Survival: A Novel
Survival is the final volume of Ben Bova’s Star Quest Trilogy, after Death Wave and Apes and Angels. Humanity continues on its quest to save as many intelligent alien civilizations as it can; meanwhile the Death Wave – a huge pulse of gamma radiation – makes its deadly sweep through the universe, wiping out entire galaxies without hesitation.
Alexander Ignatiev is now commanding a new mission to investigate a planet where they hope to save any intelligent life. Their scanners show a desolate planet with no signs of life. Ignatiev, with a small team, takes a shuttle down to the surface. There, they find a planet very different than their scanners told them: lush and vibrant with life. They also encounter the dominant alien species of the planet.
They are not organic alien beings at all but intelligent computers. They were created by the original inhabitants of the planet who were wiped out by a previous death wave. The human visitors are welcomed until they wish to return to their ship. Then they are informed of the computers’ plans to keep them on the planet against their will because they are uncertain whether the humans will become intelligent enough in the future to overthrow them. And so begins a different form of war: one of the mind and strategy, as Igantiev must once again put his abilities to the test to try to save his people.
Like the previous novels, the characters are full and complete people but not necessarily that complex; the dialog is somewhat simple and to the point. Bova is not looking to overwhelm the reader with a heavy sci-fi epic, so things move fast, and the book can definitely be classed as a page-turner.