Review: Tantalus Depths by Evan Graham

Review by Lilyn George

Tantalus Depths, the first in the Calling Void series, is a quiet, yet fierce experience. While it
falls prey to some of the rather exhausting tropes in the science fiction genre (such as women
always inevitably trying to get away from some sort of child loss), it also delivers a story of
isolated survival set on an enigma of a planet.


Evan Graham’s writing is smooth, clear, and not given to purple prose. He writes Mary Ketch as
a determined, intense, and deeply sad woman who will do her best to look out for her crew. This leads her to making mistakes early on that could potentially put everyone in jeopardy, but by the end of the story she is a character that readers are pulling for all the way. The other characters are less memorable, but make up the very believable crew of the Diamelen. A crew, it should be noted, are short on witty repartee so if you’re a reader looking for Firefly-esque snark, it would behoove you to look elsewhere.


The world of Tantalus is an imaginative one, and may ultimately keep some readers in the dark
as to exactly what it is until the very end. Also, Graham does a good job of respecting Asimov’s
robotic laws whilst still finding ways to twist around them and keep things interesting. The final scenes between the surviving members of the Diamelen and the artificial intelligence they run
up against are easy to mentally picture and filled with action.


Tantalus Depths is perfect for fans of artificial intelligence gone rogue, unexpected alien life
forms, and the threat of multiple world destruction. It may not be a novel that readers will rave
about like it’s the next The Martian, but it was ultimately a very satisfying read and is one worth
checking out.


Content Warnings: Miscarriage, Depression, Suicide

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