Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Saturn Run by John Sandford and Ctein

Once in a while you take a flyer on something new, and it turns out to be a nice experience. Such is the case with this book. John Sandford is well know for his "Prey" series of suspenseful mysteries, and I've read a couple of those randomly, so I knew he was a decent writer. Ctein I'd never heard of. Turns out he's an internationally know photography expert with degrees in English and Physics, and he seems to bring a good deal of that knowledge to the project. Indeed, one of the primary characters becomes the videographer for the U.S. expedition to Saturn, which is the whole point of the book, the title, and so forth.

This is some good old-fashioned hard SF, with a minimum of magical handwaving regarding the technology necessary to successfully make a trip to Saturn survivable about five decades from now. A rich dilettante, Sandy, is working in an astronomy facility in California, more interested in surfing and seducing women than watching the stars. So everyone is quite surprised when he is the first to discover an anomaly out near the orbit of Saturn - a massive alien spacecraft on a rendezvous with an artificial moonlet.

There's a bit more to Sandy than meets the eye, and he ends up with what appears to be a plum job when the expedition gets on its way to investigate the aliens and especially to beat the Chinese space ship to the prize.

A good plot, fun characters, and some believable fictional science.

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