HELIX (242 pp.)David LoughlinHarper ($2.50).
David Loughlin is a thoughtful young
(26) Texas-born marine engineer, who
served aboard freighters and troopships
during the war. Helix, his first novel,
has color, imagination and technical savvy,
plus a grandiose, elusive, Moby Dick-like
theme. Author Loughlin boldly chases
his whale (Man v. the Machine) across
the Atlantic in this story of the rusty
Cape Harting, a Maritime Commission-built C-1 freighter bound for West Africa in 1942.
The Cape Harting, with crated P-40s on her deck and a bellyfull of barreled aviation fuel, snaked through the Sandy Hook minefields one May morning. Rusty or not, she was good for 15 knots in a pinch, and sailed...