Who Saw the Deep by Christine Klocek-Lim
Published: November 8th by Evernight
So aliens aren’t little green men? Huh. Well, in Who Saw The Deep aliens are a little bit closer to us than we tend to think. By combining sci-fi with old myths, Klocek-Lim creates a believable scenario through a fast-paced plot. More than by the technical sci-fi stuff, which I’m not very good at, I was drawn by the questions raised by the novel’s storyline–the implied suggestion that we’ve become alien to ourselves, that we’re trying to invade and/or destroy our own planet. The juxtaposition of sci-fi and myths, of the inconceivable quantum technology of the shuttle and the forest it lands in. Of the scary weaponry and the simple (is it ever?) power of love. It all perhaps suggests that we’re relying too much on the artificial, the technology, instead of relying on our roots, origins, nature. Or maybe we’re just supposed to reconcile the two aspects, use one with the help of the other, and vice versa. But let’s move on to the characters and story ...
Noah and Amelia. Their relationship is gripping from the start. Despite the age difference, it feels so natural and right. Klocek-Lim’s portrayal of Amelia is wonderful. She’s so unusual and surprising that one has to love her. I actually preferred her in the first part of the novel, precisely because of this unusualness. What I would perhaps want more of is Noah’s backstory. The novel focuses mainly on Amelia, we get only a glimpse at Noah’s unhappy return to his father’s house, but we hear little about why he’s not happy and what spurred on the return and his abandoning a career in IT. The supporting characters are well developed, too, especially Jamie. I loved how his crazy beliefs were finally vindicated, but poor man has little time to celebrate this with the events developing so quickly.
The story unfolds with a fast pace, perhaps faster in the first part and slows down in the second (but maybe that’s me not being a sci-fi geek again). Noah being the sceptic helps make the first sightings of the unusual shuttle believable, and from then on, the events build up, strengthening the relationships between characters and revealing their motivations. Even in the thick of the action, we never get only the technical aspect of the events, the characters’ emotions are always involved and that’s what makes this novel a good read. It’s sci-fi, but anyone can relate with Amelia’s and Noah’s struggle because it’s presented through how they feel and think, not just through nano-materials and quantum technology.
To paraphrase the novel’s blurb - the anonymous acts of ordinary individuals keep the civilisation afloat, but they also make these individuals extraordinary and worthy of being the protagonists of such a good novel.