It is the 21st century and humans have finally conquered the sea. Professionals now harvest plankton to feed the world. However, the sea has not given up all its secrets...and men like Walter Franklin are determined to find them out.
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nice Clarke at sea this time
Classic Clarke, but the reader pauses too much
This book, published in 1957, is Clarke's speculation on the use of the oceans to maintain the world's food supply. (The real life "Green Revolution" in land-based agriculture didn't take off until the 1960s, so at the time turning to the seas looked promising.) Plankton farming vies with whale herding for providing human nutriment. The analogy of plankton = homestead farming, vs. whales = cattle ranching in the Old West, is not lost on Clarke, who gives us Whaleboys instead of Cowboys. We also get the tantalizing possibility of undiscovered sea monsters, and the age-old debate over whether it's right to slaughter animals to feed humanity.
The characters have more depth than in much of Clarke's later work, and Clarke can be forgiven for casting women entirely in the housewife/secretary role they were stuck with at the time the book was written.
Who would I cast as narrator? ANYONE ELSE. Mr. Menasche has an annoying tendency to pause dramatically before the end of every sentence. EVERY sentence. Even sentences that aren't supposed to be dramatic. It's like listening to William Shatner read the U.S. Constitution.
- Roger M. Wilcox