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Under Pressure

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,022 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Twenty subtugs had been lost in the attempt to bring back oil from the undersea fields on the enemy's borders. A brilliant psychologist-electronics expert is planted in the crew of the subtug Ram to find out what is happening. And theory becomes terrifying reality when, miles deep under the ocean, the minds of the crew begin to crack...
Kindle Edition
Published (first published January 1st 1956)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,787)
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Cory
Aug 02, 2014 Cory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so very Herbert, he hits the ground running with an amazing amount of world building and data compressed into every page while explaining nothing to the reader directly, but through poetry of words implying everything you need, such as magna-boots, plasteel, and diffusion rates. Military cat and mouse books are not my usual "thing" but I did enjoy the conclussions and normal deep looks at society, pyschology, and perceptions.
Gary Foss
Jan 22, 2015 Gary Foss rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-sci-fi
This book was clearly in many ways an experimental work by the author. The musings on the psychological nature of birth as compared to the experience of the submariners, the protracted scenes of paranoia and conflict amongst the characters, and the repetition of religious metaphors as well as outright dialogue all illustrate that Herbert was immersed in his own reading of psychology and religion at or around the time he penned this book. In later books, it's clear that such research would pay of ...more
Manny
Aug 30, 2009 Manny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I just finished reviewing Peter Maas's The Terrible Hours, and thought of this book for the first time in years... another quite decent submarine story. It's not the best thing Herbert wrote, but compares very favorably with the later volumes in the Dune saga; I also preferred it to the (in my humble opinion) overrated Hunt for Red October. Worth a look if you like tales of the sea.
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in October 1998.

Frank Herbert's first science fiction novel, set in about 2020 and written in 1956, today reads more like a contemporary thriller than science fiction, even though it is set in a somewhat different world to the real one. It is set during a length, drawn out nuclear war (it was written at a time when comparatively little was known and much less public about the effects of a nuclear attack). The West is running short of oil but cannot easily obt
...more
Rob
May 17, 2012 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...Herbert's first novel shows a lot of elements that he would return to in his later work. It is not as complex or conceptually rich as Dune or The Dosadi Experiment but it is certainly a novel that is still well worth reading. It's fairly short but very intense and more action packed than many of his later novels. Quite a few later novels by Herbert don't hold up as well as The Dragon in the Sea does. If anything I like it even better after this reread. There are a few books by Herbert I would ...more
Michael Selden
May 19, 2014 Michael Selden rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: No one—I was on a reading binge
Classic Frank Herbert, which means it's heavy on the psychological. The engineering and physics in this book are well done, realistic even if a bit dated. This is a quasi post apocalyptic world, dominated by the military fighting what seems to be an endless war, fought under the sea by the blind dragons of nuclear powered submarines crewed by men suffering from the paranoia of having to always suspect everyone. (In fact, I heard they re-issued this book as The Dragon in the Sea)

Aspects of this b
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Sarah Sammis
Last night I finished reading Dragon in the Sea by Frank Herbert (1956). Dragon in the Sea is quite a departure from Dune. It's more akin to The Santaroga Barrier (my favorite Herbert book) in Herbert starts with a few ordinary events and then turns them into psychological dramas. For this book, he goes one step further and leaves off the chapter divisions to create a literary claustrophobia to match the claustrophobic conditions of the submarine. Some of the psychobabble to explain the captain' ...more
Ghoule
Aug 01, 2014 Ghoule rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Frank Herbert a écrit la longue saga de Dune, une fresque qui aura pour longtemps sa place dans le Temple de la science-fiction.

Or, tout ce qu'il a touché avant d'en arriver là n'est pas nécessairement de l'or.

Dans « Le dragon sous la mer », publié en 1956, l'auteur a brassé sur le papier sa passion de la psychologie, de la religion et du monde hyper-technique et cloîtré des sous-marins sur un fond de guerre froide et de paranoïa anti-communiste complètement... imbuvable.

Dans ce récit sans pause
...more
Edward
Dec 25, 2015 Edward rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was Herbert's first novel to achieve any kind of commercial success, well before he wrote Dune. It always held a special place in his heart for that reason, and while not as strong a work as Dune, it is enjoyable. I might have judged it differently had I read it before his more famous books, but at this point it's very unlikely that any reader will come across it first.

There are a few things that immediately jump out as rather proto-Duneish. The environment of the characters takes on a role
...more
Fantasy Literature
The East and the West rule the world, but the West is running out of oil. The West has been sending subtugs (specialized submarines) to smuggle oil from the East, but the last twenty missions have failed. It’s treachery! Security knows that the East has a lot of sleeper agents among their ranks, so they assign John Ramsey, who specializes in psychology and electronics, aboard the next mission in order to uncover the sleeper agent.

There are four men aboard the subtug, and since one of them is Ram
...more
Jessica
This was the first book that I ever read by this famous sci-fi author, and I enjoyed it. About psychology, government, war, and nuclear submarines, this book dives - haha - right into a distinctly different future, which of course allows the author, through the protagonist, to delve deep -- tee hee -- into the very real human psyche and the question of how people cope and what it means to be sane. Because it so quickly jumped into the thick of things, though, my son felt lost fairly early on, as ...more
Olethros
-Otra forma de hacer género.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. Ramsey es un alférez especializado en electrónica del Buereau de Psicología que es destinado a una misión en un submarino para tratar de buscar soluciones que eviten la acción de “agentes dormidos” que están contribuyendo a la gran pérdida de naves en la guerra contra las Potencias del Este, además de tratar de controlar los casos de paranoia inducida que se están dando entre las tripulaciones de submarinos. Publicada previa
...more
Bettie☯
Description: Twenty subtugs had been lost in the attempt to bring back oil from the undersea fields on the enemy's borders. A brilliant psychologist-electronics expert is planted in the crew of the subtug Ram to find out what is happening. And theory becomes terrifying reality when, miles deep under the ocean, the minds of the crew begin to crack...

Read by John Horton



A good ol' subtug story couched in continuing war (although Russia is only alluded to), and hissing, whistling vintage cass
...more
nick
Jan 11, 2016 nick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
only read 57pages, would of stopped sooner but had nothing better to do while i was waiting. boring, weak story drama. i knew i was reading words an could barley get into it. obvious the author was simply playing with ideas, religion & psychology which had no purpose in the story. repetitive details about characters looks. hard to follow, they apparently werent already under water in the beginning. over explained detail about the sub but at the same time you cant even imagine the surrounding ...more
Andrew
Mar 14, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
Herbert's first published novel, aka Under Pressure, aka 21st Century Sub is a psychological thriller about a crew of four (one of whom may be an enemy sleeper agent) aboard a submarine stealing oil from enemy underwater oil wells.

Though the science fiction aspects of the story are a bit dated (published in 1955, the sub is controlled manually with what would now be considered antiquated technology), the story is still exciting. I don't know if the psychology is outdated, but it was fascinating.
...more
Kelsey
Oct 13, 2012 Kelsey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty decent read--I really enjoyed parts of it, and those parts made it worth the time spent. (It's a quick read.)

The story is set in a future America (past 2021, at least) that is in a prolonged war with Russia. (Now that I think about it, I'm not actually sure if Russia was spelled out, but it's obvious.) New submarine technology has developed, producing subtugs: submarines that sneak into enemy territory to drill for and steal their oil. That's where the war part comes in, but it
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Herbert, of course, is a science fiction writer famous for Dune and its sequels, an epic tale of an extreme environment where its people wear special suits to preserve and reclaim every bit of water. The oceans of our Earth are also extreme environments, one few science fiction authors have mined, despite it being about as forbidding and unknown a place for exploration as the moon. Before this, the only such novels I'd read in the genre were by Arthur C. Clarke, such as his novel Deep Range. The ...more
Jason
Dec 13, 2012 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a fan of Frank Herbert, although I do find some of his work overly psychoanalytical. I heard about this book initially as an "underwater pirates" idea, and finally got around to reading it over the past week. It was not what I expected at all.


SUMMARY
In a war-torn future, Britain has been destroyed by a Soviet Union that has rolled over most of Europe. The United States remains defiant, but is desperate for oil and resorts to underwater drilling operations. After every sub they send out is de
...more
Ken T
Dec 22, 2011 Ken T rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I keep waiting for someone to make this book into a movie. This is a great war story with all the classic tropes and the added benefit of an alternate history and some fantastic characters.

Herbert is famous, of course, for his Dune series and rightly so. But in many ways Dragon is a better book than Dune. It is a story without any unnecessary pages or lines. The story works its way up gradually and then carries the reader along on an amazing adventure at flank speed.

The book follows the story
...more
Nicolas
Tenaillés par un manque de pétrole, les USA envoient des sous-marins vider les puits de pétrole de nations ennemies en temps de guerre. Malheureusement, toutes les expéditions ont échoué. Ils envoient alors un psy avec leur équipage, afin de survivre à cette naissance sous-marine.

Cet ouvrage devrait à mon avis être lu par les fans comme un brouillon à Destination Vide. On y retrouve en effet les mêmes ingrédients : un équipage peu nombreux, un environnement stressant, la présence mêlée de la rel
...more
Stef
Everyone know Frank Herbert as the author of Dune but a lot of people don't know that he wrote a number of other excellent novels.

The Dragon in the Sea is a science-fiction submarine-battle psychological thriller. It was written in the 1950s and for the most part it stands the test of time. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the modern submarine-battle thrillers like Das Boot and The Hunt for Red October owe it a debt.

It's not just a battle story, it's also a compelling depiction of the ways m
...more
Manuel Pirino
I wish there was a 4 and half star rating on Goodreads. Most of the book I have read lately, I would have gladly given them 5 stars, but I am saving that for when my jaw truly drops and / or I cry rivers. Tha being said, The Dragon in the Sea (Under Pressure) is a damn good book. It is a new Frank Herbert, away from his familiar landscape, the Arrakis/Dune which is now a quite well known setting (starting with David Lynch's adaptation, and on with videogames, spinoffs and telefilms).

Herbert sho
...more
Shane
Made it half way through this short novel before I gave up. I figured if not much had happened yet, then not much was going to happen. There was a cool line about submarines being like 2 guys in the dark with baseball bats but other than that, this book was putting me to sleep. The "new" cover makes this look like it's really sci-fi but reading it seemed more like a military novel (not really my kinda thing). All the characters kind of blended together so the "somebody's a spy" part of the plot ...more
Jason Luu
Under Pressure by Frank Herbert. I received Herbert’s first novel as a Christmas gift in college (likely because I wouldn't stop talking about awesome Dune was). It has taken me a number of years, but I finally finished it this weekend. Published in 1955, Herbert envisions a fairly realistic 2020 world setting in which oil scarcity forces nations to compete for resources through espionage and submarine raids. Despite its short length, Under Pressure never grabbed me the way the first books of th ...more
Santiago Giraldo
Before reading Dune, I found Under Pressure at the school library, and it was this book that actually introduced me to Frank Herberts work. A taut psychological thriller, the characters are neatly drawn and the tension inside the submarine is made palpably real. Also, every time I hear Queen's "Under Pressure", I am reminded of this book and the tensions that run deep below the surface of all human beings. A great read for a lazy afternoon. ...more
Edward H. Busse, III
Sep 08, 2014 Edward H. Busse, III rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-owned
NO SPOILER!! This was not a science fiction novel - it was a military oriented thriller. This was a good book - well written, intriguing and the characters were folks you could get behind and understand. The setting - the world after an "atomic" war - and a submarine w/ a four man crew that drills oil wells in the enemy territory deep in the ocean and steals the oil. The writing kept me interested and you never knew when there would be another twist/turn. The book was remarkably relatable to tod ...more
Jolene
Aug 19, 2014 Jolene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been in a string of really good books lately but this one blew me away. I would never have picked up this book of my own violation. Men in mini submarines pirating oil in a futuristic world that has been at war for a long, long time; not my typical read and incredibly glad I read it for book club. The intense pressure of the situations the men found themselves made my blood pressure rise. The psychological breakdowns and how you have to adjust to function was fascinating, also the role reli ...more
Richard Hurst
Jan 17, 2016 Richard Hurst rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this years ago and always fancied re-reading it. But as someone had half-inched it I had to buy another copy! It's a Frank Herbert book so it's a great read.
Tiffany
The journey in a subtug for oil is the background against which the story is set. It is not the story. The story is why do submariners crack and what makes this particular crew work? Is there something different about the captain? And there may also be a sleeper agent among the crew from the other side of the war.
Early, not entirely polished Herbert-style focus on psychology and religion and their effects on humans under pressure. Herbert never wrote standard science fiction.
As an aside, I was
...more
R.W. Tucker
Dec 04, 2014 R.W. Tucker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A claustrophobic undersea military adventure, set in an energy-strapped world of West vs East (not too far away, actually). I actually first found this story in Herbert's short story anthology EYE, and asked myself, "where the heck is the rest of this badass story???!" Well, sure enough, he published a psychological thrill ride of a book here. I really enjoyed the very complicated aspects of submarine technology. It's not DUNE, but what could ever compare? I enjoyed this for what it is: a very c ...more
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Frank Herbert was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author.

He is best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, dealt with themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics, and power, and is widely considered to be among the classi
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