Review: “The Corridors of the Sea” by Jane Yolen

2 of 5 stars.

Bad science masquerades as science fiction or speculative fiction in this short fantasy tale in which humans are pushing their settlements deeply into the sea with scientists leading the way.

Hydrospace IV, an underwater lab, is working to better adapt humans to sea life. Whereas, Hydrospaces I, II, and III are considered successful with bubble settlements and advanced technology, Hydrospace IV aims to free humans of apparatuses for more efficient synchronicity. The two main scientific teams are respectively working on physically adapting the body for gill-based respiration and for creating fluid-dampening skin for better underwater movement.

The lead scientist on the respiration team, diminutive Tommy Eddystone, has undergone surgery to implant gills and valves. He’s since done 3 test swims of 20, 40 and 60 minutes without scuba gear to test his new abilities. Now, his best friend Gabe will lead the press conference to announce the promising results.

However, Eddystone’s body has quickly accepted the gills and is now transforming at a rapid pace giving him fluid-dampening skin, secondary eyelids, webbed fingers and toes . . . because, all it takes is a few hours breathing ocean to quick-start evolution apparently?! Eddystone now hears the siren-call luring him further from the sea-lab. But is he ready?

This story appears in the latest anthology edited by Paula Guran, Mermaids and Other Mysteries of the Deep, published by Prime Books. “The Corridors of the Sea” first appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 1981.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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