INTO THE DEEP by Ken Grimwood


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 Sugary New Age nonsense cripples Grimwood's (Replay, 1986, etc.) mildly inventive eco-thriller, in which humans and dolphins join forces to save Santa Barbara, Calif., from volcanic disaster. Dolphins, it turns out, employ a sophisticated imaging language to talk to each other; their conversations consist of sonic pictures rather than grammatically arranged words. Scientist Sheila Roberts makes this discovery at almost the same time that she learns of her own status as a telepathic Linker, selected in childhood by the dolphins to act as a contact for the New Directives, a program of interspecies cooperation commissioned by the omniscient Sources (whales) and pursued by members of dolphin society who possess the Linking Talent. Sheila has two Linker confederates, also chosen by the dolphins: her lover, Daniel Colter, a gruff young journalist, and Antonio Batera, a salty old Portuguese tuna fisherman whose boat is responsible for routine dolphin/porpoise slaughters. They're eventually joined by petroleum engineer Jeb Sloane, whose high-tech, laser-drilling oil rig imperils Santa Barbara; by inadvertently punching into an unknown magma chamber, the corporation he works for is about to unleash the molten fury of the planet's core. Jeb's not a Linker, but Sheila and Daniel have no trouble convincing him to help them steal the drilling equipment to divert the underwater eruption harmlessly out to sea, especially after he sees videotaped dolphin-images warning of the potential threat. Grimwood manages to cram several dolphin characters into all this as well: Ch*Tril, a dolphin historian, along with her mate, Dj\Tal (both are capable of linking), struggle to bring the New Directives to humanity while fighting a bloody civil war with their killer-whale Death-Cousins. The whole story transpires under the placid watchfulness of the Sources' universal mind, which has decided to interrupt the human march of environmental destruction. Just the sort of thing dolphins would make fun of, if they could read.

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 1995
ISBN: 0-688-08799-X
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1994