The Abyss (Card novel)

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The Abyss
Author Orson Scott Card
Country United States
Language English
Genre Science fiction
Publisher Time Warner Books
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages 368
ISBN 978-0671740771

The Abyss (1989) is a science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card based on an original screenplay by James Cameron.

Plot introduction[edit]

The novel The Abyss is similar to the film The Abyss in terms of story but it gives the main characters greater depth and background. It also gives more attention to the aliens’ point of view.

Card wrote the novel based on the screenplay and discussions with Cameron. He wrote back stories for Bud Brigman, Lindsey Brigman and Hiram Coffey as a means not only of helping the actors define their roles, but also to justify some of their behavior and mannerisms in the film. For example, Lindsay's mother was a prissy socialite intent on raising well-mannered, popular, "feminine" daughters, while her father was a civil engineer unable to share his interests with his children. Once Lindsey discovers that she inherited her father's engineering skills, it affects her entire family perspective and life goals. Coffey was written as a child of a poor single mother who joined the SEALs as a way to give himself a purpose after her remarriage. Separating his worldview into "Them" (Outsiders) and "Us" (him and his mother) defined some of his thought processes in the film as he worked to protect his men from the perceived "Soviet" threat.

Card also wrote the aliens as a colonizing species which preferentially sought high-pressure deepwater worlds to build their ships as they traveled further into the galaxy. Their knowledge of neuroanatomy and nanoscale manipulation of biochemistry was responsible for many of the deus ex machina aspects of the film; an NTI saved a diver's life after a breathing mixture accident, prevented permanent brain damage during Bud's 2 mile dive, which allowed him to properly disarm the warhead, and a number of NTIs microscopically infiltrated the crew upon their rise to the surface to prevent decompression sickness. The alien reaction to human warfare in the director's cut was explained to be a result of their monitoring of radio communications and copying the memories of the dead submarine crew; their interactions with the crew of Deep Core finally persuaded them to halt their attack on the coastlines and instead attempt peaceful contact.

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