Cover image for Return to Mars
Return to Mars
Bova, Ben, 1932-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Avon, 1999.
Physical Description:
403 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
X Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy

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Six years have passed since Jamie Waterman took charge of a foundering expedition and courageously led its surviving members to perhaps the greatest scientific discovery in the history of humankind: extraterrestrial life in its most basic form. But things have soured for Waterman back in Earth's rich atmosphere since the monumental breakthrough that brought him fame and-for a time-happiness. Now a second Martian expedition has been announced. Jamie Waterman is named commander and must journey back to the eerie, unforgiving landscape of towering cliffs and sere natural beauty that haunts him still. But a destructive rivalry, a new emotional attraction, and a series of deadly unexplainable "accidents" could doom the mission of which he is in charge. Yet Waterman knows he must not fail. For there are still great secrets to be uncovered on this cruel and enigmatic world-not the least being something he glimpsed in the far distance during his firsst Martian excursion; an improbable structure perched high in the planet's carmine cliffs: a dwelling thta only an intelligent being could have built.

Author Notes

Ben Bova, Ben Bova was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began writing fiction in the late 1940's and continued to pursue his careers in journalism, aerospace, education and publishing. Bova received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Temple University, 1954, a master of arts degree in communications from the State University of New York, 1987, and a doctorate in education from California Coast University, 1996.

Dr. Bova worked as a newspaper reporter for several years and then joined Project Vanguard, the first American satellite program, as a technical editor. He was manager of marketing for Avco Everett Research Laboratory and worked with scientists in the fields of high-power lasers, artificial hearts and advanced electrical power generators. Dr. Bova has taught science fiction at Harvard University and at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, where he also directed film courses. He has written scripts for teaching films with the Physical Sciences Study Committee in association with Nobel Laureates from many universities.

Dr. Bova has served on the advisory board of Post College and the Editorial Boards of the World Future Society. He is President Emeritus of the National Space Society and a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. He is also a charter member of the Planetary Society and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Nature Conservancy, the New York Academy of Sciences and the National Space Club. He is a former President and a charter member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He was honored by Temple University as a Distinguished Alumnus in 1981 and in 1982 was made an Alumni Fellow.

In 1994, his short story "Inspiration" was nominated for the Nebula Award. "The Beauty of Light" was voted one of the best science books of the year in 1988 by the American Librarians' Association and they hailed "Moonrise" as best science fiction novel in 1996. Other titles include "Moonwar," "Mars," and "Brothers," which all combine romance and adventure with the scientific aspect of exploring the future of technology and its effect on individuals and society. "Immortality" and "Assured Survival" deal with technology being used to solve economic, social and political problems. "Immortality" goes further in examining biomedical breakthroughs that could extend a persons life by hundreds of years while being able to always remain physically young.

His works include The Aftermath, Mars Life, and Leviathans of Jupiter.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Half-Navajo, half-Anglo astronaut Jamie Waterman is back on Mars, several publishing seasons after his previous adventures in Mars (1992). His second expedition is motivated largely by expectations of profit from the life-forms discovered in the Vallis Marinaris on the first expedition. As far as Waterman is concerned, those pecuniary motives get the second fling off on the wrong foot from the beginning. Waterman also has to put up with small-group politics that are particularly virulent this far from Earth and with this much at stake; with his own emotional attachments; and with a lengthening string of incidents that has the odor of sabotage about it. The last third of the yarn is literally a cliff-hanger, as the expedition maneuvers to reach unmistakable artifacts of intelligent life in a mountainous area. Characterization is better than usual in this kind of adventure, the pacing is brisk, the scientific details are convincing, and Bova's depiction of the Martian environment is outstanding indeed. No one who enjoyed Mars is likely to turn down this lively continuation of it. --Roland Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

The sequel to Bova's popular Mars (1992) returns Navajo Jamie Waterman to the Red Planet as the mission director in tenuous command of a crew of scientists and astronauts jockeying for political power, romantic liaisons and scientific renown. And as anonymous journal entries also indicate, one of the explorers is seriously deranged. Waterman's chief rival on the mission is C. Dexter Trumball, the heir of the man who substantially funded the flight. Trumball has promised his wealthy father that the mission will make money, and he is determined to win his father's love and respect, even if it means turning Mars into a tourist attraction. For ideological reasons, Waterman is equally bent on keeping Mars free of tourists, especially his beloved "cliff dwellings"Äa nearly inaccessible structural anomaly that he believes will prove there was once intelligent life on the planet. Waterman must struggle to find the Navajo way of negotiating the crew's various desires and manias. He must also contend with the powers-that-be back on Earth to ensure that scientific concerns continue to supersede crass commercial interests. Bova makes the speculative hard science aspects of this novel vivid and appealing. His characters, however, are less enchanting, and the inclusion of a saboteur seems like overkill, since the environment he describes is more than capable of destroying anyone for simple carelessness. The novel ends with plenty of room for a sequel to pick up and continue the saga. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

As a sequel to Mars, this novel covers the second expedition to the red planet. The object of this mission is to document and study the lichen-like organisms that had been discovered during the first visit. Bova (Death Dream) skillfully develops plot and characters in this tale, showing the talent that has earned him six Hugo Awards. Libraries would do well to provide both the abridged and unabridged versions. However, if only one can be purchased, the NewStar abridgment is definitely the winner. Performed by Harlan Ellison, it is actually a tighter, more finely crafted version of the novel. The personalities of each of the characters remain; the major points and drive of the plot actually seem to work better in the edited form. Ellison handles the international accents well and adds energy and drive to the performance. The unabridged version is skillfully narrated by Dick Hill; however, it lacks the quality of Ellison's performance--the charisma a gifted storyteller can bring to an audiobook. Highly recommended for all public libraries and for academic libraries with sf or performance collections.--Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ., Russellville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.