Mystery/Thriller Reading Friends discussion

57 views
Group Read Books - archive > Group Read - Saturn Run Chap 45-65 end spoilers welcome

Comments Showing 1-23 of 23 (23 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14967 comments This is the last of three segments for commenting on Saturn Run Chapters 45-65 and the epilogue. Spoilers welcome.
The first to post may please provide a short summary to guide the discussion. How did you like the book? Comparisons to Lucas Davenport or Virgil Flowers? Comparisons to Andy Weir's The Martian? (no spoilers please for other books)


message 2: by Sandi (last edited Aug 12, 2016 08:41PM) (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1229 comments Chapters 45-47
The Chinese barely capture orbit and take quite a bit of damage in the attempt and the Chinese Captain rues the decisions of the groundpounders in Beijing. During the re-orbit they sustain more damage and lose containment which results in the loss of some crew. Meanwhile on the Nixon, the transfer of the memory modules and readers goes well and an oboe and bassoon earn them top points with the trade computer. Crow is running on fumes because the head cheeses back home want constant updates on the Chinese. Crow and Fang-Castro discuss how to manage the Chinese since they are totally out-gunned. Sandy figures out that each species gets eight memory modules and readers and they have them all. The Chinese notice the Americans are deploying armed guards around the planetoid which does not make them happy. Captain Zhang decides to lead the landing party himself to try and avoid a confrontation since his first officer is a bit of a hot head. Zhang and the Chinese try to land but there is a stand-off. Zhang and Fang-Castro communicate with each other and Zhang decides to confer with Beijing and avoids engaging with the Americans.

Chapter 48
The President complains that the Chinese don't speak proper English but the upshot is that Chinese are lodging a protest but it will take about two days so the Nixon can get all the data and get out of Dodge before the Chinese realize that the Americans have all the readers. The Nixon gives the Chinese various supplies to help them with their repairs. Clover scores some demographic data of Alien cultures from Wurly and the upload of information is completed. The Nixon leaves Saturn's orbit.


message 3: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14967 comments Sandy: I thought the time (related to distance) contrast from early days in space versus communication from deep space near Saturn was striking. Waiting for responses from President Santeros or the Chinese leadership when the stakes were so high was obviously challenging.


message 4: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14967 comments Chapter 49
The Chinese seem to be in better shape with the borrowed printer. The 3D technology we know today appears to be extremely effective in space with basic raw material to fabricate whatever is needed. The combination of ambitious National pride and competitiveness proves tempting for Duan on the scientific trip out to the antimatter storage and service modules and the Chinese attempts to retrieve one results in a disastrous explosion. The shuttle and scientists are vaporized and the ire of the aliens is immediate.


message 5: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14967 comments Just when things had been looking up for the space travelers.
Chapter 50
American efforts to keep all of the alien technolgy for themselves backfire for the Chinese who don't investigate the depot first before attempting to steal a module for study. Wurly, renamed Narcissus or Narcy ( why does the AI need a cutesy name?), Narcy / Wurly bans humans from the depot for 144 years. I found the questions and answers fascinating.


message 6: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1229 comments Ann wrote: "Sandy: I thought the time (related to distance) contrast from early days in space versus communication from deep space near Saturn was striking. Waiting for responses from President Santeros or the Chinese leadership when the stakes were so high was obviously challenging. ..."

Yes, they really highlighted the drawbacks of the governments back home trying to micromanage everything.


message 7: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1229 comments Chapters 51-53
Admiral Zhang feels regret for sending the political officer to her demise and the rest of the losses. The Chinese try to figure out how to survive after the explosion Zhang and Beijing decide to send a distress call to the Nixon. The President fumes over the propaganda vid issued by the Chinese but finally after going over all the options they decide the Nixon must help the Chinese but not trust them. Martinez and Sandy figure out a way to destroy the alien tech if necessary.

Chapters 54-57
The Chinese ship officially asks for help and suggests that they exchange delegations so the Nixon can inspect the Chinese situation. Fang and Sandy make the trip and are stunned by the damage to the Chinese ship. The Chinese crew transfer over to the Nixon. Admiral Zhang is the last to leave the ship but is dead when he arrives at the Nixon. Lt. Cui assumes command. Crow is suspicious of the timing of Zhang's death but Fang-Castro thinks he is being a bit paranoid. Cui's new first officer Sun informs her that the Chinese are taking over the ship.


message 8: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14967 comments Sandi: we see that Admiral Zhang was a very thoughtful man and a good ship's captain. I found it hard to suspect the Chinese with him in charge. His death made me immediately suspicious, I was with Crow on that development.

Sandi wrote: "Admiral Zhang feels regret for sending the political officer to her demise ..........The Chinese crew transfer over to the Nixon. Admiral Zhang is the last to leave the ship but is dead when he arrives at the Nixon. Lt. Cui assumes command. Crow is suspicious of the timing of Zhang's death but Fang-Castro thinks he is being a bit paranoid. Cui's new first officer Sun informs her that the Chinese are taking over the ship.."


message 9: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14967 comments Sandi: And highlights the Chinese government's competitiveness when Zhang had to be promoted to Admiral when Fang-Castro was promoted. So much on the Chinese ship was done for the leadership back home.
Sandi wrote: "Yes, they really highlighted the drawbacks of the governments back home trying to micromanage everything."


message 10: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1229 comments Chapters 58-60
A drug is released throughout the Nixon by the Chinese and Sun informs Cui that she is actually in charge by a mandate from the Ministry of State Security. Cui realizes that Sun had Zhang killed but decides to go along. The drug hits the crew of the Nixon and the Chinese take over. Fang-Castro and Crow each wake up and realize what has happened and Crow tries to figure out the options open to him. Fang-Castro and Crow are summoned to a meeting and while Fang-Castro will only give out her name, rank, and serial # Crow explains that they can only give the Chinese the information the President says they can and explains about the burn box. A message is sent to earth and later the President calmly informs all that Fang-Castro is not a prisoner but will not be allowed to negotiate the release of the Alien info and TTTFO which only Crow understands though he later reveals the meaning to Fang-Castro.


message 11: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14967 comments Sandi: great summary of chapters 58-60! This was a very tense time. I found it scary that for all the preparation and security caution, by trusting a trustworthy Zhang, and doing the right and moral thing to rescue; after all that, allowing the Chinese to bring over paper from their ship allowed the drug to be introduced.


message 12: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1229 comments Chapters 61-64
The Chinese and Fang-Castro set up duty rosters and day to day shipboard operations continue. Crow and Sandy brainstorm on how to take back the ship in the cafeteria. Sandy relates that the Chinese knew he was a Captain which means there is a spy aboard the Nixon. A Nixon crew member takes matters into his own hands and tries to unlock the Americans crew quarters. During the subsequent scuffle with a Chinese guard a gun goes off and the American is shot. Horrified at the outcome the other Chinese guard hands over his weapon. Gui and Sun race to the Commons after the shooting. Fang-Castro retakes the Bridge and informs Cui and Sun that the Americans have re-taken the Nixon. Sun threatens to start executing crew members in the Commons and destroy the ship. One of the kill trigger switches is pulled and Sun shoots the American who triggered it. Sun will not relent and threatens to kill more Americans so Sandy steps in and, against Fang-Castro's orders, destroys the data store of information. Sun, angered beyond reason, aims her gun at Sandy but is shot in the back by Cui who then orders the rest of the Chinese to lay down their arms. Fang-Castro puts Sandy in lock-up over the rest of the crews protests. The President is informed and is none too pleased with the outcome but she and the Chinese leader agree on how to present what happened and what to do. The Nixon refires its engines and starts to head home.

Chapters 65-Epilogue
The Nixon arrives back into Earth's orbit. Fang-Castro is informed that the Nixon will be scuttled with the story beamed out by Fiorella being that there is a plague present on the ship. Clover lets Sandy and Fiorella know that the Hump Pool is up to $ 1.2 million and after a few qualms on Clover's part they decide to take the money. The crew, less Mr. Snuffles who died of a heart attack on the way home, go into "detox" and the Nixon is sent off towards the Sun. Clover finally is able to go back home and gets some welcome surprises but Sandy is arrested and sentenced to five years after his trial. Sandy seems unconcerned with the whole situation and for good reason because he reveals to Crow that he backed up all the data and if he gets a pardon and an apology from the President he will let them know where to look. In 2179 the Earth's first truly long range space mission picks up an old space egg and Becca is finally going to be returned home.


message 13: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14967 comments Thanks for the fabulous summaries Sandi!
The last part of the book was hard to put down as the tension grew with the Chinese takeover of the Nixon. I had sensed that Cui was reluctant to join Sun with the initial plan for takeover. Bringing her onboard with the plan may have allayed suspicion initially, and then proved the saving grace for Sandy and probably the entire ship.


message 14: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14967 comments The Chinese takeover was certainly undermanned. It sounds like many of them were less than enthused about their actions, I found it interesting that nine Chinese crewmembers were not informed about the plan and were drugged along with the crew of the Nixon.


message 15: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1229 comments The last part was very suspenseful. I kept thinking either Martinez or Sandy would have something up their sleeve in regards to the Alien tech but the authors did a good job of concealing it until the very end. At first I did not really get why the President was so adamant about putting Sandy on trial, especially with his connections, but it seemed to all work out.


message 16: by Jack (new)

Jack | 179 comments Great summaries thriughout sandi. Really liked the ending and sandys sneaky stowing of the QSD device and reader on the external hull the releasing it when in earths orbit. His character was great. Would have been waste and massive anticlimax to have gone all that way upset the aliens and comeback with nothing. I agree The take over was well written and suspenseful to the end. The TTTFO comment was great. i was upset by zhangs death as i thought he would have been great at negotiating with fang castro.
The fight back was interesting but went so quick. i was surprised how quick the chinese gave up the bridge but glad not too many were killed.

The political points of nit losing face and finding the right way to end the situation was clever and realistic to imagine. Pretty sad they got rid of the nixon so easily. It was such an important part of the mission and had so much symbolic value.

The 100year look forward gave a great ending getting Beccas body back from deep space and showing they were able to make use of the tech they got.


message 17: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1229 comments Jack wrote: "i was upset by zhangs death as i thought he would have been great at negotiating with fang castro. "

Killing off Zhang was a really big mistake by Sun. I agree with you Jack that he would have been able to negotiate with Fang-Castro and probably the Chinese would not have come away empty handed since she seemed to respect him.


message 18: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14967 comments Jack: Yes, a fine ending indeed, another example of spare yet very effective detail. The run-up to it may have felt rushed, but the ending was just right. I also liked that Crow went to the meeting with Sandy carrying the pardon, and that Sandy was so smart and thinking strategically and politically as he did what he did.
Jack wrote: "The 100year look forward gave a great ending getting Beccas body back from deep space and showing they were able to make use of the tech they got.


message 19: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14967 comments I agree, Sun's downfall was killing Zhang. If she had asserted herself as the political liaison officer in place of the one Zbang had grudgingly gone along with until her death attempting to retreive one of the modules, it could have ended quite differently with the sides negotiating.

Jack wrote: "i was upset by zhangs death as i thought he would have been great at negotiating with fang castro. "

Sandi wrote: "Killing off Zhang was a really big mistake by Sun."



message 20: by Bruce (new)

Bruce Perrin | 131 comments While there was some suspense and tension in the first two-thirds of the book, it ramped up quite a bit for me in the last third. I liked the series of twists at the end. Every time I thought the crew had covered every eventuality, something unexpected happened. I even found a bit more humor toward the end, in the President’s temper and use of profanity, and the responses of the Question Bot (Wurly), who limited his intergalactic diplomacy to the statement, ‘Hello, people of .’ OK, may not the funniest thing I’ve read, but it got a few laughs from me.

In the end, the book hit one of my sweet spots – specifically, avoiding the use of, as the authors call it in the Authors’ Note at the end of the book, ‘wantum mechanics,’ i.e., totally made-up, non-science needed to save the day in a science fiction story. Don’t get me wrong – total inventions can be fun and entertaining. And something beyond science is needed in any story. But for me, to move beyond fun and into being really absorbing, you can’t pull the world away from the brink of destruction solely on the weight of something completely fabricated.

That Sandy would be tried and found guilty for his actions on the Nixon seemed a bit stretched. As it turned out, he was never reactivated, and therefore, would have been a civilian who took steps to save his own life. Can you be convicted for that, even if it was inconsistent with the President’s orders? And would a president really allow something like that to go to trial? It made her look vindictive and unfeeling. But it did set up a somewhat more suspenseful conclusion.

Overall, early on, I was not sure I was going to get into this book much. But the some of the tech caught my interest. And then, the way the tension and suspense built, I ended up liking the story quite a bit. It did not remind me at all of anything Sanford did in the Prey series, but interesting for quite different reasons.


message 21: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14967 comments Bruce: your impressions about the book are similar to my own experience, I started the book once and put it aside, then found myself drawn in, deeper as I read on and loved that the technolgy was a fascinating side bar to a really good thriller.
I bave loved Star Wars and Star Trek so space travel alone would be of interest, but the "how of it" in such a close timeline to today and with a reasonably imagined trajectory was a double treat.

As for the President and Fang-Castro pressing for and through the trial of Sandy for his actions that saved the day; seemed like a possible sop to assuage the Chinese. I half expected Crow to be in on it though it seems not ...... or was he? Having the letter ready for Sandy as he was being transported made me wonder a little.


message 22: by Bruce (new)

Bruce Perrin | 131 comments Ah, throwing a crumb to the Chinese with the trial...never thought of that. But I'm not even sure why Sun executing the one American was not an act of war already, so why would they need to be appeased? Fang-Castro seemed to be angry with the wrong people, IMO.


message 23: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14967 comments Bruce: excellent point about Sun executing an American in the common room being an act of war.


back to top

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

The Martian (other topics)