"Saturn Run" (Putnam), by John Sandford and Ctein
John Sandford, known for his thrillers featuring police Detective Lucas Davenport, teams up with photographer and sci-fi fan Ctein for "Saturn Run," a gripping, futuristic tale.
It's just over 50 years in the future. The space program has been stagnant for some time, but now the Chinese are sending a mission to Mars. The United States is ready to sit back and watch, but a discovery on a telescope in orbit changes all that. A massive object near Saturn shows signs of being manufactured, and the technology involved and the sheer size of the object would be impossible to create on Earth. The U.S. utilizes a space station in orbit, and soon a design for a craft to go to Saturn has been created.
A team of astronauts, scientists and civilians is given the opportunity to initiate the first contact with aliens from another world. The diverse group will have to juggle everything from hormones to treachery on the long journey to the ringed planet. The Chinese learn about the object, and now their mission to Mars is aborted to make a run at Saturn as well.
The overall experience of "Saturn Run" is like a mixture of Arthur C. Clarke's "2001: a Space Odyssey" and "Rendezvous With Rama." Readers looking for a great sci-fi story won't be disappointed. At almost 500 pages, the pace and compelling characters keep things moving and nothing seems padded.