Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sphere” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  124,344 Ratings  ·  2,099 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 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 leas ...more
Paperback, 371 pages
Published June 23rd 1997 by Ballantine Books (first published 1987)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sphere, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Jeffrey As with most (if not all) of Crichton's novels, it's a thriller. I found this one had a little bit of a slower pace, but I believe it pays off with…moreAs with most (if not all) of Crichton's novels, it's a thriller. I found this one had a little bit of a slower pace, but I believe it pays off with some really interesting ideas and twists.(less)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingTwilight by Stephenie MeyerHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. RowlingThe Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The BOOK was BETTER than the MOVIE
93rd out of 1,355 books — 17,852 voters
Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank Herbert1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books
94th out of 5,614 books — 18,676 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 09, 2015 Alejandro 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.


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 Th
Jul 10, 2007 Jamie 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

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
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
Jan 28, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing
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
Ashley Chua
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
Richard Vialet
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
Six years previously, Professor Norman Goodman, behavioural psychologist, prepared a secret report on how the US government might handle an alien invasion, specifically the issue of population panic. It was shelved. Now he is whisked off on short notice to a remote part of the Pacific Ocean to be part of a team of experts investigating a possible alien contact.

US Navy Capt Barnes briefs the team that an ‘anomaly’ detected on the ocean floor may be an alien spacecraft. The team is transported by
Murf the Surf
Sep 22, 2016 Murf the Surf rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 21, 2013 Brad rated it it was amazing
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).
Dec 22, 2009 Noelle rated it it was amazing
it is awsome!!!!!!!!!!
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
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
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 which 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 ha ...more
Feb 20, 2008 Victor rated it did not like it
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
Dec 16, 2011 Lowed rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I liked this book but it wasn't what I was expecting. Crichton books that I have read so far have always been firmly in the scientific world, I feel this one branched out a little. Thats not a bad thing, just not expected. As with most of his books the pace is fast and you feel like one thing after another happens without letting you catch your breath. The characters are believably flawed and human, no perfect hero's or villains which is nice.
If I could change one thing about the book it would
Jan 11, 2009 Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I really loved this book when I read it as a teenager. Too bad the movie version sucked.
Very entertaining, despite the flawed writing and flat characters. The sci-fi storyline kept me turning the pages even though a part of my brain was questioning the lack of explanation and the implausibility of much of the non-sci-fi aspects of the story. A sort of popcorn flick only in book form...with lots of butter, but still a little burnt.
L'abisso come scenario per scendere nella cripta della mente, luogo che mostra il lato oscuro, ma di cui è necessario prendere coscienza per riequilibrare la propria personalità nelle sue manifestazioni interiori ed esterne.
Crichton prende come tema il concetto di Ombra secondo la Psicologia Analitica di C.G.Jung e ne ricava un thriller psicologico con caratteristiche iniziatiche, verso la scoperta di sè sconosciuti sempre in agguato quando le condizioni ambientali scatenano all'improvviso situa
Jul 25, 2008 Zatchmo rated it it was amazing
A team of people have been called to a ship in the middle of the ocean. No one knows why they have been called, or exactly where they are. All they have been told, is that something has been discovered under the sea. As the team embarks on their journey, they wonder what they will find, and why all the secrecy? Soon, they will find out.

Michael Chrichton has done it again! Although this particular peice of work may not be as believable as his other novels, it exceeds his other books in thrill, a
Ed G
Jul 11, 2007 Ed G rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Crichton fans, adventure fans, mystery fans
All I'm going to say about Crichton is that he has a knack for what I call the "miracle ending". In one summer I read Congo, Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, Terminal Man, The Great Train Robbery and Sphere. I felt the same about each of them when I finished each.

He's a very good writer with captivating storylines, dead on science, compelling plot and in depth characters, but...I feel like he gets tired of writing the same story or can't properly tie things together at the end so he has som
Nikki (Nyx)
Nov 09, 2015 Nikki (Nyx) rated it really liked it
Very interesting read. As always love the balance of technical info and science talk with the narrative and tense story. Norman was an interesting character. I also really liked the way the various characters confusion and thought process was conveyed in the novel.
Cathy (cathepsut)
Definitely better than the movie, which was crap despite some great cast members. Pretty typical mystery/thriller/angst, scientists trapped in a submerged station on the ocean floor, faced wit a sunken not-spoiling-you and scary things happening...
May 08, 2016 Nenado rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: maj-biblioteq
...ponekad naiđete na neku knjigu koja vas nakon čitanja, natera da odgledate (još jednom) i ekranizovanu verziju tog naslova. Zašto?
Mogu da napišem gomilu razloga zašto, ali dovoljna su i dva:
Prvo, tako te brzo i lako uvuče u priču, da imaš osećaj kao da si za njene stranice vezan lancima iz vremena srednjeg veka... i ne pušta te do samog kraja!
Drugi razlog je upravo onaj detalj kojeg sam spomenuo na početku ovog teksta. Ponovo ću da odgledam film..
Mišljenja sam da je najbolja fantastika ona
Jan 11, 2009 Laura rated it it was ok
This was a good book until the end. The end, though! OH MY GOD THE END. So terrible. So utterly terrible.
Feb 23, 2015 Kribu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, read-in-2015
Hmm. Not really even sure what to rate it.

Dreadfully slow beginning - so much so that I tackled maybe a tenth of it and then just set the book aside for weeks. That coincided with a reading slump, so I'm not sure how much blame goes to the book and how much to me, but anyway, I really just couldn't muster up the enthusiasm or interest to continue.

Second attempt went much better, and I liked the middle part of the book well enough - when all the exciting stuff was happening. (Okay, I'm shallow. I
Jul 11, 2014 Rade rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Ever since I was aware of my existence, I always wondered when and if we will ever get in contact with extraterrestrials and whether they will be friendly or vengeful. Will they think we were just small parasites to kill or will they think we were highly intelligent and evolved forms of life? Whatever they think of us, one thing is for sure; we will be scared shitless when they contact us, not knowing their intentions.

While I thought the premise of the book could have been explored more, the wa
Arun Divakar
Dec 04, 2013 Arun Divakar rated it liked it
It is fun to imagine how we would deal with extra terrestrial intelligence if we were ever to find one. What would they look and think like ? Will they be similar to Close Encounters or to War Of The Worlds ? Since they come from a totally different region of space, it would be logical to assume that even the concept of intelligence would be drastically different from how we have imagined it to be. Crichton's take on such an intelligence appears down at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and like v ...more
John Jr.
Jan 02, 2012 John Jr. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: techno-thriller
As with The Andromeda Strain, I was reluctant at the time (and still am) to place this in the category of genuine science fiction as I think of it, although I admit that it resembles what many people call SF, first in being fairly strong on the science and decidedly weak on the fiction, second in that it does present what one reviewer here called a "thought experiment" built on a more or less scientific idea. To account for my rating, one star less than I gave to The Andromeda Strain (my reminis ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Abyss
  • Star Wars - Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Binary
  • Rama II (Rama, #2)
  • Tyrannosaur Canyon (Wyman Ford #1)
  • Outbreak (Dr. Marissa Blumenthal, #1)
  • Prelude to Foundation
  • The Loch
  • Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan Universe, #8)
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (Star Trek TOS: Movie Novelizations, #2)
  • Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark
  • Deep Fathom
  • Dark Force Rising (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, #2)
  • Neanderthal
  • Natural Selection
  • The Chronoliths
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 Douglas ...more
More about Michael Crichton...

Share This Book

“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.” 54 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.” 39 likes
More quotes…