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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Monday January 13, 2003
02:17 PM

Review: Prey, by Michael Crichton

[ #9943 ]
I'm a big fan of Michael Crichton. I've even read his sorta-autobiography, "Travels" (1988). He always writes on something different than before (with the exception of the Jurassic Park sequel), and I get the feeling he reads the hell out of a topic that interests him and then writes a thriller about it to pay his latest round of bills. He's written on sexual harassment, airplane safety, virus engineering, even medieval France. This book's topics could have come straight from the O'Reilly emerging technology conference playbook: biotech, emergent intelligence, silicon valley software development culture, and nanotech.

The science in this book is pretty good. I know more about the subjects than someone off the street, and my bullshitometer didn't redline once. I could tell where the truth got blurry, but there was no "and then we exceed the speed of light with a Chevy engine and some biodiesel!" moment of pure impossibility.

Michael Crichton novels are all written with an eye to being a movie, I'm sure. This is no exception--Fox snagged the rights before the book was even published. The book has the usual thriller moments of narrow escape, renewed fear, and ingenious escape, and makes for a good read as well as (inevitably) a good view. I consumed it as soon as I bought it, and recommend it just as quickly.

Overall: 8/10.


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  • (I've tried to keep this spoiler-free)

    I found the main character incredibly dense...faced with some obviously connected data points, that he even remarked upon ("Why, this is just like..."), he failed to make any connections or draw any conclusions. Several repeat occurances of this sort of thing stretched my suspension of disbelief.

    Likewise there were several science areas that I wasn't comfortable with. I'm not an expert in the field, but my understanding is that evolution is the result of environment