The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss by Claire Nouvain. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, 2007; 256 pages, ISBN 0226595668, hardback, $60.00.
Once in a while a truly breathtaking book comes along to take us out of the mundane world – and this stunning coffee-table book delivers just that. It is about creatures that most of us shall never see. Only 5% of the seafloor has been mapped and scientists are therefore estimating that the number of species yet to be discovered varies between 10-30 million. As such, the photos reproduced here are, alone, worth perusing this book. There are many photos of animals that could have come from another planet – which, in a way, the hidden depths represent. Some readers may view quite a few of these animals as ugly, but these creatures are made beautiful simply by their array of colors and assortment of ‘lights’ that they display.
I have learnt so much from this book and highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in biology, ecology, and protection of the fragile oceanic environment. For those of us who simply appreciate the biodiversity of life, this book shall not disappoint. – Heathclyff St. James Deville (from Theosophy Downunder Summer 2009)