I'm searching for the title of a science fiction book that I read as a teenager. We follow a man who takes up his father's challenge, a space race to find the corpse of his older brother. During his travel, his ship is "destroyed" by a kind of cloud which feeds on the metal of the ship. In the end, the hero managed to find his brother's corpse, and we learn that his biological father is some sort of Captain Nemo who died in that same space race.

I believe the author is a respected science fiction writer. I think it's a space opera.

  • 1
    Welcome to SFF! This is a nice description and overview of the story. However, can you remember any more of the specific plot points? What makes it a race, for example? Can you also specify when you were a teenager so we can narrow down the time range? If you want to change anything in the question or add more details please edit your question to do so. You may also want to take the tour to learn more about how this question and answer site works.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jun 1, 2021 at 10:22

1 Answer 1


Venus (2000) by Ben Bova fits the description.

From the Wiki plot summary:

Martin Humphries is the head of the giant Humphries Space Systems and at his 100th birthday party announces a prize of ten billion dollars to anyone who can recover any remains of his eldest son Alex. Alex was killed two years previously on a mission to Venus

His younger son takes on the challenge and travels to Venus in a balloon type thing, which does get destroyed by metal-eating life forms.

They transfer to another ship run by Lars, a Nemo-like person (well, an authoritarian captain anyway), and eventually recover the brother's remains. It also turns out that Lars is the real father.

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