Titan
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Titan (NASA Trilogy #2)

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  783 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The dream begins with a disaster.Given the task of dismantling NASA's aging shuttle program after a horrifying re-entry crash, Paula Benecerraf comes up with a bold plan to keep America in space using existing technology. Possible signs of organic life have been found on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Inspired by this, Benecerraf assembles an unlikely group of visionaries f...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published October 10th 1997 by Harper Voyager (first published 1997)
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Peter Pier
Sep 07, 2007 Peter Pier rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody interested in the future of life
Shelves: sf
It´s... strange.
You´ll have to read first. But it has something to learn from- and it teaches. About the endurance of life. Simply read.
Devon
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...more
Lis Carey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul McFadyen
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.

If...more
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
Jim
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...more
Brent Werness
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Neil Fein
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...more
Luke
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...more
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...more
Pamr
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!
Sandeep Nair
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...more
Jon
This was an interesting book. While not a direct sequel to Voyage, it's a book written in a similar manner.

That being said, this is one of the single most depressing books that I've read in a while. It completely crushes my hope for humanity. Again, I realize this is a work of fiction, but it doesn't matter. It takes zero imagination to see this as a probably future of the human race. Do not read this book if you want a happy story.
Seppo Kallio
Hyvää: Kirjailija todella hyvin perehtynyt USA:n sukkuloiden ja muiden härveleiden jokaiseen kytkimeen, suuttimeen ja putkiloon. Samoin Titanin kemiaan. Hyviä yksityiskohtia. Hyvää tilannekuvausta. Helppo eläytyä henkilöiden tunnelmiin avaruudessa, Titanilla jne.

Väsyttävää: turhan pitkiä luentoja siitä, mitä kytkintä pitää kääntää sukkulassa missäkin tilanteessa, miten Titanin kemia toimii.

Muuta: Ikävystyttävää menneen ajan kylmän sodan ajatusmaailmaa, vain Amerikassa elää ihmisiä, muut ovat "vi...more
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...more
Eric Means
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...more
Nicolas
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...more
Marin
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...more
Chris
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
David
Although isfdb.org 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
Andreas
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
Pete
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
Jane Bailey
I persevered through the very slow, dry first 200-something pages heavy with science and politics, low on character, and I'm so glad I did. Stephen Baxter delivers a BLEAK and utterly believable deep-space travel and colonisation experience. Reading this book made me feel a bit sad and resigned about the ultimate fate for us as a species, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. It's only the last few pages that give any sort of relief to the depression.
Joe
I'm not quite sure what to say about this book...part of me enjoyed it - it included the hard technology that I enjoy reading (talking about how current technology can be used to support a manned mission to Titan), but the overall tone of the book was very negative and downbeat - and, then (without any spoilers), the ending was "way out there..."

The book did feel too long...but, I think that was a result of the incredibly detailed technical aspects...and, some of the later medical issues were de...more
Peter Greenwell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lindsay
The problem with sci-fi books set in the near future is that they can quickly become dated alternal histories and to some extent that was the case with this book.
Aisde from the slight wrongness that this resulted in while reading this book it was interesting with some fascinating ideas. The book felt well researched with realistic technology, although the epilogue didn't quite match with the rest of the book.
Daniel Fehrenbach
I read this book a long time ago, but parts of it still stick in my mind. Good exploration story that spent as much time on the trials and tribulations of a long journey and a hostile unfamiliar environment as on the wonders of space travel. The ending is a little out of character with the rest of the story, but still worth the read.
Colin
A little too much pontification for my taste. The author basically uses this book as a vehicle for an extended anti-conservative, anti-Christian, anti-military rant.

If you are rabidly anti-conservative, anti-Christian, anti-military, and you enjoy reading such rants, maybe you will enjoy this. Otherwise, you probably won't.
Paul
I'm fascinated by the moon, Titan. Even armed with that interest, this was really depressing. I felt the changes back on Earth were extremely unrealistic. The epilogue was unnecessary and trite. The book seemed more about how stupid and shortsighted humanity was rather than the actual exploration of Titan.
Chris Hinchley
I enjoyed this dismally depressing and cosmically blue epic much more the second time around, but it's still one of Baxter's most down-beat creations with unlikeable characters throughout!
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20295
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...
Manifold: Time (Manifold, #1) The Time Ships Manifold: Space Flood (Flood, #1) Ring (Xeelee Sequence, #4)

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