The Kinsman Saga is by far my favorite Ben Bova Book. If you don't read any of the others, read this one, please!
The Kinsman Saga was started by Ben Bova back in 1949-1950, as the US and Russia were in the throes of the Cold War, the space race has yet to start, but the idea is already in his head. Millenium, the basis of the Kindman Saga, was originally published in 1976. And in 1987, he took all the peices he had been writing and setting aside, or publishing in pieces, and combined them into this one volume, The Kinsman Saga. This is an epic story, taking place over Chet Kinsman's career starting as a 21 year old pilot, and culminating in 1999, at the Millenium at the United Nations. The significance of that date is perfectly logical based on the story and when and how it was written.
The basic premise of the book is very simple - we need to get to the moon and colonize it. And we need to live there, with other nations and races, in peace, with no interference from the politics and policies of earth and her continuing problems. Chet Kinsman's contributions to the Moon missions, his political stand with the Russians, and his committment to the people of the moon-based colony is what drives this story.
The development of the individual characters in this book is so well done - I could not put it down. So very quickly into this book, you buy into Chet's mission; his total dedication to the process of freedom and independence is key to the entire story.
There is a very serious and personal investment by Ben Bova in this story, His experiences back in the 50's thru the Cold War, the conceptulaization and early development of the Star Wars Defense Initiative, lasers, trips to the moon, the Chinese and the Russians, are all interwoven into Chet Kinsmans story. Being a child of that generation, I realized there was a great deal I missed, or didn't care about at the time.
This book is a commentary on our times - very difficult growing pains - global change - technological leaps and bounds that take us closer and closer to the stars. So much of what Bova wrote about back in the mid-70's, although not exactly realized to date, are on the horizon. We are so close to getting there, if we could just move beyond all the problems we have, globally and in our own backyards. It would not hurt the powers that be of today, and the youngsters who will be the leaders of tomorrow, to read this, and hope that the dream does not die.
So, if you are interested in a vision of our real future, and the path we followed to get to where we are today, I highly recommend this book. It is not fluff - it is serious. But it will make you think, and ask questions. And will give hope that we can truly get to the stars in our lifetime without killing all of us.
Title: The Kinsman Saga