RogerBW's Blog

Dangerous Ground, Larry Bond and Chris Carlson 24 March 2014

A Los Angeles-class submarine, USS Memphis, goes on an intelligence-gathering mission off Novaya Zemlya.

Yes, another submarine story, but my word, what a contrast with SSN. This is a bit more like it; here we have characters, with names and personality traits and everything. Rather than the boat being the latest and shiniest pride of the fleet, she was scheduled for decommissioning until that was reversed for this one last mission; her captain is a martinet; she has to accommodate two civilian specialists without prior submarine experience; and our hero and viewpoint character, Jerry Mitchell, is a failed naval aviator who's used political pull to get himself assigned to a submarine billet rather than the surface fleet, so he starts out with low credibility and skills, and has to work hard to overcome both these problems.

Maybe it is just the contrast, but I found myself really enjoying this. The men of the US Navy aren't all paragons of perfection; their opposition isn't made up exclusively of venal and incompetent idiots. There's a sense of danger, of the possibility that the mission might fail or indeed that people might die. All right, it's not a spoiler to say that the good guys win – that's really one of the requirements of the genre – but it's certainly not the absolute flawless crushing victory of SSN.

Indeed, this isn't for the most part a story about submarine battles. It's a story about the development of a person who is a submarine officer on a perilous mission.

The story moves somewhat beyond a strict accounting of real modern technology in that Memphis is fitted with several remotely-operated vehicles, each with its own set of limitations as to sensors and battery power, and it's pleasing to see these juggled in a practical and plot-relevant way.

I will keep an eye out for more by Carlson (who, I note, was also involved in the 4th edition of the Harpoon naval wargame rules).

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

See also:
SSN, Tom Clancy

Series: Jerry Mitchell | Next in series: Cold Choices

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1