Angel of Europa

Allen Steele. Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $35 (96p) ISBN 978-1-59606-412-6
Steele's stand-alone novella will appeal to admirers of Asimov's robot mysteries, though it lacks their intricacy and emphasis on deduction. In 2112, on an expedition to Jupiter's moon Europa, two astrobiologists die while exploring the satellite's global ocean. The prevailing belief on the space vessel Zeus Explorer is that the two men were murdered by their mutual lover, Evangeline Chatelain, who piloted them into the unknown depths. Chatelain insists that after the bathyscaphe was attacked by a large unknown life form, she had to jettison the section of the undersea vessel the scientists were occupying in order to survive herself. The task of investigating falls to Otto Danzig, the spaceship's arbiter, who has just had his own brush with death. The prose, plot, and lead character are all serviceable, but aren't at the levels Steele (Hex) has displayed in his longer works. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/20/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
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