Sunday, 27 March 2011

Maelstrom by Porter Watts

Starfish, Peter Watts brooding novel about a bunch of misfits living and working under the deep ocean could have worked as a standalone novel but it is actually the beginning of a trilogy and Maelstrom is the follow up episode.

With the main characters released from the ocean depths the claustrophobic psychological drama gives way to adventure story. It is a good one though and Watts still manages to keep you thinking about the characters and their roles. The main plot is about an ancient life form from the bottom of the ocean that threatens to destroy humanity and everything we know. Watts is quite ambiguous though about who his heroes are. Is it the controlling agencies who are fighting against the infection but who routinely sacrifice every human right of their subjects "for the greater good"? Is it the psychologically scarred heroine who deliberately spreads the doomsday bug as a form of twisted revenge? Is it the various misguided individuals who worship this Typhoid Mary and help her macabre quest? Is it the artificial intelligences who become entangled in the plot for their own motivations? Read this excellent thought provoking novel and decide for yourself.

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