Oceanspace

Allen Steele, Author
Allen Steele, Author Ace Books $21.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-441-00685-4
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-441-00850-6
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-21362-2
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-7865-3740-2
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-7865-3742-6
Ebook - 978-0-7865-3741-9
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A cluster of major SF awards (including two Hugos) distinguish Steele's r sum . It's notable, though, that most are prizes voted upon by fans rather than SF professionals. Steele's new novel mirrors his award-winning work. Set upon and deep within the Atlantic, it's a tightly crafted, highly atmospheric tale, but one that takes no risks and breaks no ground aesthetically or conceptually. During seven days in June 2011, a crew of scientists working for an oceanic mining corporation plus a few others set out to explore a newly arisen smoker (a hot vent teeming with primordial life) on the ocean floor--with the venture including a side trip to glimpse, hopefully, the strange beast-a sea serpent?-that has almost totaled a crew member's small submarine. Steele borrows his company from central casting--there's a salty sea captain, a pretty female scientist and her hunky scientist-husband, a venal journalist, a spunky teen, etc.--but he draws them sharply and tosses them into a captivating whirlpool of adventure, including corporate intrigue (one scientist plans to sell vent samples for millions to a rival corporation), romantic shenanigans (the journalist has eyes for the hunk) and lots of undersea derring-do. The high-tech detailing of oceanic habitats and vessels is first-rate, and Steele efficiently and effectively evokes the cold, dark and unrelenting alienness of the world deep beneath the sea. This novel is perfect for whiling away a plane trip or a stormy night, offering a comfortable, soapy blend of melodrama and action--nothing unexpected, nothing special, just a yarn that entertains modestly but very well. (Feb.)
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