The Brilliant Abyss: True Tales of Exploring the Deep Sea, Discovering Hidden Life and Selling the Seabed


Out of Print
The Brilliant Abyss: True Tales of Exploring the Deep Sea, Discovering Hidden Life and Selling the Seabed Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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Pages: 352 Illustrations and other contents: black and white illustrations throughout and an 8-page colour section Language: English ISBN: 9781472966865 Categories: , , , , , ,

The deep sea is the last, vast wilderness on the planet. For centuries, myth-makers and storytellers have concocted imaginary monsters of the deep, and now scientists are looking there to find bizarre, unknown species, chemicals to make new medicines, and to gain a greater understanding of how this world of ours works. With an average depth of 12,000 feet and chasms that plunge much deeper, it forms a frontier for new discoveries.

The Brilliant Abyss tells the story of our relationship with the deep sea – how we imagine, explore and exploit it. It captures the golden age of discovery we are currently in and looks back at the history of how we got here, while also looking forward to the unfolding new environmental disasters that are taking place miles beneath the waves, far beyond the public gaze.

Throughout history, there have been two distinct groups of deep-sea explorers. Both have sought knowledge but with different and often conflicting ambitions in mind. Some people want to quench their curiosity; many more have been lured by the possibilities of commerce and profit. The tension between these two opposing sides is the theme that runs throughout the book, while readers are taken on a chronological journey through humanity’s developing relationship with the deep sea. The Brilliant Abyss ends by looking forwards to humanity’s advancing impacts on the deep, including mining and pollution and what we can do about them.

Weight0.530712 kg




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Scales’s approach is […] enthralling and richly expressed and highlights how closely our lives depend on the deep.” * Robin McKie, The Observer * It is hard to imagine a more timely or important book than The Brilliant Abyss. * New Statesman * Marine biologist Helen Scales’s The Brilliant Abyss is a literary bathysphere enabling us to explore this final frontier from the comfort of dry land, and a passionate plea for us to preserve ocean biodiversity, even if just for our own good. * Steven Poole, The Daily Telegraph * Helen Scales is one of those rare scientists who can capture the excitement of science. The Brilliant Abyss has a thrill on every page as she explores the deep and little known ocean. But this comes with a warning. Man’s destruction is now reaching the remotest corners of the planet and our survival depends on stopping it. * Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod * The Brilliant Abyss, Helen Scales’s sweeping survey of the seafloor, is brave enough to risk a darker and, in some ways, more satisfying tone … Scales’s great gift is for transmuting our awe at the wonders of the deep sea into a kind of quiet rage that they could soon be no more. * New York Times Book Review * Written by a highly articulate expert in the field, The Brilliant Abyss is 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. * Tim Flannery, New Statesman * Fascinating … The Brilliant Abyss is a manifesto for change as much as it is a description of an ecological crisis. Its overall effect is not to clarify the waters … but to insist that what’s already down there matters, even or especially when it is hidden from our view. * New Republic *