Package deals like The Shore Dimly Seen should come labeled like commodities: one sprawling adventure yarn with nuclear war overtones, a sort of seaborne High and Hi with On the Beach polemics. The scene of the action is an equally sprawling pleasure craft somewhere in the Atlantic; the characters are all Americans, including the owner, a dying guided missile tycoon; an angry young man who is also a has-been young writer, with his pregnant wife (strong but sweet); an electronics expert, once idealistic, now sold-out, with his wife (beautiful but bitchy); a philosophic doc, an old maid secretary, a stalwart skipper, and assorted crew members generally shipped out from the Hollywood hills. Through a series of contretemps, embracing a busted radio and a mysterious meeting with a Polaris sub, they learn that rockets East and West may or may not have been launched. Thus the Damocles dramatics, the resultant battle of the sexes, the speechmaking invoking Bertrand Russell or von Neumann, the underlying wake-up-before-it's-too-late message, and a mutiny, besides. The author writing out of a deep conviction, a Guggenheim grant and an eye on the headlines, also uses other men's materials, situations and suspense.