Saturn's Children (novel)

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Saturn's Children
Saturn's Children(1stEd).jpg
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
Author Charles Stross
Country United Kingdom & United States
Language English
Genre Science fiction
Publisher Orbit (UK), Ace (US)
Publication date
July 1, 2008
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 336 pp
ISBN 0-441-01594-8
OCLC 202548412
823/.92 22
LC Class PR6119.T79 S28 2008

Saturn's Children is a 2008 science fiction novel by British author Charles Stross. Stross has said that it is "a space opera and late-period [Robert A.] Heinlein tribute"[1] (specifically Heinlein's Friday[2]). It was nominated for the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Novel,[3] and was a finalist for the 2009 Prometheus Award.

Saturn's Children is the earliest known work of fiction to include the dwarf planet Eris as a setting.[citation needed] Since its publication, other novels have mentioned Eris.


The novel describes the travels and perils of Freya Nakamichi-47, a gynoid in the distant future. Humanity is extinct and android society has assumed a near-feudal form, with "aristos" and "arbeiters" (a term from the German word Arbeiter, worker) having spread throughout the Solar System. Freya, a robotic courtesan at loose ends after the mysterious extinction of the human race (her "One True Love"), becomes a courier for the Jeeves Corporation and learns of a shadowy conspiracy to overturn, or perhaps even control, android society. Soon she is on the run with her identity and her very existence threatened.


The novel includes numerous references to the works of Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, especially to Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, which were not used for controlling the robot society because of loopholes, and Heinlein's novel Friday, as the protagonist is an artificial woman, designed and trained to make love to humans and meet their every erotic desire, in a time when none exist, and any near match overwhelms her with lust and romantic longing. Freya and her kind are condemned to an existence without love, and must face suicidal despair and the murderous whims of their rulers alike.

She travels extensively at the bidding of a mysterious "Boss," and impersonates an aristocrat traveling on a spaceship as part of a mission in which she carries a mysterious egg tied to a plot to overthrow an empire. She also has a relationship to a male android named "Pete." Even her name (Freya) hints at Heinlein's novel, and she is actually called "Friday" at one point, likely as a joke.


A short story called Bit Rot was released in 2011 as part of the anthology Engineering Infinity.[4]

Another novel set later in the same universe as Saturn's Children was released on July 2, 2013, called Neptune's Brood.[5]


  1. ^ The Charles Stross FAQ
  2. ^ "Interview - Charlie's Diary". 2010-08-27. Retrieved 2012-08-23. 
  3. ^ Anticipation: Hugos
  4. ^ "Engineering Infinity - Edited by Jonathan Strahan - Solaris Books". Solaris Books. Retrieved 2014-10-30. 
  5. ^ "Neptune's Brood - Books by Charles Stross - Penguin Group (USA)". Penguin Group. Retrieved 2013-07-25.