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WEDNESDAY

By the time a real-life Kirk and his ilk board a real-life Enterprise, space may truly be the final frontier. But for now, William Stone and Barbara am Ende remind us, there are still some unprobed spots on—or in—Earth. Their new book, Beyond the Deep: The Deadly Descent Into the World’s Most Treacherous Cave, written with Monte Paulsen, recounts the true story of the spelunking expedition they assembled in 1994 to probe Mexico’s byzantine Huautla cave complex, distilling the expedition to an armchair-friendly 338 pages. It’s solidly written, but even in lesser hands the team’s story would still be captivating—the joy of “scooping booty” (speleological vernacular for being the first to see underground terrain) is clear, but it’s balanced with constant references to the dangers encountered along the way. These range from the relatively minor—muscle aches, fleece soaked in urine—to terrifying close calls (a caver, dangling 30 meters in the air, supports himself and a 40-pound pack by hanging on with his left hand) to a deadly underwater cave dive. Stone and am Ende are in town at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 7647 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda. Free. (301) 652-3336. (Joe Dempsey)