Thoughts on “The Aftermath”

Of the Ben Bova novels that I’ve read, “The Aftermath” is by far the worst.

The book is seemingly a continuation of previous works of his, covering what was called “The Asteroid Wars”. As usual, Bova creates an interesting world of asteroid mining and various colonies and the political situation between them that led to the wars. “The Aftermath” covers the, well, aftermath of the wars, which I suppose places it behind the 8-ball a bit for someone who hasn’t read any of the previous works covering it. The emotional connections won’t be there and so what’s in the book will have to carry things more than normal and than expected. However, it seems to me that the book’s flaws would still hold for people who have read the previous works.

The problem is that the book has too little plot for people who aren’t already invested in the world but too much for those who just wanted to see a resolution to hanging plot threads from the previous works. The book starts by following a family that is caught in the war itself, with their huge mining spaceship being damaged, the father separated from his wife and relatively young (teenage) family, and the ship itself being sent off into an orbit that will take years for them to return. And while showing the effects of growing up in such a desperate situation could be interesting — Piers Anthony’s “Bio of a Space Tyrant” does this in the first book to show how that impacts our budding space tyrant — the book doesn’t actually follow that at all. Instead, it flips between that plot and the father’s attempts to find them, as well as the attempt of the person responsible for that massacre to atone, as well as the influence of the strange artifact that was clearly introduced in an earlier work, the story of the commander tasked with killing the atoner and how a member of his crew works for the person who wants to kill the atoner and not for him, space pirates, and the son of the person who wants to kill the atoner who wants to take over. There are far too many threads here that seem be being developed mostly new to just be the resolution of dangling threads, especially in how they are presented.

All of these threads come together later, but in a way that doesn’t seem like a natural or destined arrangement but instead completely by chance, which weakens them and makes the arrangement of them far too convenient. But most damningly, they aren’t particularly interesting. There are interesting aspects to every thread, but none of them get properly developed and most of them don’t even get resolved, which is definitely a no-no if he wanted to resolve plot threads. And when they are brought together pointless conflict is created that gets resolved in an uninteresting manner.

So, overall, the book just isn’t very interesting. The characters aren’t developed enough to make them interesting but too much time is spent on their development to just treat them as characters brought forward from the other works in the series. The plot threads aren’t developed enough to be interesting but, again, too much time is spent on developing them for me to think that I’m just missing things from not having read the previous works. For the most part, the book just isn’t very interesting.

One Response to “Thoughts on “The Aftermath””

  1. Overall Thoughts on Ben Bova … | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] works my overall impression is that they were … okay. The only one that I really hated was “Aftermath”, while the others ranged from “Good” to […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: