A Darkling Sea

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A Darkling Sea is a first novel by James L Cambias and creates a sense of nostalgia for Golden Age science fiction. In spirit, it reminds me of the work of two great authors: Hal Clement and Lloyd Biggle. The former specialized in world building, moving characters around intensely different planetary landscapes. The latter wrote several books thinking about how we might interact with new sapient species.

This book sees us deep underwater with an intelligent species of crustaceans trying to find the right eco-balance living near volcanic vents. Humans have a comprehensive scientific team studying these creatures but, through an excess of commercial zeal, one human is captured and autopsied by the aliens to see what makes him tick. This death brings humanity’s alien partners into the mix. These spacefaring aliens have a non-contact rule and they want to use this death as an excuse for sending the humans back to Earth with their tails between their legs. So begins a political dispute which quite rapidly becomes more aggressive when the humans refuse to go quietly.|The end result is a very good first novel and, while not perfect, it shows sufficient promise to make Cambias an author to watch.

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Star Count 3.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 352 pages
Publisher Tor Books
Publish Date 2014-Jan-28
ISBN 9780765336279
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue June 2014
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy


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