Saturn Run Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
For fans of The Martian, an extraordinary new thriller of the future from number one New York Times - best-selling and Pulitzer Priz - winning author John Sandford and internationally known photo-artist and science fiction aficionado Ctein.
Over the course of 37 books, John Sandford has proven time and again his unmatchable talents for electrifying plots, rich characters, sly wit, and razor-sharp dialogue. Now, in collaboration with Ctein, he proves it all once more, in a stunning new thriller, a story as audacious as it is deeply satisfying.
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 100 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.
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|Listening Length||16 hours and 35 minutes|
|Author||John Sandford Ctein|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 06, 2015|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #9,323 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#119 in Action Thriller & Suspense Fiction
#359 in Adventure Science Fiction
#963 in Suspense (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in the United States on November 2, 2015
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Top reviews from the United States
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It turns out that the collaboration worked out very well, thank you, and what resulted was slightly "Sandfordesque" but not very. And that's not a bad thing. Sandford's other books are marked by a very strong main character. This book required that no single main character dominate the plot, and the book does not suffer for it. There are a lot of people involved in the trip to Saturn, in the US ship, the Chinese ship, and back on Earth, and all of them influence each other. However, every once in a while a turn of phrase pops up that says "John Sandford."
I've been a an avid reader of science fiction, especially what is often called "hard" science fiction, for over fifty years. (I started young.) From Heinlein and Asimov to Niven and Pournelle to Stephen Baxter, if it has a reasonable extrapolation of scientific principles in the story, I probably will like it at least somewhat. Other "mainstream" authors have tried their hand at science fiction, generally with mediocre results. It seems that hard SF writers come from technical or scientific fields first, then learn to write. They don't start writing murder mysteries and then learn physics.
So Sandford's collaboration with Ctein, who apparently took great pains constructing plausible interplanetary spacecraft, propulsion only a little beyond current technology, and real orbital mechanics, made this book enjoyable. Some people may find the explanations of how the USS Nixon (yes, that's the ship's name) operates to be too much physics for them. Fine - but skip sections at your peril, because it's a novel set on a spaceship, and problems with the ship drive significant chunks of the plot. How much of the actual writing of the book each author did is hard to determine, except in a few places. None of those spots interrupt the reader's enjoyment.
I'm sure other reviewers will discuss the setup of the plot in detail. I'm only writing this review so that those who like hard SF will give it a read, despite being written by a "mainstream" author, and so that Sandford fans will also pick it up even though it doesn't feature their favorite characters from his other series.
Probably the only gripe I have is that the novel is set 50 years in the future, but it's a future where not that much has changed. If we think back to 1965, the advancement of technology and the huge changes in the geopolitical landscape since are hard to believe. We don't even talk like we did back then in general conversation. So many of the terms that are common in our day-to-day vocabulary - "google it," "I'm watching it on my phone," and so forth, would make our normal conversations pretty difficult for a time traveler from 1965 to follow. Sandford and Ctein have not cluttered the dialog with much "futurespeak," so the events seem to be taking place in the very near future instead of 50 years from now. What will the world really be like in 2066? Perhaps not much like the world of "Saturn Run," but we can understand and relate to the characters in the book better if they seem more like us. And people don't really change, do they?
All in all, a surprisingly good collaboration, and a pretty good hard SF yarn.
This book is full of surprises — so many that merely to summarize the plot would be to spoil the story. Suffice it to say that this tale, which begins in the year 2067, describes humanity’s first contact with civilization from beyond the Solar System. However, Saturn Run is “hard” science fiction, based on proven science and engineering, with as little speculation as possible.
Because of Sandford’s skill in plotting and character development, the novel is a superior example of the genre. However, for a klutz like me with zero mechanical ability and only the most rudimentary understanding of science, I found myself getting bogged down in what seemed to be interminable passages about the technical side of the story. Sandford and Ctein could have been a lot kinder to general readers like me by taking a red pencil to most of that and compressing the book into a shorter and faster-moving story.
John Sandford — a pen name for John Roswell Camp — is one of America’s best-selling crime writers. He’s the author of forty-two novels and three books of nonfiction (Sandford is a former journalist). Ctein, who looks like a refugee from Game of Thrones, is a photographer (he calls himself an artist) and an English and Physics graduate of CalTech who has written more than 500 articles.
In a lengthy Authors’ Note at the conclusion of Saturn Run, the two men go into considerable detail to explain the scientific basis of virtually all the technical aspects of their novel. Apparently, Sandford had the original idea for the novel, and Ctein supplied the scientific know-how. I got the impression that Sandford bent over backwards to give Ctein equal time — or, rather, an equal number of pages. The book could have benefited greatly from a less even-handed division of labor.
The ridiculously fragile design of the protagonists’ spacecraft demonstrates the authors’ believe in the moon landing conspiracy theory. (Think tin foil aerospace construction).
Tied to that is the conspiracy theory that we haven’t bothered with space exploration since. They even reference this fun non-fact in an author’s note at the end of the book. Where do these guys get their news, Fox and CNN?! Seriously?!
With endless world-wide UFO sightings since 1945, our government still pretends we’re too stupid to know they’ve developed flying disk technology and underhandedly perpetuates the ET explanation.
But Ctein and Sandford can’t be that ignorant. This tells me that they are intentionally misleading, so maybe they work for Fox or CNN or the government…does it smell Spooky in here or is it just me?
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Well it almost did. This is a well written book but with two major problems. The First one is that if you write a book about first contact you should consider that an event like that is huge and will be the focus of the story. But not in this book. This book is about a very long space journey to and from Saturn and the focus is on how the spaceship works and the problems with that. Then the story shifts and you have problems between a US and a Chinese space mission. Aliens? First contact? Well that is almost like a non-event in the story. The Part concerning that is almost like a parody on first contact and is more or less a back ground event to the main story.
The Second problem is that you just can't take people from mystery stories and make them scientists, astronauts and politicians. But John Sandford has done just that. The Dialogue between people is the same as in one of his mystery stories (where it works splendidly) and you keep thinking how it is possible that this could be the best of humanity. The President of the United States, a female one this time, reminds me more of a certain numbers of sergeant-majors that I have known but with even more foul language. I have never heard anyone in my life use words like that about children and I spent my whole life in the army.
The Story is also far to long since almost nothing happens before contact.
I hesitate to give three stars but it is not badly written just at times boring and with the wrong focus. I will continue to read John Sandfords books but should he publish a SF one again I will wait for all reviews and think twice before I buy it.