Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review of Farside by Ben Bova. Ugh.

So apparently I can now post my Goodreads reviews to my own blog. So I will, because...reasons. FarsideFarside by Ben Bova
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I just hope reading this doesn't sour someone out there from trying similar entries in the genre that are a bit more daring like The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein.

If there's a vehicle in this book, prepare for it to "trundle" across the surface. Thesaurus be damned. You may have trouble remembering that Dr. Ulrich, the facility's research chief, is interested in the Nobel Prize --- because it's only mentioned about 18x and sometimes there's a full three lines between this fact being brought up again. The main "character", Trudy, has a face that's round. Grant wants to know if the nanobots in his body could have been responsible --- then he is going to go ask IN PERSON if the nanobots in his body could have been responsible. Then he's going to ask okay REALLY this time...

After sections on nanomachines being able to bore into things microscopically, there's a great deal of dithering about as these scientists try to surmise what might be responsible for microscopic pinholes appearing in things. One of the big reveals is: But what element are they eating? It's the vanadium!! (I don't know what, exactly, as a reader we're supposed to do with that information. It doesn't exactly unlock any other doors).

The story hints at what could have at LEAST been a good - if paint by numbers - horror/mystery by having a confined space where a pinprick could kill dozens of people and nobody knows who's toting around the pins. Sort of an Alien minus the alien. Instead, when people are quarantined on the far side of the moon and a couple of people suddenly die, everyone seems... I'd call it "inconvenienced"?

Similarly wasted opportunity: We think that planet out there might be similar to Earth. We build (at great expense and loss of life) a telescope. It detected there are indeed signs of being like Earth! Aaaaaand that's all you'll hear about that. I mean introducing an Earth2 is kind of "Chekov's Gun". You really should DO something with it once it's established. The reaction on Earth1 if they looked through the 'scope and saw, say, signs of ancient cities over yonder... well now maybe THAT could have been an interesting story.

View all my reviews

No comments: