Four men and one woman reduced to a microscopic fraction of their original size, boarding a miniaturized atomic sub and being injected into a dying man’s carotid artery. Fighting their way past giant antibodies, passing through the heart itself, entering the inner ear where even the slightest sound would destroy them, battling relentlessly into the cranium. Their objective…to reach a blood clot and destroy it with the piercing rays of a laser gun. At stake…the fate of the entire world.

Fantastic Voyage


This is a novel which is not really Asimov’s responsibility, inasmuch as it is a novelization of somebody else’s screenplay. It actually represents an improvement on the screenplay in a number of ways, but Asimov was still sufficiently disappointed in it that he was willing to rewrite the same basic scenario his way twenty years later as Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain (which is distinctly worse than Fantastic Voyage). This is also the only sf novel Asimov wrote in the 1960’s, as his focus had shifted almost entirely to non-fiction after Sputnik and would remain there until The Gods Themselves was published six years later.

For all that the basic plot of the movie is not Asimov’s, he still tells the story well. In particular, he manages to gloss over the problems of miniaturization rather neatly and take advantage of the opportunity to tell a surprising amount about the human body. His fiction-writing skills had not deserted him and are finely intermingled with his non-fiction writing skills.

While this, then, may not be first-rank Asimov, it remains a worthwhile and interesting book.

It is also rather important to me, because it’s the second book by Asimov I bought. (The first was Environments Out There.) The movie Fantastic Voyage had been playing in theaters, and although I hadn’t seen it yet, all of my friends had and raved about it right and left, so when I got a chance to buy the book through a elementary school book club, I snatched it right up. I can remember that for several years afterwards I wasn’t sure how to pronounce the author’s name, it was so strange-looking. That did, however, drill the name into my head and since I liked Fantastic Voyage so much, when the time that I ran across more books by Isaac Asi-whosit, I started picking them up, too. So I am rather fond of this book for personal reasons.

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