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“Undertow ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 26/06/2007

Elizabeth Bear
Bantam, August 2007, $6.99, 368 pp.
ISBN 9780553589054

On the backwater colony and mining planet Greene's world, a mostly oceanic orb, the Charter Trade Company mines petroleum and omelite, a valuable substance controlled by the firm's upper management. Native ranids who are civilized water species are used as forced coolie labor. They live mostly in water so they play a big role in the underwater mining.

Sometimes a secret gets out and the company has to deal with it. Andre Deschenes is an assassin who wants to be a conjurer man so he can scientifically change his world and control to a degree the probable outcome of events. The company assigns him to kill Lucienne, his girlfriend Cricket's friend. Some ranids with humans backing them are calling for a revolution and Cricket has a data dump in her head from Lucienne, given moments before she died that may be the key to getting the company off Greene's World. The ranids know more than humans believe possible and are prepared to do what is necessary to keep their world whole healthy and clean.

The ranids are intelligent amphibians but most humans don't see it because verbal communication between the species is impossible. UNDERTOW would make a great movie as human corporate conspiracies place everyone on or near the planet in danger; human and ranids try to save their destabilizing planet. Fans will appreciate this watery science fiction thriller

Harriet Klausner

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