Book review: “Saturn Run” by John Sandford and Ctein

Basic Info

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Summary

In the year 2066, a spaceship is spotted entering orbit around the planet Saturn. The world’s major superpowers, the United States and China, race to be the first to get to Saturn in the hopes of gaining access to alien tech that would be years – maybe centuries – ahead of anything on earth. Two very different ships set out, one Chinese and one American. What they will find at Saturn and whether either crew will ever return intact is unknown.

Meanwhile, back on earth, the political machines of both the Americans and the Chinese have agendas that may well prove more dangerous than anything the explorers may encounter in space.

Thoughts

I read this book because it was recommended to me as being similar to The Martian by Andy Weir. I was disappointed. While there was some science, the book focused more on politics, especially between the United States and China (in the future years of 2066-68). Only a handful of the characters got fleshed out enough to come to life, and I found most of them unlikeable. This is the only book I’ve read by John Sandford, so I can’t say how it compares to the rest of his work. The concept behind the story is very interesting, and I appreciate the hard work that must have gone into making the science plausible, but I found the story itself to be somewhat dull and the characters and plot frustrating.

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Book review: The Positronic Man by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg

Basic Info:

  • Title: The Positronic Man
  • Authors: Isaac Asimov; Robert Silverberg
  • Published: 1992(UK); 1993(US) by DoubleDay
  • My source: Public library

 

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Summary:

Several hundred years in the future there are nearly as many robots on earth as there are humans. Andrew Martin is a robot of the NDR series – your basic household helper – yet he’s also unique. Something about his positronic brain has given him abilities no other robot has. He’s creative, thoughtful, and self-aware, and over time he realizes that his ultimate desire is to become a man — to be human, and to be recognized as such.

Thoughts:

An intriguing short novel. Not a lot of action or drama; more philosophical. It reminded me of some of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes about Data. At first, I thought that this book was much older and that it must have been the inspiration for Data. In fact, while Asimov’s writings were a major inspiration behind Data’s character, The Positronic Man was written in 1992, well after TNG was underway. I should say that I haven’t read anything else by Asimov, and this was a good introduction (although it is a collaborative work with Robert Silverberg). I’m interested in exploring more of Asimov’s writing.