“Saturn Run”: a Suspenseful Race Through Space


Madison Fishback

The cover of “Saturn Run” shows the Nixon in front of a planet.

Set in 2066, “Saturn Run” is a science fiction story that shows human ingenuity and creativity. While working, main character Sandy Darlington observes an object decelerating in space. Since this was an anomaly, it was discovered that this was a spacecraft. This spacecraft stopped at Saturn before leaving at speeds far above a human spacecraft could. The Americans built the Nixon spaceship so that they could get to Saturn fast. The public finds out about the spaceship that was at Saturn, and the Chinese launch a ship to Saturn as well, thus beginning the race to Saturn.

Throughout “Saturn Run,” the chapters switch between multiple first-person narrators. Toward the end of the book, the chapters became shorter and switched perspectives more often. I think this was the best way to write this book because it allows the readers to better understand what is happening around the ship. If the narration had been in Sandy’s perspective the entire time, the readers wouldn’t have had as good of an idea of how the spaceship works or the political side of the story. The perspective also switches to people on the Chinese spaceship. The switch was a great way to avoid villainizing the Chinese and helped get a better understanding of their perspective in general.

There are quite a few important plot points in “Saturn Run” that are extremely important to the story. However, when the chief engineer, Becky Johansson, died, I thought it would have more of an impact on the story. Of course, there were other engineers on the ship, so it makes sense that other people would know how to use the technology. It just felt like they brushed over her death.

I would say the thing this book excels at the most is making the story seem realistic. It feels like something that would actually happen if the Americans found a random spaceship, and tried to keep it a secret. Then, when the Chinese government finds out about the spacecraft, instead of helping each other, it turns into a race. They are competing to get ahead, to the point where they sabotage each other.

“Saturn Run” talks a lot about the technology of the Nixon, but it was not boring or hard to understand. The science was simplified so that it would be better understood. Despite a few moments of confusion, I really enjoyed hearing about how Nixon worked, and it was interesting to see the differences between the ships. I find that human ingenuity during time restraints is always fascinating.

It was interesting to see the characters go to space instead of having aliens come to Earth. The aliens didn’t initiate contact with humans, but left technology and information for them to take if they could reach it. It was a different situation than is usually shown in science fiction, and I think it was a great way to build suspense and intrigue.