Diving Adventure

Bookshelf: Diving Adventure

Diving Adventure – Willard Price

Diving Adventure
Diving Adventure

It’s hard to convey the deadly earnestness that infuses this book. As with the other Willard Price childrens’ adventures I’ve reviewed, the wild animals and marine creatures that feature here are viewed as sinister, savage and brutish. Almost all of them have a lust for human blood, and the only means of escape is to pit them against each other.

Instead of rambling on, I reproduce here a section from early in the novel. Hal and Roger Hunt are spending time in an underwater city, that is supposed to be a harbinger of future marine development and experimentation.

Now they were passing over the roofs of Undersea City. All the roofs were flat – they did not need to be gabled since they never had to shed rain or snow. Both the roofs and the walls were covered by seaweed and molluscs, food for the thousands of fish. Clouds of fish parted before the bow of the glass jeep.

Columns of bubbles rose from the buildings and from the aqualungs of swimmers and pedestrians. A building marked AIR was evidently the point from which pressurised helium breathing gas was distributed by underground conduit.

There, with a small spire, was the church of which the rascally Rev. Merlin Kaggs was pastor. Roger could hardly resist the temptation to nip off the spire. He high-jumped over it.

The jeep skimmed over what appeared to be a power plant turning out electricity to supply the town with light and heat.

There was a building that Hal guessed might be a desalting plant to turn salt water into fresh and distribute it round the town.

There were streets of residences, green with tropical growth. The houses were set in pleasant gardens with the most fantastic and beautiful plants – and animals that looked like plants – sea fans, coral trees, sea anemones, gorgeous gorgonias, waxy little animal flowers like tulips.

The principal shopping street appeared to be Main where shops had windows but no doors. Stilts anchored them to the ground and the entrances were underneath. People floated up into them and came out with plastic bags of groceries and household articles.

There was a dairly that advertised whale milk, a book store announcing “Books on the Underworld”, a restaurant, barber’s shop, a shop that offered “Deep-down Souvenirs”, a hospital, a pharmacy, a bank and a shop where one could buy “Jewels from the Sea-bed.”

A man came out of a hardware store with a piece of machinery as big as himself.

“Golly,” exclaimed Roger. “That thing must weight half a ton.”

“Up above, it would,” Hal said. “Down here, he can carry it easily because the dense water helps hold it up.”

There was even a pet shop – but the pets were not dogs, cats and canaries. They were dolphins, porpoises and ornamental fish.

And there were several shops specialising in diving gear, scuba tanks patterned after Cousteau’s aqualung, fins, masks, snorkels and everything else the well-dressed underwater man would wear.

Rather leave the futurism to Arthur C. Clarke. At least Willard Price has learned not to say goggles and flippers instead of mask and fins…

The book is available here (bundled with another Willard Price thriller) if you’re in South Africa, otherwise click here.

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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