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1. Pirate Latitudes
2. Disclosure
3. Timeline
4. Next
5. Prey
6. Airframe
7. Travels
8. Eaters of the Dead
9. State of Fear
10. The Great Train Robbery
11. Sphere
12. Rising Sun
13. A Case of Need
14. The Lost World
15. Jurassic Park
16. Terminal Man
17. Next
18. Michael Crichton: A New Collection
19. The Andromeda Strain
20. Congo

1. Pirate Latitudes
by Michael Crichton
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (2010-10-01)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$3.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061929387
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

The Caribbean, 1665. A remote colony of the English Crown, the island of Jamaica holds out against the vast supremacy of the Spanish empire. Port Royal, its capital, is a cutthroat town of taverns, grog shops, and bawdy houses. In this steamy climate there's a living to be made, a living that can end swiftly by disease—or by dagger. For Captain Charles Hunter, gold in Spanish hands is gold for the taking, and the law of the land rests with those ruthless enough to make it.

Pirate Latitudes is Michael Crichton at his best: a rollicking adventure tale pulsing with relentless action, crackling atmosphere, and heart-pounding suspense.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (308)

2-0 out of 5 stars Yeesh...
Just not real Crichton-y. The main character is really flat and has a tired motivation; minor characters are picked up and dropped. Also, there may or may not be a inexplicable event towards the end that seems randomly inserted by a mischievous middle-schooler. It was really shocking and I ended up skimming the rest of the book. I did finish it though, and it was memorable (though not for good reasons), but not anything like his other books.

Skip it if you're a Crichton snob.

4-0 out of 5 stars Yar!One of Crichton's Best
I've been an avid reader of Michael Crichton for a long time.I believe I've read all his books, and I can happily say that this one ranks up there with his best.Earlier this year I was re-reading Treasure Island, and it lamenting the lack of similar pirate-themed books.Well Michael Crichton delivers!

The book is about an English Pirate (or "Privateer") captain and his motley crew, attempting to make an extremely daring score of some Spanish booty.It features lots of thrilling sea-battles, intrigue, double-crosses, heroism, and treachery.While it certainly falls short of Treasure Island, it is certainly a fine book on its own.I enjoyed pretty much all of it, aside from a really silly battle with a giant Sea-monster *rolls eyes*, that really had no place in this book.

Anyhow, I'm definitely saddened by Crichton's recent death, and he remains one of my all-time favorite authors.At least he went out with a worth book, which he will no doubt be remembered for in fond terms.

And for those considering the audiobook: it is very well done.The reader is excellent.

5-0 out of 5 stars easy finding and performance
I have the collection of all Crichton's books. I missed the one he wrote before he passed away. I found it surprisingly easy in Amason's
and I was even more surprised to have it within a week (overseas
regular mail). It was not the first book I ordered from Amason and certainly not the last.

3-0 out of 5 stars Puzzling
True, this isn't meant to be heavy reading, yet at times it feels very disjointed. It reads like a movie script, for starters, and none of the characters are truly fleshed out. What development there is comes right out of central casting. There is also some editorial strangeness...For example, one character has a scene wherein they practice what they believe is some spell-casting witchcraft...making pentagrams on the floor and such...but no mention is made of said character's demonic proclivities either before or after the scene..it's just kind of there. The character doesn't get found out, the scene doesn't further the plot, or have any bearing on the plot. There are many elements like this. Crichton creates a truly bloodthirsty villian who is built up and, for this novel, one of the more well developed characters to the point that when he is killed you almost expected him to show up later in one of those "the hero thought the bad guy was dead but he's not" scenes. But no, that was it. If you blinked you'd miss it.
The novel has many moments and plot elements that feel like they should be taking the reader somewhere but instead are dead ends. For a book about pirates it sure doesn't explore much.
It has been said that this was found on Crichton's computer; my guess is eventually it would have gone through several edits and some tightening up before he would have published it. It wasn't a waste of time reading it, but it was a far, far cry from his best work.

3-0 out of 5 stars Pulp reading if there ever was
Not classic Chrichton, you'll be able to finish this one quickly.Easy to read, easy to understand and follow.Fun. ... Read more

2. Disclosure
by Michael Crichton
Mass Market Paperback: 512 Pages (1994-08-29)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$1.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345391055
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
"Expertly crafted, ingenious and absorbing." The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The #1 Bestseller by the author of "Jurassic Park." As he did in "Rising Sun," Crichton focuses on a topic as close as today's newspaper headlines: sexual harassment.
Tom Sanders is an up-and-coming executive at the computer firm DigiCom. When his new boss turns out to be a woman who is both his former lover and a business rival, Sanders determines to be professional. But after a closed-door meeting, the woman accuses him of sexual harassment. It's her word against his, and suddenly Sanders finds himself caught in a nightmarish web of deceit in which he is branded as the villian. As he scrambles to save his career and his reputation, Sanders uncovers an electronic trail into DigiCom's secrets . . . and the cynical scheme devised to bring him down.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (156)

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing piece written more than 15 years ago
The book certainly has a slow start. Although the first few chapters of most books are simply laying down the fundamentals, this book is a bit dryer than usual for the first 20-30 pages or so in my opinion. HOWEVER, as the story developed, it was a book hard to put down. The way the story was told, it wouldn't have mattered if the setting was in a computer company, in a car factory, or a school. The story would have been superb nonetheless.

The most interesting thing about the story, in my opinion, was how it tried to explain why POWER was the underlying cause of most sexual harassment situations. How a subordinate is stuck in a dilemma of obeying and pleasing his/her superior to advance or keep his career versus complaining about the situation and face potential termination. With more women in higher status in today's society, the story pointed out how the sense of "women are always the victims" in sexual harassment cases should be reconsidered.

The part that disappointed me a bit was the ending. I liked how the story was constructed, how the development played out, how the powerful bad guys tried to manipulate the stories and taking illegal steps to further their gain. However, at the final moment where the good guy is coming around, I felt the "I got what I need to prove my case" part to be a bit too convenient. That's why I only gave this book a 4-Star. (I am trying to not spoil the story too much. Please don't judge my kindergarten writing in the past few lines)

Be warned, though. The sexual implications in some parts of the story can be quite vivid. If you read this book and plan on recommending this book to another person, I would suggest recommending this book only to mature readers.

And as always, have fun reading!

5-0 out of 5 stars DISCLOSURE by Michael Crichton
An intelligent, hard working, successful, family man, executive for a Seattle based division of a California Silicon Valley digital company, falsely falls victim to his beautiful and calculating new female boss. Interestingly, ten years prior to this happening, they had had an intimate relationship before going their separate ways. For reasons not immediately apparent to the reader, she knowingly sets him up for a sexual harassment accusation. This is only where this complex Michael Crichton plot begins as the readers are taken through a potential merger of two diverse corporations. Along the way, readers move through an intriguing digital journey they won't soon forget. This novel, along with his other work, gives Michael Crichton a perpetual audience for the ages.

4-0 out of 5 stars One of Crichton's better ones
This book is more intrigue than science fiction.The technology is a bit dated, but still interesting 18 years later.The issue (sexual harrasment, false reports) hasn't really gone away, but is not perhaps as topical as in the head Anita Hill, Tailhook days.Really, what I found most interesting and chilling was Crichton's perspective on corporate politics and how venal all these executives are.Even the protagonist.Unfortunately, that rang true to me!The good part of the book was that it was really more of a Grisham like thriller, not SF.Chricton always comes accross like not as smart as he should be when he tries SF or technothrillers or whatever that genre is called.But in a straight intrigue thriller, everything works well.Reminded me a lot of Rising Sun.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Worth The Read
As I am sitting here writing this review, I am actually watching the movie.The movie reminded me of how much I loved the book when I read it years ago, and I just had to buy it for my "Precious" (Kindle)so I could read it again.

I also recommend the movie.So many times the movie is not as good as the book, but in this case both are good.

It really is a different twist on a subject that has been written on time and time again.It will keep you guessing until the end.

Very much recommend.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise drives decent thriller
High-tech company executive Tom Sanders has it all made. Today he is on his way to his office at DigiCom where it is certain to be promoted to division leader. There are some minor set-backs on a production line that he leads, but nothing he cannot handle. But all is not well. When he enters the building he notices his ex-girlfriend Meredith Johnson talking to the big company chief. What's happening? Is the upcoming merger going to reshuffle the complete organisational structure? When he gets called for a one-to-one meeting with Meredith Tom's career is about to be completely blown away.

Disclosure builds on the fairly interesting premise of the danger associated with a growing trend of sexual harassment cases on the work floor. Is this a legal tool only reserved for female employees only or can males also be sexually intimidated? Crichton spins a story that is slow at getting up to speed, but once its setting is clear it delivers on many fronts. One of the more powerful aspects of the story is the duality that is been kept alive throughout the story. It is never a clear cut case and most of the time it bathes in moral ambiguity. The only minor drawback to this set-up is that, following the typical formula of any decent thriller novel, the story begs for a factual resolution and Crichton made sure that this was also the case for this novel. Although the resolution might not be fully in line with the build-up of the story, it still maintains a certain level of authenticity many readers will be able to appreciate. ... Read more

3. Timeline
by Michael Crichton
Paperback: 512 Pages (2003-11-04)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$3.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345468260
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In an Arizona desert a man wanders in a daze, speaking words that make no sense. Within twenty-four hours he is dead, his body swiftly cremated by his only known associates. Halfway around the world archaeologists make a shocking discovery at a medieval site. Suddenly they are swept off to the headquarters of a secretive multinational corporation that has developed an astounding technology. Now this group is about to get a chance not to study the past but to enter it. And with history opened to the present, the dead awakened to the living, these men and women will soon find themselves fighting for their very survival–six hundred years ago. . . .Amazon.com Review
When you step into a time machine, fax yourself through a "quantumfoam wormhole," and step out in feudal France circa 1357, be very, veryafraid. If you aren't strapped back in precisely 37 hours after your visitbegins, you'll miss the quantum bus back to 1999 and be stranded in a civilwar, caught between crafty abbots, mad lords, and peasant bandits all eagerto cut your throat. You'll also have to dodge catapults that hurl sizzlingpitch over castle battlements. On the social front, you should avoid provoking"the butcher of Crecy" or Sir Oliver may lop your head off with aswoosh of his broadsword or cage and immerse you in "Milady's Bath," abrackish dungeon pit into which live rats are tossed now and then forprisoners to eat.

This is the plight of the heroes of Timeline, Michael Crichton'sthriller. They're historians in 1999 employed by a techbillionaire-genius with more than a few of Bill Gates's most unlovablequirks.Like the entrepreneur in Crichton's Jurassic Park, Donigerplans atheme park featuring artifacts from a lost world revived via cutting-edgescience. When the project's chief historian sends a distress call to 1999from 1357, the boss man doesn't tell the younger historians the risksthey'llface trying to save him. At first, the interplay between eras isclever, but Timeline swiftly becomes a swashbuckling old-fashionedadventure, with just a dash of science and time paradox in the mix. Most ofthe cool facts are about the Middle Ages, and Crichton marvelously bringsthe past to life without ever letting the pulse-pounding action slow down.At one point, a time-tripper tries to enter the Chapel of Green Death.Unfortunately, its custodian, a crazed giant with terrible teeth and a badcase of lice, soon has her head on a block. "She saw a shadow move acrossthe grass as he raised his ax into the air." I dare you not to turn thepage!

Through the narrative can be glimpsed the glowing bones of the movie thatmay be made from Timeline and the cutting-edge computer game thatshould hit the market in 2000. Expect many clashing swords and chase scenesthrough secret castle passages. But the book stands alone, tall and scaryas a knight in armor shining with blood. --Tim Appelo ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1792)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not one of his best.
The story starts out well. The usual Crichton intrigue is established early on and for the first 100 or so pages you rush through trying to learn more. Sadly, for me, after those first pages the story became very predictable and there were too many tongue-in-cheek moments where impossible situations were tied together by very loose explanations.

I love Crichton's work. He's up there as one of my favorite authors and I greedily gobble up his work. Unfortunately it seems this one was somehow not privy to his usual thorough research. If you stack this work up against say, The Andromeda Strain or A case of need, there's no comparison.

In a nutshell, a company has figured out how to transport people back in time. A professor has gone back in time and somehow got lost. A team is sent to rescue him and bring him back from medieval France. Once they are there the machine that sent them gets destroyed by a grenade that comes back through the time porthole. From that point the story is about finding a way back by rigging up a time machine etc etc.

The story has the usual Crichtonisms insomuch as the vast array of information pertaining to the main theme such as an explanation of time travel from a physics standpoint complete with twists on long held physics theories yet, it still falls short from a compelling standpoint.

This wont turn me off Crichton by any means and, I don't feel robbed of my time due to the information I got from the book. For me, he has way too much material that outshines this one and we all know you can't be brilliant all the time.

3-0 out of 5 stars Timeline
Since I'm not that interested in mid-evil times, I wasn't that excited with this book.If you do like that particular time in history and you like sci-fi then this is the book for you.I also watched the movie and it was pretty true to the story.

3-0 out of 5 stars Read Disclosure or Rising Sun instead
Timeline describes a rescue mission performed by several graduate students going back to the Middle Ages to rescue their professor.Most of the book details sword battle style escapades.Unlike Crichton's corporate thrillers, this book dragged.I ended up skimming a lot of it, especially the action sequences in the Middle Ages.

Some of the flaws included (spoilers):

-length:At almost 500 pages, the book feels padded and dragging.

-action unrealistic:The action was much too repetitive.The characters had near escape after escape and it was unlikely they could get lucky so often.The wandering from place to place (three castles counting the green chapel, a monastary and a fortified mill, seemed aimless and unlikely.Many times the characters separated for not good reasons (petulance or laziness) but I never worried they would recombine.Given the students were all graduate students, one of which was an amateur medievalist (but far from a trained warrior), their success in combat seems unrealistic.

-archeology unrealistic:At the beggining of the novel, their is a huge complex reconstruction going on with only a professor and students running it.The amount of work involved would seem to require more.In addition, the students seem to have incredible amounts of time for archery, scuba diving, etc. while still progressing such a huge research project.And doing so during semester breaks.Just unlikely.

-research over-shown:It's obvious that Chricton (or someone he paid) did a lot of research on quantum technology and the Middle Ages.This research is overshown, with several long passages of explanation between characters.Also, several long descriptions of architecture and the like within the middle of fight sequences.Note:the Middle Ages research (seems) to be pretty accurate and interesting...but just never draws one in during the story.The quantum research is silly and spending long times describing it is even sillier.Would have been better of with a faster blither hand-waving.

-Inconsistence of time travel:geographic transport to the appropriate place (includinga displacement from New Mexico to France) is never explained.Supposedly, the communication is to different universes (alternate timelines), but the historical events are the same as our world and events from the past seem to be able to affect our present (objects left are discovered) and agents cautioned not to bring objects back that are anachronisms.

-Poor explanation of commercial significance:We don't get a good reason for why the peroid chosen was chosen (as opposed to say the Crucifixion or the like).In addition, instead of obvious things like hiding relics, to then find and sell them (to finance the project), the objective seems to have been to get better reconstructions.

-characters not well done:Only the corporate characters really seem realistic, although Donniger is over the top.The grad students seem to be both too crudely differentiated AND unrealistically competent in action AND unappealing.There's also no main character.

-subplots not finished:we never find out about the New Mexico policeman's resolution or why the one old man went back to the past unauthorized.

-maintaining secrecy on such a project also seems very unlikely.


Net, net:too long, too many unrealistic details, not sufficiently entertaining

5-0 out of 5 stars Fast-Paced and a Fun Read
This was a great action packed novel that kept me entertained all the way through. This wasa great tale of time travel to a much more violent time period.The characters definitely weren't great but the strength of the plot more than makes up for this.There was also an inconsistency in the author's description of time travel but this did not bother me a lot since the book focused on the action/adventure while the science aspect was just a minor point.This was a fun read all throughout and a recommend it heartily to anyone looking for a good yarn.

5-0 out of 5 stars reissue of old title
I read this book years ago before the movie came out, so I appreciated the book more than the movie.
... Read more

4. Next
by Michael Crichton
Hardcover: 448 Pages (2006-11-28)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$2.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0017TZKRG
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Is a loved one missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why a chimp fetus resembles a human being? And should that worry us? There's a new genetic cure for drug addiction—is it worse than the disease?

We live in a time of momentous scientific leaps, a time when it's possible to sell our eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars and to test our spouses for genetic maladies.

We live in a time when one fifth of all our genes are owned by someone else, and an unsuspecting person and his family can be pursued cross-country because they happen to have certain valuable genes within their chromosomes . . .

Devilishly clever, Next blends fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems and a set of new possibilities can open at every turn.

Next challenges our sense of reality and notions of morality. Balancing the comic and the bizarre with the genuinely frightening and disturbing, Next shatters our assumptions and reveals shocking new choices where we least expect.

The future is closer than you think.

Amazon.com Review
Is a loved one missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why a chimp fetus resembles a human being? And should that worry us? There's a new genetic cure for drug addiction--is it worse than the disease?

What's coming Next? Get a hint of what Michael Crichton sees on the horizon in this short video clip: high bandwidth or low bandwidth

We live in a time of momentous scientific leaps, a time when it's possible to sell our eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars and to test our spouses for genetic maladies.

We live in a time when one fifth of all our genes are owned by someone else, and an unsuspecting person and his family can be pursued cross-country because they happen to have certain valuable genes within their chromosomes...

Devilishly clever, Next blends fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems and a set of new possibilities can open at every turn.

Next challenges our sense of reality and notions of morality. Balancing the comic and the bizarre with the genuinely frightening and disturbing, Next shatters our assumptions and reveals shocking new choices where we least expect.

The future is closer than you think. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (518)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not too bad
This is the first Crichton novel I've read since Airframe in 9th grade, when it was first released. I'd read everything from Andromeda Strain through Airframe, and got bored with the last.

I just finished this book, and based on that and reading reviews of everything else since Airframe, it sounds like Crichton's storytelling fell apart throughout the naughts. If I'm right, he pumped out novels in the past ten years twice as fast as the 2o years before it. And that is generally the way it felt as I was reading Next... that he'd written this almost as fast as the 3 days it took me to read it.

Good points: A lot of interesting ideas about research and law, fast paced, and generally entertaining. A number of reviews complain about the loose plot, unresolved subplots, and numerous story threads, but the fragmented structure of the novel seems to be a purposeful indictment of touch-and-go practices in scientific media coverage and mass produced court rulings.

Bad: Most of the characters aren't worth reading about, and the constant swearing, needless (and very graphic) sexualizing of adolescent girls and a few children, endless banalities, and above all, the philandering of a majority of many, many characters, including ones we are supposed to like, is immature and beneath Crichton.

If you want the best of Crichton, check out Travels.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not up to par
I'm sad to say this is not what I expected from a Michael Chrichton novel. The plot is incoherent and divided into too many unrelated (only related by the general subject of the book) episodes. The different stories are dished out in very short chunks that make it hard to remember all the shallow characters. I appreciate the food for thought and the motive behind this book, but I was hoping for more.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best
This is one of the best books I've read. It took a while for the story to kick in for me but once I got into it it was hard to put down. Not only was it a good read it was extremely thought provoking.

1-0 out of 5 stars An axe to grind
Crichton has a very limited understanding of the biology involved genetic manipulations, its potential and limits. However he decided to write a book about it. Not only it's uninformed and preachy, but the story is incoherent and the multiple subplots (one for every aspects he wants to criticizes) are unconnected and sometimes left unresolved.

4-0 out of 5 stars next
My husband loved the book. He couldn't put it down. Can't wait to read another by Crichton. ... Read more

5. Prey
by Michael Crichton
Mass Market Paperback: 528 Pages (2008-11-01)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$1.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061703087
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

In the Nevada desert, an experiment has gone horribly wrong. A cloud of nanoparticles—micro-robots—has escaped from the laboratory. This cloud is self-sustaining and self-reproducing. It is intelligent and learns from experience. For all practical purposes, it is alive.

It has been programmed as a predator. It is evolving swiftly, becoming more deadly with each passing hour.

Every attempt to destroy it has failed.

And we are the prey.

Amazon.com Review
In Prey, bestselling author Michael Crichton introduces bad guys that are too small to be seen with the naked eye but no less deadly or intriguing than the runaway dinosaurs that made 1990's Jurassic Park such a blockbuster success.

High-tech whistle-blower Jack Forman used to specialize in programming computers to solve problems by mimicking the behavior of efficient wild animals--swarming bees or hunting hyena packs, for example. Now he's unemployed and is finally starting to enjoy his new role as stay-at-home dad. All would be domestic bliss if it were not for Jack's suspicions that his wife, who's been behaving strangely and working long hours at the top-secret research labs of Xymos Technology, is having an affair. When he's called in to help with her hush-hush project, it seems like the perfect opportunity to see what his wife's been doing, but Jack quickly finds there's a lot more going on in the lab than an illicit affair. Within hours of his arrival at the remote testing center, Jack discovers his wife's firm has created self-replicating nanotechnology--a literal swarm of microscopic machines. Originally meant to serve as a military eye in the sky, the swarm has now escaped into the environment and is seemingly intent on killing the scientists trapped in the facility. The reader realizes early, however, that Jack, his wife, and fellow scientists have more to fear from the hidden dangers within the lab than from the predators without.

The monsters may be smaller in this book, but Crichton's skill for suspense has grown, making Prey a scary read that's hard to set aside, though not without its minor flaws. The science in this novel requires more explanation than did the cloning of dinosaurs, leading to lengthy and sometimes dry academic lessons. And while the coincidence of Xymos's new technology running on the same program Jack created at his previous job keeps the plot moving, it may be more than some readers can swallow. But, thanks in part to a sobering foreword in which Crichton warns of the real dangers of technology that continues to evolve more quickly than common sense, Prey succeeds in gripping readers with a tense and frightening tale of scientific suspense. --Benjamin Reese ... Read more

Customer Reviews (845)

3-0 out of 5 stars Ordinary
People are taken over by nanobots.Then it's up to the hero to outwit the nanobots (which shouldn't be difficult since they blow away in a stiff breeze).And that's about it, folks.The plot of Prey is recycled from the endless "people are taken over by aliens" stories that have been around forever.The characters are stock: Crichton doesn't bring them alive, and if they were alive, you wouldn't want to know them because they're so dull.A couple of action scenes -- characters battling swarms of nanobots -- are lively, but the rest of the prose is flat.Crichton had enough interesting ideas about nanobots to warrant three stars, but lacked the originality to do sufficiently interesting things with them to merit more than three.The novel is okay -- just okay -- as a fast beach read, but there are better options.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable summer vacation read
I read this book this past summer on vacation. I liked it. The content is pure Crichton in it's detailed description of the science and technology behind the story. I found it to be a "page turner". It was a fast read, I finished it in about a week, and it made for great summer vacation reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good
"Prey" tells a story of nanotechnology run amuck.It is wildly entertaining but not quite as good as "Jurassic Park" in my humble opinion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Creepy & cool
Prey is science fiction in a much more pure form than what most science fiction writers put out.Michael Crichton was always brilliant about that.He did the same thing for Dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, and for many other subjects in his books.Crichton takes a real idea with real science behind it and takes it to the logical (extreme) conclusions.What would be the logical conclusion (taken to the extreme) if we figured out how to get Dinosaur DNA and started cloning them? What would happen if we put Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) into nanobots and that intelligence got smarter than we meant it to?

That is the story behind Prey.The scientists are trying to figure out how to program nano-technology to perform tasks as a group.The story involves what happens when that technology gets out of the control the scientists thought they had over it.There is also a human side-story of a married couple and suspicion of betrayal which is weaved beautifully into the tale.It is heart-wrenching, but necessary, and it lends the story the kick it needs to grab you emotionally.

It is a gripping tale, and a cautionary tale.Crichton was a visionary, and the world is lesser for losing him.At least we have the finished works he did publish, as his legacy.

Read Prey.If you like a good story, you will like it.If you like a good story, and you are interested in: science, technology, nanotech, A.I., etc. then you will LOVE it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Prey
An excellent sci-fi that holds your attention. I wonder why this book hasn't been made into a movie... ... Read more

6. Airframe
by Michael Crichton
Hardcover: Pages (1999-03)
list price: US$150.00 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0963192574
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Three passengers are dead. Fifty-six are injured. The interior cabin virtually destroyed. But the pilot manages to land the plane. . . .

At a moment when the issue of safety and death in the skies is paramount in the public mind, a lethal midair disaster aboard a commercial twin-jet airliner bound from Hong Kong to Denver triggers a pressured and frantic investigation.

AIRFRAME is nonstop reading: the extraordinary mixture of super suspense and authentic information on a subject of compelling interest that has been a Crichton landmark since The Andromeda Strain.Amazon.com Review
Cruising 35,000 feet above the earth, a twin-engine commercialjet encounters an accident that leaves 3 dead, 56 wounded, and thecabin in shambles. What happened? With a multi-billion-dollarcompany-saving deal on the line, Casey Singleton is sent by herhard-driving boss to uncover the mysterious circumstances that led tothe disaster before more people die. But someone doesn't want her tofind the truth. Airframe bristles with authentic information,technical jargon, and the command of detail Crichton's readers havecome to expect. Check out Amazon.com's Airframefeature and read an excerpt from the book! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (552)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone... But a winner in MY book...
Some have expressed dissatisfaction with the ending. I thought it was perfect. I won't give anything away. I'll just say that if you understand the overall point Crichton is making, you'll like the end. If you miss the point (as I think many have) then you'll say, "That's it? That's the explanation for the accident?" Yep. That's it. And it's brilliant! Beyond that, the end also gives a comeuppance to each of the antagonists. Even the young, arrogant female producer for "Newsline" gets her just deserts in a particularly funny bit involving vomit. I thought everything ended on a high note. The perfect ending to a fascinating book that shines a LOT of light on the airlines, airplane manufacturers and, most interestingly, the media. I may not always agree with Crichton but I COMPLETELY agree with his views on the media. One rant in particular (by a character in the last chapter) about turning off the TV was especially good. This book was a winner. It's not for people who like long descriptions of sunsets or emotions... But for those who want a fast, interesting read where all characters get what they deserve in the end, then this easily satisfies.

2-0 out of 5 stars Very technical, light on plot
An international flight from Hong Kong to Denver experiences a phenomenon that leaves 3 dead and 52 injured. What happened?
Although the technical information was new and interesting, and Casey is a compelling character, this book was not terribly entertaining. Besides Casey, people did not have credible motives for doing the things they did. The plot didn't really add up and the big 'reveal' was something I figured out about halfway through. Accurate portrayal of the media as fear mongers and not interested in the truth but what plays well as a visual was refreshing. A lot of the technical jargon was mystifying and the explanations for it were either non-existant, or unnecessary. I mean, times that I probably could have figured it out myself, there was an awkward interjection of explanation, and there was never an explanation when I was mystified.
Also included were many lines of reports in binary that really seemed to just fill pages.
I will always keep an eye on the slats on all future airplane rides...

4-0 out of 5 stars Scared of Flying?This Book Actually Helps.
Airframe was recommended to me by a friend, and this friend suggested I wait to read it until I was in the airport awaiting my flight.Since I am moderately afraid of flying, I thought that reading an airplane-disaster novel as I was starting a flight would be a bad idea, but did so anyway.As I turned that pages, however, I found myself less and less worried about the flight, as I was reading not a airline horror story, but a technical thriller about aircraft(frame) design, corporate and union politics, and the state of investigative reporting, ala 1996.

Not much has seemingly changed in the latter two topics over the last 15 years, as television news continues to deliver bit or bite-sized glances at stories that have the best visual aids, and unions continue to clash with private businesses over concerns of job fairness and availability.However, I was very surprised to learn about the detail that Crichton was delivering on the airplanes themselves, and of the safety procedures that kept the designs in check.I left the book feeling much more confident about my flight than I started.

Crichton delivers all of the detail necessary to convey the importance of every small, relevant part on the aircraft, and does so without leaving the reader behind.I never had to worry about new acronyms or terms, as Crichton would blessedly explain them to me in short order.This readiness to make clear the technical, along with the fast pace and short chapters made Airframe a quick read.At the end, I felt both smarter and safer about the concept of shooting through the air in a metal frame (at least in the US), and experienced an excellent thriller about the search for truth that follows a disastrous airline incident.Recommended.

2-0 out of 5 stars Offended by the language
I have been reading Crichton since college and enjoy the research and background he puts into his stories.Fast paced and a good story but I was put off by the profanity.I would not let my teenager read this book nor do I plan to read any other of his newer novels.Very disappointed in Dr. Crichton.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Enjoyable!
It's been a while since I read this book, but I do remember thoroughly enjoying every aspect of it. I base my recommendations on whether or not I'd give this book as a gift, which I've done on at least 3 occasions.

Good stuff! ... Read more

7. Travels
by Michael Crichton
Paperback: 400 Pages (2002-11-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003L1ZWZS
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am.

When Michael Crichton -- a Harvard-trained physician, bestselling novelist, and successful movie director -- began to feel isolated in his own life, he decided to widen his horizons. He tracked wild animals in the jungles of Rwanda. He climbed Kilimanjaro and Mayan pyramids. He trekked across a landslide in Pakistan. He swam amid sharks in Tahiti.

Fueled by a powerful curiosity and the need to see, feel, and hear firsthand and close-up, Michael Crichton has experienced adventures as compelling as those he created in his books and films. These adventures -- both physical and spiritual -- are recorded here in Travels, Crichton's most astonishing and personal work.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (144)

5-0 out of 5 stars Whats with all the bad reviews?
I read through all the one-star reviews, and they all say the same thing: they didn't like the book because Crichton is a whiny, self-absorbed cry baby.

They seem to believe that Crichton somehow unknowingly portrayed himself this way. But the point is that he is fully aware of it. He talks about his weaknesses, his inexorable insecurities, and the experiences that helped him to change those things. The one-star reviewers wanted a cowboy or Indiana Jones type, but Crichton uses the book to expose himself to his readers by sharing thoughts and attitudes he formerly held, some of which those one-star reviewers have doubtlessly had themselves. Many are not thoughts and attitudes anyone is proud to have had in retrospect, and it shows a great measure of courage to stake his reputation with the publication of this book.

And whats this whining about "he thinks of African tribal women as animals"? It was very clear he describing the personal impact of a cultural gulf of greater magnitude than he'd ever experienced. He finished that chapter by describing the behavior of African tribes people as indicating they must have felt the same way about him, and that the notion on both sides was, in the end, absurd.

The pompousness of traveling somewhere just because other people could not? Crichton was making himself vulnerable to see what the hell he was made of. Its a shame the one-star reviewers can't get that much out of the book... I'm not sure they would get anything out of traveling themselves. They all seem to think they've reached self-realization in a vacuum.

5-0 out of 5 stars Crichton at his best.
The book arrived ahead of the promised date, in fairly good condition.

This book blew me away, wish I read it when the author was still alive. I would have made an effort to talk to him about some of his experiences from the book. A MUST read for anyone with an open mind.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, but have not lost respect for Crichton
I will admit immediately that my biggest complaint about the book is that it was not what I expected. I have come to like Michael Crichton's writings with their intelligent plots, vivid characters and unexpected devlopments. "Travels" had some unexpected developments that I did not like.

The book started off as a documentary of his life of, logically traveling. He explained how he was attracted to exploration and why it was important to him by giving several chapters of background. He retold his adventures into jungles, deserts and cities with the precision and detail you would expect with a philosophical perspective that gave the book greater depth.

However, just as the book started developing well, he transitions into solely mystical travel and tells the story of his transition from something of an agnostic to a mysticist, complete with talking with the dead, visualizing auras and bending spoons. It became very dull and overly introspective and I had great difficulty reading through the last few chapters.

It was well written and interesting for most of the book, but don't expect you be amazed as you would with any other Crichton book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprise -- Crichton Is A Philosopher!
I have read a few of Michael Crichton's books over the years, beginning with the Andromeda Strain, and have always found them entertaining.But I never thought of him as a deep thinker.Travels makes it clear that I was wrong.

This book is an extremely intelligent and self-aware exploration of how Crichton personally interacts with his world, and what is actually going on in that world.Much of the book is about the reality (or not) of spiritual phenomena like psychics, auras, out of body experiences, etc.Particularly for those of us who are basically connected to reality but convinced that "more is going on", this is a really insightful book -- more open to unusual phenomena than typical books on meditation and similar activities, yet much more grounded than books like The Celestine Prophecy.

Crichton's descriptions of his travels and experiences at medical school are also interesting and well-written (and probably the best way to promote popular sales of the book), but this book is much more than just a travelogue -- and there are better books for those primarily interested in travel writing.The important part is about spirituality and psychology, and for that this is one of the best books I have ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Maybe Michael Chictons's best (and it's not fiction!)
This is my second purchase of Travels by Michael Crichton.I bought it in hard cover back when it was first published but loaned it out and never got it back.

This really lets you get into Crichton's head and discover the many things in his life that gave him the sense of adventure as well as the off the wall doctors and scientists which come across in his works of fiction.Adventure, how about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, hiking the Himalayas or diving on wrecks off the coast of Belize where he loses track of time at 180 feet and runs out of air before reaching the surface.He was a very lucky man, more than once actually, many of which are detailed in the book.

He also describes his travails at Harvard as he worked towards his medical degree, which he funded by writing movie scripts such as Andromeda Strain, and his internship at hospitals in Boston, where he decided being a doctor was not a journey he wanted to take.

I really miss his writings. ... Read more

8. Eaters of the Dead
by Michael Crichton
Mass Market Paperback: 304 Pages (2009-05-01)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$5.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061782637
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

The year is A.D. 922. A refined Arab courtier, representative of the powerful Caliph of Baghdad, encounters a party of Viking warriors who are journeying to the barbaric North. He is appalled by their Viking customs—the wanton sexuality of their pale, angular women, their disregard for cleanliness . . . their cold-blooded human sacrifices. But it is not until they reach the depths of the Northland that the courtier learns the horrifying and inescapable truth: He has been enlisted by these savage, inscrutable warriors to help combat a terror that plagues them—a monstrosity that emerges under cover of night to slaughter the Vikings and devour their flesh . . .

Amazon.com Review
Michael Crichton takes the listener on a one-thousand-year-oldjourney in his adventure novel Eaters Of The Dead. Thisremarkable true story originated from actual journal entries of anArab man who traveled with a group of Vikings throughout northernEurope. In 922 A.D, Ibn Fadlan, a devout Muslim, left his home inBaghdad on a mission to the King of Saqaliba. During his journey, hemeets various groups of "barbarians" who have poor hygieneand gorge themselves on food, alcohol and sex. For Fadlan, his newtraveling companions are a far stretch from society in thesophisticated "City of Peace." The conservative and slightlycritical man describes the Vikings as "tall as palm trees withflorid and ruddy complexions." Fadlan is astonished by theirlustful aggression and their apathy towards death. He witnesseseverything from group orgies to violent funeral ceremonies. Despitethe language and cultural barriers, Ibn Fadlan is welcomed into theclan. The leader of the group, Buliwyf (who can communicate in Latin)takes Fadlan under his wing.

Without warning, the chieftain is ordered to haul his warriors back toScandinavia to save his people from the "monsters of themist." Ibn Fadlan follows the clan and must rise to the occasionin the battle of his life.--Gina Kaysen ... Read more

Customer Reviews (308)

4-0 out of 5 stars Engrossing (psuedo-historical) fantasy thriller
In an afterword of the novel Eaters of the Dead, published in 1976, author Michael Crichton explains that the book was conceived on a dare. A friend proposed to teach a college course called "The Great Bores," based on the essential writings of western civilization. His friend asserted that these texts were so tedious that no one willingly read them anymore, and the first of the great bores he would address was the epic poem Beowulf. Crichton disagreed, arguing that Beowulf was an exciting, dramatic story and that he could prove it.

Crichton began working from the assumption that Beowulf, like other epic poems and pieces of mythology, may have some basis in fact. By peeling away the poetic invention and embellishment of hundreds of years of oral retelling, Crichton suggests that we may return to a kernel of human experience. The result is a modern psuedo-historical fantasy about the original events that inspired the story of Beowulf.

But Crichton refuses to let on. He enhances his illusion by writing the novel from the point of view of a comtemporary eye witness of the events. Rather than inventing this person, the author goes further by "discovering " the eyewitness narrative in the manuscript of Ahmad ibn Fadlan, an Arab sent by the Caliph of Bagdad in the year 921 as part of an embassy to the Volga Bulgars. His account of the journey provides one of the earliest descriptions of Vikings.

Crichton begins his book with an introduction intended to familiarize the reader with all of the many translations of Ibn Faldlan's manuscript, along with their backgrounds and respective merits. So convincing is Crichton's invention that I found myself completely perplexed as to what was true and what was not. And lest his readers begin to suspect something, Crichton makes sure to fill his entire book with lengthy footnotes to further legitimize the narrative.

The story begins with Ibn Fadlan's aformentioned mission to northwest Russia. Upon encountering a band of Northmen, he is forced to join them in a quest to destroy a myserious scourge of mist monsters terrorizing the their homeland. These Wendol, as they Northmen call them, turn out to be a surviving relict of Neanderthals who feed on the flesh of their victims(which is far more interesting than the cave people of the film adaptation, The 13th Warrior) .

As an Arab during the 10th century, when the civilization of Islam was by far the most advanced culture on Earth at the time, Ibn Fadlan's perspective serves as an ideal doorway for the modern reader to enter this strange world of Vikings. His descriptions of the lands, people and cultures are detailed and vivid. The reader immediately shares his horror and disgust with the vulgar and barbaric world of the Northmen.

Despite his role as a simple chronicler, Ibn Fadlan emerges as a real character. In the course of the story, he grows from a pampered and fearful ambassador to a courageous warrior willing to fight to the death for his Norse companions. More subtle and interesting is the way he begins to embrace their way of life during his journey.

The plot moves at a brisk pace without feeling shallow. And in only 250 pages, Crichton manages produce equal amounts of action, suspense, horror as well as humor and genuine sorrow. All told, Eaters of the Dead is a clever and thoroughly enjoyable adventure story that I highly recommend.

4-0 out of 5 stars Something borrowed, something new
Michael Crichton started with the barebones of a 10th Century manuscript and created a fascinating story.He borrowed elements of Beowulf, the Seven Samurai warriors (Magnificent Seven)and evolving anthropology/genetic science in his story.In the introduction he tells us how he came to write the book on a dare by a friend, and elaborates on his research.I found all of this as interesting as the story itself.

The movie The 13th Warrior was poorly reviewed and poorly received by viewers, but the book despite the gruesome title is worth the read...but be prepared for the randy lifestyle of the Northmen.

Other reviewers have summarized the story itself.What we rarely get to learn is how well known writers come to create the stories they do.This book enlightens.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Premise
Michael Crichton has created his best premise ever in this historical novel.The true-to-life manuscript of an Arab traveling to Viking territory a thousand years ago is just the scaffolding.The Arab is a device, showing us through his modern eyes just how strange, and also how compelling, Viking mores were to a civilized European.But that's just the means into the real story.

The payoff is the second half of the story.Crichton imagines the meeting, in fairly recent historical time, between Homo Sapiens and the last enclave of surviving Neaderthals.Anthropologists can't locate any Neanderthal remains later than 22,000 years ago, but it's possible that Neanderthals still lived in remote corners of the world into historical times.What would a meeting between us and them have seemed to us?

Like all of Crichton's books, the premise is better than the execution.But the tale is good enough to win me over completely.

3-0 out of 5 stars Crichton at a sub-par level
"Eaters of the Dead" is an interesting novel. It reads like a journal that was written in 922 A.D. by a man named Ahmad Ibn Fadlan while he was on a mission to send a message to the King of Saqaliba. Fadlan writes about the many places and cultures he visits on his long journey, which are clearly different than his homeland of Baghdad. This is interesting to read at first, but it moves rather slowly and after awhile can become boring for most people including myself. At one point though, Fadlan meets a group of Vikings and is practically forced to go on a dangerous and mysterious mission with them. This is when the plot finally begins to pick up. From this point on, there is some suspense and action that builds up to the climax, making the story more riveting and entertaining.

Part of what makes this book unique is it feels like you're reading an ancient true story with some fantasized elements sewn in throughout the second half. Crichton had the right idea in order to make this a great book in a really unique and entertaining way, but he didn't have all the right pieces in place to make it work. It is a well written book, but for most of it the pacing is real slow and the plot is kind of weak.

Basically the story seems like a long and extended prologue up to the scene in which Fadlan joins the Vikings on their quest. That's where the overall quality of the story improves and keeps the readers interested for the rest of the book. Overall, it's not one of Crichton's best novels, but it can be respected for the approach he used, which, in some aspects, he did pull off successfully. Some will enjoy it more than others because of their taste in genre, but I don't think most people will feel disappointed in reading this book. I think 3.5 stars is a more accurate rating for "Eaters of the Dead," but since that wasn't an option I rounded down because of the book's slow start, which is its biggest weakness and could make some people lose interest.

5-0 out of 5 stars I loved it
I have to admit I was a little sceptical when I first heard of this book.I had heard of ibn Fadlan mostly through my studies of Turkish as though ibn Fadlan is best known for giving one of the earliest accounts of the Viking people he is also known for giving account of the Bulgar's and other Turkic peoples of the Volga. So when I heard that his historical journey had been put into novel form I was to say the least a little bit distrustful.

Well I shouldn't have been! The author has done a wonderful job of taking a historical figure and weaving a unique story around him.Our ibn Fadlan in this book is sent to the Volga as an emissary of the Caliph after having an affair with a married woman.Sent in disgrace on a mission it was assumed he would be unlikely to return from he meets up with Viking traders who on the death of their king receive a messenger who requests they return to fend off an ancient enemy who is again terrorising the lands.After consulting with a "wise woman" It is decided that 13 should return, one of these however should be a foreigner and unfortunately for ibn Fadlan he is conveniently picked as that said forigner.So begins his journey north to fight along side men whose language he barely knew, whose customs he found foul to say the least and whose religion he could only barely comprehend.This book is a real page turner.Made into a film (The 13th Warrior) There are a few minor differences in the book (For example the mention of "Sea monsters" (Whales) In the book) In the book they consult with Dwarves rather than the "Angel of Death" and ibn Fadlan throughout the book could only make out parts of the Viking language and still needed a translator (In the film he managed to pick the language up) Also I felt in the book he didnt come across as much of an incompetent as he did in the film.

All in all this is a really enjoyable read.I would say it is in no way intended to be taken seriously (Some people have assumed that this is in fact ibn Fadlans book) But rather as a wonderful exciting novel.The author has done a great job even supplying so called "Historical notes" To the book to give it a little extra authenticity.It all just adds to it.

I found it a great read and recommend it. ... Read more

9. State of Fear
by Michael Crichton
Mass Market Paperback: 816 Pages (2009-05-01)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$5.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061782661
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

In Tokyo, in Los Angeles, in Antarctica, in the Solomon Islands . . . an intelligence agent races to put all the pieces together to prevent a global catastrophe.

Amazon.com Review

Amazon.com Exclusive Content

A Michael Crichton Timeline
Amazon.com reveals a few facts about the "father of the techno-thriller."

1942: John Michael Crichton is born in Chicago, Illinois on Oct. 23.

1960: Crichton graduates from Roslyn High School on Long Island, New York, with high marks and a reputation as a star basketball player. He decides to attend Harvard University to study English. During his studies, he rankles under his writing professors' criticism. As an act of rebellion, Crichton submits an essay by George Orwell as his own. The professor doesn’t catch the plagiarism and gives Orwell a B-. This experience convinces Crichton to change his field of study to anthropology.

1964: Crichton graduates summa cum laude from Harvard University in anthropology. After studying further as a visiting lecturer at Cambridge University and receiving the Henry Russell Shaw Travelling Fellowship, which allowed him to travel in Europe and North Africa, Crichton begins coursework at the Harvard School of Medicine. To help fund his medical endeavors, he writes spy thrillers under several pen names. One of these works, A Case of Need, wins the 1968 Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allan Poe Award.

1969: Crichton graduates from Harvard Medical school and is accepted as a post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Science in La Jolla, Calif. However, his career in medicine is waylaid by the publication of the first novel under his own name, The Andromeda Strain. The novel, about an apocalyptic plague, climbs high on bestseller lists and is later made into a popular film. Crichton said of his decision to pursue writing full time: "To quit medicine to become a writer struck most people like quitting the Supreme Court to become a bail bondsman."

1972: Crichton's second novel under his own name The Terminal Man, is published. Also, two of Crichton's previous works under his pen names, Dealing and A Case of Need are made into movies. After watching the filming, Crichton decides to try his hand at directing. He will eventually direct seven films including the 1973 science-fiction hit Westworld, which was the first film ever to use computer-generated effects.

1980: Crichton draws on his anthropology background and fascination with new technology to create Congo, a best-selling novel about a search for industrial diamonds and a new race of gorillas. The novel, patterned after the adventure writings of H. Ryder Haggard, updates the genre with the inclusion of high-tech gadgets that, although may seem quaint 20 years later, serve to set Crichton's work apart and he begins to cement his reputation as "the father of the techno-thriller."

1990: After the 1980s, which saw the publication of the underwater adventure Sphere (1987) and an invitation to become a visiting writer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1988), Crichton begins the new decade with a bang via the publication of his most popular novel, Jurassic Park. The book is a powerful example of Crichton's use of science and technology as the bedrock for his work. Heady discussion of genetic engineering, chaos theory, and paleontology run throughout the tightly-wound thriller that strands a crew of scientists on an island populated by cloned dinosaurs run amok. The novel inspires the 1993 Steven Spielberg film, and together book and film will re-ignite the world’s fascination with dinosaurs.

1995: Crichton resurrects an idea from his medical school days to create the Emmy-Award Winning television series ER. In this year, ER won eight Emmys and Crichton received an award from the Producers Guild of America in the category of outstanding multi-episodic series. Set in an insanely busy an often dangerous Chicago emergency room, the fast-paced drama is defined by Crichton's now trademark use of technical expertise and insider jargon. The year also saw the publication of The Lost World returning readers to the dinosaur-infested island.

2000: In recognition for Crichton's contribution in popularizing paleontology, a dinosaur discovered in southern China is named after him. "Crichton's ankylosaur" is a small, armored plant-eating dinosaur that dates to the early Jurassic Period, about 180 million years ago. "For a person like me, this is much better than an Academy Award," Crichton said of the honor.

2004: Crichton’s newest thriller State of Fear is published.

Amazon.com's Significant Seven
Michael Crichton kindly agreed to take the life quiz we like to give to all our authors: the Amazon.com Significant Seven.

Q: What book has had the most significant impact on your life?
A: Prisoners of Childhood by Alice Miller

Q: You are stranded on a desert island with only one book, one CD, and one DVD--what are they?
A: Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (Witter Bynner version)
Symphony #2 in D Major by Johannes Brahms (Georg Solti)
Ikiru by Akira Kurosawa

Q: What is the worst lie you've ever told?
A: Surely you're joking.

Q: Describe the perfect writing environment.
A: Small room. Shades down. No daylight. No disturbances. Macintosh with a big screen. Plenty of coffee. Quiet.

Q: If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?
A: I don't want an epitaph. If forced, I would say "Why Are You Here? Go Live Your Life."

Q: Who is the one person living or dead that you would like to have dinner with?
A: Benjamin Franklin

Q: If you could have one superpower what would it be?
A: Invisibility

Read more

Customer Reviews (1354)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not what I wanted to read
I have spent the last week attempting to immerse myself in the last Crichton book (not the new one, the one before that), with a rather depressing lack of success.

For the most part, I enjoy Crichton's approach to fiction-fueled-by-pseudo-science... it's fun, and really, who doesn't like dinosaurs, time-travel, knights, and airline black box drama? These are subjects that, if done well, can be entertainment for the masses (until Timeline was made into a movie, which was an entirely different kind of entertaining... yeah).

State of Fear is about climate crises (yes, that is plural), eco-terrorists, and the validity of the theory of global warming. Okay. Not generally what I'd be looking for in terms of a thrilling suspense novel (not even a genre I tend to read often), but it's Michael Crichton- his job is to make ridiculous (or obscure) science into a fast, fun read.

Emphasis on fast, here, because I can generally get through one of his novels in a day. If that. But the whole thing is techno-babble of a kind I don't understand... the physics and biology spoken of in Timeline and Jurassic Park were a breeze. This book is like slogging through hip-deep snow. Cold, miserable, and it shouldn't relate to reality.

But I can't make myself give up on it. It is a book, after all. I am incapable of giving up on the written word without at least trying my hardest...

4-0 out of 5 stars State of Fear
Crichton did a very good job of making a fiction story from real data. This story will be topical for some time as global warming seems to stay at the forefront of the popular news. I was amazed at how much data there is calling global warming into question. For those who don't want to here about the real inconvenient truth will not want to read this book. This story really calls into question our current news media and the way news stories are made. Crichton gives us some of his ideas for the future to help keep the media and, at least science unbiased and uncontaminated. This book is for all of us who watch the news and ask "what is the real story"?

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent book
I'm reading it right now. Picked it up in Japan. I agree with his fear mongering explanations. I watch 0% TV and have never been attracted to the news because it's so boring and negative. I hope Crichton gets lots of attention for this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT read
The is another fantastic novel from Michael Crichton. This novel slows well from start to finish with plenty of intriguing dialogue to keep you up much later than you intended. He covers many of the outright lies that fear-mongers like Al Gore try to cram down our throat as "science".

5-0 out of 5 stars Important is how you read it
I understand the frustration of those who expected this book to be a James Bond novel. What I don't understand is they all pretend liking Crichton's other novels. I also understand the frustration of those who religiously believe in "Global Warming" and for them obviously this book is an heresy. This book is not even about global warming, but about the fact that well organized circles are trying to make us being afraid by everything that sorrounds us like: climate, food, nature and everything that technology brings to us. If you really try to understand what Crichton says, you will notice right away that this is not an action novel but a manifesto; a cry to shake-up those sorrounded by fear. Another thing that few noticed, is that Crichton is presenting both sides of the story (something that someone as Al Gore will never be capable of). And there is one more thing to be said about this book: Al Gore's "The Inconvenient Truth", pretended as being a scientific book, does not have any footnote or bibliography mentioning used sources, while "The State of Fear" pretending to be a fiction work, has multiple footnotes on most pages and hundreds of bibliographycal references. In the end, the message of this book is simple: try and think with your own brain and if there is one single human being starting doing this, that would mean this book was not useless. ... Read more

10. The Great Train Robbery
by Michael Crichton
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (2008-11-01)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$5.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061706493
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
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Product Description

Lavish wealth and appalling poverty live side by side in Victorian London—and Edward Pierce easily navigates both worlds. Rich, handsome, and ingenious, he charms the city's most prominent citizens even as he plots the crime of his century, the daring theft of a fortune in gold. But even Pierce could not predict the consequences of an extraordinary robbery that targets the pride of England's industrial era: the mighty steam locomotive.

Based on remarkable fact, and alive with the gripping suspense, surprise, and authenticity that are his trademarks, Michael Crichton's classic adventure is a breathtaking thrill-ride that races along tracks of steel at breakneck speed.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (135)

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved It.
I can imagine many people not liking this book, and that's what reviews and synopses are for. If you like mysteries or thrillers, I think you'll enjoy it. Not really a who-dunnit, but more of a how-dunnit. I also like when protagonists are not always the good guys.

And if you've read this book, you might try the movie with Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland. I liked it cuz I like laughing at old movies and at Sean Connery.

4-0 out of 5 stars An intriguing and informative novel
Michael Crichton does a great job capturing the British slang of the mid-1800s in one of his more unique novels "The Great Train Robbery." This is one of those rare stories in which the protagonist is actually the bad guy. It's a wealthy man named Edward Pierce who has one goal in mind: to secretly rob a highly secured train shipping lots gold to Paris. This is a very difficult mission in which the slightest mistake can become catastrophic, and it takes several months of careful research and preparation as Pierce develops and executes the perfect strategy to accomplish this daring feat. The character development in this book is very rich, and it's why the readers become attached to Pierce's character. He's very mysterious, but he's calm and cool, well-mannered, and very friendly. We grow to like him and want him to succeed, which is what makes the story even more compelling and more suspenseful, because there's so much at stake for Pierce and the others working for him. In order to help the reader get a better grasp of the story, Crichton takes time occasionally to examine the history and culture of Great Britain during this time period. This is interesting to read, but sometimes it seems like he spends a little too much time on this aspect that it kind of disrupts the pacing and dampens the suspense momentarily. The ending is somewhat anti-climactic because of how much the pacing slows down, but it's also completely unpredictable and may even surprise you. Overall it's a very engaging and well crafted story by Crichton with a very memorable character, Edward Pierce. It's a great book that will keep you guessing and make you anxious to see what will happen next.

4-0 out of 5 stars RIch characters. Clever plot.
I thoroughly enjoy Crichton novels. His pacing is perfect, his characters so rich and the amount of knowledge displayed is sometimes astounding. This one is no exception.

The book starts right at the beginning with the main character learning about the gold shipment, planning his heist, assembling his team and perpetrating the crime. All this with a Victorian England backdrop that you can tell Crichton researched thoroughly. The language is spattered with colloquialisms of the time and place which he explains in story form.

Occasionally the author adds a chapter of insight into the mindset of the time to enrich and expand further on what is happening in the story and why such a step should be taken. This adds knowledge gained to a wonderful story.

This novel drew me in and held me rigidly for the two days it took me to read it. I'd definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys total immersion into a story and who enjoys clever but not "Too" clever plots.

5-0 out of 5 stars AP World History Reveiw: On the edge of my seat
Michael Crichton's A Great Train Robbery is a masterpiece. Well-constructed, Crichton skillfully intertwines history with fiction. The connection between the two is not at all awkward; in fact, he makes it seem smooth and almost unintentional. The historical parts are not random or out of place either; they contribute to the story beautifully at just the right times and places, creating a foreshadowing effect.

Edward Pierce, an aristocratic robber, takes on the crime of the century by attempting to steal 12 million pounds. Crichton illustrates Pierce brilliantly, presenting him with observational skills that match Sherlock Holmes, with a criminal twist. The way Pierce's companions play so well into the criminal's hands is just magnificent, and destroys all presumptions and stereotypes that all criminals are filthy and unintelligent. This is clearly not the case with Edward Pierce. He appears well-to-do throughout the whole novel and is undoubtedly intelligent. This novel is has a fast paced plot and is never dull for a second. It was tremendously fascinating, and I recommend it for anyone looking for an immersing read.

4-0 out of 5 stars AP World History Review: Informative and Exciting
I was very impressed with how the book kept me wanting to read it because I did not have high hopes for it.I usually don't enjoy this historical fiction genre because the author makes the book seem too much like non-fiction which is dreadful to read for me.Michael Crichton kept me turning the pages to this fast-paced and very smart novel.The characters were very interesting and well thought-out.Michael Crichton's knowledge of the Victorian era in England was very evident in the way that he described London in 1855.My overall impression of the book was that it was very interesting from the beginning of the book.

Michael Crichton completed his purpose of this book very well.His purpose was to entertain the reader and inform the reader.I was very entertained by the action and suspense in this book.I was also informed as to what life was like for someone living in England in this time period.I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know about the topic or just somebody who was looking for a good book to read.This book was interesting and informative from beginning to end. ... Read more

11. Sphere
by Michael Crichton
Paperback: 384 Pages (1997-06-23)
list price: US$19.00 -- used & new: US$24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345418972
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In the middle of the South Pacific, 1,000 feet below the surface, a huge spaceship is discovered resting on the ocean floor. It is a craft of phenomenal dimensions, it seems undamaged by its fall from the sky, and it appears to be at least three hundred years old. Rushed to the scene is a group of American scientists who investigate this astonishing discovery. What they find defies imaginations and mocks their attempts at logical explanation. Now a major motion picture directed by Barry Levinson and starring Sharon Stone, Dustin Hoffman, and Samuel L.Amazon.com Review
JurassicPark author Michael Crichton is possibly the best scienceteacher for the masses since H.G. Wells, andSphere, his thriller about a mysterious spherical spaceship atthe bottom of the Pacific Ocean, is classic Crichton. A group ofnot-very-complex characters (portrayed in the film by Sharon Stone,Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Queen Latifah) assemble tosolve a cleverly designed roller coaster of a mystery while attempting(with mixed success) to avoid sudden death and expounding (much moresuccessfully) on the latest, coolest scientific ideas, including theexistence of black holes. Somehow, Crichton manages to convey thecomplicated stuff in utterly simplistic prose, making him, as his oldpal Steven Spielberg puts it, "the high priest of highconcept." Yet there is more to Crichton than science andbig-ticket show biz. He is also, as any reader of his startling memoirTravels knows,a bit of a mystic--he is entirely open to notions spouted byspoon-bending psychics that most science writers would scorn. Sphereis not only a gratifying sci-fi suspense tale; it also reflectsCrichton's keen interest in the unexplained powers of the humanmind. When something passes through a black hole in Crichton'sfiction, a lesson is learned. The book also contains another profoundlesson: when you're staring down a giant squid with an eyeball thesize of a dinner plate, don't blink first. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (704)

5-0 out of 5 stars sphere
For a penny book, it was in great shape and I'm enjoying the read. I always like Crichton's books and this is excellent. Thanks

5-0 out of 5 stars Crichton & The Law of Attraction
The Sphere (1987) is Michael Crichton's metaphor for his own mind. The novel preceded Travels (1989); Crichton's autobiographical work that attempted to explain himself and his beliefs. The plot of Sphere, the characters, the style, the action, the setting, the monsters, the technology, the science are all mostly irrelevant. Nevertheless, that's what people focus on. And that is Crichton's conclusion--that people, humans, do not want, and cannot, function effectively if they (we) truly engage the world as who we are. We are "Source Energy" to use the "Law of Attraction" terminology. We have the power to create worlds and are solely responsible for what happens to us by virtue of our thoughts; but " ... we simply aren't prepared to control our thoughts," he says in The Lost World (1995). "We are directly responsible for any illness that happens to us," Crichton said in Travels. Here is where things get very interesting.

Crichton died in 2008 of cancer. He was 66. Cancer is said to be caused by: "Deep hurt. Longstanding resentment. Deep secret or grief eating away at the self. Carrying hatreds. `What's the use."' [Hay, Louise. (1982) Heal Your Body.] Before I go on, I want to be clear--I've read most of his work, like it, and have the greatest respect for him as a man and artist. He is the only person, only one, to have at the same time, the number one book, movie, and TV show.He's had books published posthumously. He was also married five times, and his latest child was born after he died. In other words ... he never stopped trying! I don't know what that speaks to--his character, the hopelessness of existence, or a failure to understand that which is true.

Three things appear to me: 1) Michael Crichton was a genius (He was also six-foot nine. He was a freak physically and mentally is one way to look at him.); 2) He had disdain and resentment for people in general; 3) Being that abnormal makes life difficult, even if it produces for you millions of dollars and world-wide fame. In Sphere, he tries to reconcile all things in the final segment titled, "THE POWER." He does this, essentially, by having conversations with himself under the guise of dialogue between characters, and finally with the Sphere itself - who ("I am not a who.") informs the protagonist, Psychologist Norman Johnson, that he, Johnson, already knows everything there is to know and that he already has the power to create anything he wants. What this is: Is a fictionalized version of the channeling of Abraham by Esther Hicks in all her books about the "Law of Attraction" (2004 - 2010); popularized by the book and DVD, The Secret (2006) by Australian Rhonda Byrne. Abraham is analogous to The Sphere. [The idea of a Law of Attraction, and that thoughts are manifested into reality, can be traced back to the New Thought Movement in late 19th Century America.]

Johnson, not surprisingly, decides that people cannot handle The Power, and that the secret should remain a secret. So he, and Crichton's other characters, use their power (imagination) to erase the knowledge that they gained--that they can manifest reality by thought--and so forget everything that happened; and invent a false narrative and present it as truth.

This novel delves into many of the issues I myself am struggling with regarding the Law of Attraction. Foremost is: That negativity is such a powerful force in one's mind it seems impossible to do what is directed by Abraham - that one choose the better feeling in any given moment. It seems so much easier to fall down the mineshaft than to imagine yourself ascending. To let go is to fall. To go with the flow is to follow the negativity. Look around. Being able to appreciate what looks like evil and ugliness is unnatural.

Crichton might be right. In the novel, he approaches this with a conversation between Norman and Beth, a female Zoologist. Norman is explaining to Beth about The Power, about how one's thoughts are manifested, conscious or unconscious, so if one will focus on the good, positive thoughts - then they are what will happen. (Choose the better feeling.) Beth responds by saying that is impossible: "How can you say to someone, `Don't think of a giant squid'? The minute you say that, they automatically think of the squid in the course of not to think of it." "It's possible to control your thoughts." Norman responds.

Clearly (Really Mark?) Crichton struggled with this concept his entire adult life. (As am I. Are you cracking up, Mark? Of course not. I'm perfectly sane. Just because ... doesn't mean that ... .)

The Law of Attraction states that: Wanted or unwanted - your dominant thoughts will be manifested. Crichton approaches this with a discussion about The Shadow--Jung's idea that the we are both what we desire and that which we don't desire. Our personality is both/and, not either or. We are both male and female, extraverted and introverted, thinking and feeling, courageous and cowardly ... though one facet is more dominant than the other within an individual, but to deny your shadow is to ask for trouble. (Ask and it is given. Hicks' first book.) Crichton articulates: To fear something, no matter that you might repress it, is to call it forth. The Law of Attraction concurs. Thus, Crichton has backed himself into a corner with no way out: (What's the use of living if his dominant thought is that people are stupid and nothing can change that.) His character, Norman Johnson, believes he has figured things out. Norman argues, to himself, that he acknowledges his unconscious, his shadow, and by so doing protects himself from manifesting his fears. Of course, that's a contradiction as Beth pointed out. By thinking about your dark side - the Universe will confirm it. Fear the giant squid and the creature appears. At one juncture, Norman and Beth attack one another.

Beth mutters: "You're a real son of a bitch, Norman, do you know that? You feel so terrible that you need to make everybody else just as low as you are."

She was talking about herself, he thought.

"You're so big on the unconscious, Norman. The unconscious this, the unconscious that. Jesus Christ, I'm sick of you. Your unconscious probably wants to kill us all, just because you want to kill yourself and you think everybody else should die with you."

He felt a shuddering chill. Beth, with her lack of self-esteem, her deep core self-hate ... saw herself as victim ... [and] failed to see how she had done it to herself, he thought. (p.321)

Good stuff ... if I'm right.

What are your dominant thoughts about yourself? Where do they come from? Crichton looks at this question through the mind of his protagonist Psychologist ... does childhood and biology decide, as Freud thought?Born introverted and neurotic -- then denigrated, humiliated, neglected ... Isolated, feeling alone, and that nobody cares about you - is it possible to have good thoughts about yourself? Or, has the damage been done and it irreversible? (Enter psychotherapy and/or drugs, and/or belief.)

Crichton posits in Sphere, the only way out is to deny, or repress, The Power, your power. In effect, disempowering yourself and keeping everyone ignorant.

Crichton's life and death are a testament to his genius and to ... I don't know - that he was right? He died for a cause?He says in The Lost World that humans are the only species that will die for a belief - which is a product of mind, which then becomes reality. Abraham says that a belief is just a thought you keep thinking. Keep thinking the thought and soon your belief manifests in the real world.

Crichton says via "Source" in Sphere: ... "imagining is what makes it happen. You imagine wonderful things and you imagine terrible things, and you take no responsibility for the choice."

Norman responds in his mind: "But you are somebody different from me, separate. You are not me."

"Yes I am. You imagined me."

"Tell me more."

"There is no more."

Thus, with our love/hate relationship with oil, we called forth the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. With our love/hate relationship with drugs - we assure increasing violence regarding the use of drugs. With our love/hate relationship with war - we assure its inevitability. With our love/hate relationship with wealth - we assure the continuous boom/bust cycle and widening gap between rich and poor. With our love/hate relationship with foreigners we guarantee xenophobia.Because we have the power to create whatever it is we want; but are more comfortable not accepting responsibility and blaming others, we think we can have our cake and eat it, too. The Law of Attraction says you may have your cake, eat it, and then bake another one.

Another issue Crichton examines is what happens when two people have conflicting desires, or imaginings. What happens then? The Law of Attraction says take care of yourself, choose to feel better than you do at any moment; and choose to see only the best in others, and that then will manifest to the benefit of all. Everybody wins. Again, that is simply much easier said than done, or imagined. Fear and negativity creeps in, and tends to dominate. What if, what if, what if ... .

One final comment, I watched the movie, Sphere - a waste of two dollars. The beauty of the written word versus a moving picture is: With words, one can slow down time, enough so as to examine all that is happening now, what has happened in the past, and what is imagined in the future.

At least--Crichton was willing to look at the possibility that he might be culpable for his own cancer and powerless to prevent it.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a book!
I had read some more recent books by Michael Crichton.This one is very different.It is way more science fiction.It kept me reading way into the night.Just the setting of the book will draw you in... a habitat so far under water that the light from the sun does not reach.The lights on the habitat can only show a small distance and beyond that light is unknown... If you are a fan of sci-fi at all, read this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars A page-turner for sure, but that doesn't mean it's a great book
Sphere is definitely a page-turner. I blazed through this book in just a couple sittings, but that doesn't mean it's an amazing book, it just has some really good hooks.

Sphere is about a group of scientists from all walks of life (zoologist, psychologist, an astrophysicist and others) and their secret mission into the depths of the Pacific Ocean. An alien ship has been discovered and it's up to these guys to find the answers.

Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike this book, I just found many of the elements a too far-fetched and some of the logic in the book is a bit flawed. It's hard to explain why without giving away big spoilers. I just found some of the plot elements a little too convenient, or forced I suppose. Also, I wasn't attached to any of the characters.

However, Sphere definitely is a page-turner. Even though I found gaping logic flaws I was always curious as to what was going to happen next. This book has some shattering plot twists. However, once the main twist is revealed parts of the book become predictable.

It's like this -
Have you ever been home sick from work and you catch yourself watching some stupid daytime-drama? Even though the acting is lacking, the plot is contrived and much of it is completely predicable - for some reason you just keep watching it? Yeah, it's a bit like that.

That being said, Sphere was my first Crichton book and for some reason I can't wait to read another!

4-0 out of 5 stars A Great Read and an Original Story
I read Sphere years ago and reread recently. It's a fun interesting book where you don't really know where it's headed. It does a great job on having the reader discover things along with the characters. It's hard for me to tell you what I liked about the alien-mysterious ship and creature without ruining the plot, but just let me say that I found it captivating even the second time around. Crichton's writing has never been Shakespeare, but it's not supposed to be either. His books really paved the way for the explosion of the science action genre. I'd recommend this to any sci-fi, action, or thriller fan, but this probably isn't the book for you if you're looking for deep characterization and literary skill. ... Read more

12. Rising Sun
by Michael Crichton
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (1992-11-23)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345380371
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
During the grand opening celebration of the new American headquarters of an immense Japanese conglomerate, the dead body of a beautiful woman is found. The investigation begins, and immediately becomes a headlong chase through a twisting maze of industrial intrigue and a violent business battle that takes no prisoners.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (136)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius
In my view, the genius here is the way the author combines big business, economics, minute details of police work, knowledge of Japanese culture and business and pure storytelling to produce an information-packed and tremendously entertaining novel. No need to rehash the plot here, but I just need to add that the characters are interesting and twisted, rather than predictable and flat, which is the problem with many contemporary novels, and the author manages to accomplish that in an easy, natural non-descriptive manner. We never know what to expect from whom. Some will dismiss the novel as Japan-bashing, yet Michael Crichton manages to say many good things about Japanase culture, and not come across as flattering. The writing style suits the novel perfectly, the suspense is palpable and the plot is the cleverest I remember encountering in a long time. One other thing - the movie is a very close adaptation of the novel, and is highly recommended to anyone who has read or is planning to read the book. It's a very accurate rendering of, and just about as good as the novel; the acting is amazing; the film has a few nuances of its own which are not in the book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Crichton's Best.....But.....
Although the technology in this book is now dated, the story still can reel you in.I have read a few of Chrichton's books and this one certainly isn't his best, but it also is not his worst.

4-0 out of 5 stars MUCH BETTER THAN THE MOVIE!!!
If u like MC then u will prob like this book.I read it right after it orignally came out and recall thinking it was pretty good. Although, many of us chg are opinions by the time we are over 30...lol. Drew

3-0 out of 5 stars Reading with Tequila
Rising Sun was a tough one to get through. It wasn't extremely long, but without having any prior knowledge of Japanese business or customs I found myself boggled by the details. Once finished, I felt it was a satisfying read, but not something I would have an interest in reading again. Rising Sun is a must for the more rabid Michael Crichton fans, but casual readers should pass this one by.

5-0 out of 5 stars Crichton's best book ever!
After reading Jurassic Park, I wanted to read every Crichton book available!After doing so, I have decided that this was the best book that he has ever written!

I loved the Rising Sun!It had an intriguing beginning, and only got better as the story went on.This is one of the few books that ever was portrayed in a fair way on television.If you loved the television/movie version, you would love this book!

Have fun! ... Read more

13. A Case of Need
by Michael Crichton
Paperback: 416 Pages (2003-08-05)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$1.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451210638
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A Case of Need is Michael Crichton's award-winning debut novel, written shortly after he completed his medical internship. Set against the ever-building pressure and pace of a large Boston medical center, the tensions flare-and explode-when a surgical operation tragically ends in death, raising countless questions. Was it accidental malpractice? A violation of the Hippocratic oath? Or cold-blooded murder? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (105)

3-0 out of 5 stars A Murder Mystery
Crichton's approach here is a murder mystery in the scientific world of medicine.It is unlike later novels in which he imagines new scientific worlds.Here we have a respective pathologist acting the detective much like the protagonist in Rising Sun.On the surface an abortion has been committed on the daughter of a highly repected and powerful Brahmin Doctor in Boston.An oriental doctor friend of the pathologist is to be charged with committing the abortion at a time when abortions were still illegal.There is a lot of scientific dialogue as the pathologist interviews other doctors.He also delves into the culture of the daughter's life.

Crichton has a pro-choice view here.Despite the changed legal time, I still found the essential story engrossing.A secret operation has been botched, and the daughter is dead.There are powerful conflicting forces that seek to stop him and he has to work around prejudiced law enforement.Our hero is working against a deadline to save a man's name and identify the real "killer."I think the characters we meet along the way are believable.I found myself in suspense until the end.

It is a quick read.And I think it is worthwhile if you are a Crichton fan because his body of work spans so many different areas of science.

3-0 out of 5 stars Reading with Tequila
A Case of Need was Michael Crichton's first novel and it showed. The book was decent, but it lacked the polish of his later work. I was interested, but not engrossed and could have put it down and never missed finishing it. Forgettable.

2-0 out of 5 stars not that good
This book drags a bit. I couldn't get into it.
I did,however, like the insight into the medical world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dad's Opinion
A marvelously contrived plot. The reader can learn a lot of medical processes and terminology as well. Well worth the reader's time. But it's by Michael Crichton -- need I say more?

4-0 out of 5 stars A Stimulating Story that kept my interest
A Case of Need is a stimulating story that kept my interest and I found that it was hard to put down. It educated s on some of the arguments for both sides of the abortion issue while maintaining a very good story line and character set. The plot revolves around who performed an illegal abortion on a girl from an affluent family.
As you read on you that the abortion killed the girl, so the person who performed the abortion is guilty of murder. For medical thriller fans I would highly recommend this book.
... Read more

14. The Lost World
by Michael Crichton
Mass Market Paperback: 448 Pages (1996-09-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 034540288X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
It is now six years since the secret disaster at Jurassic Park, six years since the extraordinary dream of science and imagination came to a crashing end--the dinosaurs destroyed, the park dismantled, the island indefinitely closed to the public.
There are rumors that something has survived. . . .
--New York Daily News
--The Washington Post Book World
--Entertainment Weekly
--St. Petersburg Times
Amazon.com Review
Written in the wake of Jurassic Park's phenomenalbox-office success, The Lost World seems as much a guidebookfor Hollywood types hard at work on the franchise's followup as it isa legitimate sci-fi thriller. Which begs the inevitable questions: Isthe plot a rehash of the first book? Sure it is, with the actionunfolding on yet another secluded island, the mysterious "Site B." Isthe cast of characters basically the same? Absolutely, from a freshlyminted pair of cute, compu-savvy kids right down to the neatly exhumedchaos theorist Ian Malcolm (who was presumed dead at the close ofJP). But is it fun to read? You betcha. Hollywood (and MichaelCrichton) keeps telling us the same old stories for a very goodreason: we like them. And the pulp SF formula Crichton has masteredwith JurassicPark and The Lost World is no exception. --PaulHughes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (566)

5-0 out of 5 stars phenomenal
No wonder it became a blockbuster movie. This book is amazing. How did someone create the stuff!? I can hardly come up with a good joke, much less a hugely successful storyline. I read this in just 4 hours. I couldnt put it down. A MUST READ

5-0 out of 5 stars Good sequel to the original novel
This story resumes six years after the Jurassic Park debacle and is as good as, if not better than, that popular book. The theme again is genetic replication of dinosaurs from millions of years ago that have reappeared on another island off the west coast of Costa Rica. That the mistakes of the Jurassic Park experiment have spread to other locales is a major plot theme and this novel explores the dangers that a research party faces as they explore this remote island whose jungles are teeming with vicious predators. This story is read by Scott Brick, one of the top audiobook narrators today and he gives the book and added dimension of nuance and tension that is missing in the original book form. The audio quality is not as good as it should be on several discs but the item is still a quality investment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than Jurassic Park!
I listened to this as an audio-book, so my review is from a slightly different perspective.

I loved this book. I think I liked it more than Jurassic Park. I liked the breaks in the story that the chapters provided and I liked that Malcolm had quotes at the beginning of different sections of the book.

This story is really nothing like the movie, except that it is some of the original characters going to "Site B" where the other dinosaurs are kept (and a couple of similar scenes). Other than that, the story is very different from the movie and can even be a stand alone book. The plot kept moving and situations the characters found themselves in, while crazy outrageous, kept the reader's/listener's interest.

Another great Crichton book with a moral tidbit at the end to keep you thinking.

4-0 out of 5 stars Vintage Crichton
A very enjoyable Crichton thriller. Especially enjoyed his passages about evolution and the internet being the decline of society. Great stuff.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cretaceous Lab
Following the events of Jurassic Park, the Costa Rican government is vigorously suppressing any reports of large lizard-like creatures, which have been showing up with increasing frequency. Supposedly, the animals (from "Site B", another island, the actual research and development site) have become lysine deprived (as designed) and are escaping the island seeking lysine.

An eccentric billionaire is convinced that remnant dinosaur populations exist around the earth (without any real evidence) and has begun the construction of special vehicles and collection of supplies for an expedition.Not waiting for confirmation, or even communication, and completely alone, except for a local guide, Levine finds his way to "Site B" and is lost.But an expedition is mounted to find him.

In the meantime "Dodson" is continuing his nefarious schemes to find and capture some of the animals, and also descends on "Site B" [albeit his alleged motive, to acquire "patentable" animals for pharmaceutical experimentation is implausible-- dinosaur physiology is too different from human].That's roughly the setup, albeit leaving most of the major characters out.

The initial development (what I've described as "The Setup" above) is painfully verbose and drawn out.It isn't until well past this point that some hint of the plot emerges.There are some inconsistencies with Jurassic Park.Why are there males at "Site B" since only females were created at JP.Why were prions not a problem at JP?

Despite the minor quibbles above, this is one of the best of the Crichton novels--particularly for folks who appreciate Crichton's philosophical insights into nature and technology. ... Read more

15. Jurassic Park
by Michael Crichton
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (1991-11-13)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345370775
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Creatures once extinct now roam Jurassic Park, soon-to-be opened as a theme park. Until something goes wrong...and science proves a dangerous toy....
Amazon.com Review
Unless your species evolved sometime after 1993 whenJurassic Park hit theaters, you're no doubt familiar with thisdinosaur-bites-man disaster tale set on an island theme park goneterribly wrong. But if Speilberg's amped-up CGI creation left youlonging for more scientific background and ... well, characterdevelopment, check out the original Michael Crichton novel. Althoughnot his best book (get ahold of sci-fi classic The Andromeda Strainfor that), Jurassic Park fills out the film version's kineticstory line with additional scenes, dialogue, and explanations whilestill maintaining Crichton's trademark thrills-'n'-chills pacing. Asever, the book really is better than the movie. --Paul Hughes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (698)

4-0 out of 5 stars Way better than the movie
Reading this book has made me realize just how much of a bastardization the movie really was.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jurassic Park Changed my Life
This film changed my life and my entire mentality. I was never a fond reader of books and one day my father arrived at my grandparents summer trailer in upstate Poconos and at the age of 10 I sat throguh what was a torrential rainstorm and he presented me with Jurassic Park the paperback in a brown paperbag.
I read the book in 3 days and this was the first book I never wanted to end. Michael Crichton was such a beautiful configuration of Science, history, fact, fiction and creativity combined with his own life experiences that everyone of his books made me incredibly smarter. Jurassic Park perfectly creates a vision that is conveyed so flawlessly that you cannot resist but immerse yourself in this fictional time and place. I was able to perfectly construct in my mind this park these dinosaurs and these characters and it made me want to absorb information and become an intellectual.
To this day I love the rain and storms because it reminds me of Jurassic Park and the many books such as Congo, Sphere and Travels (MC's BIO) and I felt whole.
Micheal Crichton you have and always will be the only hero I have ever had.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book...
I read this book some years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I saw the movie first and then read the book. The Book was better in my opinion; although, I did enjoy the movie. As books should, it provoked me to ponder if such cloning experiments are happening on some remote island in some remote part of the world. Who knows but it is interesting and scary to think that it could be happening.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book I have ever read
This book is honestley my favorite book of them all. I have always loved it and I read it over and over again. It has everything you need in a good book. I think the movie is even better. After you read this book, you will be so in to dinosaurs and Jurassic Park that you can't even believe it. I have always loved this book and the movie. After reading the book I now have the dream of becoming a Paleontologist.

5-0 out of 5 stars RIVETING...

This is definitely one of the author's most enjoyable books. It is hard to believe that it was first published nearly twenty years ago. The fact that the book is still selling like hotcakes is testament to the strength of the story storyline. As with many of the author's books, there is definitely a moral to the story, as there usually is when a desire for profit and science are combined.

The premise of the book is fascinating. A wealthy man has a desire to make even more money. He comes up with a concept that be believes will be a sure fire winner. Design a new type of theme amusement part, one that is peppered with dinosaurs.To that end, he buys a remote island for his project and hires the best scientists and engineers that money can buy. They manage to come up with a process for cloning dinosaurs from recovered DNA, which will ensure that their goals are met and Jurassic Park becomes a reality.

There are, however, a couple of little glitches that need to be addressed before opening Jurassic Park to the general public. So, money bags invites a couple of experts, a paleontologist, a botanist, and a mathematician to the island for a dry run, as well as his own grandchildren. When they arrive, having been kept somewhat in the dark as to what to expect and thinking that the island isjust some kind of grandiose resort, they are taken aback when they discover whatreally awaits them. Let the games begin!

This is an exciting tale in which science and non-stop action combine in a way that will rivet the reader to the pages of this book. Well-written and suspenseful, it is a book that keeps the reader in its thrall.Those who like techno-thrillers will derive much enjoyment from this masterfully told tale, which manages to educate and entertain at the same time. ... Read more

16. Terminal Man
by Michael Crichton
Mass Market Paperback: 352 Pages (2009-05-01)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$3.83
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006178267X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Harry Benson is prone to violent, uncontrollable seizures and is under police guard after attacking two people. Dr. Roger McPherson, head of the prestigious Neuropsychiatric Research Unit at University Hospital in Los Angeles, is convinced he can cure Benson through a procedure called Stage Three. During this highly specialized experimental surgery, electrodes will be placed in the patient's brain, sending monitored, soothing pulses to its pleasure canyons. But though the operation is a success, there is an unforeseen development. Benson learns how to control the pulses and is increasing their frequency. He escapes—a homicidal maniac loose in the city—and nothing will stop his murderous rampages or impede his deadly agenda . . .

Amazon.com Review
Harry has a problem. Ever since getting in a car accident,he's suffered from "thought seizures," violent fits in which heattacks other people. He used to be an artificial intelligenceresearcher, which may explain why he targets anyone who either workson machines or who acts like a machine--mechanics, gas-stationattendants, prostitutes, exotic dancers. But there's hope: he canbecome part machine himself, undergoing "Stage 3," an experimentalprocedure implanting 40 electrodes deep in the pleasure centers of hisbrain. The surgery is successful, and blissful pulses of electricityshort-circuit Harry's seizures. That is, until Harry figures out howto overload himself with the satisfying jolts and escapes on amurderous rampage. One of Crichton's earliest, playing ably on '70sfears of computers and mind control. --Paul Hughes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (136)

3-0 out of 5 stars Manon knew.
THE TERMINAL MAN was Michael Crichton's follow-up to The Andromeda Strain, and as a sophomore effort it falls short of its predecessor.

Harry Benson suffers a traumatic brain injury which causes him to act violently. In what is somewhat of a tip of the hat to Anthony Burgess in A Clockwork Orange, doctors implant electrodes in his brain which are supposed to short-circuit these violent impulses. Unfortunately, Harry's brain becomes addicted to the stimulation, and his behavior becomes more and more violent in order to produce more and more and stronger calming pulses. More violence, more pulses, worse violence, stronger pulses. Harry doesn't have a chance. And neither do his victims. Mr. Road Rage turns into the Eichmann of his subdivision.

The problem with THE TERMINAL MAN is that a perceptive reader can figure this all out in the first twenty pages. After that, it's all ho-hum "I know how this is going to end." I had the feeling that Crichton needed to meet a post-ANDROMEDA publisher's demand, and threw this out there without really polishing the finish on it.

This book played well on burgeoning 1970s fears of computer mind control and technology run amuck, but we don't need brain implants to turn people into automatons now, we have Social Networking, which is far more subversive and subtle.

3-0 out of 5 stars A rather sub-par novel for Crichton
The Terminal Man is an interesting story, but for about the first half the plot moves real slowly, and the narration focuses a lot on the technology being used in the story. To top it off, this technology is very outdated, and is kind of boring to read about. The main character is Harry Benson, a man who wound up in a car crash and is now prone to these seizures that cause him to go violently insane. Dr. Roger McPherson is the doctor who is trying to cure Benson using, what would've been at the time, a new and technologically advanced method. Things begin to get interesting though as Benson's mental condition gradually worsens while in the hospital. The book becomes a lot more entertaining when he manages to break loose and escape. There is some suspense throughout the story, especially in the second half as McPherson searches for his dangerously psychotic patient who's on the run and is prone to attack and kill anyone he encounters. For the most part though the suspense isn't at the same riveting level as most of Crichton's other novels. It's more of a detective search than it is a good guy chasing bad guy adventure.

Overall, I think this is a decent book that's worth checking out, especially if you're a Michael Crichton fan. It's not a fast-paced, action-packed roller coaster ride jam-packed with suspense like some of his other novels, but it is a real mysterious story with some interesting characters and unexpected twists that will help keep the reader engaged with a curiosity as to what will happen next. I think 3.5 stars is a more accurate rating, but since that wasn't an option I decided to round down because of the book's slow pace. It's not a bad novel by any means; it's just not as good or exciting as Crichton's other novels. It's still decent though.

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing ending
I listened to this book as an audio-book, so my perspective may be different.I liked the book.I thought it was easy to get into and Crichton brought some interesting perspectives to the idea of computers and machines taking over man (from a 1971 perspective).I actually found the older date of the book amusing at times (smoking in the hospital) as opposed to some reviews I've read where the reader seems to be frustrated and/or offended that they even took the time to read a book that was so old.Anyway, while the book was interesting and the characters were likable, I thought the ending was poor.Crichton didn't wrap up all the characters and tell the reader what happened to everyone.That was disappointing.

3-0 out of 5 stars Personal Computer Man
Harry Benson has a neurological problem which causes him to have violent episodes which he does not remember.Faced with murder charges, his only hope for a nearly normal life is the implantation of electrodes, which when fired will stop his seizures.

Set in 1971, the technology is obviously wildly out of date.The philosophical issues remain valid, but greatly understated in an era when the interface of synthetic organs and cyber-intelligence with biological systems is a reality--when biological evolution has basically been suspended in favor of cyber-evolution.

Note that the title actually states the "datedness"."Terminal Man" was written in an era long before personal computers, in which "computers" were in fact dumb "terminals" linked to a large computer which might take up an entire floor of a large building.Most terminals were teletype machines, which provided both input and output.Which, by the way, is why we still have obsolete "Prt Scr/Sys Rq", "Scoll Lock" and "Pause/Break" keys on our keyboards---they are for using the keyboard in "terminal mode".The primitive special purpose computer implanted in Benson is a exception for the times, an actual, very-personal computer.It is Benson himself, who is the "terminal" by analogy, providing input and output to the "central" computer.

Crichton is best with action novels in which the science fiction is interwoven.This is not one of those novels.Except for a few burst of action, the plot of "Terminal Man" is plodding and the ending isunsatisfying.The characters are fairly flat.

Although Crichton is one of my favorite authors, this is not one of his best works.It is entertaining, particularly in the historical context.

3-0 out of 5 stars Reading with Tequila
The Terminal Man was interesting, in its way. It's an older Michael Crichton book and isn't as polished or as intense as his later works. It's another of his books that I would recommend only to hardcore Crichton fans. I had some difficulty understanding Harry's actions, even though they were fully explained in the book. I'm not sure if this was more about me not comprehending the psychological/medical/technological aspects of the book or if the book wasn't basic enough for a lay-person. ... Read more

17. Next
by Michael Crichton
Paperback: 544 Pages (2008)

Isbn: 3442466725
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18. Michael Crichton: A New Collection of Three Complete Novels: Congo, Sphere, Eaters of the Dead
by Michael Crichton
Hardcover: 720 Pages (1994-03-06)
list price: US$12.99 -- used & new: US$6.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0517101351
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Fans of Jurassic Park and Rising Sun, the books and the movies, will want to own this collection of Crichton's earlier, technical suspense novels, which includes Congo, Sphere, and Eaters of the Dead. Amazon.com Review
One great omnibus of three of Crichton's most popularadventures, with his trademark blend of breathtaking suspense and cutting-edge technology. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Michael Crichton: A New Collection of Three Complete Novels: Congo, Sphere, Eaters of the Dead
All three novels are very different but written very well.They are quite interesting and an easy read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great books, crappy paper.
I don't like the paper this book was printed on, and the cover art on the dust jacket is lackluster. Those things don't hurt my enjoyment of the novels contained within, though.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely good
Product was as described. The jacket was impeccable and so were the pages. delivery was prompt. I loved the first 2 stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars Christmas gift for grandson
I bought the book "Michael Crichton: A New Collection of Three Complete Novels: Congo, Sphere, Eaters of the Dead" for my 20 year old grandson for Christmas and he was very excited about getting it. As soon as he finishes the book he is reading now, he will read it immediately. I received the book in just a few days. I was really impressed with the timely manner given that it was just a few weeks before Christmas.

5-0 out of 5 stars All we need now is all his works in one
I loved Sphere and Congo. I read them when 3 years ago I was overseas in Africa when I was about 11, and was glad a picked them up. I had read previous books, such as Jurassic Park and The Lost World, as well as The Adromedia Strain. In all truth, Sphere scared me senseless, I ended up reading all of it in one night because it was too frightening to put down. Congo is another book I bought just so I could re-read it over and over. I have to say that the movie just doent do it justice, just cant capture the pure emotion of the story, the feeling of assembling the parts of the story, what has been described in your head, then having that moment when it all comes together. The spoon-fed images version does not work. I picked up Eaters of The Dead yesterday, and cant wait to start reading it after I finish Traitor General by Dan Abnett. ... Read more

19. The Andromeda Strain
by Michael Crichton
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (2008-11-01)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006170315X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

The United States government is given a warning by the pre-eminent biophysicists in the country: current sterilization procedures applied to returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere.

Two years later, seventeen satellites are sent into the outer fringes of space to "collect organisms and dust for study." One of them falls to earth, landing in a desolate area of Arizona.

Twelve miles from the landing site, in the town of Piedmont, a shocking discovery is made: the streets are littered with the dead bodies of the town's inhabitants, as if they dropped dead in their tracks.

The terror has begun . . .

Amazon.com Review
Some biologists speculate that if we ever make contact withextraterrestrials, those life forms are likely to be--like most lifeon earth--one-celled or smaller creatures, more comparable to bacteriathan little green men. And even though such organisms would not likelybe able to harm humans, the possibility exists that first contactmight be our last.

That's the scientific supposition that MichaelCrichton formulates and follows out to its conclusion in his excellentdebut novel, The Andromeda Strain.

A Nobel-Prize-winningbacteriologist, Jeremy Stone, urges the president to approve anextraterrestrial decontamination facility to sterilize returningastronauts, satellites, and spacecraft that might carry an "unknownbiologic agent." The government agrees, almost too quickly, to buildthe top-secret Wildfire Lab in the desert of Nevada. Shortlythereafter, unbeknownst to Stone, the U.S. Army initiates the "Scoop"satellite program, an attempt to actively collect space pathogens foruse in biological warfare. When Scoop VII crashes a couple years laterin the isolated Arizona town of Piedmont, the Army ends up gettingmore than it asked for.

The Andromeda Strain follows Stoneand rest of the scientific team mobilized to react to the Scoop crashas they scramble to understand and contain a strange and deadlyoutbreak. Crichton's first book may well be his best; it has anearnestness that is missing from his later, more calculatedthrillers. --Paul Hughes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (388)

5-0 out of 5 stars "There isn't anything in the world . . . "
THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN was written while Michael Crichton was in medical school. Arguably, this is his best book, written at the height of the U.S. Space Program, and guaranteed to terrify the reader with its tale of an unmanageable pathogen from beyond the Earth.

Written as a real documentary report, Crichton manages to impart significant information about Chemical-Bacteriological Warfare, epidemiology, hot zone protocols, computerized patient diagnosis, hemotology, and much else to his readers while still entertaining us.

It may be that his supersecret pathogen laboratory, "Wildfire" isn't real, but it could be, and so could virtually anything else between these covers, which is why THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN still inspires chills forty years after its publication. The 1971 movie The Andromeda Strain is a worthy effort, but read the book first.

3-0 out of 5 stars A decent techno-thriller, though it does have some issues
The Andromeda Strain was my second venture into Crichton's work, the first being Sphere. Though I did like it a bit more than Sphere, it still didn't really pull me in as much as I thought it might.

Andromeda Strain is about an extraterrestrial microorganism that comes to Earth via 'Scoop' satellite that is placed just in orbit, right around the highest levels of Earth's atmosphere. The satellite prematurely crashes right near Piedmont, a small town in Arizona. This unknown microorganism causes all but two people in Piedmont to meet their maker. It is the job of a small team of scientists to unravel the mysteries of this microorganism. Isolated, in an underground facility the scientists go to work.

I found most of this book to be at least mildly interesting. The plot seems somewhat plausible on the surface (even if it really isn't). The ending is a bit of a deus ex machina and some of the plot devices are entirely too clichéd (the clock ticking down to ultimate destruction for instance). There are also elements that are way too contrived though I won't discuss them here because it would spoil an important aspect of the plot.

In the end, it was entertaining enough to keep my bookmark moving.

4-0 out of 5 stars The book that started it all for Crichton
"The Andromeda Strain" was Michael Crichton's first novel, and it basically served as the foundation for his illustrious career. He could develop a serious crisis unlike any other, but it wasn't just the suspense and action that made his novels so great; it was also the unique characters he created and the way they evolved throughout his stories. Also, Crichton's narrative was at times very informative and free-flowing in ways that could almost be read like a work of non-fiction within the fictional story he was telling, and it helped bring the characters and events in his books to life. "The Andromeda Strain" is a great example of this.

Bacteriologist Jeremy Stone, along with a group of other scientists, are working in, what was then, a technologically advanced, state-of-the-art facility as they try diligently to unravel the mystery behind this extraterrestrial bacteria that came to earth via a satellite that had been launched by the army a couple years earlier. The satellite crash-landed near a small town in Arizona called Piedmont, and the bacteria quickly spread like a virus, killing all but two people in the town: a crying baby and a strange old man. The scientists find themselves encountering many problems in their facility as they try figuring out how these two people survived and how this deadly virus can be stopped before it kills them and spreads throughout the country.

The ending is somewhat anticlimactic, and there are parts of the story that read at a slow pace as Crichton describes things like scientific theories regarding bacteria from outer space and the now outdated technology being used in the facility. As a result, the book didn't seem quite as suspenseful as it could've been. Overall though, Crichton did a great job handling the mystery elements in this intriguing and unpredictable story, and he did a pretty good job with the character development as well. "The Andromeda Strain" is very well written, especially for an author's first novel. I guess that's not surprising though. Crichton always wrote like a veteran, and it seemed like he always knew exactly what he was doing. This book is no exception.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sci Fi Classic & Cautionary Tale
I have read and re-read this book many times, I've seen the movie and TV series. This is absolutely one of the best tales of science getting out of control. A space probe is sent to seek organisms that can be used for germ or biological warfare. The quest is far more successful than the government wants and things go down hill from there.

Crichton graduate from Harvard Med school, so he has the educational and technological background to make this entirely plausible and absoultely frightening. He has excellent writing skills, making what could have been a dull accounting of science and medicine into an emotional thriller that keeps you interested, building tension until the very end.

You may have heard of some of his other works: Congo, Sphere, Jurrassic Park, Rising Sun to name a few. A brilliant mind - his fiction often has footnotes and factual sources the reader can pursue to follow up on the facts.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Odyssey of Timeless Possibilities
Michael Crichton's first novel, "The Andromeda Strain", is an odyssey of timeless possibilities. The classic 1971 film vision, The Andromeda Strain (directed by Robert Wise), unfortunately could not include all of Crichton's little gems buried within the narrative of the text. The first time I tried reading the novel I couldn't get into the story, but recently I started over and actually forced myself to read the whole book. But this time it wasn't difficult once I got past the first parts and found myself compulsively reading it. I don't know what I was thinking the first time, but this book is exciting for the mind and still has much to offer even today.

The plot begins a little too slowly perhaps, but once the wave of ideas start coming it is a thoughtful and intelligent read. If you like his Jurassic Park, then this is an excellent novel to read for similar arguments about our human flaws. Like in "Jurassic Park", he questions the evolutionary and survival value of human intelligence. Are we too smart and powerful for our own good? Are we self-destructive like a ticking time bomb? All of these questions made famous by "Jurassic Park" get their start in this novel (Crichton's first). Besides his usual warnings against us humans trying to act as if we can control and manipulate nature without producing unknown, unpredictable, and potentially disastrous side effects, there are many other little gems for the imagination that I found even more interesting (and no I didn't find the Odd Man Hypothesis the most interesting idea).

Here are a few highlights to try to capture my meaning and point out all the excellent questions and SF possibilities mentioned in the text (most of which were not in the movie):

1. What sort of alien life are we likely to meet? It includes a table summarizing the odds of encountering certain types of alien life. The numbers indicate that we are most likely to discover non-complex and non-intelligent life. I found this interesting because Stephen Hawking notes a similar idea in his popular science book, The Universe in a Nutshell; he suggests that we are most likely to encounter lifeforms that are either less intelligent or much more intelligent than us.

2. What is life? He expresses skepticism over defining life in perfectly clear terms. Yes, most (if not all) definitions of life have counterexamples (just like almost all non-mathematical definitions)!

3. Could our first encounter come from below? He suggests a fascinating possibility that intelligent life might exist at tiny scales. Could we examine a piece of space debris under a microscope and see a message of greetings and peace from little aliens? Perhaps continuing trends of the miniaturization of technology would allow these little aliens to harness extreme types of power, at least for their size.

4. Would microorganisms from outer space be likely to harm us, or is it more likely that our environment will harm them? Bacteria on earth rarely exists in forms that are dangerous to humans, for over time microorganisms and humans co-evolved with each other and built immunities to each other. If a bacteria was too harmful and killed its host, then it is unlikely to survive in abundance.

4a. Though this means we are dependent on our 'good bugs' (our good bacteria) and we could be in danger if left 'naked' to our environment (the way an advanced alien life form would be, as H. G. Wells nicely used in The War of the Worlds (Modern Library Classics)). For example, Crichton discusses a kind of super-curing drug that could cure cancer completely by destroying all of one's microorganisms - including important ones in the stomach. Sounds great, but it would create the nasty side effect of undoing years of evolution and producing a quick death by some odd infection (that evolution regularly defends us against). So perhaps the odds are higher that bacteria will harm humans (or any life form) when man (or the life form) is stripped of centuries of co-evolution and left bare to the elements.

5. Is life as we know it 'normal' or could there be lifeforms very different? It speculates that an alien life form might use very different life-processes, such as not using amino acids (which we find in just about all life forms). Perhaps some sort of crystal life-processes could replace the 'normal' biological functions we observe on earth, and perhaps these processes would help equip such an alien life form to survive in space, travel the stars, meet new lifeforms, and seed new civilizations. Carl Sagan has an interesting discussion of life in his Cosmos: Carl Sagan (7 DVD Set) series and he suggests that carbon is essential for his classification of life, but Crichton is much more liberal about new life (in the tradition of Star Trek).

6. Would an atypical life form find other 'atypical' environments better for healthy life-functioning? Crichton points out that some forms of life survive best in very different environments than humans. Some live in the deep ocean in high pressure. So it may be possible that some lifeforms would survive best above the oxygen atmosphere of Earth. In the story, several scoops orbit the earth in search of microorganisms for the development of biological weapons.

7. Last on my list but not least -- How could an advanced civilization explore the universe within the constraints of vast distances, immense time intervals, and the rigors of space travel? One exciting option is that an advanced civilization might choose to send out microbiological organisms that adapt well to deep space. These microorganisms could announce the existence of their civilization and contact other life around the universe. And perhaps, just maybe, these organisms would have the ability to replicate and reproduce once they land in the right environment. They might even grow into a full life form, examine any life forms found in its area, and greet new life and new civilizations! How could they not put that into the movie!

The plot nicely weaves these seven questions into the story. The story is similar to the one in the movie. A group of scientists get a call to action to study a new microorganism scooped from an orbit around the earth. The scientists must find a way to defeat the deadly microorganism before it spreads, but many of their safety precautions produce unpredicted side effects. So they also have to battle against the limits of their humanity as well. They spend an immense amount of time decontaminating, and they go over the Odd Man Hypothesis in which studies show that a single person makes the right decisions more often than a married person. The Odd Man would have to decide whether to explode the entire facility if the microorganism gets out of control; and, by the way, only the Odd Man can turn off the count down to detonation.

I found the story surprisingly full of ideas, as if the author took his time and took great care to produce a near masterpiece. Some of his other stories seem too stock. Some of his stories carry along one or two interesting ideas near the end. But then he has "Jurassic Park" and "The Andromeda Strain" -- my two favorites by far. I also love Prey for a couple ideas but I didn't find it nearly as filled with gems as "The Andromeda Strain". I highly suggest this novel even though it was a little difficult for me to get into initially and science has probably advanced quite a bit since it was written. But the vision of the text and many imaginative possibilities seem very well intact (if not timeless). ... Read more

20. Congo
by Michael Crichton
Mass Market Paperback: 496 Pages (2009-05-01)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$5.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061782556
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Deep in the African rain forest, near the legendary ruins of the Lost City of Zinj, an expedition of eight American geologists are mysteriously and brutally killed in a matter of minutes.

Ten thousand miles away, Karen Ross, the Congo Project Supervisor, watches a gruesome video transmission of the aftermath: a camp destroyed, tents crushed and torn, equipment scattered in the mud alongside dead bodies—all motionless except for one moving image—a grainy, dark, man-shaped blur.

In San Francisco, primatologist Peter Elliot works with Amy, a gorilla with an extraordinary vocabulary of 620 "signs," the most ever learned by a primate, and she likes to finger paint. But recently her behavior has been erratic and her drawings match, with stunning accuracy, the brittle pages of a Portuguese print dating back to 1642 . . . a drawing of an ancient lost city. A new expedition—along with Amy—is sent into the Congo, where they enter a secret world, and the only way out may be through a horrifying death . . .

Amazon.com Review
If you saw the 1995 film adaptation of this Crichton thriller,somebody owes you an apology. While you're waiting for that tohappen, try reading the vastly more intelligent novel on which themovie was based. The broad lines of the plot remain the same: Aresearch team deep in the jungle disappears after a mysterious andgrisly gorilla attack. A subsequent team, including asign-language-speaking simian named Amy, follows the original team'stracks only to be subjected to more mysterious and grisly gorillaattacks. If you can look past the breathless treatment of '80stechnology, like voice-recognition software and 256K RAM modules (thebook was written in 1980), you'll find the same smart use of scienceand edge-of-your-seat suspense shared by Crichton's otherwork. --Paul Hughes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (251)

1-0 out of 5 stars dont go ape over this book!!
a god awfulboring bookTMIbest describes this bookfor megot a history lessonon every aspect of this book .not nearlyscary enough toeven get myBP upreadmore than 3 qtrs of bookfor one semi chilling chapter a HUGE YAWN very veryboring

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent (and easy) reading
The one thing you can absolutely depend on when you read a book by Dr. Crichton is that you will learn various trivia and assorted interesting facts related to topic at hand.The subject of this particular book is the great apes and their close kinship to humans.Guiding the reader throughprimate behavior is Amy, a gorilla belonging to a primate researcher.In short, the story is about a quest for buried treasure guarded by a band of apes that have been specially bred by the humans to protect the treasure by single-mindedly killing anyone who comes venturing too close.These are intelligent creatures who appear to adapt and change strategies to best their human adversaries.Amy seems to recognize them as gorillas but refuses to adopt them as one of her own kind (which apparently is normal, for gorillas raised by humans often think of themselves in those terms and look at other gorillas derisively.Although there appears to be a difference here --- Amy is actually afraid of these gorillas.)Alas, many tantalizing questions remain unanswered: were these apes a hybrid of human and gorilla genes?What happens to the humans who bred them?Did the apes kill them? Etc.But regardless, the book is an excellent read.I saw the movie released in the early 1990's based on the book, and am just catching up with the printed version.

5-0 out of 5 stars Congo
This book arrived quickly and in great shape.The story is engaging and certainly shares some of the atmosphere of present day Congo too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great service
I had been looking for this book which seems to be out of print now.It arrived promptly and in good condition.

1-0 out of 5 stars Horribly Written
I couldn't even get half way through it. Bland characters, unrealistic plot. With too much dated, unnecessary and boring information. The gorilla, Amy, was not even realistic. He made her out to be more intelligent and more capable at signing than happens in reality. I am supposed to believe that the first time Amy was shown a watermelon she signed "water fruit" combining the two signs all on her own? Really?

What is this, written for third graders?

Also, the reality is modern weapons could easily wipe out any apes alive, killer or not. Ludicrous plot. I have concluded this author is a bit overhyped and overrated. ... Read more

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