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The Return: Book IV of Voyagers (Voyagers (Tor Hardcover)) Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 4, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Venerable SF author Bova returns to his Voyagers series after nearly two decades with this clumsy mashup of wildly different universes. Relativistic star flight has somehow catapulted Keith Stoner, Jo Camerata and their children, Cathy and Rick, to a parallel universe. Bova fans will recognize the setting of the Grand Tour series (most recently 2008's Mars Life), but to Keith and Jo, it is alien and seems to be doomed by environmental and cultural issues. Leaving his family to secretly tour the Earth, Keith finds a willing ally in engineer Tavalera, but their joint efforts to prevent human extinction are opposed by the shortsighted and authoritarian New Morality government. Bova's decision to merge two unrelated sets of books is baffling, and Keith's arrogant machinations transform the Grand Tour universe in ways that its fans are unlikely to appreciate. (Aug.)
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Review

This fourth volume in the Voyagers series displays Hugo Award winner Bova's consummate ability to tell an absorbing tale about two men, each with a mission to free his world from blind dogma and orchestrated tyranny. The author's outspoken philosophy provides food for thought for his many fans and readers who enjoy hard sf. --Library Journal --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Voyagers (Tor Hardcover) (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765309254
  • ASIN: B005MWQFD2
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,804,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on August 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Astronaut Keith Stoner was part of an American-Russian space venture when the alien starship arrived. He became trapped inside; frozen for almost two decades and never time merged with the alien technology. Found drifting, he was brought back to earth where he was revived. However, Keith knew he no longer was human and did not belong so he built a starship based on the alien side of him and left the planet with his Jo Camerata to explore the cosmos.

Over a hundred years later, he comes home but now understands how profound Thomas Wolfe's "You Can't Go Home Again" is. He and his mate Jo (accompanied by their children Cathy and Rick) recognize nothing. Mankind is killing the planet with the greenhouse effect rapidly turning the orb into a neo-Venus and the extreme conservatives hold power with a strict rigid iron fist while ignoring the consequences of doing nothing to save humanity's goring the planet. Keith leaves his family in orbit to do some surveillance, but except for the odd underground rebel, mankind's reign seems through

The fourth Stoner tale (see VOYAGERS, THE ALIEN WITHIN and STAR BROTHERS) is an interesting cautionary science fiction thriller that warns readers to take global warming seriously and kick out demagogues before it is too late; sort of homage to Zager and Evans' "In the year 2525". The story line is fast-paced as Keith and Jo are in for a rude awakening re the earth starting with the melted polar cap and that his knowledge of history does not match the official records of the planet he orbits. However, this earth he finds is never adequately explained in regards to how he and his family got there and why Ben Bova chose THE RETURN to take place where it does as the blending seems disjointed to fans of the author who will recognize early on references to the Goddard project on Saturn.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd McDaniel on November 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I loved this. I didn't think I was going to at the beginning, it had been so long from the originals.
As I read further though I began to enjoy the delicate skewering of the politicos the tree huggers, the religious nuts....
Nobody does it like Bova!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on October 18, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The Return (2009) is the fourth SF novel in the Voyagers series, following Star Brothers. The initial volume is this series is Voyagers.

In the previous volume, a nanotechnology plague was released into the population. The Star Brothers were spread to protect against the Horror. Then Stoner and his family flew to the stars.

In this novel, Keith Stoner has come home again from the stars with his wife and two children. But home has changed while they were gone. In fact, they seem to have slipped between timelines.

Raoul Tavalera has also come home again -- without his sweetheart Holly -- and it too has changed. His family is still there, but society has devolved into tyranny.

Angelique Dupre was born as Aretha Deevers in a tent city in Georgia. She changed her name after joining the Sisters of the Savior, a New Morality order.

In this story, twenty-two years ago, a starship entered the system and was tracked to the vicinity of Jupiter. Then it disappeared, but recently emitted messages from Earth orbit to scientists around the world. Naturally, the politicians, military chiefs and religious leaders suppressed these messages.

Keith is getting impatient with the political intransigence. His wife Jo tries to calm him down, but Keith is determined to contact leading scientists. He starts tinkering with the aurora borealis.

Raoul has recently returned from the Goddard habitat near Titan. He thought life back on Earth would be exciting, but finds it to be rather dull. The New Morality keeps interfering with his life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve Mitchel on March 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Alright, this review is going to contain spoilers so I'll warn everyone about that now.

In the fourth book of the Voyagers series, Keith Stoner comes back to Earth to find out that it isn't the same Earth he left, but instead the Earth and timeline from the Grand Tour series of books that has been the largest body of Bova's work for the last two decades.

I have to be honest; the story does not read like a Ben Bova story. It instead reads like fanfiction; a crossover of the two universes. Why Bova decided to merge his Voyagers and Grand Tour storylines is absolutely baffling. Both universes suffer because of it.

For the Voyagers universe, when Kieth and his family return, they come back as literal gods. They can pretty much do anything they want due to having visited the stars and having the power of the alien nanomachines that they acquired throughout the previous books, and none of the conflict in the story comes from something that is difficult or impossible for them to do. They see themselves as the saviors of the human race - first by coercion, and then at the end of the book, by force - and there is almost no trace of humanity at all in any of their characters. They act like and are written like gods and it is impossible to connect with them the way you could in the previous Voyagers books.

The Grand Tour storyline is dealt devastating blows. In all of Bova's work on the subject, Bova skirts going into detail about Earth's current political landscape, except for it being controlled by ultraconservative religious movements. This in turn sets up a variety of characters and scenarios in the solar system for the Planet novels and others, writing a rich tapestry of possibilities.
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