Just Finished… #5

The Green Trap by Ben Bova

This is the second book I have read authored by Ben Bova. The book is noticeably smaller and less complicated than Titan (check out my review here). I can appreciate Bova’s change in style along with his ability to write across different genre.  It is my goal to do the same.

What I liked?

The Green Trap is a mystery based on the main character, Paul Cochrane, trying to find out who killed his brother.  The story didn’t stick to this one goal. Instead, it follows Paul as he tries to find out why his brother was killed and what to do with the information his brother discovered. I appreciated how the issues at hand came into focus. It is a skill Bova demonstrated in Titan. Some refer to it as a slow-build-up, but I think it is simply allowing the story to come into focus. Eventually, all the mysteries are solved, or rather resolved, and the story ends with a view of the world that is more real than I’d like.

The interspersed fictional and nonfictional articles from science magazines and news sources were a good touch as well. Some were a bit long, but they were integrated into the story to explain, add relevance the story, and make this fictional story believable.

What I didn’t care for?

There wasn’t much I could add to this list, but I do have one. The characters were referred to by their last name. The main character’s name is Paul Cochrane. Why not call him Paul? Instead of writing “replied Paul”, Bova would write “replied Cochrane”. Elena, another main character, was referred to as Sandoval. Her first name was mentioned in dialogue, but her last name was used when describing her actions. I know other authors do this, but this is the first time I’ve found myself disliking this method of naming the characters.

Words I had to look up?

There was only one in this story:

Desultory – marked by lack of definite plan, regularity, or purpose (source: Merriam-Webster)

Apparently, I do a lot of desultory activities, but never knew before this book.

Overall thoughts?

I liked the book. I was surprised to find the idea of the proposed use for cyanobacteria was not complete science fiction.  The scholarly articles published in 2005-6 may have been prompt for this novel.


by Angelique Grey


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