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  • Venus

  • The Grand Tour Series
  • By: Ben Bova
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Venus cover art

Venus

By: Ben Bova
Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
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Summary

The surface of Venus is the most hellish place in the solar system - it's ground hot enough to melt aluminum, its air pressure high enough to crush spacecraft landers like tin cans, it's atmosphere a choking mix of poisonous gases. This is where the frail young Van Humphries must go—or die trying.

Years before, Van’s older brother perished in the first attempt to land a man on Venus. Van’s father has always hated him for being the one to survive. Now, his father is offering a $10 billion prize to the first person who lands on Venus and returns his oldest son’s remains. To everyone’s surprise, Van takes up the offer. But what Van Humphries will find on Venus will change everything—our understanding of Venus, of global warming on Earth, and his knowledge of who he is.

©2000 Ben Bova (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

“Bova proves himself equal to the task of showing how adversity can temper character in unforeseen ways.” ( New York Times)
“A top-notch adventure story of broken dreams and lifelong hatreds that match the turbulence of Venus itself…. Recommended for SF collections.” ( Library Journal)
“Exciting and vividly wrought.” ( Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about Venus

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great author great narrator

Love Ben bova and rudnicki always does the titles justice imho highly recommended I'll be getting the rest of the series

2 people found this helpful

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One of Bova's Best

Having enjoyed Ben Bova's Mars series of stories probably the best out of the few others I'd read with his Jupiter stories coming a close second but not really getting on with his Moon based novels I was undecided about trying Venus. Most of the other titles in his Grand Tour series of books other than what I'd already read didn't appeal to me although there might be some movement on that based on my reading of Venus.

As alluded to, I was rather hesitant about getting Venus and the audio sample had on my first listen put me off with it's seemingly rather weird party scene which reminded me of the worst of the classic Star Trek 60's TV series. However, after reading some reviews and frankly not knowing what else to read I decided that nothing ventured, nothing gained and went ahead and purchased it.

Right away I noticed that Venus is fairly unique in the first-person story telling aspect used. Everything in the novel is as experienced through the protagonist, Van Humphries and follows his pursuit of a 10 billion dollar reward for the return of his brother's remains lost on Venus several years before in a failed expedition. of course, with such a rich bounty on offer from Van's estranged wealthy father there is also a rival in the running for the lucrative prize in the form of Lars Fuchs, a tough and unrelenting character and bitter enemy to Van's father. Fuchs is a character along with Martin Humphries seen in another Bova story that is set some years earlier entitled "The Rock Rats".

Venus gets going quickly and before we know it the reader is thrust into the journey to Venus and even quicker still into the upper cloud deck of the mysterious planet. The action and fast paced story never flags and this has to be one of Bova's most riveting stories of those I've read within this series and actually ranks higher in terms of action and tension than my previous favourite Mars series of stories. Everything in the story works well and Venus is a fine adventure that is a real page turner.

Fortunately, unlike much of Bova's work the love story here doesn't seem superfluous or over done and does not detract from the action and intrigue. One element that did puzzle me though was how Van's father had any influence over his son's attempt at retrieving his brother's remains. I had gathered that Van had raised all the funds independently of his father and thus had no links to him in that respect. However, a very minor thing if not a little puzzling to me.

The other major plus factor to this audio book is the single narrator in the form of Stefan Rudnicki. Some of the audio books in this series use multiple narrators which I think was done to highlight certain characters but to my mind fails due to the change of voices with some of the female ones being shrill and rather irritating to my ear in my opinion.

Venus has to be one of Bova's best stories in his Grand Tour series and is thankfully free of all the Earth side politics so often covered in other books which really mire the story in those novels in my opinion.

I would like to see another Venus based story as there is so much untapped potential with the life forms found in the cloud deck and on the surface. I think the more hostile the native environment of a world the more interesting the stories that can be generated. Venus is a straight-forward, uncomplicated action story that is entertaining and holds the readers interest throughout. Recommended.

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  • Matthew
  • 03-09-14

Someone turn on the air conditioning please...

Would you consider the audio edition of Venus: The Grand Tour Series to be better than the print version?

Didn't read print version, so N/A.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

It was not unexpected, but not so predictable as to be trite. Bova generally does a good job at wrapping things up nicely, and this story is no exception.

What does Stefan Rudnicki bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Stefan owns the Bova characters, and this one is particularly well rendered. His accents, emotions and rawness are always impressive.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Something to do with Lucifer.

Any additional comments?

This story continues the Bova/Rudnicki tradition of author and performer working as a team. If you enjoyed the other offerings in the Planet series, this one will entertain you. It works as a free standing story as well, however.
Recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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  • George
  • 07-02-14

Hellish Hot

Fun sci-fi read with family rivalries and loyalties that change as the read progresses. The penetration of Venus was believable and I hung on every word. I have worked for leaders like the captain of the space ship Lucifer--domineering and insecure. On to the next book in the series.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Alwayswalkingmydog
  • 20-01-14

Absolutely loved this Audiobook!

Any additional comments?

I can hardly wait to download the next book by Ben Bova! This is by far the best I have read/listened to since Sir Arthur C. Clarke's works. Just cannot get enough. The Mars series was also fantastic, as was the Sam Gunn Omnibus. The narration is exquisite.

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  • chainsaw
  • 13-08-22

1940s misogyny and racism in a mediocre 2000s package

Great to only half listen to while doing other things if you can ignore the junior high level of writing. The author apparently thinks “sardonic” is super intellectual sounding, since he uses it a dozen times. Also, be prepared for women who science boobily, captain ships frigidly but also boobily, and the reassurance that the sniveling main character isn’t racist just because he’s not attracted to the “Asians” on his ship, since there are lots of skinny docile Asian women he DOES find attractive.

If this wasn’t an audiobook there’s no way I would have finished it.

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  • Sarahdox
  • 09-05-22

Plot, Performance good; dialogue dragged on.

I enjoyed the narration, storylines and characters. However, although I was listening at 1.5 speed, I found the main character's self-doubt and angst to be way too drawn out and overdone. A lot less of that would have made a better book. Still, it is a useful part of the series!

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  • Theresa
  • 08-02-22

Plot Good

I read all of Bova’s books. The sci did plots are fun without being all about war, disaster and outer space life that is akin to the Great Depression plus WW2. But the characters never cease to aggravate me. They have the emotional intelligence of a teenager, rarely know how to do the job they’ve been assigned and are physically unfit. It is the same in every book. The few who are the least bit likable get killed early. I so want one of the books to have a Mitch Rapp hero, a Lara Croft heroine, and a team of real astronauts who can make it up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing.