Monday, January 08, 2007

What's "Next?"

I've always thought Michael Crichton was an exceptionally poor writer, slamming out one high-concept book after another. His recent turn towards politicized claptrap has made me like him even less. (It's one thing to imagine dinosaurs reborn; it's another to spin off fantasies to argue against global warming or stem cell research.) Crichton's new book is a genetics-gone-awry nightmare. You can read the first chapter here. But Dave Itzkoff reviews it for the NYTimes and gets off this zinger in the first paragraph:
Though the moment may lack the inherent gravitas of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s encounter with Abraham Lincoln, or even Elvis Presley’s private audience with Richard Nixon, surely history should reserve a special place for the day in 2005 when Michael Crichton was invited to the White House to meet with George W. Bush. Imagine: the modern era’s leading purveyor of alarmist fiction, seated side by side with Michael Crichton.

2 comments:

Jimmy said...

I have actually enjoyed many of Chrichton's novels for the escapist literature they are. The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, Disclosure, and Rising Sun are actually quite fun novels and Jurassic park in particular is a well-developed scientific fantasy novel. What annoys me about Chrichton and others like him who have a strong background in medicine and science is that they can wholly ignore scientific fact in order to spread a political viewpoint. I mean, the man earned a medical degree from Harvard, not an easy thing, and did post-doctoral work with MIT and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, so the fact that he can dissiminate dis-information contrary to that very scientific background makes me nauseous, and makes me never want to read another of his novels again.

Michael in New York said...

Jurassic Park is definitely his high point and I feel the same way about his latest stances. But I noticed most of the titles you mentioned were earlier ones. Do you think his more recent books are shabbier, more thrown together? That's been my impression from the time travel one, the nano-technology one etc. (I haven't read Next.)