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BENEATH - A Novel by Jeremy Robinson


by Jeremy Robinson

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The book had an interesting premise, about life beneath the ice on other bodies in space (namely Europa). The beginning of the book felt rather disjointed and the end felt rushed. The story in between was an interesting, though light, read. There was some character development, but you didn't really get to know any of the characters well. (SPOILER ALERT) I was surprised that all the characters actually lived to the end. The way that all the characters forgot what really happened except the one who had already decided not to tell stretched the imagination past plausibility. ( )
  TreyJones | Jan 12, 2014 |
Downloaded from PodioBooks.com and listened to on my iPhone.

“Beneath” was a fascinating concept that left me wanting quite a few bits here and there. I can completely buy the initial discovery and subsequent trip to Io. Some of the future tech ideas are kind of neat. On the other hand, I ran into LOTS of things that bothered me during the reading, i.e. (possible spoilers):

There is a lot of vomiting and anxiety going on. Don’t get me wrong, vomiting is no big deal. It just seemed like the default reaction to any situation was for the character to vomit.

Liked the idea of the ‘liquid meta’l chairs for acceleration protection; don’t buy that the first time they try them out is to use them.

Same with the space suits; they train in one, but, get new, high performance suits once on the mission, which they see the first time they use them.

Major controls for the TESS Sphere seem to be topside, for instance, the lighting. Really? They have to ask topside to turn lights on and off for them? Yet the TESS is also an autonomous submersible? So, if they launch with the lights on, they can’t turn them off. Don’t buy that so much, either.

First dive under the ice and the water is milky, nothing can be seen. Our intrepid aquanauts are ready to give up, then and there. Really? They’ve come how many million miles to melt a hole in the ice of Io, descend in the TESS, get their first glance, visibility is obscured and they’re ready to pack up and go home, then and there???

A recurring theme is the isolation against infection – both to protect the crew from the planet, also, to protect the planet from the crew. Choy has designed extensive systems to decon returning explorers. Yet, they blithely hop from a surface crawler, into the TESS and then remove their suits. That would seem to be a major contamination source for the crew.

When the TESS on an autonomous dive becomes stuck in the cave, there were several issues:
1. Why did they not return to their suits, which, conceivably, still had air.
2. You might study the USAF or other studies on hypoxia to see how people respond to decreasing oxygen saturation.
3. If they had died from hypoxia, one person might have been resuscitated, but not both. Too much work for one person and the second would be too far gone (4-5 minutes max.) by the time the first was resuscitated.
4. They have a near death experience and decide to go caving.
5. They have a near death experience, from running out of air and decide to go caving. He could not have carried THAT much air with him.
6. They are how many thousand feet under the ice and water, in a cave, yet they are transmitting and receiving radio traffic. Modern submarines have a very hard time communicating under water due to the fact that radio waves don’t penetrate very far under water. They use VLF or ULF, which is VERY slow, or surface to make communications. (http://www.qsl.net/vk5br/UwaterComms.htm)

I think I would have enjoyed the story more, with a little technical editing.

I give it a 3/5 rating.

My rating scale:
1-Star: I could not finish it
2-Star: I had to force myself to finish it
3-Star: A good read, one time
4-Star: I could read it again
5-Star: Loved it, could read again, many times ( )
  EC130John | Nov 5, 2011 |
This review refers to the audiobook version of this book

Story: Beneath is one of those stories that grabs you by the throat and won’t let go. It opens in the arctic when a meteorite is seen hurtling across the sky. After the meteorite was located and it was found to contain extraterrestrial microbial life I knew I was hooked. I remember listening to the description of what happened to the first man to come in contact with the microbes and thinking “Whoa, this is going to be cool.”

The book is fast paced and fun and made for great listening while relaxing on the beach.

One problem that I had while listening to this story was how eager everyone was to travel to one of Jupiter’s moons. Currently I think it would take at least 13 months for a spacecraft to reach Jupiter. So the entire team was willing to commit two years of their life in just the commute to and from Europa. It is not until after the team has committed to the trip that they learn that it will only take 3 months. I think that if I were either an oceanographer, biologist or geologist and I was approached with an offer to travel to one of Jupiter’s moons I probably would have told them to forget about it. (My wife would kill me!) I suppose there are probably those out there that would jump at the chance to go but when listening to this book it seemed unlikely that every member of Connelly’s team would be so eager to sign up. However, after finishing the book and learning more about the relationship between the team members I think it is much easier to understand why each person decided to go.

There were also times in the book when I felt like yelling “Don’t do that you idiot!” or “Would you just get the heck out of there already?”. Some of the characters just seemed to lack common sense. Especially Connelly and Peterson! They allow their pursuit of science to compromise both the safety of themselves and their entire crew. As frustrating as these things seemed at the time I find myself looking back on all of those situations and I realize that they did in fact add a great deal of excitement and suspense to the overall experience.

To summarize, Beneath was a really fun listen. It was refreshing to listen to a book with no expectations of what the crew would find. Once they hit Europa anything was possible and it was nice to be immersed in such an environment. I will definitely look for more Jeremy Robinson titles in the future.

Thoughts on the audio production: This was the first book that I have listened to that was narrated by Jeffrey Kafer. One of the things I noticed when listening to Jeffrey narrate was that he seemed to alter his voice in such a way that it conveyed distance between the main character in the section and the secondary characters. I might be crazy but it felt like I was able to figure out how far apart all the characters were by just closely listening to the narration. Maybe I’m crazy.. anyone else know what I’m talking about? Anyway, I felt like Mr. Kafer’s performance was exceptional and added a layer of depth to all of the characters.

Overall: Definitely a fun book. Worth picking up and taking to the beach. Lots of suspense, mystery, aliens, etc.

Originally posted on our blog at audiobookfans.com ( )
1 vote audiobookfans | Jul 16, 2010 |
I understand that Jeremy Robinson posted this unpublished, unedited novel for sale on the Kindle as an experiment, but it really isn't in shape to be sold. There is a reason why authors work with editors--they help strengthen the work. Then again, I'm biased; I'm an editor.

Ultimately, I give this novel three stars, because my frustration with sloppy story-telling, ridiculous science, and unforgivable typographic errors was balanced by Robinson's pulpy inventiveness and a sense of fun. This novel was completely ridiculous, but I just can't deny that I had a good time reading it. And it was a quick read, so I'm being generous. (BTW, Kindle readers--it's a REALLY quick read, as the novel stops at the 84% mark. The rest of the file is filled with promotional excerpts of other novels.)

The story opens with a team of researchers in the Arctic. A meteorite hunter witnesses a meteorite's fall to the ice. He and his colleagues find the rock, but close contact with this object spells disaster. In the worst way imaginable, we may just have found proof of life on other planets--or moons as the case may be. The meteorite fell from Europa, one of Jupiter's moons.

On the other side of the planet, Kathy Connelly and her colleagues are about to finally fulfill a goal years in the making. They're about to engage their innovative ice drilling technology to reach liquid water deep under the Antarctic ice. It'll be the discovery of a lifetime! But at the penultimate moment the organization that funds their research calls them back.

And as suddenly as that, this team of researchers is on a crash training course for a space mission. Forget finding liquid water in Antarctica, they're going to drill for water on Europa. Absolutely no one is prepared for what they will discover there.

Yes, this is the stuff of pulp fiction. Really, ridiculous is the best description. And stupid. Seriously, these are the most absurd and unbelievable scientists ever written. But if you come at it with the right frame of mind, you'll keep turning the pages. Just don't expect a realistic or especially coherent story. Just have a laugh and some outlandish fluffy fun. ( )
  suetu | May 5, 2010 |
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Book description
Three thousand years after a chunk of iron the size of Khufu’s pyramid collides with Europa, Jupiter’s sixth moon, an asteroid borne of the collision crashes into Earth’s Arctic ice shelf carrying extraterrestrial microbial life. The first man to come into contact with the microbes hears voices—and then dies.

After determining the meteorite originated from Europa, the Global Exploratory Corporation sends oceanographer and biologist, Kathy Connelly, and her crew to the moon aboard the Surveyor, an experimental spacecraft. They are charged with the task of melting through miles of ice to the hidden ocean beneath, where the search for alien microorganisms begins. But a startling discovery awaits them on the surface of Europa.


Vast fields of red, plant-like organisms fill the cracks crisscrossing the moon’s surface, surviving on nutrients welling up from the waters below. Intoxicated by thoughts of what might lie beneath, Connelly and her crew activate the Thermal Exploratory System and melt through the ice—toward a world that does not want to be found, toward a force that will do anything to make sure they never leave.
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"When evidence of microscopic life on Europa--Jupiter's sixth moon--is discovered, a crew of astronauts and scientists embark on a mission to discover its source. Led by oceanographer and biologist, Kathy Connelly, the crew is charged with the task of melting through miles of ice to the hidden ocean beneath, where the search for alien microorganisms begins. But a startling discovery awaits them on the surface of Europa--life."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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