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Tunnel Through the Deeps

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  601 ratings  ·  58 reviews
A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! (aka Tunnel Through the Deeps) is an alternate history. Harrison began by positing two changes which would've allowed this changed history to exist. In this story, set in an alternate 1973, Washington lost the Battle of Lexington & was executed as a traitor. America remains a British colony dreaming of independence. The other change is ...more
Paperback, 174 pages
Published May 1st 1974 by Berkley (first published 1972)
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Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the story (3), and loved the imagery(4.5). The story captured my imagination with its exploration of alternate history and sneak peaks at the future directions science and engineering might take to tackle such a project.


The concept is so tempting, people haven't been able to leave it alone!

As seen above from a photo of the May–June 2008 installation by artist Paul St George who exhibited outdoor interactive video installations linking London and New York City as a fanciful
Jonathan Palfrey
This book is set in a world in which the Moors were never driven out of Spain, the French and American Revolutions both failed, Britain remains Great, the World Wars never happened, and a descendant of the executed George Washington is trying to clear the family name, marry a woman whose father dislikes him, and build a transatlantic tunnel.

The whole book is written in the sort of old-fashioned, innocent, and rather charming style that might have been employed by a novelist in the world it
Tim Weakley
Harrison's novel is considered one of the founding works of the steampunk genre. It features all of the expected literary tropes including an alternate history, overly mechanized technology, and a strangely backward looking and forward leaning world civilization.

The hero of this work is Augustus Washington, an engineer and descendant of the disgraced General George Washington who was hung as a traitor during the early failed attempt at American Independance. His skills put him in charge of the
Sean Smart
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable alt history/sci fi story of British engineers building the trans-atlantic tunnel.
Tom Loock
Aug 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, have-re-read
I read A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! in response to the death of Harry Harrison last week. HH wrote mainly two types of novels, funny ones like The Stainless Steel Rat/Jim di Griz-series, and gritty ones like the Deathworld-trilogy, but also some odd ones, like this book which I did read in the early 70s, but did not remember at all.

It has been called "early steampunk", but I disagree wholeheartedly. It is simply a homage to Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, it's a "scientific romance" — no punk
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I found this book very inspiring! A real transatlantic tunnel would be exciting. I really enjoyed the unusual time frame it was set in and I believe this style might be referred to as Steam Punk. This would be a great book for someone who was interested in mechanics or engineering but loved it too.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author seemed more interested in the concept than in actually writing the story. The plot is underdeveloped and anti-climactic. By the last page I was still waiting for something interesting to happen.
Erik Graff
Apr 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alternate history fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Despite its short compass (192 pages), this is a fair alternative history story by science fiction author Harrison.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
review of
Harry Harrison's Tunnel Through The Deeps
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - February 14, 2014

Harrison's yet another SF writer whose work I've seen around for decades w/o ever having much interest & w/o ever reading any of it (except, perhaps, for a short story here'n'there if he wrote any). SO, it's time to read something by him! Was I impressed? Not particularly, it was ok, maybe the lack of writerly innovation is motivated by this being a sortof tip-o-the-hat to Verne & /or
Ian Banks
Reads far better for being done as a pastiche of the Victorian novel rather than as a straightforward adventure yarn. Harrison reads far better when he's aiming for a voice rather than a point of view. This is a novel of incident rather than of ideas but the ideas aren't to be sneezed at. If it fails, it is through the problem that most alt-history novels have for me in that it is far too clever about where the divergence is and that we still wind up, nearly 800 years later, with a different ...more
Russell Forden
This would have to be one of the earliest post-Vernes post-Wells steampunk books - basically written before the term was even coined. But it's definitely steampunk, positing an alternate history where the Victorian steam age never ended. Some great 'boy's own' adventure writing here, featuring manly men and derring do. Hurrah, I say!
George Hahn
Dec 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I've enjoyed other Harrison books more. This one seemed dated, although that may have been intentional, given the premise.
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Great fun, sags slightly in places but still works well as a short novel.
Chris Harris
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rereading this for the first time in thirty years or so, and I picked up so much I didn't get the first time around. Huge fun. I'm still smiling at the cameos.
Bill Yancey
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great story.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a kid waiting every months for the next part to come out in Analog. 50 years later I finally bought my own copy a great read.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic sci-fi SteamPunk before it existed as a thing. Harrison steams (pun intended) through this story breathlessly imagining a world that never came to be but that we all wish had.
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like this book¡
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crammed chock full of worldbuilding for such a short novel. Harrison, likewise as in the Stainless Steel Rat books, excels at making his fictional technology and absurd construction projects sound wholly plausible. If you like pseudo-Victorian steampunk, alt-history intrigue, and adventure, this is a nifty little novel well worth picking up.
Dec 03, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah
Author: Harry Harrison
Publisher: Tor
Published In: New York City, NY
Date: 1972
Pgs: 237


The 1970s on a Earth quite different than ours. Here science and engineering is on the verge of a tunnel crossing the Atlantic connecting Britain to the colonial America. This will be the crowning engineering feat of the twentieth century. The most brilliant engineer of the Empire, Augustine Washington, is working on it. His success would go a
Oct 16, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a mess of a book seldom enjoyable and often confusing.
The plot of course is the construction of the engineering marvel that is the Transatlantic Tunnel (hurrah!) and its head engineer Augustine Washington who labours under his unfortunate family history and his great-great something or other who led the failed rebellion against Britain two centuries past.
Here's where things get screwy: earlier in the book George Washington is said to have been hanged as a traitor for his role in the
James Neilson
Okay, I read this originally waaay back when it was serialised in Analog (in 1972, I think) and I was in my early teens. Back then, I would have given it a rating of good. I would also be ignorant of a lot of the actual historical references and I know I was completely oblivious to the fact that it was intended to be a parody. I have not read it again since until I began to re-read it on Monday

Because I like (and do write, though not exclusively) alternate history, I decided to re-read this
Mar 16, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Tunnel Through the Deeps is an alternate reality novel. Essentially, it's a steampunk novel from a time before this term was coined. There's not much here to discover. The plot has no big surprises, the characters are flat, the hero has almost supernatural powers as an engineer, the love story is not very believable, the story has huge holes and besides two crucial historical events that were altered as a premise (there was no Reconquista and George Washington lost the colonial war) nothing else ...more
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite a fun read. Something of a cross between Jules Verne and Michael Moorcock. Alternate history where the colonies lost their bid for independence and Muslims won the Iberian peninsula in the 13th Century. A descendant of the disgraced George Washington, the preeminent engineer of his day, struggles to build the fantastic transatlantic tunnel. Many odd vehicles like the atomic train and the air(plane)boat and the helicopter are featured. Mr. Washington is also, at one point, the first human ...more
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick and entertaining book. A great tale of man overcoming adversity in a steam-punkish future. An interesting take on an alternative history; America lost the revolution and remains an English colony as punishment for their audacity while other former colonies become Commonwealths. The hero of the novel is an ancestor of the great traitor, George Washington and must overcome this stigma as well as the seemingly impossible feat of a transatlantic train tunnel. A recommended book, huzzah!!
Fun, lighthearted, delightful technology. This is a "popcorn novel" if anything. The technology is fantastically described and very inventive, the characters are a bit lackluster and the plot speeds along at a breakneck speed.

My one complaint is that EVERYTHING goes right for the main hero. Even when bad things happen to him, something incredibly lucky happens five seconds later, and it becomes quite a repetition. This can be excused given the book itself is compiled from a magazine serial, but
Aug 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a splendid title! I've been searching for this book in second hand bookshops for years without success but now it's back in print.

The alternate history is obviously a fascinating one but isn't really explored too deeply, although I thought the pinpointing of the divergence of the time-lines was a nice touch. So too, the cameo appearance of Brian Aldiss.

Three stars for the book itself although obviously as a prototype of steam-punk it's quite a bit more of an important book in the history of
Erik Corry
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If only life were really that simple. A universe where Great Men perform Great Feats of Engineering while Beautiful Young Women look on admiringly. The Dastardly Villains are easily vanquished, and there's no problem so big that a hero wearing a pair of long leather boots can't fix it. Once the problem is fixed, it's time to relax in some luxurious oak-and-leather gentleman's club with a stiff drink!
Michael Pryor
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic of proto-Steampunk. Pitch perfect in tone and historicity, chock full of verve and brio.Some wicked wit, too, with lots of cameo appearances (Brian Aldis as Warden of All Souls? Kingsley Amis as Foreign Minister? Why not?) A little gem, and reportedly the book that made the notoriously crusty Auberon Waugh 'cry like a baby' at its glorious conclusion.
Steve Joyce
For some reason, I had relatively high expectations for "A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!" but it ended up falling a little short of them.

My overall impression is that it's really just a pale imitation of Bernhard Kellerman's The Tunnel (from 1913). I'd also have to say that I've seen better handling of the whole alternate time continuum thingie.

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Harry Harrison (born Henry Maxwell Dempsey) was an American science fiction author best known for his character the The Stainless Steel Rat and the novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966), the basis for the film Soylent Green (1973). He was also (with Brian W. Aldiss) co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction