Well that’s a bizarre little story. On one hand, it’s 1960s scifi in a nutshell, full of tensions about the ‘Other Side’ (obvious enough), weird but fascinating scientific gadgets and ideas, sexism, and with odd pacing and dialog. It’s pretty much what I remember from other Asimov novels, although it’s been a while.
Which is amusing, given that unlike what I’d guessed, in this case the movie actually game first. Based on a short by Otto Klement and Jerome Bixby, Asimov only got involved in the novelization–and then only if he was given leave to do the science properly. For the most part, he did. I don’t know enough ananotomy to know if anything in particular is wrong, but it makes me want to know more, which I think is pretty much the entire point of the thing.
Otherwise, the entire plot is adventure driven: a (rather oddball) team must used a mostly untested technology to shrink down small enough to fit into a human bloodstream in order to remove a life threatening clot. Of course things go wrong (wouldn’t be much of a book otherwise) and they end up on a rather circuitous route. Will they make it out and save the day? Of course. But what’s going to go wrong first? Well that’s the story!
There’s a romance subplot, which is about as subtle as a brick to the face and sexist as heck. But I guess that’s what they needed for the film? So it goes.
Overall, the first third or so (before they actually shrink or even know what’s going on) eis boring and stilted to the extreme. Once things get going though, it’s quite an enjoying ride.