Delta V

Category: Fiction
Reviewed by: Susan Raizer
Title: Delta-V
Author: Daniel Suarez
NSS Amazon link for this book
Format: Hardcover/Kindle
Pages: 448
Publisher: Dutton
Date: April 2019
Retail Price: $28.00/$9.99
ISBN: 978-1524742416

Delta-V is the sixth book written by New York Times bestselling author, Daniel Suarez. It is a novel about the hopes and dreams of a billionaire to establish the first deep space mining operation on a near-Earth asteroid in space. If successful, the operation would dramatically change the face of space-based business endeavors. The title of the book refers to the change in velocity needed to break free of the Earth and journey into space.

The author, Danie Suarez, was a former systems consultant to some of the major Fortune 1000 companies. Prior to the publication of the subject book, he authored Daemon, Freedom, Kill Decision, Influx and Change Agent. His books are science fiction suspense novels that center on high-tech innovations.

The book opens with the latest exploits of James Tighe, who has chosen to be a cave diver rather than settle down in an established job. He is good at what he does and has a strong commitment to his passion. He is startled to receive an invitation from Nathan Joyce, the billionaire. He reluctantly accepts the invitation for a meeting on Mr. Joyce’s private island. In the meeting the billionaire explains that every adventure has a monetary cost that will ensure success. The billionaire offers our protagonist the opportunity to train for a year and then to go into space on the mining mission. If he agrees, he will receive a large signing bonus and be very favorably compensated for his work. Tighe accepts the offer and this begins a year-long training both on land and under the ice in Antarctica for Tighe and numerous other candidates, all with defined and established skills in such diverse areas as the military, base jumpers, mountain climbers, former astronauts and cosmonauts, scientists and engineers. The program both pits the candidates against each other as well as makes them entirely reliant on their co-applicants for survival. The candidates are slowly reduced in number either for lack of commitment or difficulty in putting up with the physical and mental requirements. Once the training is completed, the final candidates are chosen and will then be launched into space.

While the training is continuing, the reader learns that the billionaire has not been totally honest in his endeavors to be the first person to open a mining operation in space. Instead of going through the proper legal and engineering processes, he has secretly built his spaceship and hidden it beyond the Moon. The surviving candidates are launched to the spaceship, the Konstantin, which travels to the asteroid. The mission will last four years as that will be the time it takes for the asteroid and Earth to be in conjunction to make possible a return to Earth by the miners. The miners soon learn that the mission is not what they were told it would be and also learn of the harsh conditions and lack of support from controllers on Earth. Several of the crew die through various mishaps and the remaining crew comes to the realization that they were never meant to come home. Nevertheless, they perform their duties as agreed and begin to send materials back to Earth.

When Nathan Joyce commits suicide, it was learned that he is bankrupt and in violation of a myriad of ethical and costly legal issues. When his various business holdings are seized, Earth first learns about the mining operation and then forgets about the miners. In addition, the miners are attacked by another group of explorers who know nothing of their operation. The confrontation proves deadly to some of the crew. Eventually, with the assistance of some of their former handlers, the crew devises a way for some of the crew to get home, marooning two of their complement on the spaceship with the hope of a future rescue mission.

The book contains illustrations of their ship, the mining robots they use for their operations, and their utility vehicles that protect them when they must descend to the asteroid. The book also contains a bibliography for further study.

This reviewer recommends Delta-V to National Space Society members for several reasons. First, the book is well-written and keeps the reader’s interest. Second, the description of the state-of-the art technological equipment is fascinating. Third, there is a segment of the book that deals with all the legal ramifications that are needed to maintain a viable company and build and operate in outer space, which was very interesting to this reviewer. Fourth, with all the private contractors now operating in the space arena, it provides the reader with an in-depth education in the legal, political and ethical realties that these companies now face if they want to continue working in space.

© 2022 Susan Raizer

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