Grand Tour

The Grand Tour is a series of novels written by American science fiction author Ben Bova. The novels present a theme of exploration and colonization of the Solar System by humans in the late 21st century. Most of the books focus on the exploration of one particular planet or planetary moon. Several recurring themes are presented throughout the series. In particular, most of the Solar System bodies whose exploration is the focus of a particular novel are presented as having life, either past or present. Many of the expeditions which explore the planets run into serious difficulty. The protagonists of most of these books are presented as initially weak and/or lacking in ability or confidence, and as part of surviving the trials of the story become heroic. The future humanity as depicted in the Grand Tour novel series is divided between Greens (environmentalists) and wealthy industrialists, as well as between secularists/scientists and religious fundamentalists. These conflicts generally are presented as part of the background and often set up the initial conflicts of each of the books. In addition, several of the books reference, or indeed directly deal with, conflicts between wealthy industrialists and small, independent operators seeking to exploit the Solar System's vast untapped mineral wealth. A major theme of the series, which takes center stage in several of the novels, is the search for life on other planets in the Solar System. Mars, Mars Life, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Titan, and Leviathans of Jupiter all deal with this issue. The discovery of life in the Solar System often leads to conflicts between religious fundamentalists and scientists, with the former seeing the existence of such life as conflicting with their religious doctrines. While each novel can be read independent of the others, and they can be read in any order, there are distinct story arcs within the series. The Moonbase arc (which may also include the Asteroid Wars arc), the Mars books, and the Saturn books, for instance, comprise various sagas within the series.
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