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The Saturn Game

2.96  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  15 reviews
On long space voyages, role-playing games may save your sanity..or lose your life!
Hardcover, 151 pages
Published February 1997 by Science Fiction Book Club (first published February 1981)
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Average rating 2.96  · 
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The line dividing "fantasy" and "reality" can be a fragile and precarious thing, and the inability to consistently distinguish between the two can be fraught with peril…not to mention embarrassment and poor decision-making

In this 1981, Hugo and Nebula Award winning, novella, Poul Anderson explores this mental demarcation from a rather unique vantage point. In the process, he combines the seemingly clashing elements of Hard SF with epic fantasy, to create a story that's unlike anything I’ve
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to carol. by: classic scifi fans
Winner of both a Nebula and a Hugo, The Saturn Game tempted me by being a mix of both fantasy and sci-fi. I've had some success with Poul Anderson when younger. Alas, The Saturn Game did not connect; although written very well, it felt dated and failed to ignite my interest.

"There was no describing it, not really. You could speak of lower slopes and palisades above, to a mean height of perhaps a hundred meters, with spires towering farther still. You could speak of gracefully curved tiers going
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Revised review, first published at

Poul Anderson’s “The Saturn Game,” published in 1981, is a pre-Internet era exploration of role-playing games and their effect on the human psyche, which won the 1981 Nebula and the 1982 Hugo awards for best novella.

On an eight-year long voyage to Saturn, one of the more popular ways for the crew and colonists to pass time is becoming involved in psychodramas, a verbal-type role-playing game. But when a team of four people from the
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Led Zeppelin was one of my favorite bands growing up. Beyond the swaggering stage presence, and beneath the heavy, vibrant power of the music was the awe-inspiring talent of the group, the virtuosity of the band members. The evil sorcery of Jimmy Page, the truculent roar of John Bonham, the golden god vocals of Robert Plant, and the understated, Apollonian cool of John Paul Jones – all combined to present a spellbinding counter-culture mysticism that hinted at something primitive and atavistic. ...more
May 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Hard SF novella about survival on Iapetus by the 1st humans to explore it's nature. Also a discussion of psychodrama (play, D&D, RPG, Cosplay, LARPing...).

7 of 10 stars
Nate Thern
Mar 08, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: ws-technic-civ
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Bergonzini
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Ciencia ficción y fantasía, mezclados en la realidad para albergar unos resultados que desde el principio tal como te presentan la historia, ya sabes cual será el desenlace. Un juego de rol que puede ser terapéutico, puede convertirse en una obsesión, como cualquier adicción.

Un concepto básico de la productividad, cada tarea en su momento, ya que si se mezclan el resultado se alargará y seguramente será negativo. Eso justamente ocurre en el libro, cuando la ficción supera la realidad y te
Bent Andreassen
Jul 18, 2019 rated it liked it
3 plus.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
1982 Hugo award winner for best novella from Grandmaster Poul Anderson. Fascinating concept - a deep space exploration crew overcome with hallucinations from long term use of their group virtual gaming environment while exploring one of the moons of Saturn, but I found the execution choppy and the characters two dimensional.
Kamil Muzyka
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An great RPG-like adventure on a Peter Vajk style space ship (actually an O'Neill Colony with space sails). It has some nice tropes and technical aspects, and is a very good old sci-fi. However, it might be viewed differently by present-day readers and some modern RPG/LARP spindoctors.
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Anderson here rejects the worldbuilding that frequently eats his plots alive, in favor of a simpler high-concept approach in what amounts to a lionization of role-playing games. One can almost hear a million nerds patting themselves on their backs at being told their hobbies might be not only academically intriguing and essential to daily life but also profound and outright spiritual. The meta-escapist question of how to pass time on long space voyages has been addressed by virtually every ...more
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
"El que mucho abarca poco aprieta" es una buena frase armada para este caso, esa mezcla de Ciencia Ficción y Fantasía no se lleva bien en este libro. Lo dejé a la mitad y eso que le puse ganas para poder terminarlo.

Bender's Game de Futurama supera ampliamente la idea de personas que se meten en el personaje de rol :P
Jul 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
It's really a fantasy story with in a SF wrapper. I'm not into fantasy, so I gave up after about 20 pages. Life's too short.
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Pseudonym A. A. Craig, Michael Karageorge, Winston P. Sanders, P. A. Kingsley.

Poul William Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during one of the Golden Ages of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and a prodigious number of short stories. He received numerous