Ship of the Damned

James F. David, Author
James F. David, Author Forge $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-87203-8
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 448 pages - 978-0-8125-7646-7
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-42792-0
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4299-1121-4
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HX-Files strangeness and race-against-time action come together in this eccentric, gripping science adventure based on the Philadelphia Experiment, a real-life WWII attempt to render warships invisible. Fifty years after the war, neuropsychologist Dr. Wes Martin and co-worker Elizabeth Foxworth begin to investigate several people of various ages who are all dreaming the same dreamDthat they are wandering through an empty ship in the desert, a vessel whose passageways and rooms keep shifting like a living maze. When Martin links Elizabeth's mind with that dream world, Elizabeth discovers herself wandering a ship that seems much too real to be a fantasy. That's because it is realDit's called the Norfolk, and for more than 50 years it has been trapped in its own little pocket universe called Pot of Gold. The experiment that created Pot of Gold not only fused some of the Norfolk's crew with its metal superstructure, it gave the surviving sailors psychic powers. These so-called Specials are still ensnared on the ship, which is monitored by the Office of Special Projects. When the Nimitz, a modern-day aircraft carrier, disappears just like the Norfolk did, Special Projects leaders take action. They plan to insert a team of agents led by stone killer Nathan Jett into Pot of Gold to destroy the shipboard generators that have been keeping the Norfolk separate from the real world. Key to the plan is the one man who might be immune to the powers of the SpecialsDa retarded adult called Ralph, whom David fans will remember from his previous novel, Fragments. With just enough science to make the weirdness believable, and some well-rendered subplots, notably a surprisingly moving friendship between killer Jett and the supposedly expendable Ralph, David crafts a great summer read, a swift amusement park ride of shipboard battles, telekinetic showdowns and potential nuclear catastrophe. (Aug.)
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