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Sphere by Michael Crichton

Sphere (original 1987; edition 1988)

by Michael Crichton

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7,07079511 (3.56)66
Authors:Michael Crichton
Info:Ballantine Books (1988), Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library, Read
Tags:science fiction, first contact, movie tie-in, read, in library, fiction, white author, aliens

Work details

Sphere by Michael Crichton (1987)

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    Starfish by Peter Watts (Konran)
    Konran: Darker And Edgier underwater tale, including an alien (maybe) lifeform.

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English (75)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (79)
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
Almost equal parts a tale of the horrors that lie in the deep of the ocean, the condition of the human psyche, and the desire for us to contact an alien species. It's also a very grounded, scientific novel, full of interesting theories on contact with alien life as well as human behavior. Norman is a fun protagonist to view the story through, and everyone else aboard DH-8 are able to stand out thanks to some nice characterization. The story really twists and turns throughout the second half of the book, which is unstoppable. Great, great read. ( )
  TheTylex | Jun 3, 2016 |
I was I had seen the movie AFTER reading the book, but it was still a great read. I clearly need to go back and read even more Crichton after this! ( )
  DanaBurkey | Apr 10, 2016 |
I read this before I saw the movie, and I definitely thought the book was better, but not by much. Crichton most certainly wrote this with a calculating eye towards box office. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
The Andromeda Strain is one of my favorite books (and movie!) but I've never read anything else Crichton has ever written until now. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was a little baffled by the plot. It seems like the author got halfway into writing the book and ran out of plot. I thought it was excessively wordy and I flipped through many pages because I just wasn't interested in the psychobabble. Overall a very suspenseful read, a real page turner and I enjoyed it, for the most part. Note: my copy was 498 pages long, about 200 pages more than goodreads listed. ( )
  TeeMc | Mar 11, 2016 |
A group of scientists, including psychologist Norman Johnson, mathematician Harry Adams, biologist Beth Halpern, and astrophysicist Ted Fielding, (along with the navy personnel) are placed in a deep sea habitat at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to explore the spacecraft.

To their surprise, they soon discover that the spacecraft is in fact not alien, but an American spacecraft constructed fifty years in the future and apparently sent through time, appearing in the ocean 350 years before its creation. On further exploration of the spacecraft, the team discovers a mysterious spherical artifact of clearly extraterrestrial origin, which quickly becomes the focus of the characters' mission and the book's plot. At this point a Pacific storm keeps the scientists on the ocean floor without contact or support from the Navy on the surface for what could be a week or more.

The story soon focuses on first asking thought-provoking questions about the sphere (namely whether it should be opened or not) and then on attempting to actually open the sphere and learn its nature, contents, and origin. Harry eventually succeeds in opening it and goes inside. Upon returning, he has a terrible headache and he remembers little about what happened inside the sphere and how he opened it. The rest of the team cannot figure it out either.

As they continue to study and theorize, they are contacted by an intelligent, seemingly friendly alien life form that calls itself Jerry who apparently is from within the spherical alien artifact. It first contacts them via a code of seemingly strange number series, which Harry translates. But while they struggle to come up with answers to their questions surrounding Jerry and the sphere, bizarre and increasingly deadly events transpire involving sea creatures such as giant squid, sea snakes, and jellyfish, and soon it is apparent they are being manifested by Jerry himself. As Beth, the biologist, dissects some of the animals, she realizes they aren't even supposed to exist. Later, Beth realizes her mistake because she was tired. Members of the team start to die in various attacks while the survivors struggle to placate the unthinkably powerful, childlike, and temperamental Jerry, who seems to have no concept of death and thinks them a source of amusement. Jerry seems to read the vivid emotions the team manifests when they are attacked.

Norman has a suddenly important role as he realizes he has to use psychology to keep the surviving team (now only himself, Beth, and Harry) alive by placating Jerry and keeping him from killing them all. But in a plot twist, he discovers that Jerry does not actually exist, and that the sphere in fact holds the power to allow subconscious thought to be manifested into reality itself. Thus after entering the sphere, Harry acquired this power. In other words, Jerry is something imagined by Harry's subconscious mind. Harry has started subconsciously manifesting the squid (he mentions he was terrified of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and the squid as a kid), Jerry, and other such dangerous visions and dreams that have come to life, and Norman and Beth have to somehow stay alive before Harry's subconscious kills them all.

Beth and Norman decide to tranquilize Harry with a powerful cocktail of sedatives and painkillers from the first aid box, and after successfully doing so, they wait for contact to be reestablished with the surface. However it is at this point that Norman discovers, much to his horror, that Beth has become psychotic and has also entered the sphere (gaining the power). He is now at her mercy as she starts irrationally planting powerful explosives around the spacecraft and the deep sea habitat in an act of self-destruction. Norman escapes and enters the sphere, thus also receiving the power to literally make his thoughts real, and races against the timed explosives to talk Beth out of her suicidal rampage and rescue Harry. Harry regains consciousness at this point and knocks Beth unconscious, and they scramble to the escape sub to the surface just before the explosives destroy the site.

Afterward, while in a decompression chamber, the three survivors ponder what they are going to tell the navy happened underwater. Eventually, they decide to use their power to literally get rid of their power, changing reality so that the whole thing never happened and that a leak of toxic gas killed the crew as well as destroyed the habitat instead. They agree it can work only if they all do it together and think it and make it happen. As the novel concludes, it is clear that Norman and Harry have done so, but it is ambiguously suggested that Beth may have chosen not to give up the power after all.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
Een team wetenschappers onderzoekt vanuit een habitat op de oceaanbodem een "buitenaards ruimtevaartuig", dat een tijdreizend schip uit de aardse toekomst blijkt te zijn. Na opening van een geheimzinnige bol volgen talloze moorddadige aanvallen, gestuurd door de macht die de bol bevat. Bestseller-auteur Crighton doet zijn naam eer aan. Hij schrijft los en soepel en verlevendigt de wetenschappelijke verklaringen met het gekissebis tussen zijn hoofdpersonen, die psychologisch heel best aanvaardbaar zijn. Hij houdt de spanning er goed in en komt met een prettig onverwachte draai aan het eind. Het gewelddadig verscheiden van 6 van de 9 personen, gekoppeld aan het uiteindelijke waarom, kan voor een aantal lezers misschien wat veel van het goede zijn.
added by karnoefel | editNBD / Biblion

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Crichtonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hunt, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When a scientist views things, he's not considering the incredible at all.
Louis I. Kahn
You can't fool nature.
Richard Feynman
For Lynn Nesbit
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For a long time the horizon had been a monotonous flat blue line separating the Pacific Ocean from the sky.
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Wanneer een wetenschapsman dingen in ogenschouw neemt, houdt hij absoluut geen rekening met het ongelooflijke. (Louis I. Kahn) De natuur kun je niet voor de gek houden. (Richard Feynman)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345353145, Mass Market Paperback)

Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton is possibly the best science teacher for the masses since H.G. Wells, and Sphere, his thriller about a mysterious spherical spaceship at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, is classic Crichton. A group of not-very-complex characters (portrayed in the film by Sharon Stone, Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Queen Latifah) assemble to solve a cleverly designed roller coaster of a mystery while attempting (with mixed success) to avoid sudden death and expounding (much more successfully) on the latest, coolest scientific ideas, including the existence of black holes. Somehow, Crichton manages to convey the complicated stuff in utterly simplistic prose, making him, as his old pal Steven Spielberg puts it, "the high priest of high concept." Yet there is more to Crichton than science and big-ticket show biz. He is also, as any reader of his startling memoir Travels knows, a bit of a mystic--he is entirely open to notions spouted by spoon-bending psychics that most science writers would scorn. Sphere is not only a gratifying sci-fi suspense tale; it also reflects Crichton's keen interest in the unexplained powers of the human mind. When something passes through a black hole in Crichton's fiction, a lesson is learned. The book also contains another profound lesson: when you're staring down a giant squid with an eyeball the size of a dinner plate, don't blink first.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:52 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A group of scientists journey to the bottom of the sea to explore a sunken spaceship in this thriller from the author of The Andromeda Strain (1969). A group of American scientists are rushed to a huge vessel that has been discovered resting on the ocean floor in the middle of the South Pacific. What they find defines their imaginations and mocks their attempts at logical explanation. It is a spaceship of phenomenal dimensions, apparently, undamaged by its fall from the sky. And, most startling, it appears to be at least three hundred years old.… (more)

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