cover image Saturn's Race

Saturn's Race

Larry Niven. Tor Books, $24.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86726-3

The bestselling team of Niven and Barnes (The Legacy of Heorot; Lucifer's Hammer) have produced another compulsively readable, immensely enjoyable near-future yarn. The year is 2020 and the world is run by corporate conglomerates. Beautiful, brilliant Lenore Myles has just completed her master's degree and is poised for an exciting career in biological research. She is celebrating her graduation on the wondrous floating island Xanadu. Wealthy, attractive Chaz Kato, whose foundation was instrumental in paying for Lenore's expensive education, offers her the chance to do cutting-edge research on the island and be his lover. To entice Lenore to break her current contract, Chaz gives her his security clearance, allowing her carte blanche to the island's many technological secrets. During her exploration, Lenore stumbles upon a plot to sterilize the lower classes. Horrified, unsure of who is in on the conspiracy, she flees the island without telling Chaz of her findings. Saturn, an immeasurably powerful virtual creation run by persons unknown, plants false information about Lenore's whereabouts. This data is dutifully reported to Chaz by his ex-wife, Clarice MaibangDformerly an artist from a primitive culture, now a highly placed member of the island's security team. To save Lenore from the murderous Saturn, Chaz must plug into a program designed to create ""squaliens""Dsea creatures who have been augmented for greater intelligenceDand, eventually, risk everything to uncover Saturn's identity and the secret that Lenore has now forgotten. Brilliantly weaving high-tech internets, augmentation technologies and social issues into a fast-paced cloak-and-dagger action adventure, this novel effortlessly moves from the depths of the ocean to the heights of VR to create a dazzling, seamless whole. (July)