What happens when an alien spaceship is seen docking with something in Saturn orbit? Well, that’s the question that Saturn Run by John Sandford & Ctein aims to answer. It’s the year 2066 and the race on to reach Saturn and discover just what the mysterious alien craft rendezvoused with before leaving the solar system. With the US and China at odds with one another, each commits their resources to develop and employ technology to get them there first, and each hopeful to stake their claim on whatever awaits them. But politics, planning, and back-stabbing prove to be the ultimate driving force behind both the race to Saturn, the discovery, and subsequent return to Earth.
With a story pulled along by the simple idea of a race to a destination, Saturn Run manages to combine all the elements you could ask for in a science fiction novel. It’s part hard-SF, part character focused, part political thriller, yet it pulls all aspects together to present a coherent whole. Sandford and Ctein have taken the age-old idea of first contact, giving an episodic telling of events up to and beyond said contact, yet turned it into more than the sum of its parts. A blast from start to finish, Saturn Run is definitely a fun read that has plenty of science meat on its fiction bones. Recommended.