Michael Crichton, dead at 66

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    39 Responses to Michael Crichton, dead at 66

    1. If I gave this a 5 star does that mean I’m glad?
      I mean, I never forgave him for his novel->script adaptations of Lost World and Sphere… TT_TT

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    2. Wow. Now I think I am really starting to get how my grandparents felt when icons of their time, like Sinatra died… Not that Crichton was comparable to Sinatra in anything other than defining a part of a generation’s culture.. Does that make sense? Alright, I’ll shut-up..

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    3. @mintymadness:
      Don’t apologize. Most of us here grew up with Congo, Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park. Many others imitated his work and few came close to it. Crichton had a wonderful way of writing Science Fiction that felt real and believable in a ‘this could actually happen’ sense. For this talent, he will be missed.

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    4. Man that image is a mix of incredibly excellent and total crap. All over the board.

      Also, I never realized how much Michael Crichton I read till just now.

      Also also also Sphere the movie wasn’t as good as the book but actually I liked it and would call it underrated.

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    5. Damn, November 4th was one hell of a day.

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    6. He was a hack who wrote anti-science-fiction. Every novel was about technology going wrong and how we should fear science. Now everytime there’s a cloning story in the news, everyone panics: “O noes! Jurassic Parks! Chaos theory!”

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    7. @reboot:
      He wasn’t a ‘hack’ because he wrote something outside of the generic formula. Science Fiction is simply a work of fiction written within the bounds of known science (laws of physics etc) and not including things like dragons, unicorns or magic elves. The fact that science CAN fail and have negative results in the real world, makes his work a different type of sci-fi, one that borders on dystopian fiction.

      If you want to read ‘hack’ sci fi, start with L. Ron Hubbard and… well.. anything he wrote. I recommend Dianetics. It’s a fantastic comedy and definitely a rip-off and insult to everything ever published before 1950. Just saying.

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    8. Great Train Robbery was just awesome. I don’t think there was much about technology in that one. However, Prey scared the shit out of me. I probably shouldn’t have read it as a 10 yr old.

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    9. @Catherine Longfellow: I’m a big fan of science-fiction, so when I say he was a hack, it’s a a criticism of the genre. He had a very generic formula which went something like this:
      1)Pick a “hot” topic in current science
      2)Make up a scenario where it goes wrong
      3)Pad it out to novel length
      4)Deus ex machina ending
      5)Sell the movie rights
      It says a lot that all of the movies based on his novels were better than the books themselves. That’s because nothing is lost be cutting them down to 90 minutes. There’s no depth, there’s no philosophy, there’s no heart.
      Science does “fail” and there is a place for cautionary tales. But you can only rewrite Frankenstein so many times before the recipe goes stale.

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    10. Edit: its *not* a criticism of the genre

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    11. one of my favorite writers. bummer.

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    12. I’ll miss Crichton. But not for long – they’ve got some of his blood from a mosquito and will be cloning him.

      Eventually he’ll lose it and go on a rampage, but it’s all in the name of SCIENCE

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    13. @reboot: Chricton is the popcorn movie of sci-fi writing. Sometimes it’s fun to just sit back and appreciate a good explosion or gunfight. I know I really enjoyed reading about Nedry holding his own intestines during his encounter with dilophasaurus in JP…

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    14. @storminator:

      I’m just chalking this one up to differing tastes then. In my view, most novels follow a “formula” if one author pumps out enough of them (Steven King, Dean Koontz, Dickens, hell even Shakespeare and Homer get ‘familiar’ when you read their other works). I liked Crichton’s books MORE than the film adaptations with only 3 exceptions. So no one can convince me that the chameleon velociraptors from the novel version of The Lost World were worth cutting from the film.

      Point is, I wouldn’t call him a hack. It’s a term I personally reserve for people who are “posers” or attempt to ride the success of others in a pathetic hollow mockery of what they are trying to achieve (like the writers who destroyed teh DragonLance series). TBH, I don’t care for most ‘generic’ sci-fi and can barely bring myself to take any of it seriously unless I go in expecting paranormal fiction and no real “science” to speak of.

      To each their own; I will miss his work.

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    15. ^^^ was supposed to be to reboot. :*

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    16. The man behind Westworld. He’ll be missed if only for that.

      Looker and Runaway, not as much.

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    17. Haha. Westworld ftw.
      Also, the film adaptation of Lost World was laughable. It had so little to do with the book it was ridiculous.

      I would like to nominate Dan Brown as the most formulaic contemporary author.
      1) Maveric guy drops into unlikely situation
      2) Mean guy is introduced, suggested to be villainous
      3) Nice guy is introduced, is an ally throughout the novel.
      4) Mean guy saves the day, nice guy is revealed to be a sociopathic madman.
      5) Maveric guy gets the girl & goes home

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    18. @suicydking: I agree with that. I even like popcorn. But I don’t get carried away thinking that popcorn is the finest food ever.
      Bacon is the finest food ever :p

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    19. @reboot: Science always does go wrong with horrific results. Mikey was just taking the truth and changing a few details, is all. Dinosaurs are way more interesting than Eugenics and radiation poisoning.

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    20. Hey, aren’t even the most loved science fiction novels about technology going wrong?

      Like Foundation?

      Personally, one of the reasons I enjoyed the Dune series (in its original form) is that it was more about the fear of technology and the potential of man than it was about the failure of technology and man’s use of it as a crutch (except for highliners and spice harvesters)

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    21. @RSIxidor: No, the best science-fiction, Dune included, is about exploring the human condition using technology as a lens. Frank Herbert is a good counter example to Crichton. “The Jesus Incident” has cloning and crazy AI and spaceships, but its really about human’s struggling to find their place in the universe. Crichton never comes close to something like that.

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    22. @RSIxidor: Foundation isn’t about technology going wrong, at least the first three novels. I don’t even know how you’d get that. The main theme is about rational thought overcoming the senselessness of natural human instinct.

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    23. The first book I read by Crichton was Jurassic Park and I loved it. I then read Lost World and liked it even more. So I went to a second hand bookstore and bought all his books. Somewhere around the 4th or 5th book I realized his formula, still liked to read him though. The only books I can think of off-hand that were different were 5 Patients, Great Train Robbery and Eaters of the Dead (liked the movie also)

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    24. Oh and I never thought of his writing as anti-science, the opposite in fact. The downfall was always the people and their unwillingness to really understand the science they were dealing w/ and its consequences. There always are characters who control the science that did nothing to create it.

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    25. Damn.
      I had gotten burned out on Mr S King and found “Eaters of The Dead”. Typical me I then ran through everything I could find of his, But “Eaters” is still my favorite. As for screen adaptations..eh. I never expect hollywood to get anywhere near as good as the books.
      How about popcorn with bacon salt?

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    26. I was so about to mention Eaters of the Dead. His best non-formulaic work. First Jurassic Park was pretty good, too, if for nothing else but the awesomeness of bringing dinosaurs back to life. And the movie, well, it was cutting edge for its time. Not much scarier than the raptor/kitchen scene. I nearly wet myself when the raptor went for Lex’s reflection in the stainless cabinetry.

      Oh, and most of you probably won’t believe me, but back in ’94, I had the pleasure of introducing Dr. Crichton to Tom Clancy.

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    27. All the hue and cry going on this past week, I just found out that another writer,Tony Hillerman, died last sunday. Dammit all my favorite writers are dropping off….

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    28. @reboot: Wait what the fuck? I haven’t read the foundation series in a while but I think you need to read the last books? Foundation was a thinly-veiled allegory about Nationalism and Nation building, specifically Greco-Roman, based on Gibbon’s Decline and Fall. Aside from that it was a jab at the social sciences: Seldon makes his predictions on socio-cultural trends but he himself, an extraordinary individual, changes the course of events ironically removing the “foundation” from his own theory. You know, the observer always effects the subject, that kind of thing?

      I don’t know if you noticed this (it’s in the later books, I guess) but the Foundation becomes corrupted and crumbles and when they get Seldon’s next prophecy it is completely irrelevant. Then the Foundation crumbles. Barbarians at the gate, as they say.
      —–
      Anyway, my favourite Crichton book is Sphere, and that’s not a warning about science. The ‘science fiction’ comes from a magical alien ball that tells the people about themselves.
      —-

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    29. I’ve got “Next” sitting unread on my bookshelf; I’ve never read any of his books before and I’ve got like a hundred other random books on my ‘yet to read’ shelf, in your varied opinions, is it worth bumping up in the queue?

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    30. @SumoSnipe: Incredibly sad. Crichton and Hillerman were are two of my favorite authors.

      I absolutley loved Eaters of the Dead. It’s my second favorite book of all time.

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    31. nooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!he was my favorite author

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