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Can You Name This Story? (Part 20)

Rocky writes in to challenge our readers with story description looking for a title.

Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

The book uses a “flashback” theme, going from present to distant past and back several times. It starts out with divers searching an under sea mountain ridge and finding something I would call a vault or bunker. No one has seen anything like it before so they decided to break into it to see what’s inside. Flashback. About 10,000 years before, aliens had invaded the earth just about when civilization was starting. The aliens had the ability to control humans by mentally inflicting pain on them to get them to do their bidding. They basically enslaved all the humans to keep the aliens alive and well treated. The aliens then discover a great tectonic plate movement (or something similar) was about to destroy where they lived so they built this vault for protection. Unfortunately, only one of the aliens made it to the vault before disaster struck. The area where they lived sank into the sea killing everything except this one alien in the vault. The vault was set up to put the alien into stasis so it could survive for millennium.

Flash forward again. The divers break into the vault but unknown to them is the alien is immediately brought back to life if the vault is opened. The alien senses the divers and takes control of them forcing them to bring it to their ship. The alien analyzes the situation and realizes much time has passed since he entered the vault and that he is alone on the planet. To survive, he has to get off. Through this pain control method he learns from the people on the boat that humans are going into space now. So he forces them to head for Cape Canaveral. Along the way they see a passenger ship (cruise ships didn’t exist when the book was written) and as he needs more humans to make his plan work, the alien then takes over the passenger ship.

I wasn’t able to finish the book so I don’t know if the alien made it off the planet. The book was a paperback with a picture of the aliens controlling humans. The alien was a rather large leathery looking thing weighing about a ton to me. The alien was being carried by humans walking over other humans forced to lay down to make a bridge over a gully.

Any information you can find or supply about this old book would be greatly appreciated. I sure would like to read it once more before I leave this ball.

Can you name this story?

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

5 Comments on Can You Name This Story? (Part 20)

  1. “The Atlantic Abomination” by John Brunner?

  2. Wow, fast! 43 minutes from post to answer. 🙂


    Cover sure looks like the OP was remembering:

  3. Hallelujah!

    This is “The Book”.

    I recognize the cover after over 45 years.

    Thank you kindly for finding this for me.

    The sellers mentioned generate a “Not Found” so I call them up and see if the book is still there.

    Again, many, many thanks!

  4. Mark McSherry // September 26, 2010 at 8:14 pm //

    Abebooks lists 73 US sellers of ATLANTIC ABOMINATION. I’d recommend picking up the Ace Double

    THE MARTIAN MISSILE is a great read too! A  fast-paced tour of a solar system teeming with alien life by Donald A. Wollheim writing as David Grinnell.

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