Tunnel Through the Deeps

transatlantic tunnel hurrah

Tunnel Through the Deeps‘ (also published as ‘A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!’) is a 1972 alternate history/science fiction novel by Harry Harrison. It was serialized in ‘Analog’ magazine beginning in the April 1972 issue.

The title refers to the construction of a submerged floating-tube pontoon bridge/tunnel across the Atlantic Ocean.

In the novel, America lost the Revolutionary War, George Washington was shot as a traitor, and the colonies are, in 1973, still under the control of the British Empire. The divergence point between this world and our own occurred far earlier, however, when the Moors won the battle of Navas de Tolosa on the Iberian peninsula, on July 16, 1212. Thus it was that Spain was unable to become unified, owing to the survival of an Islamic presence in its territory, and therefore could not finance the expedition of Christopher Columbus in 1492. Instead, it was John Cabot who discovered America, just a few years later.

The protagonist, Captain Augustine Washington, is a direct descendant of George Washington, and labors in his ‘traitorous’ shadow. Captain Washington and Sir Isambard Brassey-Brunel (descendant of Isambard Kingdom Brunel) get together to link the heart of the British Empire with its far-flung Atlantic colony in North America, although they fall out over Augustine’s wooing of Isabard’s young daughter, Iris, and as a result of disputes over engineering techniques. However, the two are reconciled on Sir Isambard’s deathbed, and the lovers later marry.


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