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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Cradle Of Saturn

Copyright 1999 by James P. Hogan

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SOJALS rating:     
no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Unrated (0/5)

I first read this in March 2001.

Oh dear why do I keep giving in, against my better judgement, and buy these books?

Hogan packs these books full of exciting ideas, drama, carefully constructed plots and what comes out? A book that I have to force myself to read just to see if any of the good ideas pan-out into something thought-provoking, and all the time fighting the urge to just close the book and give it to someone I don't like. Look at this:

"While it was still morning in California, a train of meteorite impacts stitched it's way like a gigantic bombing run over the tip of South America and across the southern Atlantic to beyond the Falkland islands"

Now this is stirring stuff and I should have been gripped tight with tension, shotting Tequila, smoking furiously and with some loud rock blasting away in the background. But no, I'm laying on the floor the radio's playing some anonymous J-pop, I'm wondering whether there might be something on the TV and should I just check, and my arm is getting really tired turning the pages.

So what's wrong with Hogan's books? Beats me, I've read half a dozen since the '70s (can't remember the '60s, of course) and they never quite make it. I never believe in the characters, I'm never convinced by the plot and I never enjoy them. Well, it's either me or the writing. So it's the writing.

Having said all this, I do vaguely recollect that they didn't seem quite so bad when I was a young teenager, under sixteen, so that age group may enjoy them. But I'd recommend reading Larry Niven instead.

Ok, there is one small saving grace: a nice quote. The President is just announcing to the public the full scale of the imminent disaster. To her surprise the First Lady is asked whether she and children will be escaping to some place safe from the destruction about to rain down on them. In reply she quotes the British Queen Mother's response when asked if she would be moving her children out of London to escape the WWII Blitz. The then Queen replied:

"They won't go unless I go. I won't go unless the King goes. And the King won't go under any circumstances whatsoever."

Loaded on the 16th May 2001.
Cover of Cradle Of Saturn
Cover art by Dru Blair

Reviews of other works by James P. Hogan:
Thrice Upon A Time
Code Of The Lifemaker