A Darkling Sea is a science fiction novel by James L. Cambias. When imagining intelligent life on other worlds, many if not most science fiction writers tend to make the alien species almost identical to humans. This author has chosen the more difficult path of describing a world where the civilization is composed entirely of sea creatures.
Human space explorers discover life on what first appears to be a frozen moon. However, under a thick layer of ice, is a sea which is warmed from the bottom up by volcanic activity. Intelligent life has developed in this sea, and the aliens have learned to tap the energy from the volcanic vents to power towns and farming communities. The life is all deep below the ice pack where there is liffle or no sunlight. Therefore the aliens (names Ilmaterians) never developed the sence of sight and communicate entirely by sound.
Humans have established an underwater research station to sturdy the alien civilization undetected. However, there is another space traveling species called the Sholen who have a completely different view of the humans’ activities. They do not trust the humans’ motives and are prepared to expel them by force.
What makes this book so good is the way the author develops all the characters, including those of the various aliens. The greatest problems and threats happen due often to the fact that the different groups simply cannot understand the way the others think or their basic philosophizes.
James L. Cambias is a game designer and has written numerous science fiction stories, but this is his first full Novel. We look forward to reading his next.