Undersea City

by Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson
Series: Undersea Trilogy 3
Reviewed date: 2007 Mar 30
Rating: 2
160 pages
cover art
cover art

It's a good thing Undersea City is the last book in the Undersea Trilogy, because I can't take any more. The heavy-handed writing is too much to bear.

The sea is no longer enough, so Pohl and Williamson send our hero James Eden even further into the earth: to an seismological research lab two miles under the ocean floor. In this rocky fortress, Jim and his two fellow cadets learn the new science of predicting seaquakes. The hope is to one day predict seaquakes accurately enough to be able to evacuate undersea cities when a powerful quake threatens to crack the city dome.

Their seaquake predictions run awry, though, and it appears that someone is deliberately triggering artificial seaquakes in order to manipulate the stock market and make money. The prime suspect is Jim's uncle, Stewart Eden. Worse, Jim's best friend--cadet Bob Eskow--might be in on the whole scheme.

If that were not bad enough, the seismologists predict a Force Twelve seaquake, which will surely break the Edenite skin of Krakatoa Dome--but the corrupt city council of Krakatoa refuses to order an evacuation, for fear of causing a panic that will crash the markets and ruin their investments.

It's blindingly obvious that Stewart Eden is setting off artificial seaquakes to relieve pressure on the fault line and thus prevent the big Force Twelve seaquake that would destroy Krakatoa Dome. It's also quite clear that Bob Eskow is helping Stewart Eden. Gah. Undersea City might be a decent juvenile, but I suspect it's too heavy-handed even for a child to enjoy. Undersea City rates just barely a two.

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