Author: Isaac Asimov
Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Biology
My Rating: *****
Official Rating: Fiction
Age Group: 16+
Summary: Having finally rescued Benes from Them, We have run into a bit of trouble, mainly the problem that he may die before he's able to reveal very important information. Information so important that if We don't have it, They might start a war and We might lose.
This requires a last minute and utterly fantastic voyage into Benes' blood stream in order to clear a blood clot in his brain which cannot be reached from the outside. A grumpy old surgeon and his beautiful assistant, a pilot for the submarine, a doctor who knows the map of Benes' circulatory system, and the secret agent who saved Benes and seems to be along for security are miniaturized and injected into the blood stream.
A lot of things can go wrong in a blood stream, especially when there may be a traitor along. With only and exactly sixty minutes to complete the mission, things could go very wrong.
Of course, they do.
Word of Warning
- Agent Grant makes numerous suggestive remarks to Cora (the surgeon's assistant). Since this book was written in 1966, these remarks really are only suggestive and leave much to the imagination. Still, these remarks contributed to the book's age suggestion.
- Cora, for the most part, completely ignores Grant. When she starts to pay attention to him, he slows down on the comments.
- The whole thing is full of drama involving the blood stream, which might be considered gross by some readers.
- People almost die, are tossed around and injured, and one man is hit over the head. Another man is killed by bacteria (though we don't see this happen).
- Grant hints that he planned to spend a few days (or nights) with a woman (who, we're unaware) before he's selected for this mission, and he's a bit annoyed by his change in plans.
- A car crash ends in one man being killed, a shootout (another death), and a man who is injured and has a blood clot in his brain. None of this is graphic.
I rarely enjoy science fiction, and when I do, that's usually on the screen in a well-done movie. Clearly I've been reading the wrong science fiction. Though this book is anything but recently written, it's recent enough that as I read I recognized things I am studying in science classes right now, and explained how they worked as well. The characters were interesting, even Grant. At first I found him annoying, but his persistence on the mission (refusing to give up and making due with whatever he's got) and his bravery (sacrificing himself for other members of the crew often) grew on me and eventually I looked forward to his lines.
The pace was nicely done. Just fast enough to feel as frantic as the story line suggests, but slow enough that sixty minutes really does fit into about 150 pages without feeling overdone.
The adventure itself was incredibly interesting. It was fun to travel through a human blood stream in a submarine, even if it only happened in the pages of a novel.
Simply put, a great adventure that will continue to be so for a long long time.