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Saturn (The Grand Tour #14)

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  994 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
1st edition paperback, new
Audio Cassette
Published by Audio Literature (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,708)
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Jun 28, 2013 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is the story ostensibly about a mission that's ostensibly about studying Saturn, but is actually about anthropology. Both the book and the mission. Unfortunately, it kinda sucks at it, on both levels.

They reach Saturn only very near the climax, and make a fantastic discovery that's kind of treated as an afterthought. Most of the book is actually about the people and politics on the mission itself, as the oppressive religious government that's taken over most of the world tries to suborn a c
First of all I want to say that "Saturn" was the first (hard) science fiction book that I read. Not much of a welcome to the genre but it did its job.

If I were to judge Bova as a writer based solely on his novel "Saturn", I would say that he is more of a science writer than anything literature. Having said that, I think that his ideas as scientific concepts were very good, and overlooking the awful worldbuilding, Saturn is engaging enough to read.

As for the rest, I had three main problems:
a) the
Apr 27, 2011 Jason rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Ben Bova is an uneven writer. He can churn out masterpieces of hard sci-fi, such as his Mars trilogy and Asteroid Wars quartet, then waste his talents and readers' time on giant novels of cardboard characters, embarrassing dialogue, and repetitive scenes of uninspired plot, such as Saturn & Jupiter.
'Saturn' begins promisingly with the premise that the New Morality-dominated Earth has gathered 'revolutionaries' and other anti-New Morality politically-minded pariahs of the world and placed the
May 02, 2013 Kruunch rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While Ben Bova is a prolific science fiction author, he tends to use the genre as a backdrop for whatever particular soap opera he's propagating. Such is the case with the novel Saturn.

Saturn is set on a huge Dyson Sphere like ship that has set out to explore Saturn in the not so distant future. This is pretty much where the science fiction ends.

The rest of the story details the personal dramas of those on board the ship (ala the Love Boat in space) ranging from the tedious to the truly silly. A
Ralph McEwen
A interesting story with interesting characters, a well done setting and an intriguing plot.
The version I got of the audio book had a pair of narrators one female and one male (Amanda Karr and Stephan Rudnickithat). They alternated in reading the chapters. I think that distracted from the story. They also gave the characters different regional accents. If they had split the characters with a narrator speaking just for the characters they chose it would have been better. Notice I did not say she
Feb 19, 2015 Grant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bova's "Grand Tour" series continues with the tale of a combination scientific expedition / anthropological experiment / political exile; 10,000 explorers and malcontents head off for Saturn in a gigantic space habitat. The novel mainly concerns the political maneuverings of various characters as they try to determine what sort of polity and society they will establish once they arrive at Saturn and take up permanent orbit. Since moving such an immense habitat that far out from Earth requires ov ...more
Sep 27, 2009 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was ok but not great. Lots of different shifts in terms of the power struggles that go on in the book. There are also lots of changes of perspective so you're never really sure what the whole purpose is -- until the end.
Apr 15, 2016 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You know, mistakes do happen. Sometimes you pick up a book with a promising premise and it makes you want to die, and this was one of those books. I probably should have expected it though, because I bought it at a dollar store… I paid a dollar for this book, and after reading it, I’d say that’s a fair price point.

Saturn is a part of a huge anthology of books spanning Bova’s Grand Tour series. The books in the series are stand alone, but there are overlapping settlings, themes and characters thr
Nathan Burgoine
Mar 19, 2012 Nathan Burgoine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another of the "Grand Tour" novels. This time, the tale is about a group of free-thinking scientists and folks who were sent off in a starship (which is going to be a space station once they arrive), and the various failures of sociology that accompany such a trip.

There's the religious nut contingent (who want to make sure the starship/space spacestation end up a firmly New Morality place to be), the power-hungry individuals, the sadists, the murderers, the freaks, the glory-hunters... w
Phil Giunta
The space habitat Goddard, filled with political exiles, social misfits, scientists, and engineers, is on its way to orbit around Saturn. There, the habitat will become mankind's first offworld colony.

If it can survive the turmoil and drama inherent in the human condition.

Malcolm Eberly had a choice, either spend the rest of his life in a Viennese prison or become the New Morality's watchdog aboard Goddard. Hired on as the manager of human resources, Eberly entertains his own agenda, ignoring th
Martin L. Cahn
Not sure what to think of this book now that I've finished it. Certainly, it falls somewhat to hard science fiction in that it is, at its base, about reaching Saturn and establishing a human colony in orbit there. But it is more along the lines of a social experiment in literature with very few characters to like. Most are completely unlikable. That makes it more difficult to enjoy the book. Most readers like to root for someone. It was hard to do that because even the one character you want to ...more
I'm a sci-fi fan from back when I was a kid, but I've somehow missed Bova. As a result, I was looking forward to reading Saturn. I was disappointed.
Right from the unbelievable opening, I disliked this badly-written book. The characters were either stereotyped or insipid and none of them was particularly interesting, believable, or likable. The plot was laughable. I forced myself to read 64 pages before I gave up in disgust.
Dec 14, 2015 Charles rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Some interesting ideas (Earth dominated by radical religious groups, which have reimposed order after the chaos of global environmental crisis, and a mission to Saturn in which many competing interests are at stake), but absolutely zero interesting characters. No one in this book felt believable. I don't need my characters to be likable, but I need to at least be able to recognize them as motivated by reasonable interests in some fashion.
May 27, 2016 Benjamin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space-opera
The writing is juvenile, the plot is telegraphed, the characters are flat, the politics are suspect, but... it does have two female characters who talk to each other about something other than men.

I don't know why I continue to read his "Grand Tour" books. I think I like the optimism, that humanity just keeps going, expanding through space, inventing cool new technologies, making amazing discoveries. Back on Earth everyone is miserable and ruled by despotic fundamentalist theocracies that emerge
Robert Soroky
This is my fourth book of the Grand Tour series (having already read Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus) and like all the others, I looked forward to reading about the wild discoveries on yet another planet in our Solar System. This time, it was going to be a story about the majestically beautiful Saturn. Then I read it...and discovered it had almost nothing to do with Saturn! Well, at least not for well over 400 pages (and the book only has 470 pages)! Usually, the fun is in the journey. Not this time ...more
Apr 06, 2014 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The "in the know" community of science fiction fans tend not to give Ben Bova much attention. It is true, that Bova isn't a game changer. He isn't rewriting the rules for science fiction, but he is really, really fun to read.

I found The Grand Tour by accident when I read MARS and then a number of years passed. In the last year or two I've read a few more tour books an I am always satisfied.

They are easy and quick reads. Bova doesn't big you down with details in the hopes offsetting perfect accur
Nov 27, 2014 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Bova book. A science-fiction/political thriller - who'd have thought!?! The characters are fully developed, the story line is strong, there are no dangling plot threads. I actually felt that I cared (one way or the other!) for most of the characters.
Mar 04, 2016 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Saturn very much. I found it nicely paced and easy to read as I have come to expect from Bova's work. My one disappointment of the novel was that it was mostly a story of the journey to Saturn with only the last few chapters taking place at the planet. Looks like I will have to pick up Titan soon.
Sarah Worrel
Nov 02, 2015 Sarah Worrel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite readable. I wasn't sure how it was going to all work out in the end until Manuel was doing his stunt, and it started coming together. The book reminded me a lot of McCaffrey and Stirling's The City Who Fought.
Dec 01, 2014 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
Bova's forte is human interactions and this book is chock full of them. In fact, it's about creation of a political system among various and disparate groups. Unfortunately, the folks who were aboard consisted mostly of misfits and the Brits sent to Australia? At the end, when the habitat reaches Saturn, the reader must wonder what comes next...
Sara Hale
Was not bad. A little sappy at times. Like the protagonist describing her love interest as a 'Dynamo' to her best friend...who then slept with him. I guess the curiosity got the best of her.
Apr 01, 2015 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was not incredibly impressed with this book. I have enjoyed other Ben Bova novels but this one fell flat. The characters were mostly flat and uninteresting and even the story line was weak.
Oct 15, 2014 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
more soap opera than sci-fi
about the journey to Saturn and not enough about Saturn itself
Greg Sidor
Ben Bova is great at crafting incredible worlds in his novels. Unfortunately, he largely departs from that strength with "Saturn," and tries instead to write a political thriller. It's not very engaging, and it's a shame that the most visually striking planet in the Solar System only figures into the last few chapters of the book (which are the most exciting).

There is a sequel/companion book called "Titan," about exploring a moon of Saturn. I'm not sure if I'll go for it or not. For now, though,
Michael Brady
The characters were two dimensional and the plot ran straight as an arrow but "Saturn" was still a strangely compelling page turner
James Avery
Jun 27, 2015 James Avery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lissa Leadford
Jul 12, 2012 Lissa Leadford rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I was drawn in with the promise of a great storyline. It ended up being just ok. I had no clue that this book would jump so far into politics! That was a huge turn off for me. The characters lacked...... Something. I can't quite place my finger on it. Its like they were still strangers to me at the end of the book. I really enjoyed the parts where Saturn was concerned however! Overall it was a decent book that needed a little more pizazz. Ill probably venture out and try to find another Ben Bova ...more
Sep 07, 2014 Joshua rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This was terrible. I thought the premise was sound, I always enjoy a tale about a hollowed out roid, hurtling through space filled with an evolving society. However the characters were beyond shallow, their motivations unrealistic, and I really have to question Ben Bova's views on religion (according to this book anyone who believe's in anything. other than self, is an evil prick). It seems such a shame, the original Mars books weren't bad, as the tour of the solar system gets further out it see ...more
Nov 11, 2014 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good chapter in the Grand tour. I'm blasting through these books and have not been disappointed in the good story telling.
Rod Hyatt
May 01, 2014 Rod Hyatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As good as Saturn can get
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Ben Bova was born on November 8, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1953, while attending Temple University, he married Rosa Cucinotta, they had a son and a daughter. He would later divorce Rosa in 1974. In that same year he married Barbara Berson Rose.

Bova is an avid fencer and organized Avco Everett's fencing club. He is an environmentalist, but rejects Luddism.

Bova was a technical writer fo
More about Ben Bova...

Other Books in the Series

The Grand Tour (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • Powersat
  • Privateers (Privateers, #1)
  • Empire Builders (Privateers, #2)
  • Mars
  • Moonrise (Moonbase Saga, #1)
  • Moonwar (Moonbase Saga, #2)
  • Return to Mars
  • The Precipice (Asteroid Wars, #1)
  • Farside
  • Jupiter

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