Fri
May 9 2014 9:00am

Let’s Buckle Some Swashes with these Seafaring Adventures!

So, some of us here at Tor.com have been quite clear on their boat-loathing. And while I agree with my colleague Carl Engle-Laird that boats can be deadly for fiction, I know there must be some seafaring adventures worth the Dramamine. We turned to Twitter to ask for your favorite nautical stories, and I've added a few of my own for this pro-boat post, in the name of summer, warm water, sandy beaches, and seafaring adventure!

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea—Jules Verne

Well, nobody said the adventure would be fun. Sometimes your voyage is more of a… well, a kidnapping? And I guess when you’re being attacked by giant poulpes, the fun maybe seeps out of the boat times. But still! Nemo makes for a complex, charismatic captain, and the undersea quest is happening in the name of scientific inquiry! Plus Nemo spends a good amount of time lashing out at the Industrial Revolution, and criticizing the British Empire’s conquest of India. We get more of Nemo’s backstory in The Mysterious Island, but 20,000 Leagues is the most boat-centric of Nemo's appearances.

 

Pirate Latitudes—Michael Crichton

Discovered after the author’s death, Michael Crichton’s Pirate Latitudes combines pirate battles with a treasure hunt in the 17th Century! Captain Charles Hunter is hired by the Governor of Jamaica (presumably Keira Knightley’s dad) to search for the wreck of a galleon said to contain a trove of gold and jewels. Hunter’s crew has to navigate hostile ships, horrifying storms, and even the obligatory Kraken before making it back to Port Royal, where the pirates still have to overcome their greatest challenge: each other. Will the Captain prevail, or will an array of double-crosses cheat him out of his prize?

 

Waterworld—Kevin Reynolds, Director

Yes, it’s ridiculous, and Dennis Hopper throws a party on the wreck of the Exxon Valdez (which for some reason still exists in the year 2500), and people called it Fishtar when it came out, and Costner drinks his own pee. All of these things are true. But there’s some cool world building happening here! The film takes the idea of a post-ice-cap civilization seriously, with humanity forgetting land-based society, and mythologizing the “Great Flood” that began all life. And I mean come on: JET SKI CHASES.

 

The Liveship Traders—Robin Hobb

This trilogy takes the seafaring thing to a new level, as the ships are made of a magical wood, which renders them sentient. Ordinarily, they remain in families for generations, practically guaranteeing prosperity to their owners.

When Althea Vestrit comes of age, however, her liveship is sold off as a transport vessel for the hated slave trade. Althea has to gather a crew together to rescue her ship, and along the way faces sea serpents, baby dragons, and slave rebellions as she learns that the Liveships may have destinies of their own.

Pirates of the Caribbean series—Disney

Though the series did eventually become as bloated and rickety as a Carnival Cruise-goer after their third Midnite Buffet, Curse of the Black Pearl is still fun, and there are still great flashes of wit in the second and third installments. Johnny Depp's initial turn as Capt. Jack Sparrow was quirky and subversive, with enough hints of desperation, addiction, and queer-friendliness to make him one of the most interesting Disney characters ever. Orlando Bloom makes a great bland straight man, and Keira Knightley is a better pirate than both of them. Plus it made pirate movies cool again after Cutthroat Island had seemingly forced the genre to walk the plank forever.

 

To the Ends of the Earth—William Golding
Rites of Passage (1980), Close Quarters (1987), and Fire Down Below (1989).

This is a trilogy by William “sucks to your assmar” Golding, so people spend most of the voyage reverting to the most hateful version of themselves, and savagery abounds. In 2006, the trilogy was was adapted into a mini-series starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the bitchy upper-class twit Edmund Talbot. Young Edmund’s roman is slowly bildunged over the course of a voyage from Britain to Australia, as the ship begins to fall apart and the crew members are all revealed to be more than they seem. Finally, after much vomiting and discussion of social mores, our hero begins to feel the first stirrings of love in various regions that proper Victorian gentlemen do not speak of, such as the heart.

 

The Cruel Sea—Nicholas Monsarrat

This 1951 novel written by Nicholas Monsarrat focuses on he lives of the crew of the HMS Compass Rose, an escort ship fighting in the Battle of the Atlantic, and was based on Monsarrat’s own experiences in the Royal Navy during World War II. Each chapter of the book covers a year of the war, as the seamen have to do their jobs and keep their morale up knowing that at any moment U-boats could torpedo them to shreds. Not so much a fun sea voyage, as much as a harrowing testimony to heroic sacrifice.  

 

Black Sails—STARZ Original Series

The Golden Age of serialized television meets the Golden Age of Piracy in Black Sails! A sort-of prequel to Treasure Island, the series follows pirates both fitional (Captain Flint, creator of the R.L. Stevenson’s famed treasure map) and only-slightly-historically-embellished (Charles Vane, Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny) as they fight for the freedom of New Providence Island, a pirate stronghold in the Bahamas. The show tries to dig into the realities of pirate life in between awesome battles, rather than just presenting sexy naval times, and it took 300 people to build the ships!

 

The Abyss—James Cameron, Director

So we all know that James Cameron has a deep, and most likely unrequited, crush on the sea. After he made Titanic he spent many years developing special underwater cameras to explore the wreck of the Titanic more thoroughly than ever before. But prior to his contributions to science, he created The Abyss, a first-contact thriller where we discover the alien is already on earth. And it might also be God. Or the Devil? It’s unclear. The film features lots of shouted dialogue and a tortured love story between two people trapped on the bottom of the sea, and it’s a great time.

 

Aubrey-Maturin series—Patrick O'Brian

The 20 completed novels of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series tell an epic story with a powerful heart featuring the relationship between two men: Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy, and ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin (who is also a secret agent). The books take place during the Napoleonic Wars, and range from the waters off of France to Brazil to the West Indies, digging into detail about life aboard a ship, as well as sprinkling colorful worldbuilding elements like Irish revolutionary theory, the work of Darwin, and the occasional hidden Gnostic cult. The film adaptation, starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany, draws from 13 of the O’Brian novels, with an emphasis on events from Far Side of the World.

 

Typhoon—Joseph Conrad

Begun in 1899 and serialized in Pall Mall magazine in spring of 1902, Typhoon is Joseph Conrad’s greatest seagoing adventure. It’s also possibly based on an early incident from Conrad's early life.

Captain MacWhirr believes that the Siamese steamer Nan-Shan is an indomitable creation of man, and to prove that, he sails her right into a massive typhoon, disregarding the concerns - and possibly the lives – of the author’s own alter ego, Jukes, and the ship’s chief engineer, Solomon Rout. Will the crew live long enough to admit they admire MacWhirr’s tenacity? Or have they been doomed by one man’s foolhardy pride?

 

Dead Calm—Charles F. Williams

John and Rae Ingram are nineteen days out of the Panama Canal, sailing slowly across the wide, flat Pacific on the Saracen, when they rescue young Hughie Warriner, desperately trying to stay afloat in a life raft. He claims that he’s the sole survivor of a yacht called the Orpheus, and that his companions all died of food poisoning. When John insists on searching he Orpheus he finds Hughie’s companions, very much alive, and not too happy with being left to die. However, when John tries to return to his wife, he realizes that Hughie has taken off in his boat.

This pulp classic by the long-neglected noir writer Charles F. Williams melds elements of a revenge tragedy, a cat-and-mouse style chase, and some operatic high-Freudian psychological analysis into an unconventional thriller. The film adaptation stars Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill as the married couple, and a fabulously shirtless unhinged Billy Zane as Hughie, and much scenery chewing ensues.

 

Child of a Hidden Sea—A.M. Dellamonica

Frequent Tor.com contributor Alyx Dellamonica takes us to a seafaring world of intrigue and destiny! One minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world known as Stormwrack.

Sophie doesn't know it yet, but she has just stepped into the middle of a political firestorm, and a conspiracy that could destroy a world she has just discovered. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she must navigate the highly charged politics of Stormwrack, and win the right to decide for herself whether she stays in this wondrous world.

49 comments
Sol Foster
1. colomon
How could you leave off Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides?
Becca Hollingsworth
3. bibliobeque
Captain Blood! Nobody buckled a swash like Errol Flynn, and the original novel by Rafael Sabatini is fabulous fun.
Alright Then
5. Alright Then
Horatio Hornblower!
Colin Bell
6. SchuylerH
China Mieville, The Scar. That is all.
Rob Munnelly
8. RobMRobM
Naomi Novik - Temeraire is at sea approximately 215% percent of the time.
JOSEPH HOOPMAN
9. hoopmanjh
L.A. Meyer's Bloody Jack books are nautical and delightful. Likewise Tanith Lee's Piratica books.
Alright Then
10. JonLundy
The one I can't see leaving off is Treasure Island, in all of its forms it has had an immense impact.
Alright Then
11. swario
What about The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by the great Edgar Allan Poe? That book has it all (mutiny, canibalism, supernatural elements) and it was hugely influencial to other writers!
alastair chadwin
12. a-j
Glad to see a nod to The Cruel Sea, a remarkable account of the Battle fo the Atlantic. It was made into a very good film starring Jack Hawkins with script by Eric Ambler.

I would also add Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim. Loosely based on a true story it's an adventure story told with stark psychological realism as Jim must redeem a terrible act of cowardice, with his life if needs be.

Back to films, the WWII propaganda film In Which We Serve is excellent. Written by, co-directed and starring Noel Coward, it's a fictionalised account of the HMS Kelly as captained by Lord Mountbatton.

And an oddity, the short ghost story The Ghost-Ship by Richard Middleton is great fun, if you can find it.

No Moby Dick? Khan obviously reckoned it.
z drake cupsford
13. zdrakec
I would definitely include Dan Simmons' brilliant book, The Terror...
JOSEPH HOOPMAN
14. hoopmanjh
William Hope Hodgson wrote some great stuff back in the early 1900s -- the Captain Gault stories, Boats of the "Glen Carrig" (which prefigures Lovecraft in a lot of ways), and one I've not yet read called Ghost Pirates. Really: Ghost Pirates!!!

And let's not forget this gem:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063240/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Dave Thompson
15. DKT
Some great stuff here - and most importanly, stuff I hadn't heard of yet :) There can NEVER be enough Nautical Fantasy!

I'd add:
China Mieville's The Scar
Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides
RLS's Treasure Island
Rafael Sabatin's Captain Blood
Naomi Novik's Temeraire (which I need to catch up on)
Alright Then
16. dwndrgn
For cheesy fun: George MacDonald Fraser's The Pyrates which pokes fun at history, film, people, and whatever else comes to mind.

And I haven't met a pirate movie I didn't like, including ones that have been panned like Cutthroat Island and Pirate Movie.
Alright Then
17. Underbelly
Leaving out all of Herman Melville’s books on a list of seafaring adventure is as much of a travesty as leaving Tolkien off of a list of fiction that ‘contains elves’. Say what you want regarding the plodding, disjointed, egocentric (and brilliant) tome that is Moby Dick but it is the quintessential nautical story (debatably with 20,000 Leagues).

Due to this oversight I am forced to rate this article (sorry Leah Schnelbach) as “Thar she blows…”

(Yeah, I couldn’t resist)
Alright Then
18. OtterB
Martha Wells:

Emilie and the Hollow World; exploring a fantastic new world inside the earth aboard a ship that can cross the etheric barrier AND sail the seas.

The Serpent Sea; takes place mostly on a floating island with a secret or two. (It's a sequel to The Cloud Roads, whose only ships are airships.)

Lois McMaster Bujold, the third book of the Sharing Knife set, is spent mostly aboard a boat on its way down a river to the sea.

Also, can I just say Swallows and Amazons? And most of the sequels, especially We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea.
Alright Then
19. Wes S.
I'm also surprised at the omission of the Hornblower novels from the list, and - given that Monserrat's The Cruel Sea** made the cut - Alistair MacLean's classic HMS Ulysses as well.

(**I first read The Cruel Sea as a child. The scene where they come upon a clutch of "survivors" from a previous U-Boat attack - a bunch of skeletons in lifejackets, roped together - gave me nightmares for months.)
Alright Then
20. Jon R.
Dennis McKiernan, Voyage of the Fox Rider. His writing is an acquired taste, to be sure, but the whole Mithgar series grew into something far more rewarding than the Tolkien sequel it began as. IIRC, Dragonstone; Silver Wolf, Black Falcon; and City of Jade also spend a hefty chunk of time at sea.
Alright Then
21. Cybersnark
Am I the only one who remembers that there are four Pirates of the Caribbean movies (and that the fourth one is actually pretty good, though not quite up to Black Pearl's level)?

Anyway, as an anime fan, I'll throw in a few sci-fi options:

Blue Submarine No. 6 is set in a post-apocalyptic world that's part Waterworld, part Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and part SeaQuest DSV. It follows the crew of a military sub fighting the genetically-engineered fish-people who flooded most of the world.

Mars Daybreak is about a pirate sub crew on Mars, after a terraforming attempt reveals that Mars actually contained a lot more water than anyone realized.

Arpeggio of Blue Steel is set after Earth is invaded by the Fog, a race of alien AIs that take the form of warships and submarines. The Blue Steel herself is Iona, a renegade/amnesiac Fog who has assembled a human crew and is aiding the land-locked human resistance.

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet is set on another Waterworld homage, with the survivors scraping by on rusting city-ships as they dredge the ocean floor for salvage (which ends up including a castaway supersoldier and his AI mech).
Drew McCaffrey
22. PallonianFire
How has nobody mentioned Red Seas Under Red Skies yet? That might be my favorite book ever that involves a ship.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader should get a mention here, as well.
Alright Then
24. MBrent
Sea Lord and Scoundrel by Bernard Cornwell
Alright Then
25. Xena Catolica
Arthur Conan Doyle's 'Tales of the High Seas', esp. the Captain Sharkey stories. They aren't common, but there was a deluxe printing of his non-Sherlock speculative fiction during WWII and his sea tales were one of the volumes. Memorably, pirate Captain Sharkey kills a man by having him tied to a mast and then Sharkey throws wine bottles at him as he gets drunk. Port? Claret? Can't remember, but I don't think Doyle's pirates drank rum.
Brent Longstaff
26. Brentus
Like swario@11 said, Poe's Arthur Gordon Pym should be on this list. It's awesome.

I'd also recommend Railsea by China Miéville. I've not read The Scar yet.
JOSEPH HOOPMAN
27. hoopmanjh
Oh, I also remember reading Alan Dean Foster's Cachalot back in the 1980s.
Alright Then
28. Doc_B
Glad to see some classics acknowledged! The Abyss is one of my top guilty-pleasure movies of all time, and the first sci-fi movie I fell in love with.

I do feel the need to throw in two authors who have plenty of seafaring tales under their respective belts.... John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series may not be precisely piratical, but set in 1960's Florida, onboard the houseboat Busted Flush, good 'ol McGee was basically a more helpful version of Captain Jack. Ladies, liquor, and lusty adventure abound throughout the series. Fabulous read for fans of pulp adventure and well-crafted stories. Check out Girl In the Plain Brown Wrapper, Pale Grey for Guilt, and The Long Lavendar Look.

And of course, I have to bring up one Mr Clive Cussler... any lover of nautical tales who hasn't read the early adventures of Dirk Pitt and friends in novels such as The Mediterranean Caper, Vixen 03, Raise The Titanic, and my particular favorite, Pacific Vortex, does NOT know the fun they are missing. The best thing about the Dirk Pitt series is the eventual payoff in more recent novels. As heartbroken as Pitt becomes in the early series, he is rewarded beyond his own hope in Valhalla Rising. Brilliantly campy and snarky and fun, with LOTS of good oceanographic science and history thrown in.
Alan Brown
29. AlanBrown
I have so many things to mention here, as I have long been a lover of nautical fiction:

- In the SF genre, I would point out S.M. Stirling's Island in the Sea of Time books, where the island of Nantucket (and the USCG Barque Eagle, anchored nearby) are swept back in time thousands of years by some sort of mysterious time storm, and the Eagle goes off exploring the world. For those interested in diversity, the CO of the Eagle happens to be a gay black woman.

- Hornblower has been mentioned by a lot of people, and C.S. Forester's creation is certainly the model for many a series that follows the career of an individual (a la John Grimes, Sir Dominic Flandry of Terra, Miles Vorkosigan, and many others). I would recommend reading them in the order they were written, starting with the "original trilogy" of Beat to Quarters/Ship of the Line/Flying Colors. Those three can often be found in omnibus editions in used bookstores, and are the core of the series. The "prequel" books of young Hornblower are good, but if you start with those, you may get bogged down a bit. Hornblower was a great character, fully human but also heroic. I will never forget my shock when he (spoiler alert) cheated on his wife. That was something I had never encountered in a book recommended for young readers. Kind of like the shock when I first read a scene where Sherlock Holmes was shooting up cocaine.

- As good as Hornblower is Forester's The Good Shepherd, a book set in WWII, which follows a destroyer CO through the escort of a convoy across the Atlantic. The protagonist is a beaten down man, at the end of his rope, who none the less rises to the occasion and does great things. A great character study, and a great tribute to the unsung heroes who got cargo and supplies across the pond despite the U-Boat threat.

- The Aubrey/Maturin series of Patrick O'Brien is a masterful work as well. The archaic prose takes some work until you get used to it, but the tales are wonderfully quirky, and you never know quite where they will go next.

- In my opinion, the best current series of naval adventures (with new books appearing on an annual basis) is Julian Stockwin's Kydd series. The stories are straightforward and cleanly written, and Stockwin's background in the Royal Navy helps him give the tales detail and realism that some other naval adventures lack. And Kydd himself is a fascinating character, that rare man who comes up through the hawsepipe, and goes from seaman to senior officer without the benefits of family or position.

- And while Captain Blood has been mentioned above, I would also highly recommend Sabatini's The Sea-Hawk. If you have seen the Errol Flynn movie by the same name, you still don't know the story, because about the only thing they share is the name. The protagonist falls in among the Barbary Pirates, and the book is notable in its sympathetic portrayal of the culture of the period in Northern Africa. Sabatini's best work grabs you by the throat and doesn't let you go until the very last page.
Alright Then
30. n0d
Of the additions so far, no one has mentioned SF master, Gene Wolfe's 'Pirate Freedom', which I really enjoyed. He's a master of narrative structure. Also, I grew up reading Alexander Kent's "Midshipman Bolitho" series. Great stuff.
Bruce Arthurs
31. Bruce-Arthurs
Seafaring books to note:

Delilah by Marcus Goodrich -- US Navy coalburner in the Philippines just before WWI. Diamond-sharp writing by an extraordinary talent, but his only published novel. (Goodrich reportedly wrote others before his death, including the follow-up to Delilah's story, but never submitted them to a publisher and left instructions for the manuscripts to be burned after his death.)

Heart of Oak by Tristan Jones -- memoir of WWII Royal Navy, from an enlisted man's PoV. (HMS Ulysses by MacLean was mentioned in a post above. One of the most jaw-dropping scenes in that book was inspired by an event Jones actually took part in.)
Bruce Arthurs
32. Bruce-Arthurs
Oh, and in the movie line: THE CRIMSON PIRATE. Best swashbuckler ever. Absolutely best movie to feature Burt Lancaster wearing a dress. And Nick Cravat, no-competition Best Sidekick Ever.
alastair chadwin
33. a-j
Bruce-Arthurs@31
Oh, good call on Heart of Oak. Interesting to read it and Three Corvettes by Nicolas (The Cruel Sea) Monsarrat as the latter, written in wartime, is a memoir of the author's experiences as an officer during the same period.
And staying with Monsarrat, HMS Marlborough Will Enter Harbour is worth a look. A novella, it describes the travails of a severely damaged warship trying to return to port.

Also, I suppose I should mention the TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea which I absolutely adored as a child and almost certainly should not watch again. But oh the flying sub and a submarine with windows on the bow!
Shaka Jamal
34. FaceofYo!
Great list :) but now Raphael Sabitini? Captain Blood or "The Sea Hawk"?
Alan Brown
35. AlanBrown
@34 Compromise by reading them both! You won't regret it.
Alright Then
36. Joel Borden
The Terror; Dan Simmons
Alright Then
37. Anna_Wing
Arthur Ransome: "Missy Lee".
Heather Jones
38. JourneywomanJones
Have really enjoyed Robert V.S. Redick's The Chathrand Voyage Quartet.
Alright Then
39. allbarbaramay
Princess Bride! (ok, it's really only for a short time, but there IS a pirate involved). I love that you mentioned Robin Hobb, she was one of my first thoughts when I saw this post. I also put in a vote for The Terror by Dan Simmons, and I personally fell in love with The Adventures of Charlotte Doyle by Avi when I was a kid.
Alright Then
40. starsirius
The Bolitho series by Alexander Kent.
Hornblower ditto.
And the curveball: Trade Wind by M.M. Kaye.
Alright Then
41. MadRocketScientist
No love for David Weber's Safehold series? 75% of the books happen in sailing ships.
Alright Then
42. romad
Any of Douglas Reeman's books, ditto Dudley Pope's Ramage series. For a humorous series Dewey Lambdin's Andrew Lewrie series.

Phillip McCutchan had several series: Halfhyde, Cameron, and the Convoy series.

Garland Roark's "Star in the Rigging", "Wake of the Red Witch", "The Outlawed Banner", etc.

James P. Horan's "Seek Out, and Destroy"
Alright Then
43. Michael E. Stamm
Peter Benchley's THE ISLAND, Alastair MacLean's H.M.S. ULYSSES (in the same vein as the Monsarrat) and Bruce Sterling's splendid first novel, INVOLUTION OCEAN (OK, the sea is dust, not water, and the quarry dustwhales, but any writer with the nerve to name his captain Nils Desperandum has my vote from the git-go.
Alright Then
44. tonye
Taylor Anderson's "Destroyermen" series. An elderly WW2 Destroyer gets transported to an alternate universe. Wonderfully nasty (but coplex) baddies and lots of fun.

Michael Scott Rohan's "Chase the Morning"" and "The Gates of Noon" are also pretty good.

I can't watch "Pirates of the Caribbean 4" without weeping for the loss of the original Tim Powers sory though.
Anais Strickland
45. AnaisSt
I enjoyed Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island" and "Youth" by Joseph Conrad.
Alright Then
46. gregorman
For movies, I am stunned that no one has mentioned the awesome Master and Commander, The Far Side of the World with ever-intriguing Russell Crowe. I have it 8n blu-ray, it's a movie that is completely set on an English warship that plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with the French "ghost ship" Arch on (or maybe Archeron-not sure). Graphic cannon battling, grapple-and-boarding action combined with a suspense that is engrossing through a chase all over the Atlantic. I hated the Abyss though, at least I did after the disneyesque sea alien's appearance. And Waterworld was good action but cheese to the max.
Jenny Wurts is an author that knows her oceans: in the Wars of Light and Shadow saga as well as her Cycle of Fire trilogy, her protagonists share major mariner mojo, and she clearly knows her ships, sailing, and all around nautical everything. If you can read her novels without a translator that is--they read more like a scholarly treatise I once tried to read on the Egyptian book of the dead than a typical fantasy novel in terms of needlessly complex (even pretentious if you ask me) vocabulary.
Alright Then
47. AlanHK
Add my vote for CS Forester's Hornblower. I read all of those novels whe I was a teenager.

Zipang is a Japanese comic series and later anime that has a Japanese warship dropped into WWII, where its weapons have the power to decide any battle. Much more thoughtful than The Final Countdown, when a US aircraft carrier does the same. The crew faced the moral issue that to their own country was then an imperialistic, brutal aggressor that they had spent their lives trying to live down. They tried to make peace, but were slowly drawn into the war as both sides became aware of what they were.

I've just read The Daedalus Incident by Michael J Martinez, a science fantasy about a world where alchemy allows 18th C British warships to fly between the planets. Life on board is very much like life at sea, narrated by a young, Hornblower-ish officer.


Nevil Shute's On the Beach, a post nuclear war story when the last survivors are on a nuclear sub. Very good, and very depressing.
Alright Then
48. Monolith
Oi vey, so much of posts; maybe the movie has already been mentioned:
Sphere.
I'd say its up there with The Abyss (maybe even surpassing it) as tense, gripping, sci-fi. It falls short on the believable future tech score - like the Abyss' breathable oxygen solution - but it's more cerebral.
Alright Then
49. Monolith
@46 gregorman

I like the way you think; almost suggested Master and Commander before I saw you had. It's true grit, that one.

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