The space mission of a lifetime
An epic saga of America's might-have-been, Voyage is a powerful, sweeping novel of how, if President Kennedy had lived, we could have sent a manned mission to Mars in the 1980s. Imaginatively created from the true lives and real events, Voyage returns to the geniuses of NASA and the excitement of the Saturn rocket, and includes historical figures from Neil Armstrong to Ronald Reagan who are interwoven with unforgettable characters whose dreams mirror the promise of a young space program that held the world in thrall. There is: Dana, the Nazi camp survivor who achieves the dream of his hated masters; Gershon, the Vietnam fighter jock determined to be the first African-American to land on another planet; and Natalie York, the brilliant geologist/astronaut who risks a career and love for the chance to run her fingers through the soil of another world.
With just a little bit of alternate history, Baxter's excellent what-if novel about a 1986 Mars landing accomplishes its mission. The premise is brilliant: at the time of the Apollo moon landing, President Nixon authorized a Space Task Group to define the post-Apollo role of NASA. In real life, Nixon's directive in effect ended manned space exploration in favor of the Shuttle program; in Baxter's novel, thanks to one major change in history, the green light is given for a manned Mars mission, the Ares program. Seen primarily through the eyes of Natalie York, the geologist on the mission as well as the first women in space, the road from Apollo to Ares is potholed with bureaucratic battles, technical challenges, an Apollo XIII-like disaster and constant fretting about the inevitability (and necessity) of sacrificing lives to advance the cause of science. Baxter, whose recent works include a wildly imagined sequel to The Time Machine (The Time Ships), peoples his story with main characters who are as authentic as his science. By contrast, the supporting characters-notably an ex-NASA administrator who gets religion-are sketchy and barely integrated with the plot. Even so, there's plenty of imagination on display here-and research, too, as Baxter invents not only a credible mission to Mars but also a credible technical, political and personal history behind it. Author tour.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I love it!
I've had the pleasure of reading the physical copy of this novel, and I'm glad it's finally available here on the iBookstore. Stephen Baxter has a wonderful talent for illustrating a future (or past, in this case) that may have been, from President Kennedy to a push for Mars by the United States. Filled with numerous details and a range of colorful characters, Voyage is a great read.
I'm a big Stephen Baxter fan but found this but somewhat boring. I was expecting a book about Mars, not an essay in NASA politics.