Combined Reviews: Saturn Returns by Sean Williams

saturn_returns.jpg Reviews of Saturn Returns by Sean Williams
July 2007

[This novel won the 2008 Ditmar Award for Best Novel.]

From the publisher's page

Dark experiments, dangerous ruins, fleeting ghosts and deadly conspiracies... On the edge of the galaxy in a distant and terrible future, Imre Bergamasc is reborn into a pieced-together body with the certain knowledge that he was the victim of an elaborate murder plot. But neither his mind nor the history of his former life are as easily reassembled, so he sets out to follow the fragments of his memories and discover the reason for his elimination. Through interstellar graveyards, decaying megacities and bizarre star systems, he pursues whispers connecting the death of the worlds he once knew to his own murder. Tracked by forces determined to thwart his efforts, Imre combs the wreckage of the future for the truth about himself -- no matter how unbearable it may be.


Matthew Tait on "Oz HorrorScope": "Saturn Returns, the first book of Astropolis, marks a pivotal time in the career of Adelaide author Sean Williams. Like the title metaphor, it seems the author himself is going through a personal homecoming of sorts. After the debacle of the Books of the Cataclysm, Sean has revisited the path where he started - and, dare I say it, where he belongs...With honesty and aplomb Sean shows us that, unfortunately, wars will never be won: it's the human condition and mirrors the current global situation. No matter how hard we travel and how hard we evolve, human beings, at their very basic, will always be warring machines..."

Taryn on "A Storm of Words": "Orbit describes it as a 'space opera balancing cosmic-level threats with a very human murder mystery'. I think its a fast paced guns-a-blazing-mystery dealing with questions of identity PLUS a central character with partial amnesia, what more could you want?...Sean Williams has created a fascinating gothic galaxy recovering from a galactic-wide disaster. Humans have spread far and wide across the galaxy, some remaining in one body, Primes, living and dying others, Singletons, opt for having many clones and absorbing and sharing memories and then there are the group minds."

Graeme on "Graeme's Fantasy Book Review": "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."

Jonathan McCalmont on "SF Diplomat": "As I was reading this book, I was struck by how much it resembled two other books, namely Iain M. Banks' 1993 Against a Dark Background and Roger Zelazny's 1970 Nine Princes in Amber...Much like Against a Dark Background, Saturn Returns is a work of action-packed SF that has a good deal of wry wit and a desire to innovate. At 280 pages, the book is short and to the point. While its mystery/self-discovery elements can lead to the pace slowing, it is generally not long before Bergamasc is called upon to lead his gang into battle or use his tactical nous to solve a problem. The action sequences are exciting to read and the book's pace accelerates towards the end leaving you eager to find out what happens next in this projected three book series."

JP on "SF Signal": "Saturn Returns is the first book in Sean Williams' new space opera series, Astropolis. It has all the things you'd expect from New Space Opera: postumans, galaxy spanning cultures, conspiracies and imminent threat to humanity. The setting has some of the feel of Alastair Reynolds' Inhibitor series, but with Williams' own additions to space opera...At times I felt like I was getting info dumped instead of story progress. And while the characters are interesting, they aren't really that sympathetic. Not yet anyway...So it's a good thing that the universe Williams has created is just so darn cool. He packs a lot of interesting and unique ideas into this story. I'm really interested in
seeing how the story unfolds and how the conspiracy plays out."


Williams was interviewed by Tim Lloyd for "The Advertiser", soon after the book was published in 2007.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 17, 2008 9:42 AM.

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