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Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain (1988)

Fantastic Voyage II:  Destination Brain (1988)

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3.52 of 5 Votes: 4
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0553273272 (ISBN13: 9780553273274)

About book Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain (1988)

In his introduction to Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain, Issac Asimov tells us that he wasn't satisfied with his novelization of Fantastic Voyage and that this novel is an attempt to correct some things he didn't like about the first novel.The result is this book which is less a sequel to the original and more a re-telling of the original story and concept. Asimov tries his hardest to make the concept of miniaturization more scientifically plausible, but it's at the the cost of making the second installment far less interesting and page-turning. The first novel took about half its page length to get the crew miniaturized and inside the human being in question to try and save life. Unfortunately, so does Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain. At several points, I found myself muttering "Let's get on with the shrinking already" as our hero, Morrison expresses a sense of trepidation about the procedure he is about to undergo.And it may be with Morrison that this book finds its biggest flaw. Asimov sets up our protagonist as a scientist whose fortunes and favor in the scientific community are on the decline. When approached by a Soviet agent about coming to the Soviet Union to help in an experiment, Morrison is quick to decline, despite the fact that he has no prospects on the horizon in the United States. Even when asked by his own government to go, Morrison declines and eventually has to be kidnapped and taken to the Soviet Union in order to become part of the team.Morrison protests this treatment a lot over the course of the novel. It feels almost like Asimov wants to remind us every ten or so pages that Morrison has become part of this project against his will. This works to the detriment of the book. Part of the fun of the original was no matter who fantastic the situation, the participants were at least enthusiastic about the opportunity to travel inside a human being and possibly save his life. Here the motivation isn't so much saving a life but not allowing a scientist to die without passing on vital knowledge that could make the process of miniaturization easier and more cost effective.Yes, you read that correctly. One of the motivating factors for this journey inside the body of a man and to his brain is to unlock his secrets is entirely budgetary. A good reason, sure. But not exactly one that compels you to turn pages and wonder what will happen next. At least the first novel had the specter of the Cold War hanging over it to drive some of the character and plot motivations. I kept hoping that once our team of scientists got miniaturized and injected into the subject that things might pick up. Unfortunately, this isn't the case and the novel plods along at its leisurely pace even once we're injected and running against the clock. The only moments of tension come when the ship is diverted by a white blood cell and later when Morrison is forced to go to extreme measures to try and make the mission a success. (And even then, he has to be blackmailed into it by the Soviet team though threats of destroying what little is left of his academic reputation.)The book also suffers from the same flaw that several later Asimov projects do -- his desire to tie all his universes together. Thankfully it's not quite as egregious as Robots and Empire, but there's a coda that makes Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain a stepping stone toward Asimov's Robots and Foundation novels. It's only a couple of pages and it's meant to serve as a coda, so it's a bit easier to overlook and forgive than some of the other examples from the Asimov library, but it's still there. Had I not read the original novel first, I might have liked this one more. Of course, had I not read the original I might not have been willing to give Asimov the benefit of the doubt I needed to keep plowing through this one in the hopes things would get better. This one just validates my theory that 80's Asimov output is no where nearly as entertaining and readable as those stories from his early career. I can see what he's trying to do here, but I still think the original novel, despite all of its scientific implausibilities, is a more entertaining and enjoyable reading experience.

Grandioso seguito di "Viaggio allucinante", qui un Asimov senza i confini che gli erano stati imposti sulla lavorazione del sopra citato per via della sceneggiatura del film già in lavorazione, ne esce un libro molto più coinvolgente e meglio strutturato probabilmente.Personalmente amo il "buon Dottore" in ogni sua forma e questo probabilmente pregiudica il mio spirito critico ma la sua capacità di raccontare la fantascienza in termini semplici e tuttavia credibili, è talmente disarmante che non si può fare altrimenti.La storia è quasi la stessa di "Viaggio allucinante", degli scienziati che saranno miniaturizzati per entrare in un corpo umano e più precisamente nel suo cervello per dare vita ad una avventura fantascientifica che farà correre la fantasia in maniera molto intelligente, menzione speciali poi per le righe finali, geniali.Atmosfere cupe, un eroe che stranamente sembra un antieroe e ben poca della leggera ironia del solito "dottore". Unico punto debole, probabilmente l'incipit che sicuramente poteva scorrere piu' spedito; di contro la caratterizzazione dei personaggi e' molto ben fatta cosi' come l'ambientazione, accattivante e non convenzionale.Da leggere insieme a "Viaggio allucinante".

Do You like book Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain (1988)?

Duncan wrote: "Odd... I found the characters fairly well-developed, and couldn't put the book down. Perhaps because Morrison WAS such a reluctant hero."My comments date from when I read the book (1988), not when I put this information online. Perhaps if I read the book now I'd look at it differently! I don't remember much about it.
—Mark Lacy

Isaac Asimov once wrote a rather good science fiction adventure novel where five scientists and their submarine are shrunk to the size of a microbe and injected into the body of a comatose scientist. This is not that novel.I am, of course, talking about his novelization of the movie script for Fantastic Voyage, which he was never quite happy with as it wasn't his own book. Instead, this is the novel he wrote 20 years later, with the same basic premise. Unfortunately, it's more than twice as long as Fantastic Voyage, and while the science may be slightly more solid it also lacks any sense of wonder; the first book (not to mention the movie) was fast-paced and exciting enough to make the plot holes forgiveable, but this one moves like a slug, with the crew bickering every step of the way.It is possible to write "cerebral" science fiction and make it interesting, as Asimov himself demonstrated quite a few times, but here he doesn't even come close to pulling it off: instead, he manages to take this fantastic, fascinating concept and make it boring. (And it doesn't have Raquel Welch in a tight diving suit, which is a point in favour of the original movie.)

Asimov's second foray into miniaturization in a self-proclaimed attempt to satisfy himself by writing a better version than the one based on the original screenplay. In many ways, he succeeded. Set in the middle of the 21st century, it is nevertheless a bit dated by virtue of his use of the Soviet Union as the foil to the United States. Such books are interesting in their revelation of how we believed the Soviet Union would never collapse and would continue to be an enemy of sorts. Asimov, however, depicted a period of relative peace between the Cold War adversaries, albeit a cautious one. Here it is the Soviets alone who have the process of miniaturization, but in Asimov's more capable scientific handling they have an enormous energy problem, and this is the vital bit of information that is being sought by sending a submarine into the brain of a comatose physicist. Many of Asimov's original objections to the idea are addressed. But he has added a layer of SF to it involving telepathy and even tied it, however loosely, to his own universes by mentioning positronic brains and laying the ground---again loosely, very loosely---for what would become the Foundation.It is, unfortunately, something that one should read at a younger time of life. Asimov was possibly the best of the Golden Age writers, but he was overly-taken with exposition and his style, while not terrible, is not that of a thriller writer.

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