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Ben Bova
Avon Eos Books, 388 pages

Ben Bova
Ben Bova received his doctorate in education in 1996 from California Coast University, a master of arts degree in communications from the State University of New York at Albany (1987) and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Temple University, Philadelphia (1954). Bova has taught science fiction at Harvard University and at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, where he has also directed film courses. He was editorial director of OMNI magazine and, earlier, editor of Analog magazine. He has received Hugos for Best Professional Editor six times. His 1994 short story, "Inspiration," was nominated for the SFWA's Nebula Award.

Ben Bova Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

If you liked Doug Stavenger in Moonrise, you'll love him in Moonwar, the second volume in the soon-to-be-epic Moonbase Saga! If you, like me, haven't read the first volume, no problem; Bova provides enough background to bring readers up-to-date without oozing over into B-movie exposition. (He does feel the need to remind his readers several times during each Moon-to-Earth communication of the three-second delay. I can keep that in mind. Honest.) He withholds just enough information to tease you into hitting your local bookshop to complete your Moonbase set. Or, it's just possible I am the only one who hasn't been following the saga from the beginning.

The formula for Moonwar should be a familiar one. For the under-18 crowd, it's "Home Alone." For the over-18s, it's Wounded Knee. For the over-100ers, remember the Alamo? Whatever the frame of reference, there is a tale of a ragtag bunch of rebels refusing to surrender, even when faced with overwhelming odds. Of course, Davy Crockett didn't have the hardware the residents of Moonbase have at their disposal.

You see, Moonbase is the only place in the galaxy still working with nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology is unsafe. Or it's an abomination against God. The arguments are too numerous to count, but the end result is the same: every nation on Earth has signed the nanotechnology treaty outlawing research, use, import, and anything else having to do with that science. Now, they want Moonbase to fall in line with the decree. The problem is, Moonbase cannot survive without nanos, and neither can Stavenger.

The moon is here and the Earth is there and it's difficult to picture the nanos formulating a plan to storm the planet and take over, but that is not enough reassurance for everyone. George Faure, UN secretary-general, wants Moonbase stopped, and he isn't afraid to start a war to get what he wants. He has an army of peacekeepers to enforce his wishes. What, exactly, he actually wants to achieve is much sketchier. He's a diplomat/bureaucrat -- obviously there's a hidden agenda.

Stavenger and the other residents of Moonbase want only to continue on as they have been. In seven years, they've managed to turn the base into a profitable enterprise. They 've created more than a way station in the sky; Moonbase is their home. Time to make that home their own. But, will anyone hear their declaration of independence, much less recognize it?

They will if Edith Elgin, ace girl reporter, has her way. Elgin uses her celebrity status to secure a seat on the peacekeepers' Clippership to the Moon, to be in the spotlight when the takeover happens. She soon finds herself closer to the story than she ever imagined. And when Moonbase proves not to be an easy conquest, both sides see the situation balloon faster than they can contain it. Countries, corporations, and contract killers join the fray, guaranteeing the solution will be neither simple nor peaceful.

Bova keeps the action going in grand space opera style, relying often on stock characters, indulging only occasionally in the truly cornball to tie up loose ends. (For hard scifi, it gets remarkably mushy up there.) The technology is intriguing, the settings exotic, and the story involving -- promising endless material for the proposed saga.

Copyright © 1998 Lisa DuMond

Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. She co-authored the 45th anniversary issue cover of MAD Magazine. Previews of her latest, as yet unpublished, novel are available at Hades Online.

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