Saturn’s Race, by Larry Niven
Larry Niven does it again – he’s managed to find a perch outside the
mainstream consciousness, taking a serious poke at consensus reality
with hard science backing up his points.
His story is some 60 years in the future, and it shows one possible
(and perhaps probable?) take on how life has changed in the interim.
There’s been no ‘hard-takeoff’ singularity, but there’s indications
throughout the book that things ARE different. And yet, even with all
the oddities that technology has offered to humanity, people are
They make mistakes, missteps, accidents, are misled, and yet also
love, struggle, suffer, and shine. They’re PEOPLE, with all the
faith, flaws, and finagling that that entails. And that’s Niven’s
greatest strength – making the technology important, but a second
string player to the people in the tale he tells.
His worldview as written in this novel is not unique, but his
adaptation of it to deal with the technologies and political
realities he speculates on is deftly done.
I would highly reccommend this story, especially for those interested
in one take on how ‘hidden technologies’ could affect the future.
Additionally, Niven’s protagonist’s fascination with ‘metaphors’ –
immersive interfaces with computer systems – is worthy of further
expansion, as is the Saturn of the title.
More about the reviewer, John B, here.