The Sam Gunn Omnibus

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-04-14
  • Publisher: Tor Books

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A hero without peer or scruples, Sam Gunn has a nose for trouble, money, and womenthough not necessarily in that order. A man with the ego (and stature) of a Napoleon, the business acumen of a P. T. Barnum, and the raging hormones of a teenage boy, Sam is the finest astronaut NASA ever trained... and dumped. More than money and women, Sam Gunn loves justice. Whether he's suing the Pope, helping twin sisters entangled in the virtual sex trade, or on trial for his life on charges of interplanetary genocide, you can be sure of one thing: this is one space jockey who'll meet every challenge with a smile on his lips, an ace up his sleeve...and a weapon in his pocket. This Omnibus presents all of the tales of Sam Gunn to date, including three never before collected in book form. Here is the entire chronicle of Sam Gunn, trailblazer and scoundrel, as he scams his way from one end of the Solar System to the other, giving bold new meaning to the term venture capitalist .

Author Biography

A six-time winner of the Hugo Award, a former editor of Analog, former editorial director of Omni, and past president of the National Space Society and the Science Fiction Writers of America, Ben Bova is the author of more than a hundred works of science fact and fiction. He lives in Florida.

Table of Contents

“By far the science fiction author who will have the greatest effect on the science fiction world, and the world as a whole, is Ben Bova.”—Ray Bradbury

“Lovers of SF romance and adventure will welcome Hugo-winner Ben Bova’s The Sam Gunn Omnibus, which collects all the tales featuring his iconoclastic astronaut hero.” —Publishers Weekly

“Bova has ambitiously and deftly created a three-in-one narrative that satisfies any and all readerly desires to see the life of his signature rogue assembled into coherent form…. Bova has successfully added to the storehouse of a particularly American folklore. Sam Gunn is Mike Fink and Paul Bunyan (although their opposite in size), Rockefeller and Carnegie, Sam Slick and Penrod, the plucky protagonists from Horatio Alger and the irreverent ones from Mark Twain. His exploits…are new manifestations of an eternal archetype in the American psyche.” —SciFi Weekly

“Done with an engaging degree of humour. Sam’s boundless energy is quite endearing. More importantly, behind it all there is Bova’s grand design laid out….This old-fashioned, yet likeable, volume is a great encapsulation of Bova’s writings over the past thirty years or so. Written in a style likely to appeal to fans of Heinlein or possibly John Varley, it can perhaps be seen as an entertaining alternate history these days. A lot of fun.” —


Selene City
THE STORY OF SAM GUNN IS INEXTRICABLY INTERWOVEN with the story of a beautiful, vulnerable, and determined young woman. Knowing Sam, you would expect she was an object of his rabid testosterone-fed sex drive (or, as Shakespeare put it, the bottomless cistern of his lust).
But you'd be wrong.
She likes to be called Jade, although her name is actually Jane. Jane Avril Inconnu. Sometimes new acquaintances mistake that last name for Romanian, although her flame-red hair and dazzling green eyes speak of more northern and flamboyant lands. She will tolerate such misunderstandings--when there is some advantage to being tolerant.
She received her name from the Quebecois surgeon who adopted her as a foundling at the old original Moonbase, back when that precarious settlement was civilization's rugged frontier. There were no pediatricians on the Moon; the surgeon happened to be on duty when the female infant, red-faced and squalling, was discovered in the corridor just outside the base's small hospital. No more than a few days old, the infant had been placed in a plastic shipping container, neatly bundled and warmly blanketed. And abandoned. Who the baby's mother might be remained a mystery, even though Moonbase hardly supported more than two hundred men and women in those days, plus a handful of visitors.
Her adopted mother's name was Jane, the month was April, andinconnuis the French word for "unknown." So the orphaned baby girl became Jane Avril Inconnu, raised alone by the surgeon for the first four years of her life.
By the time the surgeon's five-year contract with Moonbase was completed and she was due to return to Montreal, the medical staff--which doted on the little girl--had discovered that Jane Avril suffered from a congenital bone defect, a rare inability to manufacture sufficient amounts of calcium. Neither exercise nor medicine could help. Although she could walk and run and play normally in the gentle gravity of the Moon, on Earth she would be a helpless cripple, confined to a wheelchair or a mechanicalexoskeleton, in constant danger of snapping her brittle, fragile bones.
Her adopted mother bravely decided to remain with the child, but then the news came from Montreal that her own mother was gravely ill, dying. Torn between the generations, the woman returned to Earth, promising to return soon, soon. She never did. There were family obligations on Earth, and later a husband who wanted children of his own.
Jane Avril remained at Moonbase, orphaned once again, raised by a succession of medical personnel at the hospital. Some were warm and loving, some were distant and uncaring. A few were actually abusive now and then.
Moonbase grew, over those years, into the city called Selene. The frontier of civilization crept across the battered old face of the Moon and expanded into cislunar space, where great habitats were built in the dark emptiness to house hundreds of thousands of people. Explorers reached out to Mars, and then farther. Entrepreneurs, some wildly reckless, some patient and cunning, began to reap the wealth of space. Fortunes were built on lunar mining, on power satellites to feed the energy hungers of Earth, on prospecting the metals and minerals of the asteroids.
Of all those daring and dashing fortune-seekers, the first, the most adventurous, the best known of them all was Sam Gunn. As she grew into young womanhood, Jane Avril heard endless stories about Sam Gunn and the fortunes he had found in space. Found and lost. For Sam was more impetuous and unpredictable than a solar storm. Long before Jane Avril acquired the nickname Jade, Sam Gunn was already a living legend.
She could not consider herself beautiful, despite the gorgeous red hair and those dazzling green eyes that gave her the sobriquet. She was small, just a shade over one hundred sixty-five centimeters tall. Her figure was slim, elfin, almost childlike. Her face was just a trifle too long and narrow to suit her, although she could smile very prettily when she wanted to. She seldom did.
Being raised as an orphan had built a hard shell of distrust around her. She knew from painful experience that no relationship ever lasted long, and it was foolish to open her heart to anyone.
Yet that heart of hers was a romantic one. Inside her protective crust was a yearning for adventure and love that would not die, no matter how sternly she tried to repress it. She dreamed of tall handsome men, bold heroes with whom she would travel to the ends of the solar system. She wanted with all her heart to get free of the dreary monotony of Selene,with its gray underground corridors and its unending sameness every day, year after year.
She knew that she was forever barred from Earth, even though she could see its blue beautiful glory shining at her in the dark lunar sky. Earth, with all its teeming billions of people and its magnificent cities and oceans of water so deep and blue and raging wild. Selene was a cemetery by comparison. She had to get away, to fly free, anywhere. If she could never set foot on Earth, there were still the great habitats at the Lagrangian points, and the bridge ships plying out toward Mars, the rugged frontier of the Asteroid Belt, and beyond, to the deadly beautiful dangers of the gas giant worlds.
Such were her dreams. The best she could do, though, was to get a job as a truck driver up on the dusty dead lunar surface.
But still she dreamed. And waited for her opportunity.
Copyright © 2007 by Ben Bova

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