• Powersat

  • The Grand Tour Series
  • By: Ben Bova
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 13 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (867 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Two hundred thousand feet up, things go horribly wrong. An experimental low-orbit spaceplane breaks up on reentry, falling to earth over a trail hundreds of miles long. And in its wake is the beginning of the most important mission in the history of spaceflight.

Americans needs energy, and Dan Randolph is determined to give it to them. He dreams of an array of geosynchronous powersats, satellites that gather solar energy and beam it to generators on Earth, freeing America from its addiction to fossil fuels and breaking the power of the oil cartels forever. But the wreck of the spaceplane has left his company, Astro Manufacturing, on the edge of bankruptcy.

Worse, Dan discovers that the plane was sabotaged. And whoever brought it down is willing—and able—to kill again to keep Astro grounded.

Now Dan has to thread a dangerous maze. The visible threats are bad enough: Rival firms want to buy him out and take control of his dreams. His former lover wants to co-opt his unlimited-energy idea as a campaign plank for the candidate she’s grooming for the presidency. NASA and the FAA want to shut down his maverick firm. And his creditors are breathing down his neck.

Making matters even more dangerous, an international organization of terrorists sees the powersat as a threat to their own oil-based power. And they’ve figured out how to use it as a weapon in their war against the West.

A sweeping mix of space, murder, romance, politics, secrets, and betrayal, Powersat will take you to the edge of space and the dawning of a new world.

Listen to more in Ben Bova's Grand Tour series.
©2005 Ben Bova (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Bova gets better and better, combining plausible science with increasingly complex fiction.” ( Los Angeles Daily News)

What listeners say about Powersat

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great book but substandard recording

this is a great story Ben Bova has done a great job with it and the narrator Stefan Rudnicki does a fantastic job as always HOWEVER there are several places throughout the book where all the different "takes" from the author are included one after another. what i mean is a sentence is repeated three or four times each time with a slightly different inflection in the narrators voice. then the story just continues on as normal for a while till you get to the next one. I'm half way through the book and so far the most notable occurrence of this is in chapter 24 starting about 3:40.
Very annoying. this needs to be fixed and re-released

25 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great Narration, Good Story, Terrible Editing!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It kept me interested, which is enough.

Any additional comments?

This is a good thriller with interesting characters and a decently-paced plot. Not much action until the climax, but the build-up is worth it. Stefan Rudnicki is an excellent narrator who does a good job with accents and expression. I would have given it a higher overall rating, but the poor editing is unacceptable for a commercial offering. Still, if you can look past the mistakes, it's worth a listen.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Dan stanford = Keith Stoner

One of the better Bova novels. Dan Randolf is very much like Keith Stoner. I wish Bova would make the characters a bit smarter, more like Markov from the Voyager series. Sometimes it's like watching a horror film and wanting to scream "turn around" at the characters. Does the hero have to be a petulant child? Rudniki's accents (especially Russian) are fabulous. I have to say that Rudniki's narration is a strong reason I continue with these books.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not the best from Ben Bova

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I am ambivalent on this question. I kept waiting for resolution, and it left me mildly dissappointed.

Has Powersat turned you off from other books in this genre?

Yes, notwithstanding this presentation, I am a Ben Bova fan, esp. the Solar System series. Difficult to ignore the impact of Bova in the speculative fiction genre.

What does Stefan Rudnicki bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Stefan owns Bova ( or maybe it's the other way around?! ) His accents, his dynamics, his nuance. One of my favourite performers, esp. of Bova.
Therefore, he brings this story to life far better than my imagination ever could at this point.

Did Powersat inspire you to do anything?

Cut back on petroleum usage.

Any additional comments?

Unusual for Bova in the sense that this book is largely a free standing effort. Even more political in nature than previous efforts, it loses the plot sometimes as it get's hung up on politics ( White House, oil, sexual, etc. ) and that does diminish it, for me at least.

A qualified thumbs up, with many caveats however.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting idea, horribly cliched execution

What made the experience of listening to Powersat the most enjoyable?

Excellent performance and a great idea.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

As it was meant to set the stage for the rest of the series it ended pretty much as expected. This is probably the biggest fault of the book, it's not very original in it's execution.

Which scene was your favorite?

n/a

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Terrrrrrror in Space

Any additional comments?

As much as I admire the idea the book hasn't really aged all that well. One example is that one of the characters feels the need to explain the term "wind farm" to another (side) character.

Overall, as said above, the idea of the Powersat etc. is interesting, the science appears to me solid too. Where it falls down is just how cliched the characters and their actions are. There was no surprise in it for me.

So I give it an A for the idea, but only a D for the execution.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Political Thriller More Than Sci Fi, But Good!

I would have passed this over had I not seen the Grand Tour banner attached to the title.
It's a political thriller with plausible science unpinning the narrative. As far as the Grand Tour goes, I am looking forward to more exploration of the outer solar system, but this satisfied me for now.

While it is a shame that Blackstone released this somewhat rough cut instead of a properly edited recording, I can't say that it was terribly upsetting to me personally. Stephen Rudnicki is such a wonderfully gifted narrater, it was interesting to hear his alternate inflections and retakes. But please, Blackstone, this is not podiobooks, you're getting paid, so next time review your work before selling it.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An Interesting Beginning to the Grand Tour

This was a nice slow-burn story that sets the stage for all of the turmoil that readers of Bova's other Grand Tour books will know is coming.

THE BAD:
A few of the characters are very one-note, to the point of breaking your immersion and wondering "Who would EVER do that?"
The overall message of "TOO MUCH GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT IS BAD FOR BUISINESS!" and "BIG BUSINESS IS CORRUPT AND DANGEROUS!" and "GOVERNMENT AND BUISNESS MUST WORK TOGETHER!" is wielded with all the subtly of a marching band going through your bedroom at 3 AM.

THE GOOD:
Bova, as usual, manages to smoothly weave an intricate tale with many multi-faceted factions, without ever needlessly bogging-down the pacing. While not the most action packed book, the story builds up slowly, but surely, to a satisfying conclusion, despite the weakness of some of the characters.

THE CONCLUSION:
If you've been wanting get into the Grand Tour books, you should definitely start here at the beginning. While there are certainly better books in the series, Powersat introduces so many characters and concepts that echo through all of the later stories to come, you would be do a disservice to yourself if you skipped it.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Horrible

This book has no idea what it wants to be and ends up being nothing.

I’m stopping a quarter of the way through since we’ve been told nothing about the space plane but have to listen instead to descriptions of every room anyone enters or listen to the protagonist whine because the girl doesn’t love him.

Yeesh

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Interesting twist

I quite enjoyed the ending, all through the story hours invested in some of the characters and I hoped that they would be a happy ending for all that twist at the end of the story was brilliant.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story great narration, great science

A concept much talk about, beaming energy from space via microwaves, woven into a mystery story and a tragic story of lose loves. All spiced up with the typical terrorist and greedy industrial oil giants. in fact lost of greed and wild ambition. The result a fast moving realistic tale and a great listen.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 04-15-14

Good stor (very poor edit)

What made the experience of listening to Powersat the most enjoyable?

The story itself, I like a techno thriller and this delivered on that well. But I find Stefan Rudnicki's voice to be very mono-tone which makes is a hard listen.

What didn’t you like about Stefan Rudnicki’s performance?

I found his voice to be very mono-tone, but the most annoying thing was the editing. There are at least 15 bad edits in this audiobook if not more. Many times a sentence or partial sentence is repeated, and in one case it was repeated twice. This is by far the worsted edited audiobook in my audible library of around 100 books.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mr E.
  • 11-25-21

Another one demonizing Muslims

I heard just the beginning which was promising until it turned out this is yet another piece of propaganda demonizing Muslims as people blinded by hatred and rage against the evil West - "the unbelievers". Such a sad cliche.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennifer
  • 05-03-22

Good political/scifi story.

had to put the speed up to 1.05 to make the narrator sound human.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Neve8
  • 03-25-22

Powersat

Unfortunately, I just could not finish this book. It’s way below par from the earlier books he has written. It’s so politically incorrect, sexist and what is this phrase " double damn and rain makes apple sauce"? I am British so maybe I am just not familiar with these phrases but it’s sounds idiotic to me. And by the way, women can be beautiful and very intelligent too . Not all Muslims ( not Maslim as badly pronounced by Stefan Rudnicki) are not all terrorist. If I can give this book nought star , I would have but alas, I can not.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Forestwalker
  • 03-23-22

Gave up after 2 hours

Strangely when I started listening to the sorry it sounded like the author has borrowed large parts of Elon Musks early life but being Ben Bova I thought "that can't be". As a historical piece of SciFi it is OK but some of the old enemies of the USA make you roll your eyes and people objecting to space flight and "we should be up there" had me giving up within minutes.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • SimonSpear
  • 02-23-22

This has not aged well

I’ve read Ben Bova titles in the past and decided to listen to this one as it is part of Audible’s Included library.

Set in a near future Earth and published in 2005, before the iPhone was released and prior to the last Space Shuttle launches I have to say that it really has not aged well at all.

The book has a decent plot, but is severely held back by two dimensional characters, outdated views on sex and race and as previously mentioned outdated “future” technology. Add to that the rather dire narration with dodgy accents (the Irish one in particular was cringeworthy) and numerous editing errors.

I’ll try some more of Bova’s books on Audible is the hope of enjoying them more than this one, but considering this is one of his higher rated titles I’m not overly optimistic!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Norma Miles
  • 02-23-22

"And rain makes apple sauce."

This is not a bad book, just rather wooden. The protagonists are, for the most part, unlikable and two dimensional so, consequently, also not really believable. The plot is similarly somewhat slow moving, interrupted as it is by a foolish, self defeating romance, speeding up to real thriller impact only in the last couple of hours of this thirteen and one half hours book. But the most annoying part was the frequent use of the saying, 'And rain makes apple sauce', (is this an actual saying or one made up for this book?) and the constant mild expletive, 'double damned'.
Narration by Stefan Rudnicki, whilst otherwise fine, his voice pleasantly deep, did his best to breathe life into the characters but his reading was also a little slow, best speeded up in playback to 1.2.

The microwave satellite sounds good, though.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Painter
  • 01-23-22

Well thought out plot

I couldn't listen to the whole book to be honest. The main character was repeatedly surprised by the beautiful women who also had brains. Who'd have thought a beautiful woman could be intelligent?! Felt pretty patronising. The plot is about industrial espionage, I had mistakingly thought it was a Sci-Fi, but I thought I'd give it a chance. I shouldn't have bothered.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alan
  • 01-22-22

Good book, good narration

Good book, good narratolion, but it could do with someone going through it again with an audio editor. There are snippets where the narrator has had two attempts at a line which haven't been cut out properly.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jasons sanders
  • 01-13-22

Unexpectedly good

Loved it, great story good characters give it a go it won’t disappoint.
Problem is it’s another set of books I’m going to have to buy.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Stuart
  • 02-23-22

813 minutes of book

If you are after one-dimensional characters and don't feel like thinking then this could be the book for you

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-17-22

long winded and boring

it takes way too long to get anywhere, about 15 chapters in they are still just talking about investigating a crash and talking about their jobs and love life.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-05-22

meh

meh
meh
hem
men
meh
ehm
meh
met
meh
emh
meh
me
meh
meh