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White, James
book-date: 1966
cvr art:
cvr price:
Dean Ellis
ex-ChUSFA: stamp on first inside page, page 85. MORE INFO

2" non-yellowing library tape reinforcing spine. Book is tight and almost square with flat spine. Back cover has a 1/2" tear into the book that runs from page 183 to end (about 10 pages.)

The Watch Below, by James White (1966.) Back in the War, the Gulf Trader was torpedoed and sunk. But there were survivors, trapped in watertight compartments with access to ships stores: Doc Radford, the Exec, Wallis, First Officer Dickson, and 2 badly injured nurses. They were stuck under several fathoms of water, in a pitch dark and cold hull with oxygen tanks and stored food. Somehow they had to stay sane long enough to make a new home. Billions of miles out in space there were aliens - water breathers whose own world was gone forever. They too had to find a way to survive for generation, long enough to find a new home. It was inevitable that the two groups would meetů and solve their problems.

To expand on this, here are quotes from a review in Galaxy August 1966:
"...White uses the differences and the similarities between the 2 to tell a moving, genuinely optimistic story... His aliens are actually part of a fleet of people and livestock fleeing from the destruction of their solar system. Passengers and livestock may sleep in suspended animation until a suitable new world is found for this water-dwelling race, but the crew of the guide spaceship cannot. They discover to their horror very early in the their journey that repeated suspensions and revivals produce mindlessness, and so they have no choice but to mate, beget, and educate children and try to keep their purpose alive. The solar system toward which they are driving is, of course, ours... [meanwhile, back on the tanker sunk on Earth]: The tanker does contain some sacks of beans, welding equipment together with oxygen and acetylene tanks, and very few odds and ends... he has posed a problem just this side of impossibility, and the solution worked out by the trapped handful of people therefore seems both legitimate and properly arduous. Like the aliens, the Terrestrials must breed and educate their children if anything worthwhile of them is to survive and return once more to the main line of its destiny. Like the aliens, the Terrestrials have their dissidents, their impractical dreamers, their engineers both conservative and radical who are charged with maintaining their environment and attempting to modify it favorably; and in the end both aliens and terrestrials survive and take up the the other end of the strand that broke many years earlier. But they cannot do it without each other's help..." [-Algis Budrys]