5.0 out of 5 stars none
What Asimov's 'Fantastic Voyage' did for the human body; Anderson does for the alien. 'Microcosm' is at once filled with chilling alien exotica, fraught with danger, speculation, and awe,for that edge-of-your-seat ride. Anderson has written an exhilarating and fast-paced thriller that is a welcome companion to Asimov's original novel. Gary S. Potter Author/Poet.
Published on May 29 2001 by Gary S. Potter
3.0 out of 5 stars Nano-Human Bionauts
What if humans could be shrunk so small THEY would become the much ballyhooed nanobots of nanotechnology? What if these "nano-humans" then became bionauts to examine an alien body recovered from a Russian vs. guerilla-fighter MiG mishap? This is the main hook Anderson uses for his latest novel. It's an intriguing idea and I've always been drawn to books that...
Published on June 15 2001 by hamsterdance
Most Helpful First | Newest First
1.0 out of 5 stars Really stupid ideas,
This review is from: Fantastic Voyaga Microcosm (Mass Market Paperback)I am willing to believe impossible things before breakfast, but not really stupid things.
All of the physical science premises of the book are ridiculous. Many of the other premises are silly: The Russians are going to fly an alien space capsule from Southern Russia to California, but only let the US have it for one day? Give me a break.
I didn't get past about 50 pages before I threw it away.
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Voyage = One Fantastic Yarn,
This review is from: Fantastic Voyaga Microcosm (Mass Market Paperback)I still remember watching the original 'Fantastic Voyage' on TV many, many years ago and found myself totally immersed in the adventure. I was thrilled to see the novel written by Isaac Asimov, although he based it upon the screenplay, which is something Isaac is definitely NOT known for doing. He then went on to write his own version: 'Fantastic Voyage: Destination Brain' which again was fun, but I found it to be not quite up to the usual Asimov level of entertainment and intellectual stimulation. Now comes Kevin J. Anderson and a version which takes us inside the body of a real alien. Could there be a better premise for a novel about miniaturization?
I am happy to say that Anderson does a Fantastic job of taking an idea originated by someone else, and taking it to a higher level of science AND entertainment. Now, it has been mentioned before that this book isn't going to make anyone smarter by reading it, but, it certainly WILL give you an entertaining thrill while you do.
I read some reviewers now and again who base a books readability upon an almost impossible set of statistics that virtually NO book will ever live up to...are the locations of each novel 100% accurate? Is the science verifiable and factual? I personally base MY enjoyment upon whether or not I actually ENJOY the story, NOT the messy details...not that they aren't important or appreciated when an author goes out of their way to do the research, but I personally don't believe miniaturization is possible--at least not yet anyway--and therefore NO amount of scientific explanation, no matter HOW plausible and sophisticated it sounds will suddenly sway my opinion on whether or not a novel is actually worth reading. However, Anderson has written the technical details in such a way that whether or not miniaturization IS possible, it sure SOUNDS possible.
Oh yeah, one more thing: This story MOVES. Yes, it DOES take a chapter or two before the plot really unfolds, but trust me, when it finally takes flight, make sure your seatbelt is fastened and your tray is in the full and upright position 'cuz you suddenly go super-sonic super fast. The imagination alone it took to craft this story is worth the price of the novel...but the fact that Anderson has given us a great story as well certainly underscores his raw talent at storytelling. Buy this book and set aside an afternoon of virtual adventure in Innerspace...you won't be disappointed.
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre sci-fi thriller that touches on some high points,
This review is from: Fantastic Voyaga Microcosm (Mass Market Paperback)Immediately after reading the blurb on the back, I realized that the idea has some inherent limitation, and it would take a lot of doing to pull it off. I decided to go ahead and read the book, and see if Kevin J Anderson's reputation as a good writer would hold up. The book does have it share of action and highlights that makes it worth the time spent reading it, but I'm not sure if it was worth the money.
As far as science-fiction goes, most of the science that Anderson uses to explain the technology in the book is solid, but somewhat shallow. There is a lack of depth in the biological description of the alien body: the details Anderson uses consists primarily of very elementary biological terms. Furthermore, this book lacks a strong underlying meaning or message that can be found in great sci-fi. In this respect, it comes off as little more than a sci-fi thriller filled with some fancy terms. I am not even sure if the science (especially the physics aspect) or the logic for that matter is very sound.
In my opinion, the characters are paper-thin and rely on mostly character sterotypes to carry them through. I could not relate to the characters and did not feel emotionally attached to them when something happened to them. Anderson choose to place his character description in the weirdest place, often inserting them in the middle of an action scene. His characterization also lack subtlety; he tells the reader what the characters are like rather than revealing them within the plot or dialougle.
Speaking of dialouge, the lines exchanged between character are often corny and used at utterly inappropriate times. Failed attempts at humor punctuating scenes seem out of place and make the characters (especially the Mote's crew) seem like they aren't facing grave danger.
Summing it up, the novel does what it sets out to do (excite the reader with lots of action) relatively well without doing much more. For me, much of the plot was predictable so the book didn't intrigue me as much as it could have, but I did enjoy the end. The nanotechnology twist breathe additonal life into the novel, but it was excessive towards the end (how smart can those nanocritters be with microscopic brains?). I think this book would be a lot better as a movie especially with special effects. The abundance of action, plot, characters, and lack of deeper meaning makes it like the movie, Armaggadeon.
You will probably enjoy this this book if you liked Armaggadeon, but I am somewhat of a sci-fi purist which explains the negative tone of my review. It's a also good book if you're bored or need something to fill time on a long trip (like me).
3.0 out of 5 stars Nano-Human Bionauts,
This review is from: Fantastic Voyaga Microcosm (Mass Market Paperback)What if humans could be shrunk so small THEY would become the much ballyhooed nanobots of nanotechnology? What if these "nano-humans" then became bionauts to examine an alien body recovered from a Russian vs. guerilla-fighter MiG mishap? This is the main hook Anderson uses for his latest novel. It's an intriguing idea and I've always been drawn to books that used such what-if questions as the basis for a plot.
There are some things which I thought the author did quite well in this novel. For one, his grasp of the technology certainly seemed spot on - although I admit I'm not a professional scientist. My knowledge of nanotechnology is limited mainly to my monthly subscriptions to 2 popular scientific magazines. However, his descriptions of nanotechnology and the scenario seemed plausible in light of what I've read. It definitely looks like he did his homework to make the technology descriptions believable.
Second, he is very good at keeping up the pace. The first 2 chapters are a bit slow as he sets up the scenes, introduces the characters and gives some of their background and motivations. From there onward the pace picks up and never lets down. This was enjoyable since I've read way too many novels where it seemed like the author took half the book to get any action going.
Third, the plot itself, while somewhat predictable at a few points, overall was handled in a fresh way so that I enjoyed the story. In my opinion the plot was the strongest point of the book. The only thing about the book which was less than a 5 star rating for me was the characterization. While there were no glaring or annoying actions or dialogue by the characters neither was their anything they said or did that was really memorable. They were all average. Which I suppose is like the majority of people you meet in life. Seldom have I met anyone I would call truly memorable or charismatic even in real life. So depending on your point of view the fact that Anderson's characters also fit this description could either be interpreted as staying "true to life" (a plus) or else "homogenized" (a negative). Some may find it refreshing while others would prefer the characters had more spice.
It is not a deep book. By that I mean it doesn't try to raise any real questions about the ethics of nano-tech use. Some are there in the background but it is almost like an after-thought, a consequence of the action taking place. None of the characters really agonize or reflect deeply about the implications of their decisions. In this sense, the book is like a novelization of a typical Hollywood summer action-flick. It has about the same amount of depth. Most of all I would say it is a good light-hearted read. Great to take with you on vacation when waiting at airports or just where ever. If you like your scifi to have a lot of action check out this book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of action,
This review is from: Fantastic Voyaga Microcosm (Mass Market Paperback)This story spends about a hundred pages developing diverse intersting characters and then BANG sends them on a fantastic voyage. While I did not find the actual voyage into the alien that exciting, it was definitely suspenseful. What was more interesting to me was the story that was happening outside the alien among the politicians, diplomats, and the poor doctors. This was page-turning stuff! I think that the problem with the voyage inside the body was that it plays better on the big screen where one can visualize the suspense among the myriad of special effects. The narrative does just not do it justice. Great characters, a mysterious alien, and a good tale make this a four star book.
5.0 out of 5 stars none,
This review is from: Fantastic Voyaga Microcosm (Mass Market Paperback)What Asimov's 'Fantastic Voyage' did for the human body; Anderson does for the alien. 'Microcosm' is at once filled with chilling alien exotica, fraught with danger, speculation, and awe,for that edge-of-your-seat ride. Anderson has written an exhilarating and fast-paced thriller that is a welcome companion to Asimov's original novel. Gary S. Potter Author/Poet.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excitinfg sf thriller,
This review is from: Fantastic Voyaga Microcosm (Mass Market Paperback)In present day Russia, Deputy Director Foreign Minister Vasili Garamov is in Azerbaijan trying to defuse a military crisis. The rebels have taken over Baku, slaughtering all non-Moslems in the city. The Russians want revenge attacking with the Army and Air Force. When a Russian jet fires upon an unknown bogey in the sky, an explosion occurs with an alien life form fleeing its destroyed ship by a pod that lands on the earth.
In the Sierra Nevada Mountains lies the Proteus Facility, a black-ops organization researching micro-miniaturization. The alien life pod is delivered to the facility for testing. Four volunteers and their ship are miniaturized so that they can enter the pod to examine its contents. The shrinking works, but inside the pod, billions of nano-machines wait to kill the invaders. In the containment chamber, the humans have bigger problems as the pod's weapons threaten the entire planet.
Kevin Anderson has written an exciting science fiction thriller that keeps reader interest from start to finish. FANTASTIC VOYAGE: MICROCOSM updates the classic movie with a suspenseful story that still leaves room for sequels. The characters are fully developed and deliver the action that makes readers want to see them star in future adventures.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Fantastic Voyaga Microcosm by Kevin Anderson (Mass Market Paperback - April 23 2001)
Used & New from: CDN$ 0.01