So there's this big hunk of rock hurtling through space, see? And it just might be on a collision course with earth. Now, the authorities are skeptical at first, mind you. But thanks to evidence amassed by plucky scientists, they eventually relent (although too late to do much about it) and recognize the impending disaster for what it is. Rock meets earth. Earth meets rock. Panic and calamity ensue.|
Forgive him the by-now terribly hackneyed premise, and you'll actually find that the able James P. Hogan has infused this Armageddon scenario du jour with some novel science. The pluckiest of Hogan's plucky scientists are the Kronians, brainy colonists from Saturn's satellites, who try, along with like-minded earthlings, to persuade others that Athena, a white-hot comet ejected from Saturn's core, threatens to cook the earth on a near-miss. And along the way, we get treated to some neat, eye-opening theories, among them that the earth may have orbited Saturn as recently as the Pliocene--with giant humans rubbing shoulders with titanotheres--and that Venus may have been spit out by Jupiter just a few thousand years ago. The workmanlike action in Cradle of Saturn is typical disaster-flick fare (although with more politicking than car chases), but it's these ideas that make the book worthwhile. That, and the fact that at no point does Bruce Willis attempt to blow Athena up.
Source: Paul Hughes, Amazon.com.