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Saturday, August 22, 2009


This forgotten attempt at launching a new sci-fi/adventure hero was written under a pen name by Joe Haldeman, the same guy who wrote the classic THE FOREVER WAR, and while this novel doesn't come close to that masterpiece it is a fairly entertaining way to pass time on a subway ride. And besides, I love me some underwater heroes, so upon hearing of it when I was ten years old there was no way I wasn't going to check it out!

Surgically-created "merman" Attar is part of a secret program that blends eugenics with deep sea exploration, and he sidelines in waging a small-scale commando campaign against corporations that harm the world's oceans. When his (non-biological) sister/lover, Essence, is killed by the Japanese cartel Black Lotus, Attar fights a violent one-man war against them, aided by a pair of telepathic dolphins (a pair soon whittled down to a solo act, just like our hero's situation with Essence. Oooh, heavy!). That's pretty much it and it all adds up to a waterlogged 1970's would-be 007 by way of Prince Namor. There was one more book to follow, WAR OF NERVES, but that one's not much to write home about, other than for the fun character Grampus, a killer whale who replaces this book's dolphins. While okay, you miss nothing if you never read either book. Oh, and Attar as described in the books looks nothing like the gene-splicing of Telly Savalas and the Creature from the Black Lagoon seen on the covers; he's supposed to be a very handsome, bald Eurasian who looks like a completely normal human being, unless one notices the gill-slits on his neck and chest.


Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha.... Oh, wow. i have a copy of this book. Loved it back in the days I was easily impressed young one. The description you give for Attar as being "quite handsome" was presented on what I'm guessing must have been a reissue print, since he's "as advertised". Man... memories.

Bunche said...

The copy I've got is from the original issue (as far as I know the two books were never reprinted) and the description I gave is exactly how Attar is described in the book. The cover illustration is wholly inaccurate.