By: Ben Bova
Reviewed By: James Hollenbeck
Review Date: 1/16/04
What happens when you cross the CEO of a corporation that's out to
the entire asteroid belt? What happens when that CEO also obsessively
seeks your wife? For you, the answer is nothing good, but for the
reader the answer is Rock Rats, a decent but depressing story.
The conflict between Lars Fuchs (don't ask me how to pronounce that)
and the CEO, Martin Humphries, is the main conflict of Rock Rats. All
around them is a cast of characters including miners, business
assassins and a united world government that all suffer because of
conflict. Bova makes no attempt to give the reader a happy story.
Instead the plot follows a course that looks all too like real life.
makes for an interesting story if you're not looking for sunshine on
Rock Rats is the second book of Ben Bova's Asteroid Wars series,
is itself part of a larger series about mankind's expansion through
solar system. I found out about these series only after I was half
through Rock Rats. Having not read the other books was not a problem
though. Rock Rats stands by itself very well. It still wouldn't hurt
start at the beginning of the series. This book is intriguing enough
that I may read the other books.
Note that if I didn't know it was part of a series I would have given
it a lower rating. Once I found out Rock Rats was part of a future
history I stopped looking for the happy ending, and instead looked at
it as if they were real events that just haven't happened yet. The
big problem with this book is that the characters seem a little too
emotionally shallow. Anger is the most common emotion expressed.
that you may see one character cry. The rest of the time the
are simply flat. The two most emotional characters are Lars and
Humphries, and they have two emotions: anger and happiness.
As a sci-fi book, the science is mostly just background. Bova makes
things mostly realistic beyond the fusion drive that lets people fly
from the Moon to the asteroid belt in four days. Otherwise, combat is
done with cutting lasers, and gravity still reigns supreme. Replace
star ships with sailing ships and the asteroids with spices and you'd
end up with realistic fiction.
My final grade for Rock Rats is a B. It's a good book, but not
outstanding. If you're looking for a happy story avoid this.