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Saturn: A Novel of the Ringed Planet Mass Market Paperback – Aug 26 2004

3.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction; New title edition (Sept. 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812579429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812579420
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 3.4 x 17.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #498,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Too many characters with too many agendas vie for prestige and power en route to Saturn aboard the Space Habitat Goddard in Hugo winner Bova's middling follow-up to Jupiter (2001) and Venus (2002). Ten thousand intellectuals and scientists, mostly people who don't agree with the authoritarian regimes controlled by the religious fundamentalists who've taken over Earth's governments, have volunteered, been asked or been forced to leave on the long one-way journey. Among them are Malcolm Eberly, recruited by the Holy Disciples from a prison in Vienna with strict instructions to ensure the population chooses the path of righteousness. Eberly agrees to his covert task, confident he can impose his own rule, but he finds that gaining control is harder than he thought. Holy Disciple spies continually get in his way, while one of his subordinates murders for a promotion. Blackmail, subterfuge and another planned murder pile on top of Eberly's machinations to rig an election. Though Bova thoroughly explores human motivation and desires, readers will have a hard time figuring out who to root for-is Eberly a good guy or a bad guy?-and an even harder time caring about characters insufficiently fleshed out. Most memorable is the setting, the Goddard, with its echoes of the sailing ships that transported convicts to Botany Bay.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Bova continues his epic of solar system exploration by taking refugees from Earth's formidable fundamentalist theocracies on the long voyage to Saturn. The theocracies, by the way, continue as monoliths of villainy but are more in the background here than in Jupiter (2001). Bova's voyagers continue to be well-done archetypes for the most part, hardly as cliche-ridden as the characters in early space-advocacy fiction. The pacing is brisk, and lumps in the exposition are kept under control despite the temptations of yammering on about the technology necessary for the voyage and the wonders of Saturn's system. Regarding the latter, though--now that Arthur C. Clarke has retired and Charles Sheffield has departed, Bova is definitely the man to do justice to the astronomical marvels of the Saturnian system with its enormous potential as a second home for humanity, especially in the complex environments of its moons. Loud, prolonged applause, then, for the strengths of this book. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio Cassette
By the first quarter of the book I was starting to get annoyed with the characters. Those who profess to like this book must have no love for believable characters. Nevertheless, I slaved to the end of this book because I do not believe in commenting on a book without reading it all the way through (Pierre Bayard not withstanding).

For example, character X says to characters Y and Z, her friend and her bodyguard, "Hi, I found out who the murderer is and he's after me!" What do Y and Z do?


They don’t react at all to this stunning revelation. Not even a, “You’re crazy, that can’t be true!” They, in fact, merrily carry on their … actually, what exactly did they do for three years? Work in lab, test space suit, eat at the bistro? I’m shocked that there was only one murder on the voyage.

I don't even mind the religion bashing because it fits the societal background, but for a book about space exploration, there was almost no exploration at all. The only truly exciting character (Poncho) got left behind on the moon by Mr. Bova. Lucky for Poncho.

Gaarrghh! FB - -
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Format: Hardcover
. . .but certainly not his worst either -- and far better than the 3rd and 4th entries in the Clarke's "Rama" series.
After tackling the Moon (two or three times), Mars (twice), Venus and Jupiter, I suppose that Saturn was the next logical adventure. However, unlike the previous books (even "Venus" which I disliked) there is very little about Saturn actually in the book!
The book deals largely with an artificial habitat sent from Earth to Saturn, and the interactions and machinations of the persons living on that habitat. Once again, as in "Jupiter", Bova takes whacks at religious fundamentalism -- but without the benefit (or relief) of any sympathetic religious character. Issues of sex, politics, manipulation, and violence are played out -- with varying amounts of success. The life-form? eventually discovered
in the rings of Saturn are certainly more believable than the silliness in "Venus", but really are a bit far-fetched.
Passable, but certainly not extraordinary.
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Format: Hardcover
This book truly baffles me. I've read a bit of Ben Bova lately, and I can't quite comprehend why he did what he did with this book. I think that what's the best about Bova's books is his attention to scientific detail and his exploration of the sites of our solar system. However, in Saturn, all this stuff takes a back seat to a character story that isn't all that great. In fact, the title "Saturn" is most definitely a misnomer, as this book has very little at all to do with Saturn. In fact, they don't get to Saturn until the latter stages of the books, and don't even really TALK about Saturn until maybe 100 pages into the book.
The real focus of the story is the giant spaceborne habitat "Goddard" which, for some reasons unknown to us, is being sent to Saturn to be a colony there. Why, I'm still not sure. The story mostly follows Susie (Holly) Lane, Pancho Lane's sister come back to life due to a miracle of cryogenics... or something. I wish this was explained a little better, especially after it was set up in detail in The Precipice. The other main character is a recently released convict named Malcolm Eberly who strives to gain political control of the habitat.
To be blunt, the story starts off really slow. I kept waiting for Bova to get to the good stuff (i.e. the science and exploration), but it really never happened. The science takes a back seat, and unfortunately, the character story that drives the book is second-rate, at best. Granted, it did get better towards the end, and there was a bit of suspense added to make me care more for the characters. However, this is not one of Bova's best. Stick to the science next time, Ben.
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Format: Hardcover
I have -finally- finished plodding through Ben Bova's "Saturn". This latest installment in his Grand Tour story cycle is pretty predictible as it follows the ideas and tropes laid down by Heinlein (Orphans of the sky), Clarke (the Rama novels), Zebrowski (Brute Orbits), Benford (Heart of the Comet) and many others dealing with closed world environments.
I found none of the characters particularly engaging as they were either two dimentional (Vyborg and Urbain are classic examples) or paper thin, totally lacking in the complexities that define real people. The plot is one-dimensional - no complexity, no background, no color. The story arc was so predictable I was tempted to fast forward to the end. The inter-chapter science lessons were annoying and a very pale imitation of Pohl's Gateway.
Even the science was low-cal. There is some mention of nanotech, which might be Bova's latest interest - particularly as it pertains to human longevity, and that's about it. Passing references to orbital mechanics, life in Jupiter's atmosphere and on Titan do not add much as its so fleeting the reader might miss it rather than be snapped up short to wonder - Now what was that?
Finally, I find hard to believe that a future society that is exploiting Jupiter's atmosphere for rocket fuel, and can build a sturcture in space large enough to house 10,000 people and propel it to Saturn on a 2-3 year trajectory had not sent anybody to Saturn prior to the voyage of Goddard? That they would be the first ones to see the rings and Titan up close? Get real.
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