Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Oops, Sorry Mr. Crichton, Sir

I went on a little Michael Crichton rant the other day and realized after the fact that what I wrote was far more accurate for Dan Brown's books than Michael Crichton's books. Then, when I went back and looked through the titles of some of Crichton's books, I realized how much I do enjoy his books. And then I looked through Dan Brown's book titles and realized how much I loathe and despise the man's writings. Should I have turned my wrath towards Mr. Brown and saved Mr. Crichton? Ah, this is why people need editors for their blogs, to save them from tasting their own feet.

Why, oh why do I hate Dan Brown? Partly for the aforementioned six characteristics, but mostly because of cliffhangers. If you've ever read a Dan Brown book, you'll realize that every single chapter, and sometimes paragraph, ends in a cliffhanger. It's a cheap tactic to keep people reading and frankly, it makes me nuts. If his writing alone was good enough, he wouldn't need to resort to such shoddy parlor tricks It makes me want to tell him to take his Deception Point and shove it up his Illuminati.

In repentance this week, I read Michael Crichton's novel "Next" that came out in 2006. His book "State of Fear" that came out in 2004 caused such a stir that I expected the kind of controversial writing in "Next." The book is about genetic engineering, companies patenting genes for their own monetary gain, the moral issues associated with transgenic animals and people, the sanctity of our bodies, and is loaded with all sorts of selfish and immoral characters. Instead of there being a main character, there are several people whose lives and actions intersect one with another and we get to discover this as we go along. It's pretty interesting reading and you find yourself rooting for Gerard, the transgenic African grey parrot and Dave, the humanzee. Yes, you read that right. At the end of the book, Crichton lists his sources and explains his research, much like "State of Fear". And like that previous novel, I put down "Next" wondering how much more was out there of which I am completely ignorant. I'm not so stupid to believe everything I read or hear from the media, but I know that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Now how does one go about finding the middle?

Since some of these characters completely lack any scruples, there can be some graphic sections of this book. Beware, oh delicate readers. But it was an exciting read and brought up issues to my mind I wouldn't have thought of otherwise. Now, back I go to folding laundry.

1 comment:

  1. I still think Crichton falls into a formulaic type of writing a lot of times. But his writing is still interesting enough to keep me reading, I admit. I haven't read any Dan Brown books, but I'll think twice now before picking one up from the bookstore. By the way, my scientist dad says that he despises Crichton for doing pretend science to appeal to people's paranoia. I guess you can look at his books like the other side of the story, and then do your own research to figure out what's real. I still feel smarter like you after reading his books. My favorite is still Jurassic Park.