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Frank Herbert "Under Pressure"








Frank Herbert
"Under Pressure" (nv)
(also as "The Dragon in the Sea")
(also as "21st Century Sub")
© Astounding, Nov-Dec 1955, Jan 1956
book: Avon Books, 1956
--all time novel : 1975 Locus All-Time Poll /34 (tie)
--/ third place sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award


A murky, depressed, claustrophobic feeling permeates this book - one of the best submarine thrillers in the history of literature. The story of the troubled journey of a nuclear sub is deeply lodged in a web of conspiracies (and suspicions of conspiracies). It is full of psychological turmoil and undercurrents of emotion, and is written in a dense (but highly readable) style, keeping the reader enthralled till the very end. This is my favorite book by Frank Herbert, as he does not indulge himself in strange page-bloated discourses, but keeps the story flowing and the emotions intense. I especially adore "closed environment" stories with haunted characters who try to break the limits and conspiracies imposed upon them. The plot of this book is really quite simple: uncovering of a spy among the sub crew, stealing some oil from underwater pipelines, engaging enemy subs, and generally "heating up" the Cold War. But it is in the deep, deep mind currents that Herbert lays the ambiguous egg of paranoia and asks the reader to hatch it.
review: 26-Jul-06 (read in 1988)





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