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.
When last we saw the crew of the Proteus nobody else could really see them. We finished the miniaturization process and they’re ready to go in. So in this chapter they go in. I’m not sure how you pad that out for a full chapter, but this may be where Asimov concept that time moves slower for the crew will come into play. What takes a minute in “real time” may be many minutes or even an hour or so in “mini time”, allowing Asimov to not be as worried about the clock. I hope that works for the reader as well as it did for the author.
Chapter 8: Entry
Not a lot on the character front this chapter. It’s all explanation of the science, which is what Asimov wanted added to the movie’s story. We get an explanation of the Brownian motion, the effect moving water has on our perception, and how it’s affected when the ship is miniaturized and the water partly miniaturized in comparison. At that point I wondered about what would happen with the water when it also reversed miniaturization but they do note that they want to limit how much water goes into Benes, possibly due to that fact, which is why the ship moves into the needle. I have to ask if they can’t see as well the outer world due to their size, how are they going to take out the blood clot? They could use the tracking equipment both inside the ship and outside the body to get there and get out, but they have to see properly to shoot it with the laser.
I’m starting to realize that thus far Duval isn’t doing much character wise, and outside of catching Peterson when she stumbles as the needle is brought to the patient he doesn’t do much story wise, either. Owens expositions on the Brownian motion and whether or not the ship can handle it after Michaels brings up his concerns, and Grant has to keep the peace and decide whether to go on, while Peterson chastises Grant’s insecurities that the ship can handle it. Michaels reminds her that if they aren’t out of Benes in the 60 minute time frame (57 by the time they’re finally injected), he’s still going to die, even from their bodies. This makes his panic fit in the movie make much more sense, at least to the crew and audience, than just him panicking out of nowhere, so I’ll give Asimov credit here. But like I said, Duval does almost nothing in this chapter.
So Asimov managed to make a decent nine-page chapter out of just the injection period. However, now we are inside Benes. It should start getting real from here. We’re also half-way into the book. We spent the first half preparing and starting this mission. The rest of the book is the mission and the dangers within the human body isn’t the only threat coming.
Next Time: Artery