Fantastic Voyage II

The Soviets have secretly discovered a theory of physics that makes possible miniaturization, and maybe much more. An accident, however, has left the completion of the theory--which promises the secret of faster-than-light travel--locked in the irreversibly comatose brain of Pyotr Shapirov, the Soviet genius who conceived it. The only man who can possibly help is an American neurophysicist, Albert James Morrison, whose so far unverified theories about the thought centers of the brain have made him persona non grata in the scientific community.

The Soviets kidnap Morrison and easily persuade him to be miniaturized. He is cooped up in a small, transparent craft a little bigger than a car in the company of four Soviet scientists with big egos, miniaturized, and sent sailing down the carotid artery into the labyrinthine capillaries of Shapirov’s brain, in search of the neural network that is meditating on the stardrive aspect of the theory. There, with his computer-assisted telepathy, Morrison hopes at once to vindicate his own theories and to liberate Shapirov’s from brain death.

Asimov, the irrepressible science writer, sometimes lets the explanation of his elegant scientific extrapolation intrude--like a pedagogical commercial--into what is otherwise an absorbing and suspenseful tale. Nevertheless, memorable characters and plenty of good old-fashioned thrills and adventure more than compensate for this minor flaw.