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Empire Builders
Ben Bova
Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, unabridged
Blackstone Audio, 12 hours

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 6 times. His 1994 short story, "Inspiration," was nominated for the SFWA's Nebula Award.

Ben Bova Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Aftermath
SF Site Review: The Silent War
SF Site Review: Tales of the Grand Tour
SF Site Review: Venus
SF Site Review: Return to Mars
SF Site Review: Colony
SF Site Review: Immortality
SF Site Review: Moonwar
SF Site Review: Moonrise

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Ivy Reisner

Empire Builders In this sequel to Privateers, Dan Randolph can save the world from ecological devastation -- if the politicians will let him.

The earth is heading towards a greenhouse cliff, a sudden climate change that will destroy much of the planet in ten years if something isn't done soon. The ice caps will melt. Cities will be flooded. Millions will die. When Randolph tries to let people know what's going on and try to help orchestrate a plan to avoid this catastrophe, government officials from the Global Economic Council (the GEC) confiscate his company, imprison him, and silence his scientific team.

More than anything, this succeeds as a political thriller. Alliances are made, broken, shifted, and changed. Various players jockey for power. Many want what's best for the earth -- and they can't agree on what that is -- which plays a lot of this as a tale of good against good. Some are just in it for themselves, and the reader is kept guessing until close to the end as to whether to trust certain characters, or rather, how much to trust those characters since everyone is playing an angle.

This book is scary in its precognostic powers. Written in 1993, it deals in small part with a tsunami, reminiscent of the one that ravaged Indonesia. One also can't help remembering the battering of the Lake Pontchartrain levees, after politicians were warned to shore up those levees, and leaving New Orleans under water.

Stefan Rudnicki does an excellent job giving voices to each of the characters. Speech tags become redundant. He captures a variety of accents well, and the voices match the personalities. He tries hard to get the Japanese right, but it doesn't roll off his tongue well.

Chronologically, this is book 2 of Ben Bova's Grand Tour series, after Powersat. Oddly, Privateers isn't part of the Grand Tour. As with any of the Grand Tour novels, this book stands perfectly on its own.

Copyright © 2010 Ivy Reisner

Ivy Reisner is a writer, an obsessive knitter, and a podcaster. Find her at

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