Review: Sam Gunn Jr. by Ben Bova

☆☆➹⁀☆ 2 stars☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

The final completed novel by Ben Bova

Intergalactic explorer, venture capitalist, and Casanova Sam Gunn may be gone, but his legacy lives on in his son, Sam Gunn Jr.

In his first-ever adventure, Sam Gunn Jr. sets off to fulfill his father’s left-behind mission of interplanetary enterprising. He soon learns his father’s shoes are tough to fill, but he is up for the task. Junior takes a journey through the stars, falling in love with beautiful women and leaving his unique mark everywhere he ventures. Soon, however, this trip through the universe takes a dangerous turn when Junior lands on Saturn and learns about a recent scientific discovery that will change everything, possibly forever.

Will he be able to save the universe and live up to his father’s name? 



Guest Reviewer Natalia’s Thoughts:

Sam Gunn Jr. is an old-school Sci-Fi novel that takes the ideals of the ‘Wild West’ and ‘Frontier Culture’ to Outer Space and the future development of the Solar System. 

This is the first Sci-Fi novel that I have ever read, so I found the first few chapters engaging enough to keep me entertained. However, mid-way though the book, when descriptive space travel took over, the plot seemed to disappear into a black hole.  The ‘plot twists’ made no sense to me, and that could be opportunistic scene jumping or my lack of experience reading Sci-Fi.  I would have appreciated more character development as well as some continuity in characters included through the book.  Sam Gunn Jr. reads like an anthology of short stories that were edited together to make a novel, and if that is the case, the author’s “swan song”, doesn’t do him justice. 

I appreciated the book as a satire on capitalistic space race culture, but Sam Gunn Jr. did not convert me to a Sci-Fi reader.


About the Author: Ben Bova was born on November 8, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bova was an avid fencer and organized Avco Everett’s fencing club. He was an environmentalist, but rejected Luddism.

Bova was a technical writer for Project Vanguard and later for Avco Everett in the 1960s when they did research in lasers and fluid dynamics. It was there that he met Arthur R. Kantrowitz later of the Foresight Institute. In 1971 he became editor of Analog Science Fiction after John W. Campbell’s death. After leaving Analog, he went on to edit Omni during 1978-1982. In 1974 he wrote the screenplay for an episode of the children’s science fiction television series Land of the Lost entitled “The Search”. Bova went back to school in the 1980s, earning an M.A. in communications in 1987 and a Ph.D. in 1996.

Bova was the author of over a hundred and fifteen books, non-fiction as well as science fiction. In 2000, he was the Author Guest of Honor at the 58th World Science Fiction Convention (Chicon 2000).

Hollywood has started to take an interest in Bova’s works once again, in addition to his wealth of knowledge about science and what the future may look like. In 2007, he was hired as a consultant by both Stuber/Parent Productions to provide insight into what the world is to look like in the near future for their upcoming film “Repossession Mambo” (released as “Repo Men”) starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker and by Silver Pictures in which he provided consulting services on the feature adaptation of Richard Morgan’s “Altered Carbon”.

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