The Devil's Voyage Hardcover – Jan 1981
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The opening paragraph of "The Devil's Voyage" is as follows:
"This is a story about intelligence and the lack of same; of The Bomb, and the bottom line of human courage and endurance; of the two sides of responsibility, the appetite of sharks, and the sharks who are human. Most of all, it's a tale about how a few hundred brave men might have been blown up, drowned, or eaten alive because Werner Von Braun read science fiction."
In 1944, "Astounding Science Fiction" published a story by Cleve Cartmill called "Deadline" in which, on a fictional planet, there is a war using atomic bombs. The story bore enough resemblance to the Manhattan Project which at the time was creating the first real atomic bombs that the United States War department investigated whether there might have been a leak. This is a matter of historical fact.
Chalker's novel has that investigation as a starting point, and postulates a series of events which might have led to the sinking of the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis, the ship that carried the atomic bomb used on Nagasaki, shortly after she had delivered the bomb.
This novel also includes an extremely powerful account (and to the best of my knowledge, one which is extremely close to real historical events) of the tragic sequence of events which followed the sinking, one of the worst disasters in US naval history.
I can strongly recommend this novel.
According to him, at that time, Universal's plans for the next "Jaws" film were that it was to be a prequel, teeling the story of the "Indianopolis", with Quint being one of the survivors, thus setting up his lieflong hatred and fascination with sharks.
He also talked about how his research had revealed the shameful way that the Navy had treated the true heroes of the disaster, and that at least one person who had received a medal for his actions had, in fact, done something shameful and stupid that the Navy had covered up. And he said he named this person by name in the book. "And, if he wants to sue, I have the documentation to prove every word I said," he said, obviously hoping that the guy would sue.
Been years since i read it, but as i recall, the early part of the book involves a visit from the FBI to the New York offices of publsiher Street & Smith, to question John W. Campbell, Jr, editor of "Astounding) Science Fiction" (later "Analog") about a piece published in the magazine that basically described with some accuracy the enriched-uranium atomic bomb that the Manhattan Project was even then developing in secret.
This is a true story. Writer Cleve Cartmill had, strictly as a theoretical exercise, worked out how such a device might operate ("atomic" bombs ahd been staples of SF for some time). (Campbell convinced them that ordering the magazine kept off news stands after subscribers' and library copies had already been mailed might well cause someone to wonder why and lead to calling attention to the very item the FBI were trying to suppress...)
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