The deepest, darkest regions of the ocean are subject to much fascination. After all, these areas remain less mapped and explored than the surface of the Moon. Scientists speculate that deep sea hydrothermal vents may even have the conditions that led to the origin of life on Earth, and these isolated ecosystems teem with extremophiles, remarkable organisms that live in extreme environments that lead them to develop strange adaptations. From James Cameron's "The Abyss" to Michael Crichton's "Sphere," these environments have definitely inspired iconic works of science fiction. With "Deeptide Vents . . . of Fire" author Donald Ray Schwartz and co-author Steven Evans pen their own riveting story set in these unknowable benthic depths.
"This mystery, intrigue, and adventure story may be only a year or two away from real-life events," Schwartz says. "Deeptide Vents . . . of Fire" follows two women scientists who are sampling the DNA of the strange life forms within the ocean's deepest vents. This is an ecology where organisms have developed a metabolic process called chemosynthesis that allows them to derive sustenance from substances such as methane and other noxious chemicals, ultimately producing protoplasm through them. The scientists' findings could be used to disrupt energy industries across the world, potentially allowing harmful gases to be converted into food, as well as medical applications. Knowledge and discovery are doubled-edged, however, as the same scientific principles can be weaponized as well.
The potential of immense wealth and weaponization draw malicious actors to the scientific expedition. A voyage of discovery, a scientific endeavor with benevolent goals, is at risk of being hijacked by ulterior agendas and terroristic parties bent on empowering themselves at the expense of others, embodying the very global problems the scientists aim to address with their discovery. What follows is intrigue, drama, and intense romances between the women scientists and crew members, some of whom may turn out to be the enemy.
"Deeptide Vents . . . of Fire" is a riveting narrative that blends the latest developments in marine biology; current issues regarding the environment, sustainability and humanity's appetite for resources; and the ever-present threat of misusing technology. Schwartz and Evans' narrative thus honors the conventions of speculative science fiction while being grounded in realism, providing a compelling reading experience that tackles relevant topics and delivers a powerful message that is in keeping with the genre's spirit.
About the Author
Donald Ray Schwartz has published nearly 200 works ranging from short stories, essays, articles, reviews, criticisms, a novella, and non-fiction works. He is also an avid director and producer of stage productions, including musicals. He has directed television commercials, cameoed in motion pictures, and more. He has also served as an Associate Professor of Speech, Theatre, and Mass Communication at the Community College of Baltimore Country and an administrator at Peru State College in Nebraska, as well as Ashland College in Ohio. During the Vietnam War and Cold War, he served in the United States Air Force and maintained his rank of Major in the USAF Reserve. Currently, he resides in Baltimore County with his wife.