Monday, 2 July 2007
‘Saturn Returns’ – Sean Williams (Orbit Books), Review and Giveaway!
Do you judge a book by its cover? I used to and would never pick up a book where the cover looked like it had been made out of tin foil. I realised I was wrong when I started reading Richard Morgan’s books and found that there were actually some great books hidden behind silvery shiny covers. I’ve just finished reading ‘Saturn Returns’ and it’s the same again, a lovely shiny cover and a great little story inside.
Imre Bergamasc used to be a mercenary commander fighting wars across the galaxy of the 879th Millennium. He can’t remember what happened in the intervening time but he now finds himself resurrected (from the remnants of a partially destroyed time capsule) by a Hive Mind and sitting rather uncomfortably in the body of a woman. Imre’s quest for answers will lead him across a galaxy wracked by civil war in the aftermath of a disaster that he was either trying to stop or he is ultimately responsible for. His old team-mates (from the mercenary Corps) are on hand to help, or are they? Imre didn’t part from them on good terms and their own agendas will come to light in the most unexpected of places…
With science fiction; it seems that the more space travel a character needs to undertake, the ‘harder’ the tone will be. This is certainly the case here with characters handily able to adjust their body tempo, in order to travel vast distances, and talk of the complexity of sending communications across the galaxy. I’m not a fan of ‘hard sci-fi’ and will admit that any talk of ‘relativity’ or ‘the warping affects of a neutron star’s gravitational field’ send me into a little daydream until someone fires a laser gun and gets things going again. There is some of that here but luckily (for me anyway) the ‘detective element’ of the story was gripping enough to keep me going. Who killed Imre and why are they trying to kill him again?
Given the vastness of the space, in which events occur, the world building is understandably sparse but enough background history is introduced so as not to leave the reader flailing (the Appendices at the back are pretty handy too!) The key theme of identity (in a time where you can make copies of yourself in order to experience more) is introduced and elaborated on through various arguments between characters. None of them are particularly likeable but I found this debate interesting enough to want to see how it develops in future books (this being the first in a series).
‘Saturn Returns’ ties up enough loose ends to give a satisfying sense of closure while leaving the broader plot strands to run on into later books. The direction that our disparate crew head in seems to come somewhat out of the blue (didn’t make sense to me, given the story) but I think this will shape up to be one of the better sci-fi series that are out there.
Worth a look if you like your sci-fi that little bit harder or if you’re a fan of Gary Numan (read it and see what I mean).
Seven and a Half out of Ten
Win a copy of ‘Saturn Returns’
What do you reckon? Fancy a read without actually having to part with any money for it? I thought so… Drop me an email (address at the top of the screen) and tell me who you are, where you live and what forums you like to hang out in. I’ll let you know who won next Monday…