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Sphere

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  165,502 ratings  ·  3,209 reviews
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 defies 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 ...more
Audiobook, 13 pages
Published November 24th 2015 by Brilliance Audio (first published May 12th 1987)
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Dustin Dye I personally like Crichton's style, and I've read almost every one of his books, including his non-fiction and a number of his works under pseudonyms …moreI personally like Crichton's style, and I've read almost every one of his books, including his non-fiction and a number of his works under pseudonyms (although nothing published posthumously). I understand the criticisms though.

Strengths:

Integrating science into fiction. He naturally provides just enough of the scientific basis to suspend disbelief and move the story forward without bogging down the narrative.

Action. His action is (usually) easy to follow, more so that many so-called "action" writers (Ian Fleming, every Star Wars expanded universe novel). The action flows naturally in the story, and is never over-long.

Cautionary tales. He took a long-view of technological progress and was cautiously optimistic. He seemed excited about what was possible, but painted worst-case scenarios in his books and movies (Westworld).

Weaknesses:

His early prose was clumsy (The Andromeda Strain). His later books got increasingly bad (Timeline had an interesting setup, but failed in execution, State of Fear was laughable climate-change-denier propaganda, Next was stupid and appealed to literally no one). Sphere was written during his prime, and is a good example of his style, although Jurassic Park was his masterpiece.

Character development. Norman in Sphere was probably his best-developed character in any of his books, but we still only learned enough just to move the plot forward. Sphere was probably the only book where the action was driven by the characters, rather than the other way around. Crichton was good enough as an action writer to compensate for lack of character development. Too many writers can do neither (particularly fantasy/sci-fi writers, whose purple prose is a pathetic attempt to hide this fact).(less)
One1dinosaur In the beginning of the book, the book kept you interested with the comments of the large cast of characters. later, the story is driven by different …moreIn the beginning of the book, the book kept you interested with the comments of the large cast of characters. later, the story is driven by different factors I will not mention do to the spoiling of the book. So yes, it is a page turner.(less)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  165,502 ratings  ·  3,209 reviews


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Mario the lone bookwolf
Very much yada yada, humanities vs natural sciences and a wasted plot idea with far too less action and twists.

I still remember how boredom and disappointment grew, after the first few chapters showed the setting and some suspense was built up and then it got lengthy and neither the psychological inner character plot nor the other big mystery plot made much fun or sense, especially because the logic of motivations and thinking capacities and abilities of the protagonists were… average.

Some seem
...more
Alejandro
Dec 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Back in 1993, after reading Jurassic Park (see review of that book HERE), I was like in Crichton-mode actived! ;)

So, my next novel had to be by Michael Crichton!

I went to the bookstore and this one was the first book that I checked and after reading the premise, I found it promising. ;)

So, I bought it and started to read it.

WoW!!!!!!!

Since the beginning I was in shock amalgamated with happiness since the style and mood of the novel was astonishing good. (Of course, by then I hadn't read yet
...more
Jamie
Jun 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 7th graders and anyone else
First, an overlong apologist's review of Michael Crichton. Then, a very short review of Sphere.

(Life update: I am procrastinating).

In my opinion, you can only truly rate a Michael Crichton book by a) the depth and originality of the concept and b) the lucidity of the monologue/essay that will always occur, usually as a rant from some broken visionary genius or another, approx. 4/5 of the way through the book.

Rating Michael Crichton on his prose, either its subtlety or execution, is sort of po
...more
Trudi

I had some idea what to expect when I picked up the late Michael Crichton's sci-fi thriller Sphere because I'd seen the movie years ago -- a movie I love by the way despite a lot of lambasting from the critics and grumbling from the book's fans. Sure it isn't perfect (with its moments of cheese and flubs); nevertheless, the exciting, chilling core of Crichton's story is evident and for me the film still stands as a great example of escapist cinema, that mesmerizing addictive blend of science fic
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Sphere, Michael Crichton
Sphere is a 1987 novel by Michael Crichton. It was adapted into the film Sphere in 1998. The story follows Norman Johnson, a psychologist engaged by the United States Navy, who joins a team of scientists assembled to examine a spacecraft of unknown origin, discovered on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The novel begins as a science fiction story, but quickly transforms into a psychological thriller, developing into an exploration of the nature of the human imagination. ..
...more
Joe Valdez
Bullet points seem appropriate when it comes to Sphere, the 1987 science fiction thriller by Michael Crichton. One of the qualities about Crichton's work that I love is the unabashed clarity of his concepts and the dependable navigation of his novels. Crichton doesn't seem like he's lost or should stop to ask for directions. Other writers--those with loftier creative ambitions, perhaps--tend to circle around ideas (like mankind's first contact with extraterrestrials) as if they've never been in ...more
ashley c
2.5 stars. Was debating whether to give it a 2.5 or a 3, with the number changing throughout the book. Man, this was... Lukewarm? Lackluster? Disappointing, definitely.

What I liked
• Interesting premise that held my attention up until the middle of the book, where improbable things start happening and Crichton failed to make them feel real
• Slightly dry, witty style of writing, but again, made the dialogue really unrealistic

What I didn't like
• Terribly written characters. Crichton really overd
...more
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Well... that was very strange.

This book is a combination of psychological thriller and science fiction. It follows a group of scientists as they investigate what is thought to be an alien vessel that crashed on the ocean floor.

Crichton's musings have a tendency to be deeply speculative of the human condition, but without using language that alienates the audience. I can follow his line of thinking easily without getting lost.

This novel's plot takes a sharp left turn off the path I expected it t
...more
Hayley ☾ (TheVillainousReader)
“You look so unhappy right now.” That is a quote from my boyfriend about my face while reading this. I fell asleep while reading this. In the middle of the day. It also took me almost three months to read. Safe to say, I did not enjoy it. I absolutely love/loved Jurassic Park (who doesn’t) so I was really excited to dive into my second Michael Crichton book. Boy was it a let down.

I’m not going to lie, the writing was really good, the science was fun and the characters were likable but boy was t
...more
Michael
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this when I was in high school, and was one of the few times I've been up nearly all night reading, saying to myself every hour, "I need to go to sleep," but then couldn't put it down. The movie adaptation was atrocious, so don't judge this story based on the film (I always pictured Ted Knight in the role of Ted, not Liev Schreiber [though Mr Schreiber is a talented actor]). The story has a very tense, claustrophobic feel, and rightly so, as the characters are trapped at the bottom of the o ...more
Ova - Excuse My Reading
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Oh I liked this book!
The psychological thriller combined with sci-fi: an excellent mix!

Can't wait to watch the movie adaption now.

A spacecraft is found underwater...There is a sphere inside it. A group of scientists are sent to investigate but of course, strange things start to happen. Tense and gripping.
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
Well, I had no idea there was a Sphere book. I only saw the movie and thought that was it. Not to mention that the book is written by the same author as Jurassic Park.

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.
...more
Bradley
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
One of the first books I ever read, and will always hold a big place in my heart. There's always room for (view spoiler). ...more
Richard
I'm reading Nick Cutter's upcoming horror novel The Deep right now and it's reminded me of how much I enjoyed Sphere, Michael Crichton's best novel. It was my favorite book when I was a kid. I remember what a page-turner it was and how much the tension kept ratcheting up until it was unbearable. I remember the plot being extremely clever as well, and how much of it was dependent on less of the sci-fi aspects and more on the characters themselves. I read it so much when I was younger, the book fe ...more
Murf the Surf
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you all remember how great the Andromeda Strain was and how us baby boomers were hooked therefore on Crichton's future endeavors, however unscientific and implausible his writings became? Being a science, SciFi, and computer geek, I ate up any dish he served. I believe many of you were not that impressed today with his writing, and have missed a lot because of the movies instead. I truly enjoyed this book and could easily see how a movie would be made someday in the future. Since this review ...more
Kay
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Five civilian experts were selected to join a small Navy crew to the south Pacific. They were to explore a spacecraft at a thousand feet depth that had crashed over three hundred years ago.

This was such a fun sci-fi thriller. It gives you claustrophobia induced experience of being in an underwater habitat - a damp, confined space. It also has the psycho factor, Normaaaaan. It gives me the creeps. The ending, though, was not what I had expected.
Clare
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OVERALL AVERAGE RATING: 3.9

Characters: 4/5
Although it was sizable cast, each character had such a distinctive and memorable personality. The book to some extent was about how these different personalities would react in a crisis situation, and overall, I think Crichton did a good job fleshing that out.

Plot: 4/5
The plot was well-paced, and had enough mystery and intrigue to keep it compelling. It certainly had some twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting, and it was fun to see that unfold.

Writ
...more
YouKneeK
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an exciting and very fast-paced read, and for the most part I enjoyed it. It was my first time reading anything by Crichton, although I had watched the Jurassic Park movies several years back.

The story opens with our main character, a psychologist named Norman, being flown to a remote location in the Pacific Ocean where he expects to encounter a plane crash with survivors that need counseling. Instead, he finds that he’s going to be part of a team of scientists who will be going more th
...more
W
May 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Michael Crichton's books can be hit or miss affairs,this one was definitely a miss.

An alien vessel crashes on the ocean floor.It is a three hundred year old spaceship. How many times has a similar idea about aliens and space ships been used in science fiction and in movies,I've lost count.

A team of scientists is assembled and put in harm's way to investigate. Crichton's characters seem pretty one dimensional to me.It is hard to distinguish one from the other.

One by one the scientists start poppi
...more
Victor
Feb 20, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I wouldnt wish this on my worst enemies
Words cannot express the contempt I harbor for this book.
My hatred for it knows no boundries. There are few pieces of literature that I cannot come to appreciate in some way, even fewer that compel me to demand the time back that I spent reading it so that I may do something more productive like piss on the third rail.

It was rather suprising, considering Michael Crichton has published some excellent work. I guess he pulled this one out of his ass while drunk/high/stoned/oncrack/bordering on suic
...more
Rob
Executive Summary: A strong start and a pretty strong finish, but I found a lot of the last quarter or so on the slow side. This is a pretty solid 3.5 stars that could be rounded up or down depending on my mood at the time.

Audiobook: Apparently this book had been released in audio before, but for some reason Brilliance Audio seems to be (re)releasing a bunch of his books recently. Scott Brick does his usual quality job. Whenever you see Mr. Brick's name on an audiobook, you know you're going to
...more
Chris Dietzel
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of 'Sphere' is probably the greatest thing Crichton ever wrote. The amount of plot twists, each superbly executed, is excellent. However, the second half of the book falls apart as it becomes a different type of story than the first half. Still a very good read and one of Crichton's top five best books, but I just found myself wishing the story could have unfolded at the same high level from the first page to the last.
Noelle
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
it is awsome!!!!!!!!!!
Toe
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
✨Sumi's Books✨
A great book!
Dr. Norman Johnson is flown to the middle of the South Pacific and dredged thousands of feet below the surface to investigate a so-called plane crash. The operation is military-run and Norman suspects from the very beginning that there is more than meets the eye. Upon meeting his other team members and being briefed by Captain Barnes, who is head of the operation, he soon learns that they're actually investigating an alien spacecraft more than 300 years old at the bottom of the ocea
...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
'Sphere' by Michael Crichton is a superior read in science fiction entertainment! The moments of ROTF are many, primarily because of the intentionally funny dialogue I adored. (In my checkered history of trying to make a living, I worked as a secretary for a Department Head at a Medical Center/Science facility at a famous University. Science investigators ARE remarkably territorial, argumentative and viciously competitive.) I also was fascinated by the protocols the author mentions that have bee ...more
Margaret Taylor
A black man, a white man, and a white woman all get the power to warp reality to their will. The black man and the white woman can't handle the power and nearly get the group killed. The white man saves the day by being more emotionally stable than them.

ಠ_ಠ

I don't think Michael Crichton meant Sphere to come out sounding that way, but his characters are so paper-thin there's nothing left of them but their stereotypes.

Norman Johnson, professor of psychology, gets called in by the Navy to investiga
...more
Jayanth
Update: Lowered the rating to 3 from 4 stars. Was just thinking of Crichton's works I've read and this was so underwhelming in terms of what it promised and what it delivered by the end.

I had a claustrophobic feeling all through while reading this thrilling book about the discovery and the consequent scientific expedition to understand the alien spacecraft lying on the pacific ocean bed, a 1000-feet deep.

A team is assembled and is sent out into the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Ocean. The s
...more
Andrea
Michael Crichton had some amazing ideas, as pretty much all the blurbs on his books catch my interest. But, and that's a big "but", the writing is terrible. Sphere is heavy on dialogue, flat characters, and sensational action scenes. It's obvious that Crichton's true calling was screenplay writing, and so far all of the books that I've read by him were made into movies. He often wrote about interesting and very much possible technologies, but I so wish his execution was better. Nevertheless, thi ...more
Laura
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book until the end. The end, though! OH MY GOD THE END. So terrible. So utterly terrible.
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Michael Crichton (1942-2008) was one of the most successful novelists of his generation, admired for his meticulous scientific research and fast-paced narrative. He graduated summa cum laude and earned his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1969. His first novel, Odds On (1966), was written under the pseudonym John Lange and was followed by seven more Lange novels. He also wrote as Michael Doug ...more

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“This is the gift of your species and this is the danger, because you do not choose to control your imaginings. You imagine wonderful things and you imagine terrible things, and you take no responsibility for the choice. You say you have inside you both the power of good and the power of evil, the angel and the devil, but in truth you have just one thing inside you - the ability to imagine.” 62 likes
“Do you want to understand how to swim, or do you want to jump in and start swimming? Only people who are afraid of the water want to understand it. Other people jump in and get wet.” 49 likes
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