Presenting Author - Michael Crichton

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Prof. Tarma Amelia Black
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Presenting Author - Michael Crichton

Post by Prof. Tarma Amelia Black » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:19 am

Name of the author: Michael Crichton
Main genre: Literature, Fiction, Science Fiction, Adventure, Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy
Main audience: Young adult on

Short summary of the author: Michael Crichton MD (he graduated from Harvard Medical School) had a particular talent for writing a scientifically plausible story, which was fast paced and with very few (or no) weak points in either plot or narration. Famous for the Jurassic Park series of books, he also wrote several other books (see genres above) which would usually all show the same extensive and meticulous research into the subject about which the book was written. Michael Crichton also wrote under the names John Lange, Michael Douglas and Jeffery Hudson. His books have been translated into at least thirty-eight languages and several have been made into movies. The Andromeda Strain (1969) was the first book he wrote under his own name. There are 18 books with Michael Crichton shown as author.

'Michael Crichton' Books: The Andromeda Strain, The Terminal Man, The Great Train Robbery, Eaters of the Dead, Congo, Sphere, Jurassic Park, Rising Sun, Disclosure, The Lost World, Airframe, Timeline, Prey, State of Fear, Next, Pirate Latitudes, Micro and Dragon Teeth.

Good points / bad points: Basically, I have enjoyed the books I've read. Sometimes they get very technical but in a way which is explained 'simply' so that the science is understood -- the mark of a superior author. The characters are very well deveoped and the action seems believable.
As usual, I do not prefer to dwell on 'bad points' because ... what if you read this and decide to try them out? That's why there are so many kinds of books.

Specific book: Dragon Teeth
At first I didn't know if I even wanted to read it. After all, it's a 'recently discovered' book? Uh huh. But I requested it from the library and it came in for me and ... I ended up reading it in one gulp almost! It's definitely a Michael Crichton book and, even back when he had first written it, he didn't pull any punches. Social issues? Oh yeah, let's look at them!

I enjoyed reading this book a lot. It's sort of a preview of Jurassic Park and yet, it is of its own story line and independent of the other books. Set back in the 1800s, at the start of the time of searching for fossil bones in the United States, it is obvious he researched the history of that time period (all of the history, not the pablum version) and ... in many ways it was terrible to revisit it, even as a story. At the same time, the story appears to be valid and 'real' -- and the explanation of the art of photography is fascinating.

Good Reads write-up
The year is 1876. Warring Indian tribes still populate America’s western territories even as lawless gold-rush towns begin to mark the landscape. In much of the country it is still illegal to espouse evolution. Against this backdrop two monomaniacal paleontologists pillage the Wild West, hunting for dinosaur fossils, while surveilling, deceiving and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars.

Into this treacherous territory plunges the arrogant and entitled William Johnson, a Yale student with more privilege than sense. Determined to survive a summer in the west to win a bet against his arch-rival, William has joined world-renowned paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh on his latest expedition. But when the paranoid and secretive Marsh becomes convinced that William is spying for his nemesis, Edwin Drinker Cope, he abandons him in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a locus of crime and vice. William is forced to join forces with Cope and soon stumbles upon a discovery of historic proportions. With this extraordinary treasure, however, comes exceptional danger, and William’s newfound resilience will be tested in his struggle to protect his cache, which pits him against some of the West’s most notorious characters.
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"You have the inborn natural right to remain silent. Don't think about it, don't talk about it, shuush ....... STILL." ~ Xaris
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Prof. Tarma Amelia Black
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Re: Presenting Author - Michael Crichton

Post by Prof. Tarma Amelia Black » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:37 pm

Title of the book: State of Fear
Author: Michael Crichton
Series: no
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Adventure, Thriller, Mystery

Short summary of the story: The book starts out with a quote from Mark Twain. This is an excellent indication of how this story will go! "There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." Directly under that quote is a quote from George Orwell "Within any important issue, there are always aspects no one wishes to discuss." In and of themself, they set the stage for another Crichton book which will push the envelope.

From there we go to someone who knows something being murdered (not a spoiler since it happens in the first pages of the book). But after that it becomes sort of a thriller and a mystery, where bits and pieces of information come out and are found in different parts of the globe. We don't have a 'hero' or 'heroine' so much in this book as we have a group of people that we follow as they follow one clue and another (or create the clues which are made that the others follow). (We do, however, see a lot of it from the viewpoint of John Kenner, an M.I.T. Professor, Peter Evans, an attorney, and Sarah Jones, assistant to someone who is killed, which is good, keeping the 'world-wide' sweep somewhat limited by focusing on the individuals. The bad guys are the ones who are, in the eyes of the gullible world, all that is 'good', have their own representation too, in the form of Nicholas Drake and his minions.)

Good points / bad points: Another exciting story from Michael Crichton. While he doesn't have the dinosaurs in this book, and there isn't so much in the way of physical action ('man' vs ' beast'), it's still quite the thriller and page turner. Pages 625 through 672 are Appendix and Bibliography materials. They, in and of themselves, can be read and ... I don't know enjoyed so so much as contemplated and wondered about. As he says in a page before the story starts "This is a work of fiction. Characters, corporations, institutions, and organizations in this novel are the product of the author's imagination, or, if real, are used fictitiously without any intent to describe their actual conduct. However, references to real people, institutions, and organizations that are documented in footnotes are accurate. Footnotes are real." Michael Crichton is presenting in novel form something at which many people don't want to look. The apparent story of this is about climate changes, but the underlying thing is how people attempt to control others (and nature). There was an excellent quote in the book which pointing to it -
Evans nodded sympathetically. He was familiar with this circumstance. One of the first things you learned in law school was that the law was not about truth. It was about dispute resolution. In the course of resolving a dispute, the truth might or might not emerge. Often it did not. Prosecutors might know a criminal was guilty, and still be unable to convict hm. It happened all the time.
There is the law of mankind and then there is natural law. In this story, it is obvious which one Michael Crichton regards as real (as well as true).

Goodreads write-up (one of the shortest ever I've read in there!)
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.
The book is one of those which Goodreads readers either marked mostly with 5 stars or 1 (some 4 and 2 stars). It averaged at 3.69 last time I looked. No middle-of-the-road responses!
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*Avatar & Siggy by Cheeky XVIx!Cosmo* ... image by Susan Seddon Boulet
"You have the inborn natural right to remain silent. Don't think about it, don't talk about it, shuush ....... STILL." ~ Xaris
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Prof. Tarma Amelia Black
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Re: Presenting Author - Michael Crichton

Post by Prof. Tarma Amelia Black » Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:50 pm

Title of the book: Jurassic Park
Author: Michael Crichton
Series: Yes -- Jurassic Park, The Lost World
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Adventure, Thriller, Fantasy
Short summary of the story:
Introduction - The book starts out with a dissertation "The InGen Incident" which tells about the attempts of genetic engineering done by scientists (and sponsored by rich persons and/or corporations) and how it is uncontrolled with no 'watch dogs' to ascertain whether what is being attempted is, in actuality, something viable and livable for life on the planet.
Prologue: The Bite of the Raptor -- a small and rather terrifying little story about a man delivered by helicopter to a doctor practicing in the fishing village on the coast of Costa Rica. This man has suffered terrible injuries which the person (arriving with the injured man) claims is caused by a construction accident but to the doctor, experienced in the ways of injuries, looks like a mauling by an animal. Oddly, the evidence (photographs) of the injuries disappear when everyone goes back to the place the man was injured...
Then, with that in place, the story commences. A man has decided to create an amusement park - filled with dinosaurs. With the help of a team of extremely skilled scientists, who are willing to see if dinosaurs can be recreated by using 'found' DNA, he succeeds in establishing a place on an island where the creatures who are made can roam the land. The safety of his experiment being questioned, he calls in some specialists of various fields to check out his 'amusement park' and give it their vote of approval. Oh, by the way, he also invites two of his grandchildren to come visit.
Then things go wrong. Yes, there are dinosaurs. No, they are not as expected.


The Goodreads writeup barely touches on the intricacies of the science involved, the personalities of the people involved, the sheer scope of the story. It also implies that things only started going wrong when the traitor on the island shuts down the power. Readers of the book will find that the shutting down of the power only highlighted all that was inherently wrong, and falling apart, with the system.

Goodreads write-up:
A billionaire has created a technique to clone dinosaurs. From the DNA that his crack team of scientists extract, he is able to grow the dinosaurs in his laboratories and lock them away on an island behind electric fences, creating a sort of theme park. He asks a group of scientists from several different fields to come and view the park, but something goes terribly wrong when a worker on the island turns traitor and shuts down the power.
Jurassic Park was, for me, the introduction to the books of Michael Crichton. I've read it a few times now, and each time I find something new and different in it. A different nuance, an additional bit of information which I'd skimmed over before, enhances the story and I appreciate the whole book very much all over again.
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"You have the inborn natural right to remain silent. Don't think about it, don't talk about it, shuush ....... STILL." ~ Xaris
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Prof. Tarma Amelia Black
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Re: Presenting Author - Michael Crichton

Post by Prof. Tarma Amelia Black » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:38 am

Title of the book: The Lost World
Author: Michael Crichton
Series: Jurassic Park & The Lost World
Genres: Literature, Fiction, Science Fiction, Adventure, Thriller
Short summary of the story: The first part of the book starts off with someone who was allegedly dead at the end of Jurassic Park - Ian Malcolm. [Note: The only sadness is when he says " ... but it turned out I was only slightly dead." and he didn't quote The Princess Bride's "only mostly dead".] Back to review: He's giving a talk about life on earth and extinction and his audience (who knows, most likely, a lot of what he is going to say) is quiet and eager to listen anyway. Then one person asks about dinosaurs, and if they are still alive somewhere. Dr. Malcolm categorically denies that they exist ... and the story begins. Yes, they do exist, still, and it turns out that the island where the Park had been made was just a show-case. That the main work of designing dinosaurs from DNA extracted from mosquitors and other biting insects was done in another location entirely. The story continues with two different groups of people, who have entirely different agendas, going to this other island, Isla Sorna. It's not quite like it was in the movie, Jurassic Park --
Ian Malcolm: God creates dinosaurs, God destroys dinosaurs, God creates Man, Man kills God, Man brings back dinosaurs.
Dr. Ellie Sattler: [sarcastic] Dinosaurs eat Man, Woman inherits the Earth.
but that sort of points at what happens in the book.
There is a lot of adventure and excitement -- much of the book takes place in just a couple of days so there isn't much time to take a breather once they all get to the island.
Good points / bad points: I just love how Ian Malcolm is written. He's awesome. That said, I feel that many will totally dislike Dr. Malcolm and his extremely pragmatic view of mankind, dinosaurs, extinction and life on the planet.

Goodreads has this to say about The Lost World
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....
Again, in Goodreads, there are those who give it 4 or 5 stars and those who give it 1 or 2 stars. Very few are middle-of-the-road. A person either likes (or loves) it, giving it 4 and 5 stars, or struggles through (or quits reading) it, giving it 1 and 2 stars. There are, however, some 3 star appraisals, but those are from the people who had most likely read Jurassic Park and liked the style of writing so were just not so impressed with this story as they were with the original Jurassic Park.
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*Avatar & Siggy by Cheeky XVIx!Cosmo* ... image by Susan Seddon Boulet
"You have the inborn natural right to remain silent. Don't think about it, don't talk about it, shuush ....... STILL." ~ Xaris
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