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Saturnalia Paperback – January 1, 1986

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# Paperback # Publisher: Baen (January 1, 1986) # Language: English # ISBN-10: 0671655469 # ISBN-13: 978-0671655464 # Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches # Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Baen; First Edition edition (January 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671655469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671655464
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,127,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Canyon (gcanyon@inspiredlogic.com) on March 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best SF books I've ever read. I just finished reading it for the third time, and it got me again with its great characters and gripping plot. The transformation of Dr. Kurious Whitedimple from mild-mannered professor of Archeology to hairy-chested space hero is gradual and highly enjoyable. I don't like the sequel, _A Lion on Tharthee_, quite as well, but it's also a very good book. I wish Grant Callin had been more successful/written more books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book has some great engineering and solar system geography. Mr. Callin's incredible descriptions of Saturn and her moons is breathtakingly rich and intense . The plot is great, the science is magnificent. This book has some of the best spaceflight passages I have read. It's a must have, and I am sorry to see it out of print.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Joyce on October 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
The plot of this novel deals with the discovery and subsequent race to recover a series of alien artifacts placed throughout the saturnian system.

The backdrop is the economic and political competition between Earth and a series of orbiting colonial habitats operated by a corporation in the late 21st century.

The science is interesting and seems solid enough to a non-tech type like myself. The controlled reactor fusion drive(CRF) that the author posits as mankind's key to solar system travel gets more attention than many of the main characters. The description of Spacehome, the orbiting colonies, is wonderfully detailed and developed. The author's comfort level with subjects such as Saturnian astrography and engineering details is refreshing.

All that said, the real beauty of this story is the two main characters, and the friendship between them. Professor Kurious Whitedimple (who always has a joke about his name), the archaeologist who makes the initial discoveries and helps lead the team that recovers the final clues that the aliens have left. Junior Badille (who never loses a bet), the hypergenuis with the ability to design the tools needed to find the the aliens clues and eventually interpret them.

The humor and interplay between these two and the rest of the cast of characters is what really takes this into the realm of a great book. Callin does an excellent job of creating characters who grow and who you grow to love.

I first picked up this book in high school and have read it about 15 times since. It has a few groaner lines it in, but it remains one of my favorite pieces of fun fiction to this day.

A quick note, there is a sequel to this novel titled "A Lion on Tharthee" which deals with the the first contact between Humans and the aliens from this novel. Both of the main characters are reprised in the second novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trelligan on October 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unlike other sci-fi universes, Saturnalia has near-current technology. There is practical fusion power, though it's not cheap. Travel to other Solar System planets and living in space is common, though Earth is trying its best to insert politics-as-usual into the hard-nosed business of exploiting outer space.

The protagonist starts out as a mild-mannered archaeology professor and becomes - well, that would be telling.

One of the best 'buddy' books I've read in many years. Rousing action and adventure, with science as plausible as you can get. This takes me back to the days when engineers wrote science fiction.

Look for the sequel A Lion on Tharthee now; it won't take long to finish this one.
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Format: Paperback
The book revolves around an unlikely hero who, with a great deal of help, works to recover alien artifacts.

I've just finished re-reading it again and I'm so impressed with it and confused as to why the book is not more widely known. The over-arching story is a common one. But I think what makes this book such a good read for me is that Callin successfully intertwines several excellent stories.

He writes ripping good hard science fiction full of tense action set against interesting and imaginative insights into the Saturn system. He also writes a substory about econo-political strife in a future where sizable off-planet communities exist. There is also a sensitive and engaging story about relationships. And finally, IMHO the archeological treatment of the alien artifacts is top-notch. The author is paricularly talented at blending these distinct elements in a seamless, engaging whole in a style that reminds me very much of Larry Niven's best work.

No book is perfect but this one is really, really good. I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you also like this book, Callin wrote one other book with the same characters, as well as a few short stories for magazines like Analog. One website claims that he also published under the pen name "Flash Richardson".
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