A marine biologist explores the extraordinary ecosystem of the deep ocean—a realm about which we know less than we do about the Moon—and shows how protecting rather than exploiting it will benefit mankind.
... the book’s purview is technically all of history, but the incredible paucity of interaction people have had with the deep sea means that most of the information here takes the form of news delivered as a dire, last-minute warning ... a manifesto for change as much as it is a description of an ecological crisis. Its overall effect is not to clarify the waters—to create something as bright and blue as a Cameron scene—but to insist that what’s already down there matters, even or especially when it is hidden from our view.
... it’s so comprehensive and insightful that it will be a long time before it’s surpassed ... In the first half of her book, Scales does an excellent job of animating the almost unbelievable panoply of life in the deep. As an explorer herself, she has seen things first-hand that few others will ever witness. But it is the second part of her book, devoted to the human impacts on the abyss, which brought gasps to my throat ... It is hard to imagine a more timely or important book than The Brilliant Abyss. Carefully conceived and luminously written, it is certain to be a bestseller, which gives me hope that its urgent message might help save the world.
The Oscar-winning documentary My Octopus Teacher chronicles the unlikely friendship between a South African naturalist and an octopus ... It’s also a celebration of the ocean’s strange beauty. So too is Helen Scales’ The Brilliant Abyss ... The author lucidly explains not only the geological contours of the deep but also the animals that inhabit it ... Scales bids us to think of the deep not merely as a place to exploit for resources, but as a wondrous abode that we are compelled to protect— a precious realm that we should all care about.