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July 18, 1966

Fantastic Voyage

JAMA. 1966;197(3):228. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110030122058

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The fictional device central to this fascinating novel is a process of miniaturization, enabling scientists to shrink a submarine and its five occupants small enough to be injected safely into the blood stream. While theoretically sound, the method has never received its crucial test—not until now. An intracranial thrombus threatens the life of a world-famous scientist; the submarine's crew, armed with a laser, must break it up. Not only must the task be done precisely, but all hazards must be negotiated and the submarine out of the patient's body within 60 minutes. For after an hour the vessel and crew automatically resume normal size.

There, in a few words, are the basic features of the plot. Movement is slow in the first 20 pages, but the pace soon quickens and interest is sustained on a high level. There are deficiencies, however. Although the central character, a secret service agent, develops

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