This is a novel from 1986, and it feels like it. It’s funny though because it’s clearly the book that put us in some kind of mindset for stories in underwater facilities with contact with some kind of force–The Abyss and Leviathan among others.
So the story begins almost identically to Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain where an event has happened and experts from a pre-selected team are called together to observe and report on the findings. It’s a classic setup anyway, but here we have a psychologist who prepared a report on first contact, a mathematician, a physicist, a biologist, and a military team leader are called together. The event here is that a ship of some (several hundred meters long) has been found deep in the ocean seemingly perfectly preserved (from impact or salt water damage). The US Navy installation near the ship will allow them to interact and hopefully board the ship (which, spoiler alert, they do) where they find a large metal sphere with slight, but strange markings on it. It goes from there.
What really works about this novel is that while so much of it is predictable, the unpredictable parts are pretty unpredictable in good and satisfying ways. So the thriller elements of it are great. Some of it is a little goofy, but still effective. It ends up being good sci fi in some surprising ways. The bad part is that there’s some embarrassing essentialism about women and Black men that aren’t just built into the characters and characterization, but into the plot itself. That part does NOT work me.