is a 1996 hard science fiction
novel by British
author Stephen Baxter
. The book depicts a manned mission to Mars
as it might have been in another timeline, one where John F. Kennedy
survived the assassination attempt on him in 1963.
The book is a part of what is known as the "NASA trilogy" (consisting of Voyage, Titan, and Moonseed) in which Stephen Baxter explores what might have become of the American space program if circumstances had been different. Voyage won a Sidewise Award for Alternate History. It has since been made into a radio serial for BBC Radio 4.
- Voyage takes place in a world that almost existed but never was. John F. Kennedy survived the assassination attempt on 22 November 1963 in Dallas. From his wheelchair in 1969, the former president sets NASA a new, daunting challenge: "... to continue the building of our great ships, and fly them onwards to Mars."
- His voice carries beyond the clamour of military and industrial lobbies keen to develop the Space Shuttle. Instead, Apollo flights continue, boosted by Wernher von Braun's cherished nuclear rocket. Both are high-risk technologies.
- When the first Ares mission lifts off for Mars in 1986, it is both a triumphant climax and the end of a long saga of technical and human over-ambition. Ares carries three dedicated people, one of them a woman, who have sacrificed everything to achieve the single goal of reaching another planet: their stories weave through a decade of political drama leading to the transfiguring experience of a year-long journey away from Earth.
The novel follows two primary, parallel storylines: one follows the Ares mission to Mars, and the other following Natalie York in her attempt to becoming an astronaut.
Characters in "Voyage"
- Natalie York. A geologist training to become an astronaut. 'Ares' Mission Specialist.
- Phil Stone. 'Ares' Mars Mission Commander.
- Ralph Gershon. 'Ares' MEM (Mars Excursion Module) Pilot.
- Ben Priest. York's love interest and fellow astronaut.
- Gregory Dana. Rocket Scientist and Nazi camp survivor.
- JK Lee. Director of Columbia Aviation.
- Mike Conlig In charge of developing the NERVA engine, and York's estranged boyfriend.
- Hans Udet. NASA director of the Mars project.
- Bert Seger. NASA manager.
- Joe Muldoon. Second man on the Moon.
- Chuck Jones. Second American to orbit the Earth.
- Fred Michaels. NASA Administrator from 1969 to 1981.
- Jim Dana. Astronaut, son of Gregory Dana.
- Adam Bleeker. Astronaut, contender for the 'Ares' mission.
- Vladimir Viktorenko. Cosmonaut, friend of Joe Muldoon and Natalie York.