Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
on 24 October 2007
Sphere is a fine novel of suspense, intrigue, excitement...and psychology.
The main character of the book, Norman Johnson, is a psychologist, and so it is that Sphere changes from being a science fiction novel to a psychological thriller, particularly in its last quarter. This isn't the sort of genre I'd normally read, but I enjoyed this.
The story starts off building slowly, and after 80 pages or so it's flying. There is intrigue and mystery by the bundle as the mysteries of the underwater spaceship and its equally enigmatic sphere are first discovered and then unravelled. The nature of the sphere is never fully explained, and I liked this ambiguity. Certainly we do get answers to many questions as the book draws to a close, but it also leaves some questions - perhaps the "larger" questions - unresolved, being as they are beyond the scope of human understanding. You should find that the answers we are provided with are satisfactory, though.
The second half of the book contains much more excitement, as alien contact is made and the local sea life becomes hostile. But simultaneously Sphere becomes much more psychological at this point, too. The characters start to grate on each other and play games with each other, and it's a race to see which one will turn psychotic first. Will they destroy each other before the sphere does? It's all very intense. However, if you are like me, you will feel almost sad that the sci-fi elements of the story begin to be superseded by the psychological aspects. This book draws a fine line between genre fiction and a simple thriller.
The book has a nice ending which made me smile, and the story, such as it is, is wrapped up logically and clinically. I don't really have any major complaints about it. Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely.
I would say that Sphere is just as good as Jurassic Park, but in a different way. While JP offers breakneck excitement and exhilaration, Sphere offers more subtle thrills and intrigues, and is probably on a slightly deeper level. Both have their merits and attractions. All I'll say is: if you want a good read of any sort, read Sphere.