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Titan (NASA Trilogy #2)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,166 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Humankind's greatest--and last--adventure! Possible signs of organic life have been found on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. A group of visionaries led by NASA's Paula Benacerraf plan a daring one-way mission that will cost them everything. Taking nearly a decade, the billion-mile voyage includes a "slingshot" transit of Venus, a catastrophic solar storm, and a constant stru ...more
ebook, 688 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1997)
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Shawn I didn't and still enjoyed the book... I am not sure the "first book" of the trilogy was published before I read this one...
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Community Reviews

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Lis Carey
Jan 12, 2011 Lis Carey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peter Pier
Sep 07, 2007 Peter Pier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody interested in the future of life
Shelves: sf
Its... strange.
Youll have to read first. But it has something to learn from- and it teaches. About the endurance of life. Simply read.
Mar 03, 2015 Anthoney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Baxter, I feel is a visionary, in the way that he builds his stories not in years or even centuries but the stories extends in eras and eons, astronomical timelines, at least the ones I have read including Evolution & Xeelee stories. While of course the writing is dry and made all the more drier by the hard science and technical details, it is those very scientific reference and details make such implausible plots seem possible, and concepts awe inspiring unlike some other grand space operas ...more
Nov 07, 2011 Devon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Flying to Saturn on chemical rockets...technically possible if you can find a crew willing to sit in a cramped cabin for 6 years or so, and Baxter does a good job of explaining just how it would get done. But even Baxter can't make it believable that we would actually go do it.

The single-election-cycle takeover of American society by a Taliban-esque religious right is lame. It's one-dimensional, lazy, ignorant and unbelievable. He gets important details of American government factually wrong, an
Paul McFadyen
Nov 26, 2012 Paul McFadyen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Serious. Very serious. As plausible a book I've read about near-future space exploration, with a decent stab at second-guessing our species' behaviour on THIS planet over the next few years.

Whilst it's ultimately positive about mankind's ability to adapt to and occupy different environments (trying not to throw in any obvious spoilers here), it definitely takes some pretty blooming bleak routes to get there - this is not a book I'd recommend to anyone suffering any kind of existential crisis.

Baal Of
Hard science-fiction with an emphasis on highly detailed descriptions of launch capability, rockets, shuttles, procedures, life support systems, and a myriad of other things necessary to survive a prolong space flight. Many pages dedicated to dealing with shit and piss in space. Baxter might be a little bit obsessed. The good - a fairly plausible (with a few major exceptions) series of events leading to the sending of 5 astronauts on a 6 year trip to Titan - the launch occurs around 250 pages in ...more
Brent Werness
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 22, 2009 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-f
I desperately want to give this book five stars: it has detailed accounts of how a manned trip to Saturn might take place in the present day, and how life on Titan might actually work day to day. All of this is done in a very readable format. However, there are some huge problems countering these.

1) The plan is to go to Titan and essentially set up a human colony there. So they send five people in a small rocket on a trip of several years. Obviously such a small space would send everyone on boar
Feb 12, 2017 Larry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is quite a book. Not only quite big at 580 pages but a big concept. In some ways it's like his earlier book 'Voyage', profiling a prospective trip to Mars with all its politics and logistical wrangling. Titan is similar. 2 thirds of the book are about dealings with NASA and the USAF, and then a mission profile to Titan is begun. Eventually we get there. And when Baxter takes us somewhere we really know about it! Good stuff.
M. Lawrence
I'll go ahead and admit it right now: I skipped through most of the beginning of this book, finding the political intrigue on Earth tedious and boring. I wanted to get into the Titan stuff as fast as possible.

I'll give Baxter this: he's done his research, and I was continually impressed with his descriptions of a possible voyage to Titan and what landing and exploring this alien world might be like. Ultimately, I found myself feeling oppressed and a bit depressed by the futility of life on Tita
Neil Fein
Jun 05, 2009 Neil Fein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This dystopian space tale was out of date shortly after it was published, but it's still a good story with an important message - space travel is bigger than short-term interests, and politics will always nuke expensive programs. The Apollo moon landings were a freak, needed to put the commies in their place, so to speak.

In the early 21st century, the dying days of the space program are in sight. The possibility of life is discovered on Titan, one of Saturns moons. A new NASA director gets the
Andy Mac
Dec 18, 2014 Andy Mac rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading this on the Kindle, I'm not sure how long it was, but it felt like it took a long time to get through. Part of that, though, was that some of this was pretty slow reading. There's a detailed, and pessimistic description of NASA going forward in here as well as very detailed space journeys. I like that, it's detail I like to see, but it also does make it harder (slower) to read.

Overall, the book definitely seemed pretty pessimistic, and that's ok, but then the ending jumped us into somet
Jul 10, 2012 Luke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great critique of the modern space program, as well as the modern attitude (politcal and intellectual) towards the hard sciences and engineering. So great that it really opens your eyes on certain things that Baxter argues are happening in this world right now.

Great concept, great story. Definitely a much broader epic than I was initially expecting when I picked this book up. However, the ending was a little strange and the book in its entirety seemed to drag at times. Great read though, defini
Aug 12, 2008 Pamr rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It is a great book until the last chapter - whatever you do do not read the last chapter you will be extremely disappointed and that is why it gets two stars for a book worth 3 to 4 until then!
Mar 14, 2017 James rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
1.5 Stars
There was too much stupidity and not enough story. Way to many important details left out, and too much BS left in. The USA doesn't change anything as fast as in this book. Why does he hate the USAF anyway? Just craziness and laziness. He needs an editor with a firm red pencil.
Mihai Giurgiulescu
It was interesting reading this book 20 years after it was written and noting the differences between its version of alternate history and how time (as we understand it) has actually progressed since. The most important divergence of course is that humanity has yet to send a manned mission to Titan - or anywhere else in the Solar System for that matter. We haven't even been able to return to our closest neighbor, the Moon, and soon we'll be coming up on 60 years since the glory days of space exp ...more
Aug 13, 2016 Landis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is well-written:

It is the turn of the twenty-first century.

The United States is dysfunctional. “United” may once again be questioned as in 1860.

The nation turns inward, isolationist. Peacekeepers are recalled from the Balkans. The internet available to the public is filtered into practically nothing. The President is dismantling NASA; American isolationism is cosmic as well as terrestrial.

Agriculture is barely balanced atop the blade of a scythe as the surprise of widespread blight and
Il y a certains bouquins qui sont incroyablement faciles à résumer. Titan est de ceux-là. Il s’agit en effet simplement du compte-rendu de l’expédition d’une navette vers Titan, le sattelite de Jupiter.
On est là dans la grande tradition de la SF à tendance réaliste et scientifique, puisque l’auteur, qui est lui scientifique, connaît très bien la NASA et les arcanes de la politique qui s’y pratique. Ce qui donne du reste une bonne part de sa force et de sa pertinence à ce roman. Mais plus encore
Mikael Kuoppala
Stephen Baxter's "Titan" is all about good ol' NASA space exploration and politics.

Everything starts in the year 2004, when NASA's Cassini probe detects indications of life on Titan. However, due to the anti-science atmosphere of USA's concervative and closed-minded politics, it is up to a couple of NASA's most brilliant minds to launch a low-cost mission to Titan for further investigation. In lead of those science enthusiasts is Paula Benacerraf, a middle aged NASA technician, astronaut and a g
Eric Means
Nov 30, 2011 Eric Means rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-sf, sci-fi
I read Stephen Baxter's short story Last Contact a few years ago on an acquaintance's suggestion and found it to be three things: scientifically interesting, well written, and the most depressing short story I'd ever read.

Titan follows in a similar mold: the science generally seems realistic (and he obviously did a lot of research into the US space program), the story is engaging and interesting (in fact, having reached the last ~80 pages I could not put the book down until I had finished it; it
Michael Bafford
Sep 21, 2014 Michael Bafford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I usually give a book 50 pages before I toss it away, but I was on a trip and had only this book along so it got 100 pages. I'm glad it did. Because while the first 100 pages are 'OK', that's not enough to keep me reading. There was too much politics for my taste, and jumping around the NASA world in a future very like our own.

Then, Bang! When the mission finally took off, the book took off and I still had well over 500 pages before me.

This is, maybe, 4 books in 1. Internally Baxter has divided
Jun 23, 2012 Marin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I was familiar with Baxter's super-realistic, mostly-science-with-a-hint-of-fiction style of writing before, this novel has struck me with its dirty, no-shiny-paper-wrapping naturalism.

It has basically enough technical details about rockets, life support systems and such, to even be called a pop-science book (enough even to bore a techno-geek such as myself!). But even though it shows the ruff reality of spaceflight, it still keeps the reader dreaming about space exploration.

What I also en
Jul 11, 2013 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Although doesn't indicate this was pieced together from shorter fiction, it's made up of a series of long parts which are sometimes of limited significance later [at least in their length and detail ]. This is also more of a book for realism in the sense of a lot of time being spent on the impact of governmental politics on science programs, inter-agency rivalries, "office politics" in NASA, all the things that could go wrong on a long space mission, etc. With the exception of the sect ...more
Peter Oxley
Apr 05, 2015 Peter Oxley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One thing I really enjoy about Stephen Baxter's sci-fi is the way he portrays space exploration in a "warts 'n' all" fashion. There are no fancy gadgets or easy rides here - it sets out the voyage to Titan and the eventual arrival in all its dreary, terrifying, claustrophobic glory.

Make no mistake, this is no easy read, and there are plenty of points where the book dives into more detail than many readers may want. However, stick with it and it is quite the roller-coaster ride - I found it part
Sep 24, 2009 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the type of fiction that Baxter writes taht I absolutely love. He takes something so close to reality and takes you to a place that you couldn't imagine how you could ever get there. When they finally arrived at Titan and Baxter piles on the difficulties of actually surving on this world it opens up and places you there. Unfortunately like most if not all Baxter novels it ends in a way that while takes the long view also ends up on a note that isn't exactly positive. You get uplifted by ...more
Finished it. JFC, whomever shit in Baxter's Wheaties, I hope you're happy. Not a single redeeming character in the book. I'm very very very beyond happy that this version of humanity got erased from existence. Leaving the two star rating for the description of the surface of Titan, otherwise it's a complete piece of crap.

Original review: I'm having a hard time pushing through this. If I had a nickel for every time I rolled my eyes at some lazy assed one dimensional character, or a complete lack
Initially I thought this book was going to be rather upbeat, but the mood goes on a downward spiral towards the end. Humanity loses interest in space exploration completely. In fact the only thing to still progress is the search for shallow consumer happiness. NASA decides to go for one last hurrah and sends a one way expedition to Titan. As the years pass during the voyage, the small crew gets increasingly on each others nerves while listening from afar as humanity fades away to oblivion back o ...more
Nancy Shaffer
This is one of the most depressing space operas I have read. A near-future novel written in 1997, it depicts an early-21st century NASA fallen into disrespect and disrepair. Although a mission to Titan would be a really cool endeavor, I actually prefer the real NASA of the 21st century this.

It is said the best way to write fiction is to give your characters obstacles and set-backs. But there's a line between that and constantly dumping crap upon crap upon crap on them. A little more "gee, whiz"
Sandeep Nair
Aug 11, 2014 Sandeep Nair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A daunting read, considering the heavy burden it presses on your darker sensibilities. It's never easy to read a book the dives into the depths of the human condition, here sharply accentuated by the futility of fighting the odds and contrasted by the unchanging, unfeeling physical character of the universe itself.

Some of the more far fetched and / or wholly unnecessary elements of the story like the Chinese astronaut and the enemity of the USAF and NASA bog the story down. The last chapter is
Mar 29, 2008 Pete rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was teetering between three and four stars on this one. It is an excellent depiction of what it would take to have a manned mission to Titan using modern technology, and the characters and storyline were very real. A few elements put me off though. The storyline back on Earth was a bit much for a story that should have felt more focused on the mission itself. The ending was also a bit contrived, and kind of took away from the book. There was a mildly pessimistic tone to the story that felt rea ...more
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Stephen Baxter is a trained engineer with degrees from Cambridge (mathematics) and Southampton Universities (doctorate in aeroengineering research). Baxter is the winner of the British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award, as well as being a nominee for an Arthur C. Clarke Award, most recently for Manifold: Time. His novel Voyage won the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History Novel of the ...more
More about Stephen Baxter...

Other Books in the Series

NASA Trilogy (3 books)
  • Voyage (NASA Trilogy, #1)
  • Moonseed (NASA Trilogy, #3)

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“Jiang was not Han Chinese. She was a Turkic Uighur, a Muslim minority which emanated from the westernmost province of Xinjiang. Jiang’s family came from the desert capital Urumqi; her family had moved to Beijing when she was a child when Jiang’s father, a mid-ranking Party cadre, was posted to the Minorities Institute in the capital in the 1970s. Since her father was both an official and a Uighur, the family had been treated with a special deference reserved for select representatives of minority groups who served as symbols for the Party’s efforts to build ‘socialist solidarity’ between central China and the non-Han regions. In Beijing, Jiang had attended a special ‘experimental’ school reserved for the children of the Party élite.” 1 likes
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