A Saturnian Renaissance

by Dylan Jeninga
(Illinois, Wisconsin)

Missing Men of Saturn, Prisoners of Saturn, the Daedelus Incident... that's a slew of Saturnians. What's more, all the but the last are about Saturn specifically. What other artifacts of the ringed planet are drifting out in the void, waiting to be uncovered by intrepid literary archeologists?...

I feel compelled to thank you for your monetary sacrifice in advancing the cause of OSS planetary exploration. I and others will no doubt benefit from your analysis of "Prisoners of Saturn".

I was recently describing to a friend the big three of scifi, and I found I had a hard time characterizing Heinlein's work. Asimov I said was about ideas and plot, and Clark wrote romantic wonder, but Heinlein - what to say about Heinlein? His work is hard for me to pin down.

Any thoughts?

{Z: Out of the three you mention, Heinlein is the only one fascinated by politics and power. That doesn't necessarily mean he points away from the others - only that his route to the ideas and plot, and to the romantic wonder underlying it all, is via power-play. e.g. the clash of species in The Puppet Masters, the clash of settlers vs the Company in Red Planet, the individual versus the exploiters in Logic of Empire, and so on, and so on... Also, as Alexei Panshin says in "Heinlein in Dimension", the man is really keen on exploring the way things work. I suppose the classic example of that is the financial chicanery in "The Man Who Sold the Moon" - chicanery in a good cause, in that particular instance.

The Saturnian Renaissance is indeed underway. I now have Prisoners of Saturn safely in my collection. It looks even better than I remembered it. I'd really love to visit the world described in Suddaby's book. Imaginatively speaking, there's a certain serene lightness about Saturn, in comparison with the heavy geographical violence conjured up by the thought of Jupiter.}

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