Ossus Library Index Science Fiction Index

THE INFINITE SEA

A novel by Jeffrey A. Carver (1996, TOR books)
Book 3 of the Chaos Chronicles

The travelers find themselves deep underwater, helping a sea-living people deal with a crisis of poisoning, war, and a monster that threatens to destroy the entire planet.

 

 

Read November 16th to December 8th, 2014 on my iPad  
    As with the other books in this series, the author progressed at a steady pace, giving the main character very little actual power, but still allowing him to explore his neighborhood, to some degree. I like Bandicut and his robots, his alien friends, but I don’t find them particularly engaging. The solution to the problem, though, is well-received: many problems can be solved by opening communications, and humanity seems to be pretty good about that.

Spoiler review:

It seems like very little of these books actually deal with solutions to the problems presented. In this novel, Bandicut and his alien friends have travelled to a place in the depths of a water-society. The Neri pick them up, and the stones allow communications. For sure, there is a mystery, and it is not obvious at first. It looks like the Neri are having problems with another species called Landers, who are bringing disease among the sea-folk. But that is not actually true. The Neri were descended from people who could live on land or in the sea, and they had machines that helped them build their habitats, submersibles and other material needs they had. But these things are breaking down, so they are harvesting metals and plastics from a submerged starship that crashed there decades (maybe generations?) ago. This upsets the Landers, as it is obviously their ship, though it is useless to them now. And the diseases that were killing the Neri were from radiation poisoning, since they inadvertently removed the door or walls to a radiation chamber.

The real problem is the monster that lives at the bottom of the sea, which is causing earthquakes and even damaging Neri habitations. It turns out that this monster is sort of a semi-sentient hyperspace accelerator, similar to the one that sent Bandicut and the others to this planet from the space habitat they visited last book. It gripped the passing starship, causing it to crash. It has been trying to do its job ever since it crashed itself under the water of this planet, but has been unable to. 

Meanwhile, the two robots, who have grown almost completely sentient themselves, repair one of the Neri factories, though Bandicut has to put in the final touches.

Without Bandicut, the situation would have escalated even further out of control. He brings the voice of reason in communicating between the two groups of Neri, and then with the Landers, even after one of them is captured –the Neri want to kill him or torture him, but Bandicut uses reason and the stones to communicate, and get the other side of the story.

Meanwhile, the more uncertain alien, Li-Jarad, gains his courage, even to the point of letting his stones split so that he can give a set to the Lander, thus protecting the Lander and Bandicut (who had sacrificed his own for the Lander). Bandicut consummates his lust for the woman-with-four-breasts Antares, and they both fall more in love with each other. Their trip to the surface to the solar array was interesting in the topics it brought up. Events at Triton dictate that someday Julie, Bandicut’s former lover, will arrive on the scene, forming a love triangle along the way. Now that Julie has stones, how will she use them? What danger is there still to Earth?

The climax of the book is quite exciting, for one of these books. Bandicut and his friends and robots climb into their submersible, ready to move on, now that they have brought peace to the two races living on this planet. They also give a purpose to the monster in the deep. Since it is supposed to fling starships through space, and it has been unable to fulfill its purpose, especially after having crashed the landers’ spaceship, they satisfy it by getting flung to their next destination. It is interesting to note that the situation on the planet is stable, but by no way completely resolved. But Bandicut is satisfied that the Neri and the landers can figure it out peacefully. And their next destination appears to be the same as in the last book. Are they really returning to the space station, which is perhaps to become a base of operations?  I guess the next book in the series will tell…

 
   

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