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Voyage Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; First Thus edition (October 3, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061057088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061057083
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Kennedy survived. Like many alternate history stories, that's the premise of Stephen Baxter's Voyage. But in Baxter's version of the past, that one altered fact is the propellant that drives humanity into space, beyond the primitive lunar landings of the 1960s. Spurred by a JFK who champions space flight and a Nixon administration that backs NASA, humans reach Mars in 1986. But this is a tragic tale as well as a triumphant one, for Baxter's relentless realism chronicles the perils of extended space flight as well as its glamorous achievements, making for a gritty, true-to-life story. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

VOYAGE was the second book by Stephen Baxter that I've read, but it's the best one.
Marc McKenzie
While Baxter's characters showed a lot of promise, the slow pace of the story and lack of any possible conflict failed to keep my interest.
John J. Rust
Baxter's attention to detail, both historical and technical, makes this story believable.
John T Moltz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Marc McKenzie on January 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
VOYAGE was the second book by Stephen Baxter that I've read, but it's the best one. I have to say it--Baxter's got stones--big ones. He tackles an alternate history's journey to Mars in 1986 with ease. Everything is researched to the letter and feels real, from the inner workings of NASA to the tragedy of a nuclear-powered Apollo flight (shades of the Challenger disaster) to the characters themselves. Here is a writer who actually gives a damn about the characters he creates, and does not give them the short strift just to lavish everything on the technology. True, I wished there could have been more on the astronauts' exploration on Mars, but that was not Baxter's point. It's _how_ we get to the Red Planet and _why_ we should go that's important. He also shows the scientific cost--no space shuttle, no Voyager or Viking missions... To put everything in simple terms--if you like science fiction, if you are interested in the space program, or if you just like books that are damned good--read VOYAGE.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Nieman on July 21, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stephen Baxter's VOYAGE takes place in an alternate past: What if John F. Kennedy had survived assassination and lobbied for NASA to send astronauts to Mars in the 1980s, instead of building the space shuttle? It's a fascinating premise and certainly one worthy of a unique Mars novel.

Baxter himself holds a doctorate in engineering, so it's no surprise that he really knows his way around the technical stuff of spaceflight. He's quite knowledgeable in space history, as well. He presents an impressive amount of authentic detail, far more than I've seen in any other novel of its kind. Perhaps too much, in fact, because many spaceflight scenes repeat events and dialogue from real-life missions almost verbatim. On the whole, VOYAGE feels quite faithful to the era described, even if it's somewhat too faithful. It's also interesting to catch him using a few historic dates in spaceflight -- July 1976, April 1981, January 1986 -- so we can contemplate the differences in his alternate past.

Geologist Natalie York is VOYAGE's most reliable protagonist; she comes across as determined but not easy to root for. Baxter makes a few generalizations based on astronaut mythology, and he rarely hides his disdain for NASA's old "pilot vs. scientist" culture. One veteran astronaut is so surly that in the real space program he would have been permanently shelved from flight status (a la Wally Schirra). Nonetheless, Baxter avoids many of the stilted stereotypes of Ben Bova's Mars novels, so at least these characters are more subtle and level-headed. For the most part, he steers clear of the soap-opera style plotting that cripples most Mars books, and that alone is commendable.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MATTHEW BLACK on May 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You have to ask yourself if the alternate history scenarios portrayed within this amazing book would have meant a more glorious space program. Would sacrificing half of the Apollo lunar missions, the Viking landers, the Voyager probes and the Space Shuttle have been worth it for one, single flight to Mars? That is a question Baxter makes you ask yourself through implication. This novel is one of the finest creations of 1990s science fiction. But I was a bit annoyed when I read it, as I was researching to write a very similar book to this! (aw, shucks) All the flashbacks within the story should have been annoying but Steve Baxter makes it all work very well. In an ideal world with lots of funding, ALL the Apollo lunar missions would have been retained, there would have been a series of Skylab space stations and mankind would have worked and lived on Mars. ALL this before the 21st Century. SIGH...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark R. Whittington VINE VOICE on February 15, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Voyage, by Stephen Baxter, offers the intriguing possibility of NASA undertaking a manned mission to Mars in the 1980s instead of building the space shuttle. The book, however, suffers from a couple of flaws.

First, the narrative alternates between the years leading from the Apollo moon landing to the launch of the Mars expedition and the voyage to Mars itself. It is sometimes very hard to keep the two separate stories straight in one's memory. There is also next to nothing about what happens on Mars after the landing.

Second, Baxter totally fails to suggest that doing Mars instead of the shuttle would have any effect on society and history outside of the US space program. This is doubly puzzling because he basis his altered history on a John F. Kennedy having survived Dallas a cripple. (That premise may be one built on quicksand. Recent revelations about JFK's health problems and his private feelings toward space exploration make the idea of his physical survival into the 80s problematic, not to speak of his advocacy of a manned mission to Mars.) Regardless, the survival of JFK to be a kind of gray eminence of the Democratic Party would have been an interesting concept to explore, even without the space theme.

The story also has a bitter sweet air about it. Several Apollo lunar missions, as well as a number of unmanned probes such as the Pioneer and Voyager missions to the Outer Planets are cancelled to pay for sending people to Mars. And there is the faint whiff of melancholy that after humans return from Mars, there might be no further expeditions.

--Mark R. Whittington (...)
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