If up until now I have been saying about each book that it was the best book I have ever read, I was lying … because compared with this book they all come down to nothing. For four days I have been reading non stop all 370, or so, pages and that?s a first for me in English or Hebrew.
Highly recommended to all si-fi fans out-there.
I find it hard to condense the plot of 370 pages to just a few pages, however, I will try my best.
It all starts in mid-ocean, a group of scientists, each a specialist in his field, is sent down sea to investigate a strange finding. The project is classified — top secret no information must flow in or out. It turns out that the u.s navy had stumbled on to a strange craft of some sort. The navy believes that it is a space — craft not of earthly origin, as the technology used to construct the craft is yet unknown to humans.
The group, as it turns out, is a part of a project that Norman (the psychologist in the group) was assigned to, years before by the army, in case of first contact with alien beings. They are now out to fulfill their mission with great uncertainties.
Throughout the book Crichton raises some very interesting question about the possible encounter with alien beings. Questions like how is it possible to communicate with a being that might be four dimensional and has a totally different conception of the universe. Or what if the alien breaths cyanide or some other poisonous gas and might inadvertently kill humans not understanding the concept of LIVING.
Back in the story our heroes go aboard the ship and to their amazement they find English encryption that suggest that its origin is earthly. They finally figure out that the ship is probably from the future and that due to a malfunction something happened to it and it got back in time to our time and era. In the ship they find futuristic contraptions and among all the common human-made stuff they see, they find a strange sphere which with no doubt is alien-made. They theorize what it is and what is its purpose and how to open it, but they cannot open it in any way. Until the mathematician succeeds in opening it. He goes in and the sphere closes behind him. They later find him lying on the floor disoriented and confused, but still they do not know how to open it. It seems that the mathematician forgot how he had opened it.
Soon after that incident strange things start to happened. Suddenly the ocean floor that was totally dead is covered with plantation, proms and lobsters begin to flood the water with no reason and then disappear. And then the giant squid attacks start and people from the under water installation start to die. As the plot continues Beth the zoologist figures out how to open the sphere and goes in. She also comes out disoriented and does not remember a thing. Through deductive reasoning they figure out that the things that are happening to them are actually the product of their the thoughts. But by the time they figure that out only three of them are left alive. And because of the enormous powers given to them they get paranoid and not well balanced and that creates greater problems.
In the end they escape the under-sea installation and head back up. The thing that bothered most the mathematician is that despite the fact that they found the ship from the future, they did not find any evidence that the people who built it had seen something like it before. Which meant, that the ship was probably never discovered in the past. Which meant that they probably all died before getting word on the ship. And he could not figure out how that could happen. They finally deduce that if they all combine powers and use them in order to forget what they saw and change the physical evidence too, it could answer that paradox. And of course they do that and they live happily ever after.