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- The Alternative Top 25 Best Science Fiction List
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OTHER Best Lists
Undersea Science Fiction
Space offers infinite possibilities for our imaginations, but so too does the ocean. A self-describing sub-genre, Undersea Science Fiction takes place under the sea.
Undersea Sci Fi frequently explores life in the watery depths of the ocean. Life forms that are found at these depths may be naturally occurring, they may be created by humans, or they may be alien. The other aspect of life beneath the waves is that of habitats--habitats that house entire cities, or maybe just a mining operation.
Other Features of Undersea Science Fiction
- Level of Real Science
High. In many Undersea Sci Fi stories science is central to the setting. Science is employed to describe the biology of deep-sea creatures, science is employed to create habits for humans, science is employed to create the technology for underwater transportation.
- Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications
Variable. Many Undersea Sci Fi stories are adventure stories and so they do not spend much time on ideas and social commentary. However, there are some authors who use the alien-like setting to explore not only social ideas, but psychological ideas.
- Level of Characterization
Variable. If the Undersea Sci Fi story follows in the Pulp tradition the characterization will be low, having mostly stock characters. However, there are also more complex stories that take place under the sea and often explore the psychology of its characters in an alien environment and under unusual and extreme circumstances.
- Level of Plot Complexity
High. Adventure stories are plot driven and the undersea adventures found in this sub-genre are no exception.
- Level of Violence
Moderate. Undersea Sci Fi stories are adventure stories and there will be some high action scenes that can turn violent. This violence may be among the crew of a troubled submarine or it may be fighting off a giant squid.
Related Science Fiction subgenres
Hard Science Fiction. Undersea exploration is a real scientific inquiry and so there is much for Sci Fi to build on in this sub-genre.
Pulp Science Fiction. Many of the Pulp stories featured undersea stories, but on alien planets.
Voyages Extraordinares. This subgenre might include some sort of underwater setting (think 20k leagues under the sea).
- 1 Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
By Jules Verne. The classic example.
- 2 The Undersea Trilogy
By Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson. An inventor goes missing while testing a new Undersea mining process and his son goes to investigate
- 3 The Amphibian
By Alexander Beliaev. This 1929 novel is one of the first to explore the idea of using biological engineering to adapt humans to underwater life.
- 4 The Rifters
By Peter Watts. A trilogy that grows from a limited deep ocean outpost to the sprawling Pacific Ocean to cyberspace.
- 5 Leviathan
By Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. An adventure story that takes the protagonists onto a submarine, where they must contend with a giant-single, celled sea monster, the Leviathan.
- 6 They Found Atlantis
By Dennis Wheatly. An example of the numerous stories that deal with the discovery of the city lost to the ocean, Atlantis.
- 7 Destination Infinity
By Henry Kuttner A Pulp-style adventure set on the ocean floors of Venus after Earth has become uninhabitable.
- 8 The Green Girl
By Jack Williamson. Another Pulp adventure where a son and father journey beneath the ocean to save the world from an alien force and to find love.
- 9 The Dragon in the Sea
By Frank Herbert. This novel takes place in a submarine and crosses the genre lines into spy-thriller. Herbert explores the psychological impact of living under the sea.
- 10 The Deep Range
By Arthur C. Clarke. Most of the population is now fed from the sea--whale and plankton farms. Plausible adventures about the mysteries of the sea.