The Darkest Side of Saturn

Odyssey of a Reluctant Prophet of Doom

Fiction - Science Fiction
492 Pages
Reviewed on 09/24/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Pilot, spacecraft navigator, author: Tony Taylor flew fighters in the Air Force and later navigated NASA spacecraft to all eight planets of the solar system, adding minor planet Pluto in 2015 to maintain bragging rights for “all the planets” in case it’s promoted to full planethood again.

His latest novel, The Darkest Side of Saturn, reflects many of his NASA experiences and won several honors, including First Place for Commercial Fiction in the 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Awards and Book of the Year in the 2015 Arizona Literary Contest. His first novel, Counters, drew on air combat experiences in Vietnam and won an Honorable Mention in the Hoffer Awards. Both books made the Short List for Grand Prize in that contest.

Tony lives with his wife Jan in Sedona, Arizona. He may not be the only interplanetary navigator in Sedona, land of vortices and UFO enthusiasts, but he’s probably the only one who actually worked for NASA.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers' Favorite

Wow! I just finished reading The Darkest Side of Saturn: Odyssey of a Reluctant Prophet of Doom, the newest work by author Tony Taylor, and I have to say it was completely worth the read! Follow the stories of spacecraft navigator Harris Mitchel and astronomer Diana Muse-Jones after their discovery that an asteroid appears to be on a collisions course with Earth, with likely disastrous effects, within the next twenty years. They aren't sure how to make their discovery known, and have a terrible argument regarding what to do. When Harris goes ahead and lets the disbelieving public know, and both he and Diana lose their jobs, it seems like their relationship will never be the same again. Harris becomes the unwilling soothsayer to a group of followers desperate for details regarding the coming end of days, led by a fanatical preacher. One thing remains uncertain, however, how will the world deal with the possibility of an asteroid strike? With the world be saved, or are we headed toward disaster?

I so enjoyed this book! Author Tony Taylor writes with authenticity that can only come from someone who has worked as a NASA navigator for most of his career. His knowledge and expertise come shining through in The Darkest Side of Saturn and his readers will certainly appreciate it! This book had me turning the pages from the very beginning, and I simply could not put it down until the end. The only piece of advice I have for readers, other than to be sure to read this book, would be to set aside enough time to read the entire thing. You simply won't be able to stop reading. Readers who enjoy science fiction, space, or simply a great read would love The Darkest Side of Saturn: Odyssey of a Reluctant Prophet of Doom, and I am so pleased to highly recommend it. I will certainly be keeping my eye out for more work by author Tony Taylor. If it's anything like his current offering, it will be an absolute must-read!

Tony Taylor

Thanks so much, Tracy. Don't know how I missed this. There was even an email way back in September.

BlueInk Reviews (Posted b

This extraordinarily well-crafted and deeply thought-provoking novel about a scientist who discovers an asteroid on a collision course with Earth is nothing short of a science fiction tour de force; a courageous and visionary work that is comparable in thematic power to Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s Hugo Award-winning novel A Canticle for Leibowitz.

Set largely in 1997, the story revolves around Harris Mitchel, an overworked engineer employed at Advanced Technology Laboratory in Southern California, who—along with coworker Diana Muse-Jones—detects a massive asteroid two miles wide that, if their calculations are correct, will collide with Earth in 16 years. But when Mitchel goes public with the information in an attempt to somehow avert the potential looming disaster, he is met with contempt and disbelief, from a dangerously fanatical preacher and his followers to a loudmouth radio personality to the president of the United States himself.

Disregarding the science behind Mitchel’s claim, the media instead focuses on his possible affair with the attractive Muse-Jones, and soon the engineer is demonized by countless religious followers who believe he is “the grand prophet of doom.” As his personal life crumbles before his eyes, he perseveres even though no one seems to care. But readers who think they know where the novel is going are in for a jaw- dropping, unforgettable literary experience!

To classify this novel as simply science fiction would be a grand disservice: It’s an apocalyptic thriller, a powerful romance, a cautionary tale about religious fanaticism, and, above all else, a disturbingly insightful self-examination of humankind and our apparent decline into a society powered by apathy, ignorance, and intolerance.

In the introduction to the 2006 reissue of Miller, Jr.’s 1959 post-apocalyptic masterwork, Mary Doria Russell describes A Canticle for Leibowitz as a novel that will change all those who read it. The same can be said for The Darkest Side of Saturn.

This is an instant classic.

Indie Reader

(Reposted by author from

Two astronomers discover an asteroid on a potential collision course with Earth.

Harris Mitchel and Diana Muse are old friends and scientific rivals, but when they jointly discover a new asteroid, which they name Baby, their lives are upended for good. Harris’s wife Jennifer is growing increasingly frustrated with his dedication to work over marriage. A fundamentalist minister with money troubles hopes to boost his ministry by taking public exception to Mitchel’s advocacy of science as a new frontier and a new inspiration – and a conservative radio personality is stoking the fight for his audience’s amusement. A New Age community views Mitchel as a new prophet. But the stakes are higher than any of them realize, since Baby appears to be on a collision course with Earth. Can Harris and Diana manage to save the world as well as their own personal lives?

THE DARKEST SIDE OF SATURN manages to play with the religion-science divide in a truly thought-provoking and entertaining fashion. Mitchel’s inspired and dramatic view of science and discovery as the meaning and purpose of human existence is shown not only from his perspective, but refracted through the viewpoints of others, whether Diana’s intelligent pragmatism, the cynical what’s-in-it-for-me attitude of politicians and administrators, the angry fundamentalist reaction of the Rev. Farnsworth, or the mystical, but somewhat scatterbrained, devotion of his New Age true believers. The writing is both poetically lyrical and driven, full of energy and force, especially when the topic is either science or sex. Rapier-sharp verbal fencing and a snarky, witty sense of humor brighten the book. The romance is feisty, vigorous, and sensual, with electricity vividly present from the beginning of the novel. The ending offers a fascinating perspective on the whole, combining both scientific awe and mystical philosophy in a new and intriguing way.

THE DARKEST SIDE OF SATURN is a mischievous, playful, and intelligent look at human consciousness, science, religion, inspiration and truth.