Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
So far the padding has been a mixed bag. On the one hand there’s been some good character development, but it’s been at the cost of the sense of urgency the movie had. Benes is dying and he’s the most important person in the world right now but it feels like everyone is dragging their feet. Yes, they need to plan their actions but the planning was pretty much done before Grant got there and there’s more evidence that they’ve practiced with at least the fundamentals of what they’re planning and they’re still going to be in over their heads.
And then there’s Peterson. No, I’m not going to call her by her first name. She wants to be treated as well as the males yet she’s the only character who is referred to by their first name. The rest are Grant, Michaels, Owens, Duval, etc. I’m also worried we’re getting the “warm a cold heart and start a romance” thing the movie avoided. I mean, she was played by Rachel Welch, one of Hollywood’s biggest sex symbols at the time, but at no point is she anything other than a competent assistant and the tension with Grant was not there. I’m really hoping I’m wrong about the path we’re taking.
The previous chapter was all about preparing the ship for miniaturization and what I’m hoping is final character development even though the movie waited for a necessary quiet time to do so. My big worry is that the miniaturizing process in the movie took time and it made sense to do so since there was a multi-step process to shrink the Proteus and get everyone safely into the saline solution for injection. I’m hoping this chapter doesn’t feel like it’s dragging and that it ends with the injection. Let’s find out.
Chapter 6: Miniaturization
They didn’t even complete the miniaturization! They started the process but they aren’t even in the solution yet. I give Carter credit for stopping during the process to see how they were, since they’re the first humans to undergo the process and they’ve never shrunk anything as small as they’re about to (which didn’t make Grant very happy to hear), but I was actually getting into this. For some reason we start with the crew strapping in. Peterson goes to help Grant, and she takes the moment to apologize since her being a woman has caused the males of the staff to treat her with over consideration or condensation, except for Duval. Grant gets another flirt in but apologizes for letting it slip out. So hopefully that shows they’re going to get along better. And I know I keep harping on this, but I’m hoping they get along without falling in love or some crap. It’s some mild redemption for how Peterson has been acting thus far.
But the big reason I’m sorry this ends so soon is that the book finally does something better than the movie besides Owens and Benes getting some characterization. In the movie we see the whole process outside the ship with some occasional internal shots. Here we see what’s actually going on inside the sub as characters talks, we learn Duval is very religious, everyone but Grant is calm, and a comment from Duval is used to show Grant being uneasy in an uneasy situation is actually in keeping with his defensive reflexes as a government agent. That’s what keeps him alive.
However, the chapter feels short and it looks like it will take another two chapters before they’re finally inside Benes. I could even see one more chapter given the focus of the crew and hopefully keeping a second focus on the actual process, the movie only doing the latter. But two chapters seems a bit too long considering how short this chapter felt at 7 pages. While not the first chapter this short others have gotten to about double that length and given this is all one scene this chapter could have benefited from the extra time. Still, there is more to praise than complain about this chapter and hopefully that continues through the next two chapters, which means we will be waiting another two weeks before the mission itself gets started.
Next time: Submergence