Saturn–Ben Bova

I was first introduced to Ben Bova about a decade ago by a friend at University. She lent me a book, I read it, gave my feedback, “seems fairly mediocre space trash soap opera” (I was insufferable, I know), and that was that. I knew that he was a purveyor of fairly popular space-themed science fiction. For a somewhat more detailed biography check out either his Wikipedia page or his Amazon page. He is ridiculously prolific, having written more than 120 works.

Summarising the blurb: “Earth groans under the thumb of fundamentalist political regimes. Crisis after crisis has given authoritarians the upper hand. Freedom and opportunity exist in space, for those with the nerve and skill to run the risks. Now the governments of Earth are encouraging many of their most incorrigible dissidents to join a great ark on a one-way expedition, twice Jupiter’s distance from the Sun, to Saturn, the ringed planet that baffled Galileo and has fascinated astronomers ever since. But humans will be human, on Earth or in the heavens-so amidst the idealism permeating Space Habitat Goddard are many individuals with long-term schemes, each awaiting the tight moment. And hidden from them is the greatest secret of all, the real purpose of this expedition, known to only a few….”

This was the paperback thrown in my bag whilst traveling last month (whilst I do prefer my Kindle Paperwhite 3G, sometimes you need a dead-tree backup). It was secondhand, and I recognised the author name, and that’s about all the motivation I need. Actually, sometimes that’s even more than I need!

The book was reasonable, but nothing exceptional. My rather rude comment about space trash soap opera probably holds true–we have a bunch of caricature characters who don’t really develop as the story progresses, a background of a space ship that doesn’t really add to the story it seems to only be present to provide a backdrop to the events that unfold. The story isn’t bad, but is rather a stretch to believe at times.

It’s light reading, the denouement proceeds fairly much as once would expect (with one rather small, jarring exception). It didn’t feel like time wasted, reading this, as I really don’t get an opportunity to read much hard science fiction.

It is available, of course, in a wide variety of formats via Amazon. For some inexplicable and rather irritating reason, I can’t link directly to the Kindle version. Here’s the paperback, and you can find the other versions from there.