ARTHUR C. CLARKE – The Deep Range. Harcourt Brace, hardcover, 1957. Signet S1583, paperback, 1958. Expanded from a short story of the same title first published in Star Science Fiction Stories No. 3 (Ballantine, paperback, 1955). The novel first collected in From the Ocean, from the Stars (Harcourt Brace, hardcover, 1961).

   Essentially the life story of Walter Franklin and his career in the Bureau of Whales early next century. There are three distinct parts, each nearly independent of the others. In the first, Franklin is placed under the guidance of [Game] Warden Don Burley to learn a new career after astrophobia has forced him from space. Then, after becoming a warden himself, Franklin joins with Don in the capture of a giant squid, but an attempt to capture an unknown sea serpent ends in Don’s death.

   As Franklin rises to the directorship of the Bureau, he is forced to decide whether continued slaughter of the whales or conservation shall become policy. The philosophy of Buddhism is responsible for his choice.

   Smooth, intelligent and informative writing dominates, overshadowing a lack of real depth. An important exception occurs in the final third of the story. In the words of the Maha Thoro: “When that time comes, the treatment man receives from his superiors may well depend upon the way he has behaved toward the other creatures of his own world.”

   Another important facet of Clarke’s writing is his remarkable constraint in not telling the whole story when indeed it is not necessary.

Rating: 4 stars.

– September 1967