Three Miles Down

Tor. Jul. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781250829726. $26.99. SF
Hugo and Sidewise Award winner Turtledove (Salamis) offers a novel in which The Hunt for Red October is turned into a first contact mission that pits a novice against the CIA. Summer 1974: the CIA hires marine biology grad student and SF writer Jerry Stieglitz as window dressing for a covert mission to raise a sunken Russian nuclear submarine in the North Pacific Ocean. Aboard ship, Jerry learns the real mission, one that requires his science fictionally minded imagination more than his oceanography knowledge. We are not alone in the cosmos—next to the sub is an alien spacecraft. Then Jerry protests the expedition’s corner-cutting, leading the CIA to believe that they didn’t vet Jerry nearly enough. A mistake they plan to fix with extreme prejudice. As Jerry outruns the CIA, he heads straight to what his shipmates believe is the enemy.
VERDICT A pleasure to read with Jerry’s gee-whiz awe, combined with intelligent humor. The nods and winks toward genre standouts from the ’70s add to the verisimilitude and fun for SF fans.
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