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Microsoft Reader (Microsoft Reader edition)
Os aneis de Saturno (Portuguese)
Los Anillos de Saturno (Spanish)
Pierścienie Saturna (Polish)
Saturnovi prstani (Slovenian)
Susret u svemiru (Serbo-Croatian)
Cover, Arthur Byron
Humphrey, Brian (interior)
Hempel, Marc (interior)
March, 1985 (First printing)
2001 (Microsoft Reader edition)
August 27, 2013 (Kindle edition)
0553244248 / 9780553244243
0553257978 / 9780553257977 (Second printing)
125 pages (plus data bank and data file) |
|Number of Endings:||
US$1.95 (First printing)
US$2.25 (Second printing)
|User Summary:||You must travel into the future in an attempt to make first contact with an alien race.|
Like much of this series, the writing is pretty good, although sometimes it's a little childish here, as in your average CYOA book. The story can also seem a little flat. However, there are some neat science tidbits and some peculiar, interesting side trips, and some well-designed mechanics that loop you back into the story and away from the final ending. Unfortunately the ending is just OK, and not as satisfying as it could have been. One interesting note is that some of the jumps in the book are in space, not in time. Incidentally, there is a huge ripoff of Isaac Asimov's Laws of Robotics on page 40. You can see my map of the book here.
This is probably the most unusual book in the series. The option of visiting the future is certainly a change of pace from the rest of the series, though the book manages to maintain a similar style to the other books - the future world feels almost as well developed as the historically-based pasts of other volumes. There aren't any entirely new ideas here, but this is still one of the best sci-fi gamebooks I've read by far.
I thought this story was pretty good, giving the reader what seems like a number of potential paths to your goal. I actually like the ripoff of Asimov's 3 laws of robotics, they seem like a good set of rules to live by and something that the young reader might find familiar when they get older and read Asimov. Star Trek is kind of ripped off, with a reference to "dilithium crystals," and this time travel story does a good job of not allowing you to take something from the future (previously unknown) back to your time.
Being the only Time Machine book to take place in the future rather than the past, The Rings of Saturn is a little hard to peg. It's more like a sci-fi Choose Your Own Adventure book, although there's still some of the "feel" that sets Time Machine apart from CYOA intact.
Although the world of the future was well-conceived in a cheesy comic book kind of way, I should complain that at times the book's internal logic baffled me (spoilers ahead). When confronted with a choice of two people who might be able to help you get into space, the correct one is indicated by... the fact that he has a bracelet with a rocket ship on it. More so than that, once you make it through space academy you're offered your choice of posting, on Mars or Venus. The correct choice is Mars, because... it's closer to Saturn. I guess the author thought that would equate to being closer to their goal in a young reader's mind, but not having the benefit of reading the book as a child, I didn't see why being posted geographically closer necessarily meant I was more likely to be assigned to a mission to Saturn.
If the logical hoops don't bother you, go ahead and give The Rings of Saturn a look. There's certainly nothing else in the series like it.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Ryan Lynch for the cover images.|
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Known EditionsFirst printing
Microsoft Reader edition