Michael Crichton may not be the best writer in the world, but come on – the man’s an M.D. (read: science nerd) and has managed to string enough words together to publish more than twenty-five books (read: word nerd), and is the man behind E.R. Let’s cut him some slack when he abruptly shifts tenses in the middle of a page (really, an editor should have caught that. Does this bother no one but me? The man’s famous and rich, presumably he can hire the best. I’m not letting this go).
Next – Michael Crichton
And really, he’s quite good. Next is exciting and engaging, and I enjoyed every second I spent reading it, which is more than can be said for quite a few ‘quality’ authors.
I’m not quite sure what the book was about per se, besides biogenetics and the future and how we’re on a slippery slope. There were a trillion characters (all of whom were stock stereotypes, and I swear if I read about another strong, business-savvy woman with a great rack, I’m gonna lose it), and no clear plot line. Everything centered around biogenetics, sure, but that is hardly a basis for including several unrelated incidents between the same covers. That moment that usually comes in this sort of book where all available plots converge in a highly unrealistic but intensely satisfying coincidental encounter was noticably absent, as was any real climax. No shit hit no fan. The book just sort of ended, and I was suddenly three pages into the epilogue where Crichton tells you how he really feels. In my opinion, these seven pages are the point of the whole book.
Next is nothing so much as an elaborate, reasonably entertaining pamphlet on the problems plaguing genetic research. Crichton wears his agenda on his sleeve, which is fine. I actually have no problem with this, despite my previous calls to Margaret Atwood to get off her soap box. It’s my blog, and if I want to be hypocritical, I’m more than welcome. I figure that one of the aims of literature is to educate in an engaging fashion, and this Crichton does. Mind you, if that’s the only trick you have up your sleeve, then you will have people like me writing vaguely disapproving blogs about you, but that shouldn’t bother you none. What do I know?
So carry on, Mr Crichton. Keep on writing your controversial novels about how global warming is a farce (that wasn’t this one. That was State of Fear). Don’t feel like you have to wrap up all of your plot lines (whatever did happen to that guy who accidentally made that drug that cured people of their addictions, and then administered it to his brother and his mom’s friend’s son, only to find out that ended up turning them terribly, terribly old?) because that’s not why people read your books anyways. They read them to figure out what they should think about issues that they’re too lazy to research for themselves. And because they (your books, not the people who read them) are interesting and fun. So write on.