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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, brilliant book, 15 Oct 2007
By 
Teemacs (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss (Hardcover)
I've always been fascinated by the deep sea. As David Attenborough has pointed out in the marvellous BBC series "Blue Planet", half of the world's surface is covered by water more than a mile deep, and we still know very little about what goes on down there. More men have walked on the moon than have penetrated the deepest ocean depths. This magnificent publication helps redress the balance. It takes you down to this bizarre world with its pitch blackness and crushing pressures and shows you some of its inhabitants (I believe a new species is discovered every ten days). The pictures are augmented by fascinating descriptions. The only sad note is that two of the creatures depicted, the two enormous squids (giant and colossal) with their dinner plate-sized eyes, will probably never be seen the way they have been depicted (artists' representations, as opposed to photos) - it was only recently that Japanese researchers got actual photos of the live animals. Still the artists' representations are fascinating and excite the imagination with the knowledge that there be real monsters down there and that this is what they look like.

Claire Nouvian has done us a great service by producing this book showing us an extraordinary world, and one which man is in the process of destroying without even knowing what's down there.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I need somebody to love!", 8 Jan 2008
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss (Hardcover)
Joe Cocker's lament at Woodstock might well be echoed by the horde of bizarre creatures inhabiting the world's ocean depths. Their forms are alien - in fact, at least one may be the Earthly version of the film's off-world predator. Their habitat is cold and dark, yet there is more opportunity to flourish, and perhaps more species reflecting that condition, than the surface we're familiar with now contains. Many live on the remains of life drifting down from the surface or shallow layers. Others seek out prey in a number of zones in the water column. For there are but two things inhabiting this stygian realm - animals and minerals. Life is spent "looking for something to eat or somebody to love". In this spectacular album of photographs, accompanied by informative essays by oceanic researchers, we are given a first clear view into an unknown zone of life's largest arena.

Although quite possibly the zone where life began billions of years ago, the deep sea has long been hidden. Sunlight fades quickly, and perceptible colours shift from blue to red, then disappear. In the deeps, red is the dominant biological colour because nothing can see it. Reflecting this, the photographs are dominated by scarlet-hued creatures who only wish to be seen by potential mates. Others are almost perfectly transparent, a survival trait in a locale where having too much brain, heart or eyes can be fatally visible. Shapes vary across species with infinite ingenuity, but no few of these creatures can modify their profile either on demand or as part of their normal life cycle. With survival always a challenge, both predators and prey must be able to adapt effectively. From our viewpoint, seeing these animals in fully-illuminated conditions, they seem to stand out vividly. Nouvian and the researchers point out why we need to reconsider the images to what life is like in the chilling depths. Depths where the pressure is the equivalent of a cow standing on your thumbnail. And Joe Cocker's plaint might need revising in the face of mating habits of the black seadevil. The male attaches himself to his mate's body and is slowly absorbed into her flesh when she's utilised all his sperm to fertilise her eggs.

In her Preface, Nouvian opens by relating her astonishment at seeing a film of creatures found deep in the Monterey Canyon off the California coast. "These animals aren't real!" she exclaimed - probably in chorus with the other viewers. As you turn the pages, you can hardly blame her: an octopus with "rabbit" ears, a sponge resembling the Brussels "Atomium", and a host of species that have never seen the sun - a condition we were all assured in school wasn't possible. There were hints - the 19th Century exploration ship HMS Challenger brought up evidence of deep life, as had many a fishing net. Relocating deep-sea creatures to the surface is a hazardous undertaking - for them. Those transparent bodies are fragile, shattering or dissolving shape when they emerge. William Beebe descended into the Western Atlantic in a steel ball, but it's the introduction of the Remote Observing Vehicles that have brought information from the deep for us to see. Look quickly, because the bottom of the sea isn't immune to the effect of shifts in climate we're generating.

It is the greatest area on the planet where life exists. We would do well to begin to understand it. This book is an outstanding introduction to this unknown part of our world. Take it up and learn about forms of life seen only in dreams and visions - until now. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely stunning, 8 Oct 2007
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This review is from: The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss (Hardcover)
Well done Claire Nouvian - I have been a fan of the fascinating denizens of the deep for many years, and have a lot of books on the subject, but this is the best so far. It's full of beautiful photos, printed on very high quality art paper, with excellent descriptions and accompanying stories by renowned sea explorers.

For anyone with the slightest interest in sea life, this book is a treasure trove of delights, to inspire dreams for years to come.

I can't recommend this highly enough - buy this book; you won't regret it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb but poor printing, 27 April 2008
By 
Tachelet Bruno (Genk - Belgium) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss (Hardcover)
Like already mentioned above, this is a superb book with stunning images.

But while they where printing my book, I guess there should have been a desert storm in the neighbourhood of the printing-office: lots of pages have dust particles on the edges (about 3 cm inward the center of the book) of the page.
That's a real shame and a real insult to the photographer.
As you might know, 1000 m below the surface of the sea, everything is inkblack. But because of the poor printing, the black environment is filled with white dustparticles, so the contrast between the beautiful photographed species and the black environment is almost completely gone.
Shame on the lousy French printing-office.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very curious indeed, 16 April 2011
This review is from: The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss (Hardcover)
These weird creatures are down there, minding their own business and squirming for life in their dark habitat, and along come the submarine explorers (effectively from outer space as far as these fishy things are concerned) with their metal bodies and flashguns. Then they appear in this book, which is a real eye-opener. Some of these critters are deep-sea versions of things we've seen before, others, are well, just alien-looking.

This is more than a picture book of bizarre aliens who live on our planet though, as the incredible photo sequences are interspersed with detailed essays from experts in marine science. All the creatures are properly captioned (and there is an index of binomial species names for reference).

I could have maybe done with the occasional map to visualise the undersea geopgraphy, but that's really a minor quibble. Another minor quibble concerns the sometimes clunky quality of the English text; I have a feeling this would be a lot smoother in French. Had these factors been different, and the whole thing slightly cheaper, it would readily get 5*.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book but expensive here, 8 Dec 2008
By 
A. Wright (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss (Hardcover)
Fantastic book, with really spell binding photographs. I find it amazing, the creatures that live on our planet, yet we never see them and can't imaginbe the harshness of their environment.

On the down side, Amazon RRP this book at £26+ where as I've found, with minimum research, other sites thar have an RRP of £21 and free postage. Amazon what is this about?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fab imagery, 2 July 2012
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This review is from: The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss (Hardcover)
Bought this book for an upcoming university project..the imagery is fantastic, great page layouts and lots of information. Explains the depths of the waters and the different creatures living within the different layers. Fantastic product worth the money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 5 May 2009
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This review is from: The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss (Hardcover)
Excellent book full of extremely good photos with accompanying text.
Very informative and well written.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the deep ocean or just nature in general.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good and very different, 30 Dec 2009
This review is from: The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss (Hardcover)
This book is unique. You can see animals that you have never seen before. It is highly recommended.
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11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind-Boggling Voyage: Like a Trip to an Alien Star System, 2 Jun 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss (Hardcover)
Many people are attracted to science fiction because the writers make interesting speculations about how life can be different under conditions other than those we experience as humans. Such books often conjure up images of bug-eyed aliens with beautiful colors and amazingly symmetrical features.

Others love to see photographs of exotic wild animals, whether beautiful prey surviving amidst the carnivores in the African veldt, rare species on volcanic islands in the Galapagos, or male Emperor Penguins huddling to keep their eggs warm during the worst of the Antarctic winter. You can't help but change your life perspective by seeing those images.

If either shift in focus appeals to you, you have the treat of a lifetime ahead of you: The Deep will change your view of life forever.

Simply because we couldn't explore the depths of the ocean until very recently, people assumed that nothing was going on far beneath the surface. I can see why. I once took a harbor cruise in a submarine and we didn't have to go down very far before all color was leached out of the water and there was a desert around us. Naturally, the further away from the surface, the less light and oxygen there are. Life as we are used to it require lots of both.

But the oceans hold many surprises. The mountain ranges in the oceans are taller than the Himalayas. The canyons make the Grand Canyon look tiny by comparison. Around vents of volcanic discharge in rift zones, toxic minerals are transformed into useful food by bacteria and life flourishes based on different chemistry than we see on the surface. A dead whale can create an oasis of life deep in the ocean for decades. Methane seeps can also feed life and make it flourish. Deep sea coral are vaster than those we see in atolls. Jelly fishes and sea cucumbers flourish at incredible depths and in intense pressures. And it's not always dark. Many creatures provide their own light and can vary the intensity and color at will to look like the ocean itself -- a whole new dimension to camouflage.

Migrations of species vary also. The daily rhythm is to go up or down in depth to take advantage of food and to avoid predators. Seasonally, the vertical migration also occurs for similar reasons. Tiny creatures may swim thousands of meters up and down as a result.

The variety of life in the deep oceans is staggering: Most of the species on earth are there . . . and most have not yet been seen. There are probably 10 million species we haven't experienced yet. Can you imagine that?

The beauty and the eeriness of these creatures are almost beyond description. Some look like a science fiction illustrator's view of Martians. Others look like prehistoric creatures . . . and indeed some of the species are hundreds of millions of years old.

There's also a human lesson here: Like in most of the earth, the natural beauty is being plundered for gain. While deep sea trawling only captures 0.2 percent of the world's catch, it is destroying areas bigger than Europe as habitats for exotic life forms. Because these areas are outside the boundaries of any country, they are harvested in unlimited ways.

You'll gaze in wonder at these photographs and have your mind expanded wonderfully by the excellent essays in the book.

Unlike many books that capture images of animals, many of these photographs are larger than life . . . allowing you to enhance your observations over what you could experience in the wild. If you are like me, you'll wonder why the author put in four computer-generated images that obviously look phony. The real thing is unbelievably amazing without any tricks.

Deepen your sense of wonder at God's amazing creation with The Deep.
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The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss
The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss by Claire Nouvian (Hardcover - 27 Mar 2007)
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