Farside by Ben Bova (Tom Doherty Associates, 2013)

Farside is the latest novel from longtime science fiction writer and six-time Hugo Award winner Ben Bova. It takes place only 50 -75 years in the future, with appropriate nods in passing to the changes wrought on Earth by global warming. But the focus is on the Moon, where there is a colony called Selene and a new astronomy observatory on the farside (the side of the Moon that never sees the Earth). The main characters include a young astronomer starting her first professional job, an engineer struggling to keep his job, a nanotechnology researcher, and an older astronomer who is desperate for recognition. The point of view switches between the characters as they interact and compete in this unusual and dangerous milieu. This is the first novel I have read with the theme of nanotechnology going out of control (nano-sized holes can cause a lot of damage in an airless environment). I don’t think that nanotechnology is really as dangerous as portrayed here, but Bova certainly gives us something to think about as nanotechnology starts appearing in more and more applications in our present-day world.

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