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Voyagers (1989)

Voyagers (1989)
3.44 of 5 Votes: 4
0812500768 (ISBN13: 9780812500769)
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Voyagers (1989)
Voyagers (1989)

About book: Ben Bova is an award winning science fiction author, has been on the editorial staff of Analog and Omni, and has written a ton of books. I thought it was about time I read some of his work. Voyagers, first published in 1981 and now available as an ebook, was the first one I found. The book rates 3.5 stars on Amazon with 22 reviews, but sadly, I cannot recommend the book.The book opens with a university professor sexually harassing and intimidating a "helpless" and "trapped" female student knowing" there was nothing she could do about it." Really? In 1981? (According to Wikipedia, he returned to college in the 1980 so he should have known better.) I found this scene so irritating I had trouble focusing on the plot: The professor wants information about what is going on at the university observatory. She "glares" at him, but does not head to the Human Resources office.Chapter three introduces another professor, this one having sex with a student. His wife doesn't mind her husband cheating; she is a competent woman with a real job, but homely and "her feet were always like icebergs when she got into bed."It keeps getting worse for women in this book. At a Washington DC cocktail party, a Senator is mentioned because she "happens to be an attractive woman" and a key character's wife is a drunk with "sagging face" and "bluish hair". The student we first met being harassed has sex with the protagonist to "prove" she's sorry he is kidnapped. Really? He is a grown man, being held captive by government goons to hide his discovery of intelligent life within our solar system; the girl (she's a "girl", not a "woman") has been allowed to bring him some papers outside the view of his captors (BTW, how did that happen?), and this is what he wants to do?I didn't like how any of the female characters were portrayed, but to be fair, I didn't like the male characters either. At this point, about a quarter of the way through, I almost put the book down. Instead I skipped to the last two chapters to see if the interesting science fiction premise ever got back into the story. It does, and reviewers who liked the book emphasize the science fiction part of the story. But I don't think I'll bother to read the parts I skipped.

Voyagers by Ben Bova is an alien contact book that serves as both volume one in the Voyagers series, and as a stand-alone(ish) novel. Set in the 1980's, and somewhat dated by its politics and technology, it is a first contact novel that focuses on the personal and political wrangling that occurs when an alien object is detected heading towards Earth. Though it had great potential, the somewhat two dimensional aspects of the characters, and the blatantly sexist depiction of one in particular, diminished my enjoyment of what otherwise could have been a superb book. Perhaps I am a bit hard on it because Bova can and has done better, perhaps it is because it had so much potential and came so close, maybe it is due to the degrading way women are portrayed, or perhaps because the even more blatant sexism in the sequel made me ill. No matter how you stack it, however, the book had great potential and turned out to be not very enjoyable. For a full review see
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Minor spoilers below, but not enough to hide the entire review.***********When I first read this in high school, I enjoyed it immensely. I love hard sci-fi, the characters are complex, and there was a woman astronomy student who was making it to the top. Then I grew up to actually become a woman astronomer. Rereading this novel where I am in my life now, I find it disgusting it was that Bova's only woman character sleeps her way to the top - that is the only way she thinks of getting there, and it's the only way that others think she could get there. Read this if you are entirely ignorant of feminism (as I was when younger), or if you are a feminist who wants a look into the horrible past that could still be true (and sometimes is) if a few good women and men stopped fighting.
My Rating Scale:1 Star - Horrible book, It was so bad I stopped reading it. I have not read the whole book and wont2 Star - Bad book, I forced myself to finish it and do NOT recommend. I can't believe I read it once3 Star - Average book, Was entertaining but nothing special. No plans to ever re-read4 Star - Good Book, Was a really good book and I would recommend. I am Likely to re-read this book5 Star - GREAT book, A great story and well written. I can't wait for the next book. I Will Re-Read this one or more times.Number of times read: 1This was so boring.Characters - The characters were unimaginative. Very 2 dimensional and uninteresting.Story - One word describes this story. BORINGOverall - I fell asleep so many times during this. One time, I woke up in the morning and figured I would read for a few minutes, three hours later I woke up again. It would be great for insomniacs.
Voyagers is a first contact novel mired by the trappings of a Cold War thriller. Radio signals from Jupiter point to the existence of an alien spacecraft which leads to posturing between the USA and USSR. Ultimately the superpowers decide to cooperate -- at least on the surface. Bova gives a realistic touch to complications of contacting and possibly rendezvousing with an alien craft, but KGB-agents with sinister briefcases, oversexed scientists and a subplot involving an evangelical preacher hamper the sense of wonder offered by the book's premise.
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