DOWN THERE IN DARKNESS by George Turner

DOWN THERE IN DARKNESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Posthumous SF novel from the distinguished and vastly underrated Australian (1916—97: Brain Child, 1991, etc.). In 2170, former policeman Harry Ostrov ponders a sequence of events that began in 2030, when genius painter Brian Warlock volunteered for an electronic sensory deprivation experiment in an attempt to reveal the wellspring of artistic creativity. Also part of the experiment was child molester Frankie Devalera. Within minutes, Frankie awoke screaming and convulsing, but Warlock never roused. Frankie cured of his compulsion, claimed that somehow he contacted Warlock’s mind while in isolation, and this helped him understand the roots of his problem. Thirty years later, Pastor “Jesus” Miraflores and geneticist Dr. Valda Wishart sponsor another attempt to revive Warlock. Warlock wakes, thinking only a few minutes have passed; he reports being submerged in a “world mind” composed of all the thoughts that have ever been. But Brian’s son Steven is dead, murdered according to Frankie, along with an Aboriginal shaman. Harry and his friend Gus Kostakis investigate, suspicious of both the Church and Wishart labs, but they’re both captured and placed in cryonic suspension. A century later, new narrator Gus wakes to a world where technology has almost vanished and a virus engineered by Valda and her autocratic father has wiped out most of the population. The Wisharts intend to breed a new race from the people they selected to survive. Among numerous developments, Harry is revived but cannot contain his rage at what old Wishart has done and eventually kills the old man. Disjointed, unfocused and overcomplicated. Turner fans will want to investigate, but this is not a fair reflection of his true abilities and talents.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-86829-4
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1999