Michael Crichton Best Reads
With the recent passing of acclaimed author Michael Crichton, we at IGP thought we’d put together our list of Best Michael Crichton reads. I’m not an out and out Crichton fan. There were certainly a few books that while reasonably enjoyable just weren’t up to the standard that I held the author at. There are also many readers that even turn their noses up at Crichton’s mass appeal. But there are not many authors who can create that pitch perfect blend of “what if” pseudo-science and thriller.
The mystery of the town of Piedmont and the team of Wildfire scientists that hurry to contain a possible extraterrestrial biological outbreak is riveting. While certainly not being as easy a read as Crichton’s later books (it’s easy to get lost in some of the technical narrative) this is still one of my favourites. The notion of just how helpless the human race would be should a simple bacterial organism make its way to Earth is simply terrifying. Crichton manages to write the book as though it is a factual document, while still ratcheting up the tension.
Maybe I’m reminded too much of my own time as an archaeology student in Les Ezies but to me, this book is severely underrated, in part due to an awful movie that barely skims the surface of the themes of the book. While it isn’t as science heavy as Crichton’s other works, I like his more realistic take on history. He paints the Middle Ages the way it probably actually was, versus the glossy, Ren faire image that we usually have. The characters even have trouble understanding the local dialect. Not something addressed in other time travel stories! And as you’d expect from most of Crichton’s work, there’s plenty of tension as a simple rescue mission goes horribly wrong and, well, I won’t give anything away, but if you’ve ever seen the movie, give the book a chance.
Michael Crichton was pretty well known before this little book got made into a movie, but ask most people to name one book of Crichton’s and this will be the one they name. The very idea of using frog DNA and mosquitoes embedded in amber to bring back dinosaurs is so incredibly mind blowing. Certainly, the idea may not be technically accurate, but it still begs that little “but what if we could?” question. And you just know that if somebody actually had that technology, that’s exactly what they’d use it for, a theme park for the rich.
Eaters of the Dead
This book, Eaters of the Dead is probably more commonly known by the movie title the 13th Warrior. Crichton writes it as though it were a historical manuscript. In actuality however, it is a re-telling of the story of Beowulf told from the point of view of a real life Arab traveler, Ahmad Ibn Fadlan. After being banished for falling in love with the wrong type of woman, Fadlan meets a group of Vikings who view his presence as good luck, and he is asked to join them as the thirteenth warrior in their group to battle the creature, Wendol. This is a different type of book for fans of Crichton’s techno-thriller, and some may even find it slow, but as a form of (fake) historical prose, it’s quite brilliant.
Michael Crichton Best Reads to Books