Books

Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
NEW!

The Brilliant Abyss

Exploring the Majestic Hidden Life of the Deep Ocean, and the Looming Threat That Imperils It

by Helen Scales

A marine biologist vividly brings alive 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

  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 304
  • Publication Date July 06, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5822-2
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $27.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publication Date July 06, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5824-6
  • US List Price $27.00

“The oceans have always shaped human lives,” writes marine biologist Helen Scales in her vibrant new book The Brilliant Abyss, but the surface and the very edges have so far mattered the most. “However, one way or another, the future ocean is the deep ocean.”

A golden era of deep-sea discovery is underway. Revolutionary studies in the deep are rewriting the very notion of life on Earth and the rules of what is possible. In the process, the abyss is being revealed as perhaps the most amazing part of our planet, with a topography even more varied and extreme than its Earthbound counterpart. Teeming with unsuspected life, an extraordinary interconnected ecosystem deep below the waves has a huge effect on our daily lives, influencing climate and weather systems, with the potential for much more—good or bad depending on how it is exploited. Currently the fantastic creatures that live in the deep—many of them incandescent in a world without light—and its formations capture and trap vast quantities of carbon that would otherwise poison our atmosphere; and novel bacteria as yet undiscovered hold the promise of potent new medicines. Yet the deep also holds huge mineral riches lusted after by many nations and corporations; mining them could ultimately devastate the planet, compounded by the deepening impacts of ubiquitous pollutants and rampant overfishing.

Eloquently and passionately, Helen Scales brings to life the majesty and mystery of an alien realm that nonetheless sustains us, while urgently making clear the price we could pay if it is further disrupted. The Brilliant Abyss is at once a revelation and a clarion call to preserve this vast unseen world.

Praise for Eye of the Shoal:

“A sprawling, ambitious underwater journey studded with fascinating tidbits.”New York Times Book Review

“An engaging and informative bouillabaisse.”Economist

“Scales’s genuine appreciation and awe for fish are contagious. She continually entices the reader by introducing exciting aspects of fish in each chapter.”Science

“A delightful book that provides a welcome invitation to enter the amazing world of fish.”New Scientist

“This aquarium of a book is an eloquent reminder of how remarkable [fish] are.”Natural History

“Enthralling and thought-provoking.”Countryman

“Helen Scales invites us to dive below the waterline as she reveals the hidden but glorious lives of fish going about their rather fascinating business.”Coast

Praise for Spirals in Time:

“A rewarding glimpse of another world, filled with strange and reclusive creatures . . . There is rich detail in all directions. One does not know what will come next. Often the descriptions made me see shafts of sunlight underwater, irradiating extraordinary places and creatures. That is just what the book does itself.”Guardian

“Punctures assumptions with the power of a cone snail dart.”Spectator

“Scales is a charming raconteur with boundless enthusiasm and an eye for detail that make her subject glow with life. Combining biology, history and ecology, this is nature writing at its most engaging.”Sunday Express

“The stories in Spirals in Time—which range from slaves being bought for bags of shells in west Africa in the 1770s to ground-breaking medical uses of cone-snail venom—are gripping and unimaginable.”Telegraph

“Takes us on a fascinating journey into the strange and captivating world of mollusks. Carefully researched and entertaining throughout . . . Relentlessly interesting.”Science

“An informed introduction to this fascinating group. The author’s enthusiasm shines through the prose . . . An ideal book for a summer holiday, and beach finds will take on a new dimension because of it.”Times Literary Supplement

“With the soul of a poet and a talent for finding the most intriguing trivia about familiar seaside sights, marine biologist Scales turns the mundane into the magical.”Discover