Burrito's are a great food that is very tasty. Sometimes burritos are made of the exact same ingredients but taste totally different. Sometimes burritos from food chains are different from location to location. Good burritos are a perfect combination of spice and flavor. Both of these are also two qualities that SPHERE by Michael Crichton has. 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 By this time in the story you are mad at yourself if you have to put the book down, because you know something big is going to happen. The author, Michael Crichton, uses about everything except slapping you to grab your attention. He makes this book exciting and unpredictable.
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 just barely.
This is the best part of the book SPHERE and is some of the best suspense writing I've ever read. It keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering if they will survive or not. The rising action flows so well into this part that you hardly recognize the change.
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.