Leviathans of Jupiter : Grand Tour (Bova)

  • by Ben Bova
  • Narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Gabrielle de Cuir, Samantha Eggar, Rosalyn Landor, Stefan Rudnicki, Judy Young
  • Series: Grand Tour (Bova)
  • 15 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What secrets lurk in the depths of Jupiter’s oceans?
In Ben Bova’s novel Jupiter, physicist Grant Archer led an expedition into Jupiter’s planet-wide ocean, attempting to study the unusual and massive creatures that call the planet their home. Unprepared for the hostile environment and crushing pressures, Grant’s team faced certain death as their ship malfunctioned and slowly sank to the planet’s depths. However, one of Jupiter’s native creatures—a city-sized leviathan—saved the doomed ship. This creature’s act convinced Grant that they were intelligent, but he lacked scientific proof. Now, several years later, Grant prepares a new expedition to prove it once and for all. The new team faces dangers from both the hostile environment and from humans who will do anything to make sure the mission is a failure—even if it means murdering the entire crew.


What the Critics Say

“Fully realized characters and a fast-action plot…Bova’s fans and hard SF lovers should flock to his latest novel.” (Library Journal)
“Multiple Hugo winner Bova’s 18th Grand Tour novel is a quick-paced space adventure.” (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Deeply Flawed

I'm quite sad that this novel isn't good as there are good ideas present within. The fact that I spent five bucks and wanted something worth my money is also present, but let's forgo that.

The biggest problem is the antagonist of this book. Westfall is completely unneeded given the plot of exploring an alien planet and trying to make contact with the life there. The whole novel could have hinged on "Man vs Alien" and "Man vs Environment" and been better for it. Westfall's inclusion is unnecessary, made even worse in that her character is completely idiotic. Her motives are downright stupid, as are her actions. Other characters are intimidated and afraid of her, apparently forgetting that they are all weeks away from Earth orbiting Jupiter; she's powerless there. Many of the main characters, and the protagonist, know she's up to something sinister, but they never confront her on this like rational people. She honestly ruins the novel.

The book is a slow moving mess, preferring to absorb itself in politics rather than the alien planet and the alien life. It's not until around hour 12 or so that the characters make it to Jupiter. Too much time is spent on board Station Gold in an attempt to establish unneeded and poorly constructed sub plots. There's a lengthy time devoted to two of the main characters talking with dolphins, trying to prove that they are smarter than they appear, and it all falls flat.

One of the main characters, D, is a girl. Now, there are some small hints at how she needs to take care of herself and watch out, but those don't go anywhere. I know it's odd to wish a book to take a turn to the dark side, but seeing as Station Gold is a closed system with a finite amount of men and women, the possibility of sexual assault and the like is surely there, yet never dealt with. Everyone finds D attractive, yet only two people flirt with her, and one of those people does it more as a joke than anything else.

Some of the characters, just in general, seem stupid in regards to what they say and do. This isn't the kind of realistic stupidity, but more the kind that is needed to advance the plot.

There are also brief mentions of religion, but the author doesn't do anything with them. Unlike C.S. Lewis who based his entire science fiction stories around religious themes, those in this novel appear and disappear at random, almost acting as subliminal messages than actual motifs or themes. It's both annoying and disappointing.

There are good ideas here, but it takes too long to get to them. Some aren't even contemplated. I will say, it's narrated really well which can make or break an audiobook.
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- Conker

Life Elsewhere?

The question this book asks is "If we met an alien life form, how would me determine if it was intelligent? Also, how would the alien life form determine if we were intelligent? Westfall's inclusion as antagonist is unnecessary, made even worse in that her character is idiotic, her motives are stupid, as are her actions. I would have liked to see more politics by the Leviathan elders as it would have been the aliens discovering about us and about paradigm changes. Ben Bova knows how to tell a good story and I want to see if the heroine returns.
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- Lady Pamela

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-01-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.