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Voyage (NASA Trilogy #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,504 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
The space mission of a lifetime An epic saga of America's might-have-been, Voyage is a powerful, sweeping novel of how, if President Kennedy had lived, we could have sent a manned mission to Mars in the 1980s. Imaginatively created from the true lives and real events., Voyage returns to the geniuses of NASA and the excitement of the Saturn rocket, and includes historical f ...more
Paperback, 784 pages
Published October 3rd 1997 by Harper Voyager (first published 1996)
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H. Honsinger
Feb 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
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 Eng
Arun Divakar
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
The seeds to all good literature lies in two words : what if ? Take an occurrence in human history and imagine an alternative outcome to it and voila ! you have material for a good book in your hands. These flights of fantasy are what makes alternative history books some of my favorite reads.

Here is an America where JFK survived the assassination attempt. Shattered and bound to his wheelchair, he urges the space program onward. A world where the Nixon administration did not drop the guillotine
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
It is difficult to classify the genre of this novel--but it comes closest to "alternate history". In this story, J.F. Kennedy does not die, and Richard Nixon chooses not to develop the space shuttle program, but instead to launch a manned spacecraft to Mars. The story is jam-packed with engineering and science, peppered with occasional politics. While it focuses on a few characters--primarily NASA's first woman astronaut (a PhD geologist) and a few engineers, the main character is really the eng ...more
Anthony Ryan
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Baxter draws on meticulous research to weave a convincing narrative of what would have happened if NASA had attempted to put an astronaut on Mars instead of building the great white elephant that was the Space Shuttle. A fascinating slice of speculative fiction for anyone still pining for the flying cars and moon-bases we were promised.
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Definitely my favorite Baxter. Unlike most Baxter fare, there is no “big thinking”, no Xeelee, no looming destruction of the universe. It is, quite simply, a novel of what might have been (and very nearly was) if NASA had been allowed to continue in the footsteps of Apollo all the way to Mars. It is written in parallel perspectives, looking at the mission itself as it runs its course, and at the preparations, political wangling and engineering that precede it. The heroine, Natalie York, is follo ...more
This is an alternate history novel that I enjoyed years ago, with some caveats.

I will immediately digress and admit that my thinking of this book is changing, thanks to H. Honsinger's insightful review, letting us know of Baxter's alleged plagiarism. That allegation, which I believe is well grounded, makes me reluctant to give this the four stars I believed it deserved.

The story evolves from the crucial 'what if?' that is the traditional pivot point for the alternate history novel. In this case,
Oct 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: scientastic
After Apollo 11, a special task force gave Nixon three choices for the future of the space program: robots only, the space shuttle, and Mars. Nixon chose the shuttle; this book is a what-if that imagines the development of human spaceflight if Nixon had chosen Mars instead. There is a great deal of technical detail, which isn't really my thing, but this book also takes a very sophisticated and balanced examination of the complexities of what such a decision might mean. In addition to the dream o ...more
Sep 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book blatantly recycles events that happened in the real space program; and literally rips off events and characters wholesale from other books, most notably ANGLE OF ATTACK by Mike Gray. JK Lee is Harrison "Stormy" Storms; right down to the wife who tries to commit suicide by overdosing on meds; or how he keeps the program going by cheating on his time cards.
Jul 04, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up, baxter, tadl
Derivative and dull.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kui hea sci-fi kirjanik hakkab kirjutama alternatiivajalugu. Lugu sellest, mis oleks võinud saada, kui Kennedi asemel oleks tol korral kuuli saanud ntx hoopis tema naine? Mis siis, kui sealt edasi oleks Kennedy veelgi enam ja valjuhäälsemalt kosmosevallutust propageerima hakanud? Ja kui paarkümmend aastat jutti oleks suudetud hoida entusiasmi, rahastust ja muud nii, et inimese jalg oleks astunud marsile... Miks mitte 1986?
Raamat algas sellest, et marsimissioonile anti start ning astronaudid tõu
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened-to
Where would the United States' space program be in the 1980s if President Kennedy had survived the attempted assassination in Dallas two decades earlier? We follow the ambitions and trials of the main character in their quest to travel to outer space. Listened to a dramatization on BBC's iPlayer Radio app.
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted on

I have to start this review by saying sorry, if at any point I write Voyager instead of Voyage during this review, it’s because I have Voyager on the brain and literally can’t stop myself from writing that final ‘y’. I’m not even joking, it’s like it’s automatic now. So yeah my apologies.

Voyage is one of those books that take a while to get into. I didn’t truly start enjoying it till nearly 200 pages in. But when I did finally get it, it was like one of t
Ármin Scipiades
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Ármin by: I found it on Goodreads!
Shelves: scifi, a-bit-crap
Now what was the point of this?

So, okay, at first I thought the premise really cool: Kennedy survives, woo, such Mars programme, much wow. Thing is, Kennedy's survival changes only the fate of NASA's space programme. Oh, there's no Watergate, for some reason. Ted Kennedy becomes Carter's VP, cool. But that's about it. Oh and, sure, the only other consequence of Kennedy's survival is that it inexplicably replaces some famous people with the author's fictional characters. The afterword explains it
Eoghann Irving
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
It seems particularly appropriate this week during the 30th Anniversary of the moon landing that I’m reviewing this particular book. Voyage is an alternative history exploring what might have happened if, following the moon landings, instead of developing the Space Shuttle, NASA had concentrated its resources to landing a man on Mars.

The book starts when Neil Armstrong stands on the moon and finishes in the 80s when NASA sends a mission to Mars.

The result is a fascinating but flawed look into wh
Martin L. Cahn
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great novel. The only reason I give it 4 stars and not 5 is because of how technical it is. That's interesting by virtue of the alternate but very plausible spacecraft developed in this timeline of reaching Mars. Unfortunately, those details can slow down the narrative a bit in places.


Although I loved the space shuttle program, I agree with the author that his alternate timeline would have been preferable. It would have been worth it, to me, to have given up that program in ord
Aug 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
In this realistic novel, Baxter puts forward a compelling alternate history in which Nixon chooses Mars instead of the space shuttle. Spurred on by JFK, who is only wounded in the assasination attempt in 1963, the book explores the possible politics, decision points, engineering, and human challenges that could have happened, and would have seen men land on Mars as early as 1986.

Although this is alternate history, Baxter has got the right tone and mix of story elements to nearly convince you tha
Baxter's alternate history tale of a manned mission to Mars is interesting but reads somewhat dry. Much of the book is told from the point of view of Natalie York who becomes (in this alternate history) America's first woman in space along with the first person to set foot on Mars.

It's an interesting book and tries to look at both the benefits and disadvantages to the space program if Nasa had proceeded down that path. Worth reading but a little depressing given that in the 16 years since it's
David R.
Dec 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
An execrable confection. Baxter "reinvents" history but it simply isn't all that plausible outside of space hardware. He shamelessly steals plot material, both retelling the better known incidents from Project Apollo and ripping off Arthur Clarke's breathless PC nothings from "2010". And he populates the pages with exceptionally foul mouthed people who are little better than cartoon cutouts. Not recommended.
Jonathan Ward
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In contrast to my experience with Homer Hickam's "Back to the Moon," I quite enjoyed Stephen Baxter's "Voyage." As the subtitle mentions, this is a compelling alternate history of what might have been had a few key events gone differently.

To sum up the main divergences in history without spoiling anything, John F. Kennedy survives the assassination attempt but is rendered an invalid, who publicly twists Richard Nixon's arm during the televised Apollo 11 moonwalk to redirect space exploration to
May 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is easily the worst book I've read by Stephen Baxter. While the title and synopsis would imply that it is primarily concerned with a voyage to Mars - on the ship and on the planet - most of it is actually about the politics of NASA on Earth to set up for that voyage ahead of time. It can be painfully dull and boring if you don't find bureaucracy interesting.

What's more, in this alternate history the technology used is mostly the same as the Apollo program. So, in short, if you're already fa
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
What is it about?

What if NASA managed a program to get men to Mars? This book looks at exactly what needs to happen in order to succeed in this endeavor by 1986.

Was it good?

It was unbelievably believable. The only reason it took me two months to read was because of the nausea I was feeling over that time period. Still, this book kept me thinking about it even when I didn’t have the will to make the required eye movements to read.

The main reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is because it started off
Kamil Muzyka
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was an awesome piece of both alt-history and hard sci fi. Working within the space sector, I can recommend it as a read, for anyone who wants to get in touch with the boring part of space exploration. The one with tenders, pencil-pushers, committies and power struggles between ideas and companies.

It's about the people, those who fly to Mars, and those who help them achieve this goal.

The only weakness that annoyed me, was jumping back and forth towards the end with all those retrospects.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book. Quite liked the way it jumped backwards and forwards between the Mars mission and the earlier R&D and political battle required to achieve the end goal. Baxter spun a fairly plausible tale which kept me hooked to the end. Like all good books I wished that their had been more to the story (though maybe in this case he cut the story a little shorter than he should have). By the end of the book I was glad that history didn’t take this route.
Kay Smillie
I am a fan of Stephen Baxter but this feels stilted at times. His writing style is a much easier read these days, thus making his novels much more enjoyable. Read the last in this series some years ago, thoroughly enjoying it, so bought the other two to have the whole trilogy in print. Definitely one for fans of hard sci-fi.

Ray Smillie
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: space fans, hard SF readers, alt-history readers
On November 22nd, 1963, John F. Kennedy narrowly escaped assassination while touring Dallas, Texas. A gunman’s assault left his wife Jacqueline dead and the president hospitalized, but he lived to see the fulfillment of the mission he set before the American nation in early 1961: land a man on the moon and return him safely home before decade’s end. During the famed ‘phone call to the moon’, JFK issued another challenge: Mars. Voyage is an alternate history of the American space program in novel ...more
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Follow the training, hazards and experiences of an astronaut crew heading to Mars in a slightly uchronic America. Slow, methodic, detailed, it is a fascinating book for those who loved the Right Stuff (movie), for instance.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Entusiasmante, quello che avrebbe potuto essere e non è stato😉. Lo consiglio a tutti gli amanti della hard sci-fi.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5. Meticulous and detailed, and a fascinating idea pretty well executed, but a little dry and laboursome.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book of what could have been. Absolutely love Baxter's technical approach to science fiction!
Matt Mitrovich
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Stephen Baxter’s Voyage is considered one of the best works of alternate history. This hard science fiction novel tells the story of a NASA mission to Mars and considering how Baxter is one of the keynote speakers at the Sideways in Time conference, I figured I should check out his Sidewise Award winning novel before speaking to the gentleman. So does this 1996 novel still hold up?

Voyage is set in an alternate timeline where Jacqueline Kennedy is killed on 11/22/63 and John Kennedy is left paral
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Fuel tank converted to ship module? 1 2 Sep 08, 2016 11:33AM  
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Stephen 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 ...more
More about Stephen Baxter...

Other Books in the Series

NASA Trilogy (3 books)
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