Sunday, June 7, 2020

Review of "Fantastic Voyage," by Isaac Asimov

Review of

Fantastic Voyage, by Isaac Asimov ISBN 0553271512

Four out of five stars

 Too many cliffhangers

 As Asimov mentions in his autobiographical material, since this was a novelization of a movie, he was much more limited in what he could write. Therefore, he had to go with far more cliffhangers than is usually the case and he had to improve on some of the scientific howlers that appeared in the movie. Within these limitations, Asimov did an exceptionally good job in creating a book of science fiction out of an item of entertainment.

 The premise is that the Cold War between the United States and the Other Side is very active and tense. A scientist named Benes is on the other side and he has knowledge that could overturn the delicate balance of power between the two sides. An American agent named Grant was able to spirit Benes out of the area controlled by the Other Side, but they are so desperate to keep the knowledge from the Americans that agents of the Other Side launch an attempt to assassinate Benes. While they do not succeed, he sustains a head injury and a major blot clot in his brain. Using new technology to miniaturize large objects down to the size of bacteria, a submarine containing a small team is injected into Benes’ blood in order to destroy the clot.

 The strength of this book is Asimov’s detailed descriptions of the microstructures of the human body. In each instance it is possible for the reader to develop a crisp mental image of the structure and its function. This makes up for the seeming never-ending sequence of major problems that must be overcome. After reading this book I now want to see the movie for the first time.

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