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Several more scripts were written.  Unfortunately while the direction from editorial was to up the action, that didn’t sit well with star Roy Scheider’s vision.  As explained to me he signed on to the series for its intellectual, environmental approach.  The action and violence in that first issue was at odds with that and he shut it down…”

Writer D. G.  Chichester

 

seaQuest previewed in the Nemesis Comics 16 -page ‘Ashcan Edition #0’, 1993
Full-page comic-book ad promoting release alongside ‘Ultraman’, 1994
Final cover for Issue No.1 – art by Howard Chaykin (click on image for PDF file of full issue)

 

Review By Martin Lakin

“Deep Faith” opens with all the familiar seaQuest tropes in what could easily be a pre-title sequence from the show, with Captain Bridger and faithful companion Darwin making a dramatic rescue attempt of a family trapped aboard a homesteader sub.

All your favourite characters are here (rendered competently in art by Keith Pollard) with personalities intact – Commanders Ford & Hitchcock handling the exposition, Lucas and Crocker providing the comic relief and Dr. Wesphalen to complain about proceedings throughout.

While plotwise the story is as generic as any given episode, writer Chichester at least takes advantage of the format to infuse some character development, providing a rare insight into Ford’s troubled past and Lucas struggle with isolation in some slickly-observed flashback sequences.  Of note to fans is how much of the early concepts for the show filtered through to the page – both Ford and Lucas backstories would ultimately be rewritten while Dr. Shimura was written out entirely.  Lt. O’Neill is also still ‘Mac’ here and even James Lima’s early design for the EVA suit makes an appearance.

Arriving at the ‘Aquadrome’ to follow-up on evidence that the formation of a new cult may be a threat to the confederations, the seaQuest crew are given shore leave to investigate former geneticist turned fanatic ‘Neptune’ (no points for originality here) who soon confirms his status as stock bad guy by murdering a female companion in a not-very-PG-13 fashion.

The issue ends on an abrupt cliffhanger where Bridger is attacked by a monster-of-the-week (in a bizarre taste of things to come in the actual show) promising to be be back in 30 days.  Despite a preview of the next chapter (accompanied by a stunning illustration by Dave Dorman) ‘Unholy Water’ sadly never materialised once star Roy Scheider intervened.

Nemesis comics (an imprint of Harvey Comics founded in 1941) went bankrupt in 1994 and due to the declining comics market the licence was not salvaged by another publisher.

Available in three variant covers, the seaQuest comic, intended as an ongoing series, now has the designation of a ‘one-shot’ which is an unbefitting legacy fo the creative talents involved. With its imposing and atmospheric cover by Howard Chaykin (no less) plus bonus pages of character profiles & blueprints, had the series run its course it surely would have made quite the spectacular graphic novel and a worthy addition to the seaQuest canon, despite the objections of her Captain…

Variant covers (From Left to right) Barcode, Regular and Baxter (cardback) editions
Artist Dave Dorman’s painting for the cover of Issue No.2 (Click on Image for printable cover courtesy of Joey Tufo)

ML


Novella

seaQuest DSV: The Novel

by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood

Based on the Teleplay by Rockne S. O’Bannon and Tommy Thompson

Story by Rockne S. O’Bannon

Printed November 1993 by Millennium

   

(Click on cover for PDF of complete text)

Review By Kim Malinowski

seaQuest DSV: The Novel is a stand-alone book based on seaQuest DSV’s television pilot episode ‘To Be Or Not To Be’.  The novel introduces the reader to the ensemble of cast members/characters that will appear in later books, as well as subsequent TV episodes.

As characters are introduced, they are not forced into the story, but rather expand the plot and themes of the novel. seaQuest DSV: The Novel includes spellbinding descriptions of varied ocean landscapes, deep character interactions between colleagues and adversaries – all to enhance action.  No detail is frivolous.  There is a good balance between character development and action.  This creates a steady pace and makes room for intrigue and plot twists.

The novel revolves around Captain Nathan Hale Bridger, a former retired Naval Captain who fled the military due to the loss of his son in combat, and who has also recently suffered the loss of his wife due to illness. His choice sets up the novel – does he break his “promise” to his wife and take command of the seaQuest, or does he retreat back to his old life as a hermit on his island? seaQuest DSV, the ship itself, adds to the struggle he faces. Instead of being the strictly military submarine he designed, it has been retrofitted with a new science contingent.  His passions: science, helping others, and leading in the military, are all questioned. Is he willing to open his heart again? Is he skilled enough to navigate war and keep peace? Will he have to leave behind those he is already unwillingly forming attachments to?

Besides Bridger’s crisis, seaQuest DSV is pursuing a rogue submarine.  We later find out that the captain of the rogue submarine is Captain Marilyn Stark, seaQuest’s former captain who was relieved of command.  Stark, once Captain Bridger’s student, delights in fighting seaQuest once she learns of his presence on board.  During the submarines’ initial battle, systems begin shutting down nonsensically.  Captain Bridger is forced to order the seaQuest to retreat, all while confronting his inner conflicts, and trying to understand why new technology is failing.  Crew members are forced to function as a team through several plot twists and dangerous complications, creating bonds between both science and military crew members.  During the ultimate battle, Captain Marylin Stark clashes and calculates against Captain Bridger and his new team. A Tug-of-War ensues, strategy, mind games, and the knowledge of the opponent, all play their part in the final battle.

I fiercely recommend this novel.  All the action is driven by character. Psychological, emotional, and physical limitations, are explored, but for the plot’s sake.  Nothing drags or strikes false.  Each piece fits together to build suspense and heighten character conflict both internally and externally.  The novel creates tension in the reader, questions their grief, their commitment to causes, and ultimately asks them to voyage beneath the sea…


seaQuest DSV: Fire Below

A seaQuest DSV novel by Mathew J. Costello

Based on the Amblin Television and Universal Television Series

seaQuest DSVcreated by Rockne S. O’Bannon 

   

(Click on cover for PDF of complete text)

Review By Kim Malinowski

In seaQuest DSV: Fire Below, author Costello uses a wide range of the TV series’ cast of characters. The novel is broken up into two parts – Whistle Stop and Fire in the Sea. The two parts are sequential – some crew and original characters bridge the two sections, but for the most part, there are only subplot links that hold the two pieces together. This is not a black mark on the novel, only an observation of technique.

In seaQuest: Fire Below, Captain Bridger remains a primary character, still grieving and learning to open up to both new experiences and new people. Lucas Wolenczak, the teen computer prodigy plays a more active role than in seaQuest DSV: The Novel.  Many other beloved characters appear, including Lieutenant Commander Jonathon Ford, Dr. Kristin Westphalen, and Darwin. It is clear that the team is still new and still building trust in each other’s skills. 

In Fire Below “One: Whistle Stop,” Mary Knox and Jack Cutter have been hired by Rafael, a famous terrorist. The SousMer Resort is being held for ransom, but is secretly being used to serve as a demonstration to Geoffrey Harpe of Harpe WorldWide Enterprises, the owner of the resort. Harpe is meant to pay a hefty ransom for the resort and the inhabitants’ survival, but Knox and Cutter have rigged the resort with explosives even if the ransom is paid. The seaQuest is called to assist by the UEO. As detonations are about to occur and all seems lost, the seaQuest’s crew perform together in an audacious plan to take down Knox and Cutter and save the resort. 

As a segue to the two pieces of the novel, Geoffrey Harpe becomes crucial. He begins to send ransom to Raphael in order to save his resort, but once he learns about the seaQuest’s mission and the UEO’s intent, he decides that he will not pay the ransom. This leads to conflict with the UEO that bleeds into Harpe’s lab and deep ocean research in part two.

In “Two: Fire in the Sea,” Terry McShane, introduced in part one briefly and who knows Captain Bridger is accompanied by Dr. Richard Ernst, who is also introduced at the resort. These two play a pivotal role in showing the dangers of deep-water thermal vent exploration.  Experiments that proved deadly, also proved that the worms harvested at the vents could be used for biowarfare – lucrative technology that Harpe wants into. Through a series of happenstances, the crew faces death in order to keep peace.

seaQuest: Fire Below is mostly action, but most of the character dynamics assume that the reader has watched the show.  Dialogue moves at pace, but the reader never feels totally emerged.  As an example, in one place crucial scenery might be distorted and in another the scenery is picture perfect, but the character’s rationale for a choice isn’t clear. By no means does this make the book unworthy. The focus was meant to be on drama and action with some brief character development. seaQuest: Fire Below is a tremendous edition to the seaQuest DSV universe and franchise.


seaQuest DSV: The Ancient

A novel by David Bischoff

Based on the Amblin Entertainment and Universal Television Series SEAQUEST DSV Created by Rockne S. O’Bannon

   

(Click on cover for PDF of complete text)

Review By Kim Malinowski

In seaQuest DSV: The Ancient, a behemoth sea monster from the depths of time has been awoken, destroying submarines without know cause or transgression.  Survivors struggle to comprehend what they have experienced and what they have seen.  They are unable to clearly describe their ordeal, and each becomes consumed by their trauma.  Lucas Wolenczak becomes the main character, even though Captain Bridger is very present.  The mystical happenings occur to/with Lucas, not with Bridger.  This is a clear deviation from the previous two books.  The action (for the most part except for saving the day) lies with Lucas, Dr. Jennifer Notkin, a scientist brought aboard to help with the mission, and Dr. Kristen Westphalen, who provides scientific supervision and expertise.

Several main villains are present, each with a different agenda and reason to exploit or destroy the creature.  Geoffrey Harpe, introduced in Fire Below, as former friend of Bridger and wealthy businessman, wants to control and profit from The Ancient.  Geiko MacIntosh-san, a pirate “capitalist,” who profits from illegal killing of whales and benefits from cruelty in the depths of the ocean, a survivor himself of the creature, chooses to face it again for revenge.  Captain Guitarrez, career military, is also a survivor of The Ancient.  His reasons for killing the creature rely on Christian doctrine, and he feels that the “Leviathan has returned. The Beast.”.  He feels like it his sacred duty to destroy the creature and protect mankind.

While these men conspire, Captain Bridger allows a mini-sub with Lucas, Westphalen, and Notkin to find mystical dolphins who know ancient stories. Darwin and the other dolphins explain stories and myths that have been passed down through generations of dolphins.  The Ancient protects and communicates with dolphins in the stories, and in the novel’s plot. While no one believes that The Ancient could be extraterrestrial, the possibility remains as more information is obtained.

In a multi-fronted battle of wills, the seaQuest endeavours to find the best way towards peace and protecting the creature against the men that plot to destroy it. The Ancient disappears, leaving all questions, and no answers.  This leaves the reader in a state of thrall and awe.

seaQuest DSV: The Ancient delivers character, setting, and interaction precisely.  There are no character or plot errors – everything is seamless, and the story, even though complex, is experienced and even felt by the reader. Lucas Wolenczak acts and thinks like a teenager, even his thoughts are appropriately and accurately described.  Interactions are not preformulated and the plot is more cohesive than seaQuest DSV: Fire Below. seaQuest DSV: The Ancient builds characters and has a great storyline that makes it a classic amongst the seaQuest DSV novels.


seaQuest DSV: The Official Publication of the Series

By Louis Chunovic

First Published in the United Kingdom in 1994, Boxtree Limited, Boxtree House.  ©1994 by MCA Publishing Rights, a division of MCA, Inc.

Review By Kim Malinowski

(Click on cover for PDF of complete text)

This softcover book meant to accompany Season One of seaQuest DSV delves into facts, interviews, and linearly goes from the creation both conceptually and in actuality (how filming is done, how props are created—and what they cost). In 194 pages, real world problems are addressed – how does one fund a science fiction project that may or may not bring in audiences and revenues? How does one deal with representing a community that isn’t typically seen on screen or in a positive way on screen? This book lays out the blueprint into exactly what and who was needed to create seaQuest DSV the series. 

Ultimately, it seems that for both the actors that are interviewed and the producers, the main idea is the same – passion for the ocean and passion for story.  Between conceptualists, scriptwriters, actors, and other behind the scenes members, a very real crew was put together.  Perhaps they were not serving on a military and scientific submarine, but they brought their dedication, talent, and unique set of principles and charisma to form an unquestionable team. 

The Official Publication of the Series is nonfiction, but is not a glamour TV magazine with the lead actor on the cover.  Real science and scientific method is discussed, genuine and sometimes biting questions are asked and answered by the producers and cast.  And the journey from impossible, to improbable, to filming, and finally to television is highlighted in such a way as to make the reader feel the excitement and rapture of the experience.

There are dozens of high-quality photos of cast, production, and designs.  In addition, graphic models and concept art are featured that inspired the seaQuest and all of its attributes.  For this alone, it is worth reading.  The biting and deeply thought out interviews make seaQuest DSV: The Official Publication a guide to not only the seaQuest franchise, but to each individual artistic vision.  Each cast interview has wonderful photographs, capturing the essence of both the character and the actor. Royce D. Applegate explains his tweaks to lines.  Roy Scheider tells of what his ideal portrayal of Captain Nathan Bridger is (he wants to be flawed, show some weakness), Jonathan Brandis explains that he writes fairly regularly) – tidbits not seen in promo or TV guides.  These anecdotes make up the bulk of the book. These are stories and quirks that every “Questie” must know.

Science plays a vast role in the seaQuest universe and in this book a whole chapter is devoted to the lead scientist/developer Doctor Robert Ballard. He helped create seaQuest in preproduction and went on to become a valuable member of the team.  Because of this, Season One’s science if fact based.  He experimented and explained things that might have been possible or is now possible as we live in the seaQuest era.

It should be again be mentioned, this is a book that delves into Season One only.  The first season relied most heavily on science and while it was fiction – it was less science fiction in the classical sense.  Paranormal activities did occur, but science most always gave an alternate perspective.  Characters were driven by their own quirks and motives, and this book explains the journey…

KM