The Word for the Blog is Scientifiction

sábado, 30 de diciembre de 2017

Creatures of the Abyss, by Murray Leinster

(I know there could be some mistakes in this review. I’m trying to improve my English, thanks)

(También puedes leer esta reseña en castellano aquí)

In the fifties and sixties the sea was seen as the last frontier… on Earth. The oceans were -and they still are, but less- a world to discover, where the overpopulated humanity could someday live, or at least exploit its resources. This was reflected in popular culture and, of course, in science fiction works. I intend to read three books about this subgenre, and the first one is Creatures of the Abyss (1961).

When I was a young space cadet I was fascinated by those science fiction sea adventures (well, actually I was fascinated by all science fiction), seen in movies like Around the World Under the Sea (1966) or the Captain Nemo stories. Creatures of the Abyss (also known as The Listeners) seems like one of those B movies: the hero, the girl, an incredible mystery, etc.

The plot, obviously, deals with some creatures found in the Philippines Deep but this is not all the story. This is how it starts: Terry Holt is a radar expert who, against his will, must joint an exploration mission as crew of the yacht Esperance. The expedition is commanded by Captain Davis and has among their members his beautiful daughter Deirdre. The Esperance must investigate some anomalies in the South China Sea which are also related to a local superstition...

The novel is correctly written. A fast and entertaining reading, except for a bit boring moments, such as when the characters insistently are reluctant to admit the astonishing/unbelievable/bla bla bla evidences that are against rational thinking. And of course, you must also forgive some old-fashioned tropes. For example, it is curious how the author describes Deirdre so resourceful but also how the hero insists to protect her (Fortunately they were different times!). However, I must also say that the story has some sparks of talent that should not be underestimated.

This is my first Murray Leinster (1896-1975) book, a prolific author who began publishing in the Golden Age of Science Fiction. He was a regular in pulp magazines such as Argosy, Amazing Stories and Astounding Stories and published a lot of science fiction novels among other things (and was two times Hugo awarded). As I said, I enjoyed Creatures of the Abyss, which is nothing more that escapist literature with a nostalgic value added in this case. However, I want to read more works by the master Leinster.

Next marine science fiction: Undersea Quest, by the SFWA Grand Masters Jack Williamson and Frederik Pohl.

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