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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Saturn Run by John Sandford and Ctein

Saturn RunSaturn Run by John Sandford

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb: 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.

Read as an audiobook. Narrated by Eric Conger, who has also read the Virgil Flower's series by John Sandford. I absolutely love Conger's voice, but for the first half hour or so my brain kept trying to stick Virgil in space, which gave me the giggles big time. Which meant I had to re-listen to the first 30 minutes. Which wasn't helped by Sanders - Sandy - Darlington kinda looking and acting like Virgil.

So I didn't get off to a good start on this book and I still get the giggles.

The library also had this advertised as an 8 disk set. Imagine my surprise when it showed up as 13 disks. And only two weeks to "read" - I had to upload it to my iPod to finish it.

This next complaint is totally my quirk - there was too much scientific exposition in the first half of the book. One of my issues with some scifi is the author(s) spend a great deal of time telling me how a heating exchange unit works, and how the reactor is going to vent heat into space where the particulates will be captured and recycled and so on and so forth. So I found a goodly portion of this book reading like a science manual with a thin veneer of fiction. It was a matter of letting the words wash over me as the brain checked out.

Ultimately, I found this to be a tedious read. More than once I thought about just ending the book as I never really did find myself engaged. I didn't care who got to Saturn first. I didn't care if they got home. I didn't care what the Chinese did or didn't do to the Americans. When the Nixon suffered her first personnel loss, I was ambivalent. So the Chinese were plotting to take over the Nixon - go for it, it would make the story more interesting.

I, basically, just. didn't. care. for the entire first half of the book.

Then the next quarter of the book became moderately more interesting and I let the story spool out, finger hovering over the kill switch as I debated about sticking in a different audio book.

The last quarter of the book grabbed my attention and held it. This is where the story really culminated, where it finally hit its stride and it was running. There are some great twists and turns in those final chapters as everything plays out.

So I really don't know what to say about this book. I ran through the whole gamut from bored, to mediocre interest, to "that's cool"!    Was putting up with the tedious first half worth the ending?  Maybe?  It'll depend on if you like a lot of science in your fiction. 

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