Michael Crichton 1942-2008

One of my favorite authors died yesterday.

I didn’t even know Michael Crichton was sick. But he died of lung cancer at the age of 66.

None of his books will ever be taught in the English Departments of certain high brow universities. But could he tell a story. He mixed science with human drama with global politics in a way that kept you reading and laughing at the same time. I had to discipline myself in reading his books — I wouldn’t read too many pages in a given sitting or then the joy of reading that particular book would be gone too quickly.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Jurassic Park. Don’t let the movie ruin it for you! The book was an “I-can’t-put-this-down” from page one. What a premise: that by extracting blood from insects fossilized in ember you could re-create dinosaurs. Chaos and chaos theory ensues.
  • The Andromeda Strain. I was just a kid when I read this, and it had something to do with a killer virus rampaging planet Earth. Kind of like the Ebola Virus on steroids.
  • Disclosure. This one came out just as email and the internet entered our consciousness. So it’s about sexual harrassment in the workplace, the invasion of technology into our personal space, and the ways the legal system works all that out — or doesn’t. This one was actually a pretty good movie as well.

Those are just three of many. I don’t know if Mr. Crichton was working on any when he died, but if so, I’ll pick it up when it comes out.