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Reviews of Cold as Ice (1992)

Review by physik (2006-11-16) Contains spoilers. View anyway.


In the depths of the subterranean oceans on Europa a lonely hydrothermal vent spills life giving heat into the centuries old celestial pool. Just a few meters away from this wonderful geographic feature a small submarine-like craft, the Spindrift, hovers silently. Inside the cramped vehicle, Dr. Jon Perry is searching for life in the massive oceans of this lonely world. Welcome to Europa...it's Cold as Ice...

Charles Sheffield's “Cold as Ice” is a wonderful journey back into the Jovian system frequented by the likes of Arthur C. Clarke. It's been twenty-five years since over nine billion people were sacrificed in a great war that spanned the reaches of the solar system. Jon Perry, Camille Hamilton, and Wilsa Sheer have been sent to a research platform on Europa to search for life around the hydrothermal vents. What comes next is a complex, and sometimes disturbing series of events that reveal a much greater secret. Sometimes the secrets of an entire planet can be hidden in a single man...

This book was very well written and managed to keep my attention throughout. In fact, I managed to finish it in a few days because of the relative ease in which the prose flowed across the pages. I was a bit disturbed at the constant shift of locations between the Europa platform, the DOS Center, and the Bat Cave (you have to read this one to believe it). This is a hard science fiction piece, so casual fans of the genre may find it a little on the technical side. The characters, however, are very believable and I couldn't help but develop a genuine interest for their safety and wellbeing.

I won't spoil the ending, but I can say that the explanation for all the “weird” things happening in this book was well worth the wait. Clocks in at 370 pages in TOR paperback.



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