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  • 9780984669134 0984669132
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Unfathomable
Thomas Pryce, author
Eco-defender Jake Chee manages to nab a spot aboard the Phantom Run, a massive factory trawler believed to be involved in illegal fishing activity. With stealth tech and agenda cast in shadow, the Phantom has roamed the seas for over a year, furtive as a mirage. From his position on board, Jake hopes to catch them in the act and bring the Phantom to justice. But as days pass, he sees no sign of illegal fishing. Moreover, the crew seems oddly ill-suited for such a task. A week to sea, a mysterious apparatus is built on deck. It looks more like a giant celestial telescope than anything fishing related. Jake is not part of the construction nor is he privy to its purpose. Like the overall vibe aboard the Phantom, the machine projects an aura strange and enigmatic. From out of the blue Jake’s health starts to decline, hindering his mission further. He’d been diagnosed with autism as a child. With guidance from his parents, and taking a natural healing approach, his symptoms had been greatly reduced. Now, however, he wonders if the stress has triggered a relapse... …or is this something else. When the strange machine is fired up, and its objective revealed, Jake is shocked. His relatively simple eco-campaign suddenly rises to another level, the potential environmental disaster out of this world on the spectrum of peril. Out in the middle of the Pacific without any backup, Jake finds himself in a battle with unimaginable forces. It’s a race against time to save the planet, an impromptu call to duty. Exhausted and vastly outmatched, he must find a way to endure and get help…and somehow turn the tide on the greatest eco-catastrophe yet.
Reviews
Ocean conservationists wrestle with greedy extraterrestrials in Pryce’s sharp, mind-altering expedition to the middle of the Pacific. On a secret mission, hesitant eco-defender Jake Chee boards a trawler suspected of illegal fishing activities that’s heading for the outskirts of Hawaii. Posing as a fisherman, Jake is immediately perplexed by the oddball crew, the purple Gatorade-like liquid they’re required to drink, and the enormous black tube on deck that reaches into the sky. Soon Jake’s body undergoes distressing transformations: hair falling out, appetite for raw fish increasing, and an earlier amputated toe growing back. When the tube is turned on, a gigantic worm creature materializes to siphon off millions of gallons of sea water and disgorge fish onto the deck. After a spindly alien called an Eproxx appears and declares its plan to steal all of Earth’s water, Jake channels his newly evolved courage to save the planet.

Pryce (Unnatural Selection) employs unconventional storytelling to keep the surprises coming and maintain an ominous tone with jabs of terror. Occasional diversions, such as a parallel story in which Jake’s ex-girlfriend Ellie and her crew chase a rogue whaling vessel using sonic harpoons, always veer back to the action. The narrative is wordy in places, but Pryce smoothly blends subtle humor with quick, hip writing and references to popular culture, and respectfully draws on Jake’s Hopi and Irish heritage. Readers will eagerly follow Jake’s journey into the weird and feel sympathy for his cause.

Pryce packs the story with meticulous descriptions of mutated fish, trapped sea turtles, and the tragic raft of plastic and garbage circling in the ocean, contrasted with the valiant efforts of those who strive to make a difference. The abrupt cliff-hanger ending is frustrating, but readers will eagerly look for sequels. With unexpected turns and plenty of trippy strangeness, this escapade will chill readers to the bone.

Takeaway: Conservationists and SF fans will relish the detailed science and fast-paced adventure of this quest to save the planet.

Great for fans of Joan Slonczewski’s A Door into Ocean, Jack Vance’s The Blue World.

Production grades
Cover: A+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: B
Marketing copy: B+

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 9780984669134 0984669132
  • pages
  • $

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