When a spaceship from Earth is mistaken for a hovering snack, humans unceremoniously come to know and love the rukhs, a race of enormous, double-headed flying creatures of high intelligence and good will who live above the surface of Saturn. The debacle does not create any permanent riffs in their relationship, but it does strand the humans on Saturn, due to the damage done to their vessel. Much of the fun of Robert L. Forward's Saturn Rukh comes from the ensuing interaction between the humans and the rukhs and the understanding that comes from their communication. |
The rukhs quickly learn English and come to treat the humans somewhat like intelligent pets. The humans, although grateful and rather fond of the rukhs as well, want to head back to Earth as soon as they can fix their ship and negotiate the tricky gravitational forces at work on Saturn--no small feat indeed. Forward is particularly adept at describing complex scientific processes and relevant laws of physics, giving an accurate foundation to his creation and an added interest to the problem of returning the people to their planet of choice.