The Thunder Child

Science Fiction and Fantasy
Web Magazine and Sourcebooks

Vol 1, Issue #8
"Stand By For Mars!"
August 2006

Fiction Book Reviews
by Caroline Miniscule

Fantastic Voyage
by Isaac Asimov
Bantam Books

Verdict: Recommended

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Caroline Miniscule has traveled around the world. She now stays in one place and reads science fiction. She is a graduate of D'Illyria University.

Chapter 1: Plane

It was an old plane, a four-engine plasma jet that had been retired from active service, and it came in along a route that was neither economical nor particularly safe. It nosed through the cloud banks on a trip that took it twelve hours where five might have sufficed with a rocket-powered supersonic.

And there was well over an hour to go.

The agent aboard knew that his part of the job wouldn?t be finished till the plane touched down and that the last hour would be the longest.

He glanced at the only other man in the large passenger cabin-napping for the moment, with his chin buried in his chest.

The passenger didn?t look particularly striking or impressive, but at the moment, he was the most important man in the world.

Grant has completed his last mission. He?s delivered Benes, defecting scientist, to the proper authorities on Our Side, whose job it is to take him to his final destination, and now Grant?s contemplating retirement. But it?s not to be. Benes was attacked just as it seemed he had reached safety, and now his life hangs by a thread. There?s a blood clot in his brain and there?s no way to reach it by conventional means.

So They (Combined Miniature Deterrent Forces) decide to send a medical team inside him?to let them operate from the inside.

Miniaturization. Shrinking objects to miniscule sizes. The thing of dreams, but impossible in real life due to the laws of physics. At least ? that?s what the schools are told. But in secret, government laboratories have been experimenting ? on both Sides of the battle between good and evil ? and it is indeed possible to reduce the size of anything ? guns, bombs, soldiers ? to a tiny size. The problem is, the effect lasts only for sixty minutes, and then the objects return to their full size.

But Benes he?s discovered how to keep things miniaturized indefinitately. This is the kind of thing that?s going to break the balance of power?and it must be broken on Our side.

Solution? Put a surgeon into a submarine, shrink the submarine down to the appropriate size, and inject it into the bloodstream of the patient. Pilot the submarine to the site of the bloodclot, destroy it with a laser, and save Benes? life.

SaveCancelCloseEdit FileWhen finished, click Save or Cancel below. Change PermissionsReadWriteExecuteUserGroupGrant knows nothing about medicine, but he does know about security, and its his job to go along with the medical team and ensure that no sabotage occurs. Who are his suspects. The cold-hearted surgeon Duval and his beautiful assistant, Cora Peterson. Sub pilot Owens, and navigator through Benes? circulatory system, Dr. Michaels.

Grant is reluctant to go along, but as accidents begin to pile up on this fantastic voyage, it does seem as if there is indeed a saboteur on board?and their lives are now in as much danger as Benes??with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

In 1966, the film Fantastic Voyage made its debut, starring Stephen Boyd as Grant, Arthur Kennedy as Dr. Duval, Raquel Welch as Cora, and Donald Pleasence as Dr. Michaels. Isaac Asimov wrote the novelization, and for the most part stays true to the film. However, there?s one big problem with the ending of the film ? which Asimov takes care of in the book?so in that sense it?s also superior (although in doing so he removes one of Pleasence's best line deliveries...a pity).

Read the Fantastic Voyage trailer!

This is not to say the book is not dated in some respects. There is no mention of the obvious, that it?s the Cold War between the United States and Russia. It?s always Our Side and Their Side, Us and Them, We and They.

?So far there have been rules to this game. One side doesn?t do anything to back the other side into a corner so tight he has to use his missile buttons. You?ve got to leave him a safe ledge to step back on. Push hard but not too hard. When Benes gets here, They may get the notion They?re being pushed too hard.?

The novel takes place in an unspecified future?but Cora Peterson is still the victim of male chauvinism (as in the movie.) The mission is too danger for a woman to go along?it?s Cora who?s attacked by white cells and has to be rescued, etc.

OtherFile VersionsWarning: Restoring an older version will overwrite the current file without back
Her mirror told her, plainly enough, that she was not plain. Her dark eyes were ingenuously wide-set; her lips reflected quick humor when she let them do do-which wasn?t often; and her figure annoyed her for its apparent propensity for interfering with the proper understanding of her professional competence. It was for her ability she wanted wolf-whistles (or their intellectual equivalent) and not for the sinuosity she couldn?t help.

ing it up. New ArchiveArchive Name Back to Control PanelWeb Site .htaccess Editor Archive Gateway Disk UsageNevertheless, Fantastic Voyage is a fun read. Asimov handles the science with a sure hand but it is never too obtrusive, and while his prose is occasionally old-fashioned (his hardened agent says ?Darn,? not ?Damn.?), it brings the reader along at a break-neck pace. Read the book, and see the movie.

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