15 November 2008

Michael Crichton 23/Oct/42 - 4/Nov/08

Film poster for Westworld - Copyright 1973, Me...Image via WikipediaI was thinking about the novel The Andromeda Strain (1969) and still cannot believe it has barely been two weeks since the passing of its author, Michael Crichton. First off, it is amazing he wrote this book almost fourty years ago! It is a story that is both modern and scientifically interesting. Since he was an M.D., he drew on his medical knowledge to really explain how this alien virus affects humans in a deadly way.
I was also a big fan of the TV series, ER, which he also created. Of course, most people are aware of Jurassic Park. Another fantastic tale of how if something can go wrong, it will go wrong, especially if people are trying to manipulate nature or biology, in general, for self interest or perceived national security. I love that theme in his scientific writing, that nothing is perfect, and if something can go wrong when technology or creatures are very complex. Does anyone remember the film called Westworld, made in 1973? A fast paced story of an amusement park filled with androids dressed in costume according to the themes in the park. Of course the androids begin to fail and harm humans but the point is that humans are using this technology to act out cruel or inappropriate fantasies. I almost begin to root for the androids!
Well, Michael Crichton left us at the relatively young age of 66 years. His thought-provoking stories and cautionary tales will be greatly missed. I hope that future writers will be as detailed in their writing and add the warnings about human arrogance and at the same time entertain us and teach us to think if only just for a while a little bit outside of the box.
Thank you for the stories that helped shape my life in a small but important way.

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Dr. Preston, MD said...

ER, one of my favorite series on TV.

SerKevin said...

Great article! There are so many wonderful works of science fiction that I either didn't realize were by Crichton or had forgotten that he'd done them. Since his untimely and unfortunate death I'm becoming aware of this fact.
I have enjoyed his work so much because it was based on science "fact" just like my favorite author Arthur C. Clarke.
BTW, I not only remember Andromeda Strain but I remember watching it when it first came out with my parents at a drive in theater... now I just feel OLD, LOL!

MarkJ said...

I did not know he created the show ER, wow that guy was amazing.