Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fantastic Voyage: Review

Fantastic Voyage by Isaac Asimov was actually a re-read for me. But it has been many moons since I was in my hard-core science fiction phase (like 30 years or so) and so I couldn't resist adding this one to the list when I saw that it would fit into the Birth Year Challenge that I'm doing.

Fantastic Voyage is not an original Asimov story. That tells--just a bit. It is a novelization of the movie and it involves the minaturization of a crew of scientists and doctors in an atomic sub who are then injected into a dying man's carotid artery. They make a dangerous journey through the heart and lungs and even the inner ear where the slightest sound may be enough to destroy them. It's not enough that they have to make this journey battling against the defenses of the man's body...but there seems to be within their midst a traitor. Equipment begins to fail and there are a string of "accidents"--is it just coincidence or is there someone who would prefer that the mission fail? Forstanding in the balance is not just one man's life....but possibly the fate of the world. The dying man is a great scientist who has defected from "The Other Side" of the Cold War (it's amazing how Russia is never named) and who holds a great secret in his brain. The crew's mission is to operate on a blood clot that threatens that secret--a blood clot that cannot be reached from the outside.

There is plenty of action and a little bit of romance between the token female and the hero (feminists might have a problem with some of the dialogue and action, but one would do well to remember that it is a product of its time). The identity of the possible traitor is a well-kept secret until the end and the reader is left to guess until then. And, if one didn't know that this was written during a time of "happy endings," one might even wonder if the mission were going to be successful.

Asimov rarely disappoints--particularly when the material is all his--and has not done so here. Even though I can tell that this is not pure Asimov, it is still a very good story and a fun and exciting read. I gave it four stars when I read it before...three and a half now.


1 comment:

J.G. said...

I always had a view of this as a bit cartoon-y, but it sounds pretty darn good! Interesting how the culture of its time shaped it, even though it's set in the future.