Michael Crichton is possibly the best science teacher for the masses since H.G. Wells. His thriller about a mysterious spherical spaceship at the bottom of the Pacific, is classic Crichton. A group of not-very-complex characters (Sharon Stone, Dustin Hoffman, Samuel Jackson & Queen Latifah in the film) assemble to solve a cleverly designed roller coaster of a mystery while attempting with mixed success to avoid sudden death & expounding (more successfully) on the latest scientific ideas, including the existence of black holes. He manages to convey the complicated stuff in utterly simplistic prose, making him, as his old pal Steven Spielberg puts it, "the high priest of high concept." Yet there's more to him than science & big-ticket show biz. He's also, as any reader of his startling memoir Travels knows, a bit of a mystic--he's open to notions spouted by spoon-bending psychics most science writers would scorn. Sphere isn't only a gratifying sf suspense tale; it also reflects his keen interest in the unexplained powers of the mind. When something passes thru a black hole in his fiction, a lesson is learned. The book also contains another profound lesson: when you're staring down a giant squid with eyeballs the size of dinner plates, don't blink 1st.