Saturn was something of a bummer, especially coming off Jupiter and the Asteroid Wars, The Aftermath in particular. It might as well have been called ‘adventures of a colony ship’, since it’s only in the last fraction of the book that we actually make it to Saturn. The rest of the book is spent by power hungry religious zealots trying to take over a ship ostensibly populated by ten thousand people trying to escape exactly that sort of behavior.
On top of that, I don’t really care about any of the characters. They’re all either cartoonishly evil or inept or scientists that need concepts they should know cold explained to them. It’s kind of a bummer also that the main character went through the cryogenic freeze/thaw that we’ve seen discussed in other books, leaving her having to rebuild her life from scratch. But it really doesn’t actually go anywhere. A missed opportunity.
About the only really cool things that redeem this book were the discovery of life and the set up for even grander future books.
For the former, it’s sort of Bova’s / The Grand Tour’s thing that life is found absolutely everywhere, so it’s no surprise that Saturn is no exception, but the way it’s done was pretty cool. I would much rather have read a book about life in in the rings of Saturn … And they didn’t even make it to Titan. I guess that’s why Titan is a thing.
For the latter, I fully expect a generation ship to show up at some point. With Saturn, it’s within the realm of technically possible. Really, if Saturn had taken place on such a generation ship, I think it would have made a much stronger story. So it goes.
Overall, another skippable book in the Grand Tour, unless you really want the full set.
Onwards (and backwards?) to Leviathans of Jupiter !