The Return

  • by Buzz Aldrin, John Barnes
  • Narrated by Scott Brick
  • 9 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When a Shuttle accident kills a world-famous basketball player, former astronaut Scott Blackstone is out of a job. Worse, he and his "Citizen Observer" program are vilified in the media, and he's being sued for a billion dollars. His ex-wife agrees to take the case and it begins to appear that the "accident" might not have been an accident at all. Meanwhile, India and Pakistan go to war. Pakistan deploys a nuclear device high in the upper atmosphere, putting the crew of the orbiting International Space Station in imminent danger of death by radiation exposure. Only a few weeks remain to rescue the crew and there's no known way to do it, except, perhaps, for a secret project of Scott's brother, Nick.


What the Critics Say

"Fiction-lovers will marvel at Aldrin's ability to tell a great sci-fi tale." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The high ratings are misleading

I felt compelled to write a review opposing this book's high rating, because I rely heavily on reader ratings to choose my audiobooks, and the average rating on this book really mislead me this time.

I am a big fan of John Barnes, and for those who aren't familiar wtih his solo work I would strongly recommend his novels, especially "Mother of Storms" and "Candle". When I saw that he had collaberated with Buzz Aldrin, I thought that this book could be a real winner, combining Aldrin's familiarity with real space exploration and Barnes' imagination and style.

Unfortunately, this book is a mess. I would call the book one giant cliche. The plot is unoriginal and predictable. Conflicts are only sketchily created and resolved without any tension or suspense. The characters that you suspect turn out to be the villians, all right. The entire first half of the book revolves around a lawsuit, and the whole plot involves the characters' legal plotting, PR maneuvers, and spin manipulation. It was mind numbing! If I wanted that, I would just get a book about the OJ trial. When some action *FINALLY* begins (only after about 5 hours), it apparently has nothing to do with the events of the first part of the book and it gives the feeling of two separate plots. They are woven together eventually, but in a cursory "wrap up" manner that is just too pat. At the end of the book, the image I had in my mind was that of the villain at the end of the Scooby Doo cartoons saying "the world could have been mine if it weren't for you meddling kids!"

Then there is the dialogue. It uses every trite phrase I can think of, and reminds me of the way people write when they send out letters in their holiday cards. I started to laugh trying to count them.

I couldn't help thinking that this book was written by a complete novice to wordcraft(Aldrin) and minimally "cleaned up" by Barnes. If you ever read Barnes on his own, you will see what I mean.
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- Troy

A fast-paced, superb adventure

There are very few books (audio or otherwise) that fall into the category of 'can't put down' for me. This was one. It moves quickly, is believable, has entertaining and likeable characters, and is just plain a great story. Aldrin and Barnes have created a contemporary United States that I wish I lived in.
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- Martin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-12-2004
  • Publisher: Books on Tape