Saturday, February 13, 2010

Book Review - Sphere, by Michael Crichton

Title: Sphere
Author: Michael Crichton
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 glowing squids

In Michael Crichton's Sphere, a group of scientists and other academics are sent to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to investigate the discovery of a technologically advanced spacecraft. When they arrive, the small group of intellectuals realize that the spacecraft is anything but what they expected, and that its contents have the power to alter the fate of the world.

Sphere is a classic science fiction novel. A group of intelligent people explore the unkown and are presented with things they would never dream of as being possible. Where Crichton excells in is the fact that he blends aspects of horror and suspense seamlessly into the science fiction plot. This tension keeps the reader interested and lightens the heavy science content.

Another great thing about Sphere is that it explains many scientific theories that the reader may not know about. This ranges from special relativity, chemistry, psychology, and even the quest to discover intelligent life. These theories are explained in layman's terms, which allows anyone to appreciate the science that Crichton bases his fiction upon.

There are also many twists and unexpected plot changes throughout this novel, which is great to see.

Where Sphere could have improved, in my opinion, is in character development. We get very little backstory for the characters, and there is only a small amount of development throughout the novel. At times, it feels as though the characters in Sphere are simply puppets that the events of the novel happen around. And although a science fiction author can usually get away with this, Crichton's novel is ultimately about psychology and the mind, which requires dynamic characters to really work well.

However, Sphere is a great sci fi title!

4 out of 5 glowing squids!

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