Read Voyage by Stephen Baxter Free Online
Book Title: Voyage|
The author of the book: Stephen Baxter
Edition: HarperCollins Publishers
Date of issue: 2010
Loaded: 2203 times
Reader ratings: 3.9
ISBN 13: 9780006480372
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 796 KB
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As a published Science Fiction author with two books out in the market and more on the way, I have made a choice not to review other Science Fiction novels on Goodreads, if only because I don't want there to be any possible perception that I am running down my competition. I make an exception in this case only because the book represents specific acts of intellectual theft--I'm really not reviewing the writer's story telling as much as I am making a comment on his integrity.
My command of the English language pales in the face of what I want to say about this book. There is a truly superlative book about the human drama of the Apollo program called "Apollo: The Race to the Moon" by Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox (I've posted a review here on Goodreads). You should read THAT book because, if you do, you will get most of the best stuff in this book, but better written and in its real context. Simply put, this book is largely plagiarized from the Murray/Cox book. And I don't just mean telling similar stories. There are whole passages that Baxter copied almost verbatim.
Look at this:
Here's one example--a quote from page 86 of the paperback edition of Voyage--the character is driving to Langley, Virginia:
"When Jim Dana passed Richmond he turned the Corvette off Route 1 and onto the narrow highway 60 headed southeast. The towns were fewer, and smaller. And, at last, after Williamsburg, there seemed to be nothing but forests and marshland, and the occasional farmhouse."
Here is text beginning beginning on page 9 of the new edition of Apollo describing the car trip of Owen Maynard and his family to Langley, Virginia in 1959:
"The next morning they continued south to Richmond, where they turned off busy Highway 1 onto a narrow two-lane road, State Highway 60 and headed southeast. The towns were fewer now, and smaller. Fifty miles outside Richmond they came to the only sizable town on the route, Williamsburg, and after that it seemed there was nothing but forests and marshland and an occasional farmhouse."
There is much, much more. The image of a flight controller lifting his hand from a flight plan leaving a soaking wet image of his hand, a word for word description of what a spacecraft Contract Acceptance Readiness Review is, words of NASA executive Joe Shea put in the mouth of the fictitious person who held his job in the novel, the description of what the fictitious person did when kicked upstairs to NASA headquarters lifted from Murray/Cox's description of Shea's activities down to key phrases, the description of the deportation of a key engineer on the Saturn V taken from the description of what happened to Arthur Rudolph--again taking not just the events but the words used to describe them, descriptive language that painted a word picture of Langley, the word picture of the Mission Control Center after the last Apollo flight (Apollo 17 in real life, Apollo 14 in the novel) down to the little flags left on the consoles and the gumbo party hosted by MER . . . . I could go on for pages.
I have seen the phrase "sang like a rattlesnake" to describe the behavior of a machine in only two places in my life: in the Murray/Cox description of why two engines of the Apollo 6 second stage shut down early, and why--due to a failure that was identical in almost every respect to the Apollo 6 failure--a nuclear rocket failed in Voyage.
In the discussion of the Mars voyage mission mode in Voyage, one character even echoes a Murray/Cox chapter title (Chapter 9): "What sonofabitch thinks this isn't the right thing to do" or something very close to that.
I challenge anyone to read side by side the parallel sections of Apollo and Voyage and to tell me that Mr. Baxter did not lift whole sentences, key images, colorful and evocative language, quotes, and key ideas. This is not the garden variety accusation of literary plagiarism from non-fiction to fiction that "he stole the idea for this book."
Rather, it is as though Mr. Baxter ingested the whole of Apollo and then regurgitated key portions of it when they fit his narrative.
This is plagiarism, plain and simple. It is an outrage.
And, in case anyone thinks that it is possible that Baxter contacted the authors and obtained permission, it ain't so. I have personally contacted Dr. Charles Murray and he informs me that he has never given permission to Baxter to draw from Apollo, and--further--that he regards this situation as plagiarism.
I'm a Science Fiction novelist, too. And, I used the Murray/Cox book as inspiration for some things in my books--but I used my own words and told my own stories. Not this guy.
This book represents an outrageous example of intellectual theft of the most despicable kind. This book deserves to be regarded with universal scorn and its author should make some sort of amends to Murray and Cox.
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Read information about the authorStephen Baxter is a trained engineer with degrees from Cambridge (mathematics) and Southampton Universities (doctorate in aeroengineering research). Baxter is the winner of the British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award, as well as being a nominee for an Arthur C. Clarke Award, most recently for Manifold: Time. His novel Voyage won the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History Novel of the Year; he also won the John W. Campbell Award and the Philip K. Dick Award for his novel The Time Ships. He is currently working on his next novel, a collaboration with Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Mr. Baxter lives in Prestwood, England.
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