My interest in this novel was peaked when I read about it on the Kindle Scout page. I voted for it and received a free copy when it won the contest for publication. Having read Chase Harwood’s Of Sudden Origin, I already knew the potential for a good read was there. I wasn’t wrong!
Bastion Saturn is about Wild West Cowboy Space Pirates and Evil Artificial Intelligence!
Well, not exactly, but the elements are there. The action is pretty much non-stop, which made it a page turner for me. The background setup is of an AI + Human Hive-Mind Singularity in 2101 forcing non-conformists to escape to space. The AI feels threatened by their very existence and takes steps to remove the threat. That dread permeates the entire work.
The struggle to establish a viable existences on the many moons of the Saturn ring system encapsulates the actions of the main characters. They come at you fast paced and fully formed. Caleb Day, the petty thief and general wanderer, annoyed me at first. I guess he was supposed to though. He finds himself in the middle of a corrupt Police action where – finding his conscience isn’t as sadistic as the other participants – he ends up throwing his lot in with the fleeing refugees. One of those, a very attractive woman named Jennifer, is also somewhat more than she lets on at times. They end up in a series of unpleasant moon hopping situations as they try to find a new way to make it in the Saturn system.
Character development isn’t a main component of the book, although there is some, especially for Caleb. The general direction of change is more of a getting-to-know-each-other kind progression where familiarity and acceptance between them bonds the gang together in a way that works. There is quirky humor employed in the book. I had a few eye-rolls at some of it. A couple of times I felt like I was missing an inside joke as if the author forgot to explain the lead in part. Hard to put my finger on though. Still, I can remember the character’s names and their quirks, so they left an impression.
I found the science to be believable and fun. It may not be as detailed as I sometimes like, but the trade-off is the action. That is epic, and kept the novel moving from start to finish. One nag I do have is the roughshod yet dependable equipment. It always seems to work, no matter how much abuse or neglect it takes. Sure, it is 100 years in the future, but space is a very hard place to live… and stay alive… in. The jumping in and out of suits and airlocks. The crashing and scraping into things. The tracking in of dust particles. All that amounts to some very serious maintenance issues to me. But again, maintenance is boring, so…. action!
I enjoyed this read, and I look forward to the sequel (if there is one). I give this novel 4 stars and call it an Exciting Read.