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SPHERE is a great unpredictable and exciting novel. The transformations between Introduction,Rising Action, Climax, and the Summary is almost perfect. As the wire snagged something the crew laying the cable on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean realized they had a problem for
their were no shipwrecks on the chart. They told someone and this
went up the corporate line of command and soon the military found
out that their was something on the bottom of the ocean and that
they had to investigate.
The military put together a team of people ranging from a
psychologist to a mathematician. They called in Norman Johnson to
lead the team he was a psychologist who had dealt with many, many
disasters in his years. He comes in and comforts eyewitnesses who
can’t deal with the sight and helps victims and family members
deal with the loss of friends and family.
Norman was called one day and told that their was an
emergency and that they wanted him to come in and work. He
suspected that it was another plane crash. This guess of his was
bursted when he was loaded onto a military helicopter and took
off. He flew over the dark blue Pacific ocean and flew for what
was hours but seemed to be days. Hours and hours of dark blue
water was ended with a speck of a ship that turned into an entire
fleet of navy research vessels. He knew then that this was no
ordinary plane crash.
The introduction of the book is very grabbing. You feel that
this is just going to keep building and become fantastic. This
feeling of amazement stays with throughout the introduction.
As the rising action starts to take off you just sink into
the same world that Norman, Beth, and Harry, the three
protagonists, are living in. You start to feel claustrophobic as
your reading about how confining the habitat on the ocean floor
is. After the rising action gets going the “gang” as we will
refer to them as will meet many hard problems and take risks.
They battle with the giant squid near the begging of rising
action. That was a case when something was heading toward the
habitat and the couldn’t tell what it was this thing was flying at
the habitat when it stopped and seemed to disappear. The next
encounter wasn’t as easily escaped the thing reached up through an
open hatch and with it’s huge eye looked in and tracked the crew
of the habitat running about trying to escape him. They finally
figured out a way to defend the habitat to some degree against the
squid. The eeriest part of the rising action is when they went
over to the ship to try to board the monstrous space like vessel.
They arrive at what they thought was the entrance point and
located a type of control panel. By now they had determined by
size, shape, haul strength, and how thick the coral was covering
it that it was that we, meaning humans, didn’t have the technology
at this time to build this vessel, and that it has been their for
a very long time. Therefore they determined that it must be alien
to the planet. They opened what they thought was the control
panel and it was all in English. He pushed the “OPEN” button, a
door opened, they walked in, the door closed and Barnes pushed
another button and the room was pressurized. Next a light blinked
“ADJUSTING ATMOSPHERE”. They walked in and checked the air. It
was okay according to Beth’s test so they one by one cautiously
took off their masks and breathed in the cool crisp air. The dim
ship seemed very empty and calm. They proceeded through the ship
and found many highly advanced computers everywhere. They found
preserved food in the kitchen area and everything needed to
sustain the life of a human. Beds, entertainment areas, food,
everything. They travel to the ship many times finding more and
more things each time. Finally on one of the trips they find the
sphere. This ball of steal has many jagged groves all around.
The gigantic sphere seemed to be non- penitratable. Again after making
numerous trips over to try to figure out how to open this object
that seemed to be hollow. After this final trip that accomplished
nothing they placed cameras surrounding the sphere. Finally one
day Harry disappeared from the habitat. He was seen in almost a
trance walking right up to the sphere. Just as he got their the
sphere opened right up and he walked in. He was in their for
several minutes, and then the sphere opened up, he walked out, and
walked out as it closed. He got back everyone was asking him
about how he got it to open and what it was like. He said that he
could remember nothing except fireflies. Everyone, puzzled by this
One night while sitting at the computer they started
receiving number patterns on the computer screen that seemed to
be coming from nowhere. The determined that it couldn’t be from
anywhere but the habitat or the ship that the sphere was on
because of the speed of the transmission. It was so fast that the
distance between them and the surface was so great that it was
impossible to send a signal that fast without the communication
cable that was inactive. They finally ciphered the code at
realized that it was a being that since their thoughts, knew
everything they knew, but had the word selection of a five year
old. They finally deduced that it was the sphere talking to them.
They realized this because it only talked when Harry was in the
room and Harry was in the sphere. Through the many days of
talking to Jerry the sphere their were many unexpected disasters.
Jerry was trying to communicate to them through other animals.
Their were the giant squid and the tiny squid. The tiny squid
came in thousands. This was normal, but what was so weird was
that they didn’t have any stomachs, brains, or reproductive organs
so they were virtually unable to live under normal conditions.
While Jerry was trying to communicate he thought he was doing good
but he was actually tearing apart the habitat cylinder by
cylinder. It eventually drove beth crazy. She lined the bottom
of the ocean, along the craft, with explosives. She set the timer
and engaged it. When she arrived back at the habitat Norman
realized what she had done and tried to override the explosives.
It was too late. He determined that the only thing they could do
was abandon the habitat and save themselves. He tried to get Beth
out of the habitat but she refused to go, so he left alone in the
mini-sub. He started his accent and on the way up realized that
he couldn’t leave Beth and Harry to die. He went back. After
reaching the bottom of the ocean he docked the sub and tried to
open the hatch. It was locked from the inside. He yelled at Beth
through the intercom telling her to unlock the hatch but she
refused. She had lost her mind and didn’t know what she was
thinking. All of Norman’s years of being a phytologist couldn’t
help him she had snapped! He tried the hatches to all the other
cylinder that were attached to the one Beth was in. They were
locked but just then the whole in the wall the squid had made in E
cylinder caught Norman’s eye. The jagged whole would allow him to
enter the flooded cylinder but that would not be safe, one slip
and his pressure suit would rip and he would die. He realized,
though flooded, he could get in through the E cylinder hatch. He
made his way through and now had to figure out how to pressurize
this cylinder which was used as a kitchen. He opened the oven
door and the trapped air bubbled up forming a bubble at the top of
the ceiling. He then remembered that Barnes said that since they
were breathing in and living on helium they had to cook with a mix
of gas and oxygen. He ripped the stove out of the way to find two
huge tanks marked “O2″. He opened the valve of the first tank to
see the tank roar out with bubbles. The air was collecting as
one bubble at the top of the room. The water level began to fall.
He opened the valve to the other tank. The water began to drop
more rapidly. Past his head, past his shoulders, down to his
waist, and then it slowed down and stopped at his knees. He ran
to the pressure door leading to Beth. As he entered the room he
say harry laying unconscious on the floor. He shook him about
trying to wake him up. He then ran to try to find Beth. He was
looking about the habitat. She had hid from him. Just as he was
about to give up he spotted her huddled in the corner behind a
barrier of pipes holding a Spear gun. She told Norman he
shouldn’t of came back for her and that it was too late to save
her. He moved in to try to overpower her and remove her from the
habitat before it exploded and she pointed the spear gun directly
at him. Just as he was about to give up on Beth he thought where
is Harry. Suddenly he saw Harry sneaking up behind Beth with a
wrench in his hand. He knocked her out cold. Norman rushed to
get the two dressed to go on the mini-sub. They then got in the
water and made their way to the sub. After rushing to get all
three of them in the sub one at a time through the one man
air-lock Norman heard a synthesized voice say that their was less
than two minutes until the explosives went off. Frantically the
got loaded and departed they were behind schedule so they had to
risk getting smashed by the shock of the explosion. They escaped
After the explosion Norman, Harry, and Beth are found by one
of the ships coordinating the investigation of the sphere. They
pass out. Next they wake up in a Navy decompression chamber.
They talk about how to explain this to the government and if the
government should even know exactly what happened down their. One
thing they acquired during their encounter with the sphere was
that they had the ability to have whatever they thought was
happening. If they thought that Norman was flying above they
table, Norman would be flying above the table. So they chose,
instead of revealing this to the government, to decide that they
forgot everything. Sure enough they forgot everything and that is
pretty much how the book ends.
They end of the story is the weak spot. They had just
discovered that they have this power that they could instantly
cure cancer just by thinking their was no such thing as cancer.
They could do literally anything, but Michael Crichton just draws
a line and says that’s it.
Though this is a depressing ending, the book as a whole is a
heart pounding, nonstop adventure story that I recommend this book
to anyone who likes to read. Even if you don’t generally like
science fiction you’ll love this unpredictable novel.
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