Book Rating: ★★★☆ ☆ (3/5 stars)
Audio Book Performance: ★★★★☆ (4/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.25/5 stars)
After an accident aboard the Queen Elizabeth, an experimental helium-filled airship, Captain Howard Falcon is never the same. He is disconnected from his friends and companions, focused on finding a purpose for his newly augmented life. When he hatches an idea to venture to Jupiter with his technologically advanced body, the last thing he expects is to discover creatures halfway between humanity and beast: the creatures he dubs the Medusa. But are they what he is searching for, or will he continue to wander aimlessly unsure of his role in life?
This novella has spread its tendrils of influence far and wide throughout the realm of science fiction. Through multiple novels, and even in infamous television shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, we have had countless exposure to creatures like the Medusa that Falcon encounter on Jupiter. The fact that this story has stood the test of time is a testament in itself.
Yet, as with many short stories and novella, often times they fall victim to their length. Falcon’s ultimate revelation isn’t woven into the narrative as much as I would like; his internal conflict isn’t as prevalent as his fascination with the Medusa. I think, ultimately, with a bit more length or understanding of his augmentation, the reader would understand his conclusion in greater depths. Instead, it read a bit more like a report of events, rather than giving us an inward look at Falcon’s struggles.
That being said though, I am glad I read this story. It gives me a glimpse at where some of my favorite sci-fi shows and books have derived influence.
Although, just like Falcon, I really would have loved to explore the “big red spot.”
What’s it about?
Taking place partly on Earth and partly in the atmosphere of Jupiter, the story tells of Howard Falcon, the captain of a new and experimental giant-sized helium-filled airship. When an accident causes the ship to crash, Falcon is badly injured and takes over a year to fully recover.