Sphere - Michael Crichton

***** Sci-fi technothriller, with a psychological twist

In general, when I read a book on which a film was based, I like to make comparisons, to understand the choices made to make this type of transposition possible, and to give the characters the faces of the actors, during my reading experience.
In this case I couldn’t do it, because I couldn’t remember anything about the film. I thought that going on in reading my memory would be awakened, but that wasn’t the case. I don’t know if it is due to the fact that the film had not impressed me (yet it seems to me that I liked it) or the excessive differences between the two products. The fact is, I found myself reading this book without knowing anything about the story and I could therefore enjoy all the twists.
This novel is part of a pattern typical of many of Crichton’s successful works. The core of it is a scientific/technological topic, in this case the extreme conditions of a submarine base to which a sci-fi “discovery” is added (I won’t give any details to avoid spoilers), on which the author provides us with a lot of information throughout the book. Around it he creates a story with a protagonist, a psychologist called Norman, which is narrated from the point of view of the latter. Then he adds another whole series of characters, each with their own role and characteristics. In this context, the scientific/technological element appears perfectly under control, but in reality this is only what the characters are falsely convinced of. At some point, however, something goes wrong, yet another demonstration that making a not entirely considered use of science and technology, driven by curiosity and the desire for discovery, is always a big mistake. And from that moment on, the characters begin to die, except for a few, who are eventually saved.
To all this, in this novel, a strong psychological element is added. Yes, because the answers that the characters are looking for are not in the subject of their research, but inside themselves. And “Sphere” is nothing but Norman’s psychological journey, who as a normal man in an exceptional situation brings out the worst and the best of himself.
Everything takes place whilst keeping the reader turning the pages and forcing him to continue reading a book that has a structure that is anything but traditional (there are no numbered chapters, but a set of scenes without interruption, occasionally interspersed with a title), up to the ending, which, if we think about it, is the only one possible for such a story.

Sphere on Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. The book made me think and wonder. Unreliable narratives, near future tech. Standard reaction to the author. If his best work is a good meal at a white linen tablecloth restaurant, Sphere is dinner at The Olive Garden. The movie is a McRib.