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Michael Crichton: Next

July 7, 2008

One of my greatest heroes, Micheal Crichton most recent novel “Next” came out sometime last year, and actually was one of my least favorite novels of his.  Nonetheless, the ideals it proposes as a possible future for our existence and where technology will take us as a species is once again an intriguing thought.  Here is an episode of Charlie Rose with Michael Crichton a year ago discussing the details of environmentalism, genetics, and the science involved in Crichton’s fiction.

Here is my review of Next that I wrote last  year:

Next

17 01 2007

by: Michael Critchon
Ah, a novel by my second favorite author and one of my hero’s of earth. Since State Of Fear I’ve been waiting with great anticipation for Crichton’s next masterpiece. The king of techno thrillersspends at least a few years in research for his new novel and six months writing, give or take. In any case he tries to squeeze those in between an already hectic schedule that involves touring and conferences. He is well respected in both literary and science communities and has found a way to exploit his own moral beliefs with today’s most cutting edge technology in a way that not only entertains us, but teaches us and encourages us to open our minds and question our world.
I knew nothing about Next when I picked the novel up from the store, only that it was so new the pages stuck together and the smell of it’s newly processed paper would last only hours till I got my greedy fingers inside it. What the content of the pages contained was something new, and something different than in any other of the novels written by Crichton. It was obvious that the story needed much back round explanation in genetic mutation, genomes, and many other things that are normally beyond my pathetic comprehension. As per his usual it was introduced and explained in a way that pushed the plot along, but also filled you in on some pretty complicated things.
What was completely foreign to his prior work was the inserts of articles, some that I believe were in fact authentic and others that were fabricated for the fiction of the story. Some of the articles worked in portions of the story, but most were awkward, uncomfortable and distracting from the plot that moved very contradictory to any other book of his. Meaning? Very slow. There were no true main characters, in fact I wasn’t even sure if there really were any protagonists or antagonists. In one way each of the large array of characters introduced throughout the novel displayed qualities of both. None were necessarily people that could be connected with, they were more realistic than that.
This risky attempt actually succeeded in my opinion. The overall theme and point of the story was more focused on instead of the characters. The points were represented more vaguely rather than outright a character defining by it’s action or words. I actually appreciated this portion of how the story was constructed, but I still think I prefer his past ways much more.
His intents and messages were sent, and the work and heart put into the story was appreciated on all levels in my opinion, but this was my least favorite book of his. I’m not sure if I liked it less because I held it up to the standards of his previous work or if I liked it at all simply because it was written by him. I therefore would recommend this novel to people who have previous interest or understanding of science, genetics or Crichton’s work in itself to really appreciate what he did.
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