While gripping, Michael Crichton’s SPHERE didn't fulfill more of what I thought should, might or could happen by the end.
A crew of American scientists, including psychologist Norman Johnson, discover an alien spacecraft at the bottom of the South Pacific. Where did it come from? Who sent it here? How can we present-day humans study it, use it, learn from it? The military element, led by the US Navy and Project Commander Captain Harold C. Barnes, have their objectives of adding it to the Navy weapon stockpile. Others, like astrophysicist/planetary geologist Ted Fielding and mathematician/logician Harold Adams, want to apply hard science and logic to the findings. But, it’s not just the spacecraft in question that galvanizes the crew a thousand feet below the surface. There’s the titular SPHERE, with its mysterious power that each of them and others in the tale, find out has a very peculiar effect on those who dare to engage its enigmas. A number of the specialists do dare, which results in tragedies to themselves, their colleagues and the temporary habitats in which they dwell.
The mystery of the SPHERE draws the reader in, of course, and Crichton keeps the fingers turning the pages through the various scientific, logical, and psychological theories, facts, and truths via all the main characters. Everyone contributes to the tension with the, ‘What If’s?’ What did creep me out was the first communique with the SPHERE. From there, Crichton effectively bounces the evolution of the SPHERE's properties through the dialogue exchanges and Johnson’s POV. All these characters are an interesting lot with their staunch intellectualism, which based upon Crichton's other works I'm sure is a mainstay to his science fiction/thriller craft. There’s ingenious to this layman’s mind on how some of the characters decipher the alien communique that eventually leads to the showdown or series of showdowns until the ending. It’s here where I was a bit like, huh? Is that all? The power of the imagination or the mind to construct any entity or alter that entity or a situation was the key power within the SPHERE? Did I miss something? It is what it is as the saying goes, but I was looking for more revelation than that. If I did miss the gist of the story, somebody in the group tell me different, please. So, on the basis of my understanding, the fact that I did turn the pages and it is a hard R rating read, I give it three or three and a half stars.