Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Voyagers II: The Alien Within
By Ben Bova
Keith Stoner was an astronaut who was given the chance to investigate a derelict spacecraft that had drifted into Earth orbit. When disaster struck the mission, he decided to stay on the spacecraft even though it meant his certain death. He froze to death and his body was recovered and kept frozen until the technology advanced to the stage that he could be successfully thawed and revived.
A large, multi-national corporation came up with a method to revive Keith successfully many years later, and once he was back among the living, the corporation head felt that Keith was, in effect, corporate property. Of course, Keith didn't agree with this attitude at all. But even more than his personal feelings, Keith was sharing his body with that of an alien intelligence, an intelligence acquired during his time on the alien spacecraft. And this intelligence did not approve of humankind's messy emotional attachments and it overrode Keith's own human instincts, making Keith a sort of alien even among his own kind.
Keith managed to slip away from the control of Vanguard, using special abilities given him by the alien presence within himself. And he set off on a journey of exploration, trying to figure out why humanity was in such a mess and who was behind all the many little wars spreading across the land.
This was a pretty boring book. The constant sneering of the alien within Keith at human desires and emotions got pretty old, pretty fast. And the political stuff was just dull. Keith becomes a kind of superman but all it gets him is nearly starving to death in some refugee camp in Africa. He eventually pulls off some kind of peace conference and figures out who the bad guy is behind all the conflicts. But none of it was very interesting.