Tuesday, April 08, 2008

State of Fear - Book Review

I just finished this book by Michael Crichton. If the name doesn't ring a bell, he wrote The Terminal Man (1972) about a computer "troubleshooter" who was afraid of machines - they implanted one in his body to control epilepsy (my alltime favorite book). He also wrote the Andromeda Strain which was made into a great Sci-Fi movie. Most people will know one of his other works, Jurassic Park (not my favorite). Congo was also one of his good books. Sphere was one of his works, but to be honest if left me confused.

This book promised to be good and I was VERY impressed. The characters are all involved with the Global Warming movement. I don't want to give the plot line away, but I will say that it is intense. The action keeps you turning page after page. There's even a lecture about the banning of DDT, a recent topic of one of my blog-friends (see "Dangerous environmentalism" on Neil's blog here.)

The chapters in the book are short, some as short as two pages. That helps those like me who have inherited ADD from their kids. It allows you to put the book down and breathe a little. Even with those breaks, I finished the 600+ page book in record time (for me). It's an excellent book.

While the book is fiction, Crichton uses references to real material that he says are factual (I don't doubt it, but haven't checked it). He finishes the plot line, then adds an Author's Message to give you insight into how he really feels. If he hasn't made you mad with the plot-line, you'll find his message enlightening. He ends the message with two simple sentences: "Everybody has an agenda. Except me."

He also includes an appendix explaining why he thinks politicizing of science is a bad idea. He shows a scientific idea that warned of an impending crisis supported by leading scientists, politicians and celebrities, supported by distinguised philanthropists and researched by leading universities. Supporters included T. Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Churchill, supreme court justices, inventors, novelists and playrights. I won't tell you the "scientific" idea, but will tell you it was discredited in the 1940's and isn't even discussed in proper circles today (If you really want a spoiler, email me and I'll tell you).

To says this is a must-read book uses an overused and abused term, but I'm not sure what else to say. Other than I enjoyed it and it's probably the best $8 (paperback) spent in recent times.

* Corrected typo. I really should proofread *


Chrissy said...

I love Michael Crichton, I've tried to read each of his books.
I have found an author that reminds me of him named, Dan Ronco. The book is called Unholy Domain.
If you've liked the Matrix, you'll like this book a lot.

Randy Barnett said...

Thanks Chrissy. I'll add Ronco and Unholy Domain to my list.

The first Matrix movie was good, but then it got a little too far into left field for me. I did like some of the humor in the last movie. I recall a vague reference to an old TV series "Adam-12". If you didn't listen carefully, it would have slipped by you. But for this old timer, it was good.