The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate. Spaceships do.
A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: Whatever built that ship is at least one hundred years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out.
The race is on, and an remarkable adventure begins—an epic tale of courage, treachery, resourcefulness, secrets, surprises, and astonishing human and technological discovery, as the members of a hastily thrown-together crew find their strength and wits tested against adversaries both of this earth and beyond. What happens is nothing like you expect—and everything you could want from one of the world’s greatest masters of suspense. – Goodreads Synopsis
Saturn Run Review
Up to probably just past the halfway point in Saturn Run (which I listened to, not read), I really liked this book. There were interesting characters, intrigue, enough science to satisfy my thirst for hard sci-fi, and just enough possibilities to really keep my interest. I really expected to be giving this book a top rating. It was just that good.
Unfortunately, by the end of the book, I was scowling and ready to throw it. I’ve never read Sanford before, so I went into this with no expectations whatsoever. The only thing I knew was that he was building up an awesome story, and it was a pleasure to listen to. That’s why I was completely puzzled at how the book ended. It didn’t end anything like I expected. It was almost like the first part of the book and the last part were written by two different people. Or maybe Sanford and Ctein just hit a certain point, and said “Eh, screw it” and just gave it an ending so it would be done. I don’t get it.
My favorite parts of the book were the main characters themselves, and the science explained in the spaceships early on. The characters were awesome. You had the pudgy, sweet-looking genius from Minnesota who had to practice her stern face because otherwise no one would take her seriously. The ex-NFL player who cooked cajun, smoked weed, and gave anthropology lectures and refused to go anywhere- even to space – without his cat. The veteran with PTSD who preferred to play the underdog and let everyone underestimate him. The interactions were fantastic, and the dialogue made me chuckle. The science was well-explained, fun to imagine, and seemingly realistic in scope. So why did it all pretty much have to disappear?
Why was it assumed that the Americans would do what they did? Why did the novel have to come down to essentially just the race between the Chinese and Americans? The authors could have went for this epic, overarching exploration of working together to further humanity as a whole. They could have made the novel so much more than it was. Instead, what it boiled down to was a “I want it!” “No, I want it!” “I got here first!” “You need to share!” “No.” “YES!” “No!” “YES!” “No! NEENER NEENER NEENER!” “We’ll see about that!” If I wanted to read about relationships that basic, I’d pick up one of my kid’s Junie B. Jones books.
Overall, Saturn Run honestly wasn’t a bad book, but it definitely doesn’t reach the bar that it set for itself, and it definitely frustrates rather than intrigues you. Its not one I could honestly recommend. However, the narrator (Eric Conger) was awesome and he has definitely entered onto my short list of narrators to look for when choosing audio books.
Book Details for the Saturn Run Review