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.
We’re down to the last five chapters of the book. So far it has been enjoyable. Of course given the last book I looked at so was having my teeth pulled in comparison because I was unconscious at the time. Though now I’m reaching the problem of how to introduce these chapters without giving anything away from the previous chapters (for those who dropped in late) and not keep repeating myself. Really at this point I have nothing more to say. Asimov does a good job at the science part but I thought the character parts were mostly (Benes and Owens aside) better in the movie. The movie also had a sense of urgency the book only occasionally gives us, and it’s usually more about the crew of the Proteus overcoming the latest problem rather than the race to save Benes.
Our team is still racing against time as things keep going wrong. Is it bad coincidences on a first attempt of something new or is there something more sinister going on? Out of communication and low on time, can our heroes still save their patient?
Chapter 14: Lymphatic
Here’s something Asimov and the movie do together, take time to show the antibodies attacking bacterium, which in the movie was also foreshadowing a later threat to the crew. The ship goes through a lymph node, getting covered in reticular fibers, which slows the ship down, Owens worried they may clog the engines. Dr. Duval suggests going through the ear, Grant betting that as they’re tracked the smart guys outside will know not to make any noise. If there is any noise the vibrations could spell trouble for the sub and its passengers. A vote is taken, Owens and Duval basically abstaining because they aren’t sure, Michaels of course) being against it and Grant of course all for it. It’s up to Peterson to cast the deciding vote and she votes to go for it.
Peterson actually gets some positive treatment in this chapter. In addition to casting the deciding vote she gets to take part in explaining to Grant (and thus the readers) what is going on outside as the antibodies go after the bacteria. I don’t even mind that she shows a more emotional response because while there has been too much emphasis on her being the girl in the group (like being the only character referred to in narration by her first name…I barely remember what anyone else’s first name is in this story and even then only Good Old Charlie Grant), everyone dumping on her for the damage to the laser that isn’t her fault, and having Grant flirt with her whenever the opening arrives, this makes a little more sense to her character. She notes that the antibodies are rather vicious and Michaels corrects by noting it’s simply a biological process and they aren’t alive, or sentient or however you medically minded readers would correct me. Given how she’s written thus far I’ll take it.
The pacing here is closer to the movie but now they’re pretty much where they started generally speaking with 28 minutes left to get to the clot, destroy it, and get out before they return to full size. And with four chapters left you know it’s not over yet.
Next time: Ear