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.
Last time the crew came up with a solution to continue on their mission, although the reason why wasn’t as satisfactory as the movie because it had more confrontation and less working together to a common goal. Nobody looked good in the book but they did in the movie. When Asimov uses the power of the novel to his advantage things work well, but there are times the movie did it better, or at least better to me.
Now the mission can continue to destroy the blood clot, but what other hidden dangers, both within and…the other within will our heroes face next?
Chapter 11: Capillary
It’s a long way there, you…no, never mind. I’m thinking of someplace else.
We’re at the part of the movie where the ship’s oxygen tank valve is damaged and they’ve leaked air. The book follows the same solution: take the air from Benes’s lungs. (Actually, that’s the simplistic explanation of what they do. I’m not medically-minded enough to translate the full procedure.) I don’t remember if the movie thought of miniaturizing the air molecules from the lungs or not, but it turns out in the book that the Proteus has a small miniaturizer, intended for sea samples, which they plan to connect and put the miniaturized air into the sub’s air tanks. The scene plays out pretty much how I remember (not counting the generals being confrontational with each other, which still annoys me), although we’ll have to wait until the next chapter to see them pull it off, and if they’ll follow the same dangers they did in the movie.
We only get a portion of Michaels and Duval debating evolution versus creation, which is too bad. While heated, it was just getting interesting, although the movie grants us the benefit of not declaring one theory is more right than the other, allowing the audience to decide for themselves. This is the best way to go about this. You risk annoying one side or the other. Whether you agree with Michaels that this is the product of many years of evolution adapting the human body to where it is today or with Duval that the human body is too complex to not be created by an all-powerful being you don’t have to be treated like a moron for not having the “correct” view. I’m fine with this.
What I’m NOT fine with is the continued downgrading of Miss Peterson. During the events the holder for the laser needed to destroy the blood clot is damaged, just like in the movie, but Peterson here is more emotional and the others seem to be taking turns blaming her for it not being secured correctly. She’s in tears in one point. Sure, movie Peterson wasn’t very happy about it but she wasn’t having an emotional breakdown at the time. There were other concerns at the moment and nobody was jumping on her case the whole time after the discovery treating her like a dimwit! And there’s more Grant flirting with Peterson, and that feels unnecessary. The movie treats her more like a person than “the girl” like Asimov does. And remember, one of Hollywood’s hottest sex symbols portrayed her in the movie. She got a better break in the movie.
Other than Peterson and the generals the chapter was well done though. The descriptions of Benes’ internals and understanding the science of miniaturization and how it would work are two things Asimov does better, but I liked the characters better in the movie. We’ll see where this goes next time as the team gets some breathing room.
Next time: Lung