Cradle of Saturn

Posted by barb on Apr 16, 2003 in Books |

by James P. Hogan

Hogan is one of my favorite sci-fi writers. He is very good at making believable science in whatever worlds he creates. In Cradle of Saturn, he creates a world where the controversial ideas of Immanuel Velikovsky are actually true. Velikovsky, in the 1950s, proposed that Venus may not have formed billions of years ago with the other planets, but was instead ejected from Jupiter as a comet a mere 3500 years ago. These ideas have been shown to be implausible by many astronomers, including Carl Sagan. However, once I decided to just accept the science as a writer’s creation, I was able to enjoy the novel.

Years before the novel takes place, a group of open-minded humans, tired with the status quo decide to colonize a moon of Saturn. Free from the economic restraints of Earth, this group, called Kronians, were able to do science as it was intended to be done. In contrast, on Earth, the scientists have become locked into current ideas, unwilling to propose anything remotely controversial, since those ideas don’t get funding.

Then Jupiter spits out another comet. Athena.

Astronomers on Earth still refuse to believe it is something that happened before. They also refuse to believe that it will have much of an impact on Earth. The Kronians, some of whom were at Earth for talks aimed to smooth the rocky Earth-Kronian relations, know better, but no one will listen to them. This novel follows Landan Keene, an engineer and friend of the Kronians, from just after Athena is ejected, to just before it’s close encounter with Earth.

Overall it was quite a good book. I did get a bit tired by the end of all the problems that were thrown at Keene and his group. I realize that Athena was causing mass destruction on an Earth-wide scale, but it’s a novel, so we could be shielded/spared some of that.

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