of the brilliant and well-connected, who can name their salary.Returning to this book and series, I am puzzled by the next book in what is being called the Grand Tour' series. 'Powersat', listed as book one in the Grand Tour, has a published date of 2005, while the next one, 'Privateers' was published in 1985. Were all of these books actually written in the 1980's and 1990's (in which I think Dan Randolph's quest of building a privately financed space station without NASA even more amazingly predictive!), but I think not. At least, 'Powersat' mentions the World Trade Center attacks in New York City, but possibly it was re-written recently. 'Privateers', which WAS published in 1985, speaks of the Soviet Union from what I've read in reviews. I don't know what this timeline craziness in publication dates is about, gentle reader. I guess I'll find out because I plan to read 'Privateers'. Maybe I'll hate it, IDK. But I liked 'Powersat'.

  • Frank
    2019-05-28 15:34

    This is really bad and normally I wouldn't have finished it. However, its characterization and plot points became so predictably farfetched that it transcended into something amusing and I kept reading just to see what new amazingly clunky thing would happen next. Thus it became good like an Ed Wood movie! Naive roughneck space cowboys do not become CEO's of multibillion high tech startups.US senators are not unbelievably beautiful and sexually desirable.Terrorist masterminds do not put their nefarious plans at risk so they can reward themselves with the incredibly beautiful and sexually desirable secretary of the above mentioned CEO and who is secretly in love with him (by the way she is black, but always dates white guys).People who are crazy in love with old flames and wondering how to rekindle the flame do not suddenly go to bed with strangers they've just met.CIA, FBI and armed forces underlings do not question orders from their superiors to the point of insubordination.CEO's do not usually resort to hand to hand combat to foil the plans that threaten to doom their companies.CEO's do not fill in for technicians when said technicians decide to spend time with their families).

  • Bryan
    2019-06-02 20:42

    Having just finished Energized by Edward M. Lerner, I was directed toward the Ben Bova novel that was actually written earlier, and tells basically the same tale.A bonafide hard-SF novel, the science in Bova's novel is actually much lighter than what Lerner includes, but in either case it's not likely to scare away any non-techie readers, and as such both novels are decidedly mainstream thrillers.Plotwise, both novels feature a gigantic (2.5 miles square in Bova's book) solar cell satellite that orbits earth, collecting sunlight and converting it to microwave energy to be beamed down to earth. And as such, both books involve terrorists that try to take over the satellite and use the microwave beam as a weapon. Motive? Financial power by creating an artificial dependence on oil.Characters seem to be the downfall of hard-SF, and Bova tries... he really tries. This is one of his better efforts, but even still, the characters tend to fall flat quite often, and don't always ring true. And the tension between Dan Randolph and his Senator lover never was satisfying to me, so it's unfortunate that it was one of the main conflicts that the novel focussed on.I recommend this book to all hard-SF fans, and anybody who wishes to think about what might be next when we stop using oil. Dan Randolph is a name that appears in many of Bova's Grand Tour books, so reading this novel gets you an early look at a young Dan Randolph trying to build an empire using the virtually limitless resources that space has to offer.

  • David
    2019-06-16 14:41

    I’ll review this properly when I’ve finished screaming internally.

  • Ian
    2019-05-30 17:33

    This book almost made me root for the terrorists. Dan Randolph is one of the most unintentionally unlikable protagonists ever, a hotshot business CEO and former astronaut, he does very little of note for the vast majority of the book and succeeds for no other reason than he is as American as Donald Trump and Hulk Hogan and about as likable as a combination of the two. That's not to say the terrorists, read: muslims, are any better, while their leader has managed to infiltrate western business by trimming his beard and drinking alcohol, the rest of the group receives about as much character development as the hyenas in The Lion King.Side characters are barely any better, male characters are introduced to flash their wealth or be murdered or bribed and female characters all inexplicably fall in love with Dan, including his old flame Senator Jane Thornton who becomes the most irritating character in the book on account of having to read page after page of Dan's pathetic pining for her and feet-stamping temper tantrums when he finds out she may have moved on from their relationship. Although of cause by the end of the book she is madly in love with him again, to the point of risking her chances of becoming vice-president to carry on an affair with him.For an author of so many science fiction books, there is very little science fiction in the story. The powersat is introduced early on and then forgotten about for the vast majority of the book whilst Dan scrabbles about trying to keep his company afloat by refusing any outside investment and throwing figurative briefcases full of cash to anyone presenting an obstacle to him. There's the spaceplane which spends the majority of the time in a hanger and which the lead technician very seldom lets anyone, including the reader, in and a hydrogen powered pick-up truck, which exists for about 5 pages so it can be blown up.The style of writing also makes the book a slog in parts, written from the perspective of an omniscient narrator, pretty much every scene is set up like a scene from a movie and is told in the present tense. This leads to ridiculous passages such as one where Dan's secretary speaks with the terrorist leader, cut to the next scene: the secretary relays this conversation to her FBI contact, cut to the next scene: the FBI agent relays the exact same message, which the reader has now encountered three times in about ten pages, to the FBI director. It also means that there is never any sense of anticipation as events play out; after it is established early on that Dan is our hero the actions of rival companies and the terrorist cell never really feel like they will be of any serious consequence and the conclusion as the terrorists attack and Dan swoops in to save the satellite, his company and Jane all plays out in 3 of the 434 pages of the edition I read.All this being said, the book succeeds in being mostly entertaining, if not always enjoyable. The scenes are so short that the perspective never shifts far enough to show just how two dimensional and played out the characters are and like a bad action film, every time you start to tire of bad businessman Dan or whichever woman is currently infatuated with him, there's always something exploding or someone getting killed.Overall, give this one a miss unless you are a fan of Bova's previous work and have read other books in his Grand Tour series.

  • Jake Hahn
    2019-06-07 20:38

    I really liked the book and would have given it four stars except it was overly simplified. The other problem I had with it is that they used the two stupid phrases double damned and rain makes apple sauce about 50 times each and it was sickening after the 5th time.

  • D.L. Morrese
    2019-06-12 19:35

    I had a hard time getting into this story. None of the characters were likeable, admirable, or exhibited any traits that prompted me to care what happened to them. The protagonist, and most of the other characters (including politicians, businessmen, and engineers), behave like emotionally unstable teenagers being dragged around by their gonads. There was a point in which the protagonist practically has a temper tantrum when speaking with his ex-girlfriend (who is now a US senator) that almost caused me to close this one unfinished. I trudged on, but between the blatant sexism and unbelievably naive characters, this novel simply did not appeal to me.

  • Henrik
    2019-05-27 16:44

    This was truly a great listen. I was in the hunt for a new SciFi series, as I have exhausted Orson Scott Card's "Enderverse" a long time ago. And then I find the "Grand Tour" series by Ben Bova off to a great (chronological) start - and even narrated by none other than Stefan Rudnicki !!! (The voice of God). Oh, man ... a good SciFi thriller and Stefan Rudnicki. I'm in heaven ...

  • Scott
    2019-06-24 18:42

    It hurts to write this because I love Ben Bova. It was just too long, too drawn out and too boring. Not a vital read in the Grand Tour series.

  • Morgan Johnstone
    2019-05-30 18:33

    Yep, this book is a really good read. I found myself actually researching some of the things it talks about and I enjoyed it.

  • Eric Sembrat
    2019-06-27 13:34

    This is such a dumb novel, and gives me no hope for this entire series. Someone described it as a soap opera masquerading as science fiction, and it's completely true.Let's start with the tropes:Power-hungry Japanese: UGH.Anti-American jihadist Arab: COME ON.Secretive Arab group: Is this 24 on FOX?Ladies Man Entrepreneur: hahahahahahahahahahaha come onThen let's go with the one dimensional character interactions throughout the novel, which really only gravitate between 'I want to kill you' and ' I want to have sex with you'. The third time I read about Dan's insatiable sexual appetite and constant references around the (of course they are female) secretaries, female engineers, and old flame, I was tired of it. I skipped them entirely by the end of the book, because what's the point? It aint bringing any plot or story to the novel. Each time I came across the 'oh so evil A-rabs' plotting to destroy American democracy, I felt like I was reading what Donald Trump would write as a middle-eastern character. Cheesy, unbelievable, and just unoriginal.

  • Geoff Battle
    2019-06-23 20:29

    Powersat is, chronologically, the start of Ben Bova's series 'The Grand Tour' (which later includes Mars, Jupiter, Moonrise etc). This is a standalone book following the creation of a satellite which can beam solar power to Earth in the form of microwaves. This technology would remove the Middle-Eastern stranglehold on fuel, and therefore comes under threat from some rather two-dimensional terrorists. Although the book never becomes tiresome, the plot is not particularly clever, and it seems if Bova is churning out a quick read to earn some easy bucks. The love story is contrite and although used to progress the plot, is rather short on plausibility. These faults aside, Powersat is an easy going techno-thriller, low on techno and on thrills, but interesting enough to ensure you see it through until the end.

  • Summers
    2019-05-27 18:53

    2.7/5I was an ok book, could be a bit shorter. MC's are unlikable dan was pathetic in his chasing after his old flame, made worse by the fact that he succeed and Jane the motivated senator became the Jane the adulterer risking humiliation for herself and her soon to be president husband. I dont judge it too harshly because I think they were meant to be that way.The plot of terrorists sabotaging the powersat is OK, my fav parts was at the start when it was about trying to find money to keep the project running, and trying to do so without losing all control over the company.

  • Adam Weiler
    2019-06-04 20:53

    Dan Randolph is kindof a dirtbag. If you can get past that, the idea of getting a powersat up in orbit, and the powers doing their best to prevent it from happening, it's a good story.

  • Jeff J.
    2019-06-13 19:27

    I'm a fan of Ben Bova but this isn't one of his better books. It's advertised as part of his Grand Tour series but it's earth-based setting makes it a hard sell.

  • Rowan Smith
    2019-06-20 18:49

    Found out there is a Mars 2, then I found out that it's part of a whole set of 22 books of which Mars was #3. So had to double back to the very first book "Powersat". Enjoyable, but for some reason even though it was only about 2 weeks ago I finished it, I can't remember the ending...Would write more, but It was kind of a nice break to get "back to earth" for a book or so. Was alright.

  • Jeff
    2019-06-26 20:26

    Audiobook. Good book but didn't love it. It seemed to kind of fall apart at the end.

  • Jason
    2019-06-22 13:28

    Decent. I didn't click with the main character that much. The basic plot is fine. I think I would have liked it better if I didn't get in the head of the bad guy so early in the book and there was more of a mystery to it. We pretty much known where everyone stands in the first 30 pages. The end wrapped up without addressing all of the repercussions from the climax. The hero saved the day....well not completely....people died....but forget about that.... THE END.

  • Jeremy
    2019-05-30 15:53

    very good

  • Timothy Darling
    2019-06-02 14:48

    This is one of those books I read because I needed to. If it hadn't been for Mars and for the rest of the Grand Tour series I might have quit after 50 pages. It's not that it's a bad book, it is at least above average. However, it isn't very compelling science fiction. It is a suspence thriller. If Bova had made the pPowersat into an experimental medicine or any other of a dozen technology driven enterprises it still would have worked. The story had less to do with space than I like and more to do with the political, economic and terrorist driven intrigue surrounding the potential of the technology. That's fine as far as it goes. It would have probably been equally too SFy for anyone who simply wanted a thriller, so ...That being said, it sets the stage of development for the rest of the Grand Tour and since I already shelled out my buck a volume for many of these books, I hope it compares more favorably to Mars than this one did. Although SF is supposed to be a genre about ideas, and Bova does that, he is also pretty good at characters. Randolph is a little too naive to have gotten so far. His affair with Senator Thornton is a little too schoolboy rosy. April's self-sacrifice, a little too idealized. However, Bova does follow them well and take us into their hearts more than some SF authors would. Even though they are a little too clean, they are also not flat. I will continue the Grand Tour because the next steps take me into the future I want to see, the one where we actually and regularly break the bonds of gravity and see the solar system.

  • فرهاد ذکاوت
    2019-06-16 16:48

    That was clear to me that for beginning of political economics of solar system and at the peak of advantageous events and violence, Asteroid wars, Ben Bova needed to write a very near future (maybe now, as companies like Spaced loose their cargo crafts for supply to ISS and are in competition with governments in this industry).He is full aware of he has written in POWERSAT. From terrors to plans and the competition. I call this novel, Very real! It is a very realistic work. I know that many people know him as next generation of Asimov, the late, but this novel was good one to start his Grand tour for readers. Then are hard science fiction fans may try one after another his series of novels on hard Sci-Fi.In some cases specially for space operas (which is not Bova's walking line as he has been successful in solar system adventure) the number of pages are a matter of disturb for many readers, maybe for this novel too. But specially in this work, I do not see he could shortened the novel to reduce pages. I think that characters are well developed, Story stays neutral about some religious point of views and tell some people everything may not be what it sounds. Someone just need to study before any criticism. I wondered Bova has a realistic and true information about middle east. It is not surprising for a great writer, but there are many best sellers who do not know even basic facts about atmosphere and realities of some societies and political borders.

  • AndrewP
    2019-06-22 13:25

    Although this book is listed chronologically as the first book in the 'Grand Tour' series, it is more of a prequel. All the other books are about planetary exploration and fall more or less into the 'hard science fiction genre. I'ts a prequel in that it's set near future, before any manned exploration of the solar system has begun.In essence it's an action adventure novel. The main protagonist, Dan Rudolph, is struggling to get a massive power operational. Of course, there are numerous people in the oil business trying to stop him by any means necessary.The story starts out with a bang, identifying the bad guys right away. That sets up an environment of plotting 'v' investigation. It's a race to see who comes out on top, especially in the last 100 pages of the book. The ending was not quite as predictable as I had expected and it didn't turn out all nice and rosy for everyone. Well, almost nobody actually.My only problem with this book was how trusting Dan Rudolph was of almost everyone. When your turning on a massive alternative energy source you should be very wary of everything anybody from big oil says or does. No matter how nice he may have appeared, trusting a rich sleazeball from anywhere in the Middle East was just pure nonsense in my opinion.

  • Remo
    2019-06-26 20:53

    Ben Bova lleva muchos años ligado a la ciencia ficción. Tengo en casa un par de libros editados por él. Ha ganado un montón de premios Hugo (prohibido hacer comentarios sobre la forma del trofeo), y leyéndole se entiende por qué. Powersat trata de un futuro cercano en el que una empresa aeroespacial ha lanzado el primer satélite que generará Gigavatios de energía mediante células solares, radiándola luego a la Tierra. Pero esto choca frontalmente con los interesas de las industrias petroleras. Así que ya tenemos el pitote montado. Sabotajes, guerras internas, algo de ingeniería financiera, la caballería del Tío Sam, viajes al Espacio, peleas, besitos, política… Hay un poco de todo aquí metido. Aunque cualquiera acostumbrado a leer thrillers puede detectar en esta novela algunos topicazos, el conjunto es bastante aceptable. A mí me tuvo bastante enganchado. Cuando alguien sabe escribir se nota. Las descripciones técnicas son breves pero correctas, al menos hasta donde yo llego. No les cuento más porque poco más hay que decir. Novela veraniega para pasar un buen rato en la playa. Mi nota: Entretenida.

  • Frank
    2019-06-26 16:24

    I really enjoyed this novel of the near future. It combines elements of sci-fi with the threats of terrorism that are really relevant today. This is actually the first chronologically in the "Grand Tour" series according to Bova's website and it provides a good start to his future world involving space exploration. I liked the characters in the book, even though I thought Dan Randolph was a little self-centered and I wasn't happy to see one of the main character's demise toward the end of the book but I would still recommend this one. I also found the concept of the PowerSat interesting - could this actually be feasible? I had only previously read "Venus" in this series which I also enjoyed, but now I would like to read the entire series.

  • David
    2019-06-09 16:24

    While Bova is known for delivering very hard science fiction, this novel is likely to leave SF fans dissapointed. This noevel shows more realistically what the early ground stages of space exploration would entail. It is more of a novel of intrigue and suspense. It lacks the common tropes of science fiction, but it shows that to get to the point of space colonization, it would require a lot of initial work. It illustrates how developing a power satelite would be beneficial for our planet to have alternate sources of energy. The portrayal of Muslims/Arabs is somewhat questionable and was clearly written in the aftermath of 9/11. Again, it is a more realistic and practical story involving a concept that is currently science fiction, but may appeal more to readers of the political suspense genre rather than Bova's usual domain of SF.

  • Jon
    2019-06-26 15:42

    I was very impressed with this book. I've read other books by Ben Bova and liked them, so I decided to try and read his "Grand Tour." It's a series of something like 10 novels following humanity expanding into space and the solar system.This story was about the creation of clean energy. Take a massive solar installation and put it into orbit, use microwaves to beam the energy down to earth and you can cleanly generation 10s of gigajouls of energy. Rinse, wash and repeat... Not quite a Clancy book in some ways, terrorists and politicians come into the story... Sometimes, it can be hard to tell which is which. Overall, this was a great start to the series. I've read the next one (Mars) but looking forward to a re-read. It's like seeing old friends again.

  • John Strohm
    2019-06-10 19:44

    The danger of near-future sci-fi is that it's close to our own time. In this case, Bova yields to the temptation to score some political points with his novel, but he doesn't understand the present all that well.The crux of the book is that the evil Muslims control all the oil, and the hard-working Americans are trying to get out from under their heel. In reality, the US, Canada, Venezuela, Brazil, and Russia have massive energy deposits and we're closer to energy independence than we have been in a long time.The monolithic view of Islam is overly simplistic as well. Characters act stupid at the most unrealistic times, and in the end, I couldn't even finish it for the entertainment value of WTF would happen next.

  • Michael Lewis
    2019-06-07 17:41

    Hmmm... Who knew that the near future had so much sex, liquor, and foul language? ;->While I've read the complaints from some others who gave low ratings based on this novel not having enough sci-fi in it, I wasn't put out by this. It was a decent espionage novel, with some pretty thought-provoking sci-fi elements to boot. But, the book really dragged on in the middle, and I think it would have read much better and been more believable had Bova stuck to the story and dispensed with all of the frivolous sex and constant drinking. Can a cutting-edge high-tech entrepreneur really succeed when all he seems to think about is who to make love to and what obscure form of liquor to drink each day?

  • Clayton Yuen
    2019-06-18 13:39

    Don't we all wish that this novel came true? Having a satellite capture the energy of the sun, then beam it down to Earth for clean and cheap energy? Then reduce our dependency to oil-based energy, releasing us from the grip of the oil barons? I loved this concept and truly wished this could be true . . . in the future.With that said, this adventure captured the essence of this potentially new technology, added mystery and intrigue, murder and explosions, spy and romance, and presented an excellent scifi novel about the PowerSAT.But alas, I gave this Ben Bova story 4 stars because it went a bit long, dragging out the storyline and intertwining it with junk. Excellent concept gone long .....

  • Gini
    2019-06-26 20:46

    Entrepreneur Dan Randolph wants to bring solar power to the USA by using a satelitte in space and then beam it down. Terroists want the middle east to maintain control of the power grid. When Ben Bova sticks to his story line, it's pretty good. Even gets better as the story progresses. Unfortunately, he feels the need to stick in sections on personal relationships and create sexual tension. I found myself doing alot of eye rolling and mental gagging through those. Had I been reading it, I would have skipped thru, but I was listening to it. He also created these "tag lines" that Dan repeated often that just didn't sound real. Again, had I been reading instead of listening they may not have irritated me as much.