Monday, July 11, 2011

KCR: Deep Sound Channel (novel, submarine)

Submarine control surfacesImage via WikipediaJoe Buff's submarine novels have an interesting premise, but somehow doesn't quite delivers the same punch as novels by Michael DiMercurio or even Charles D. Taylor. The characters are flat, and the battles tend to go hyper-technical. They are fine if you dig the genre.

Premise: Extremists in both South Africa and Germany have staged simultaneous coup and created this unholy alliance... the new Axis Powers known as the Berlin-Boer Axis. With a bit of help from a "neutral" Russia in the form of nukes, the sea is now the hunting grounds of the latest submarines... ceramic-hulled undersea invisible monsters armed with tactical nuclear torpedoes and cruise missiles. No warships can survive, not even the vaunted American carrier battle group. New Axis powers wielded several such supersubs, and the Americans and the Brits have a few as well. In this world of ultimate hide-and-seek, one mistake will be your last...

USS Challenger, America's supersub, and its captain LtCmdr Fuller, has a special assignment: Apparently South Africa is about to make a breakthrough to tap some very rare undersea lifeform that is nearly the ideal biological weapon. Fuller must take his ship and a team of Navy SEALS, along with a South African scientist, and take out the research lab before the research can be completed. In their way is the South African supersub, the Vooertrekker... and some very formidable South African defenses...

As explained before, the characters are almost cliche. Fuller was a former SEAL, really? And he's going to accompany the team going in? Then the battle gets hypertechnical... ever heard of sonal lensing? About how certain events BEND soundwaves?

Still, the battles can get exciting once the action picks up, and this nightmare scenario can work a bit... if you really leave your brain turned off a bit. Read one and see if you like it. Joe Buff have a whole series of these novels starring the same crew.

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