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Andromeda Straining belief
December 14, 2006 11:04 AM   Subscribe

This appears to be a new low for Michael Crichton, a moderately scary guy who's already caused some head-scratching in these parts. (Main link requires reg. Summary here. via)
posted by gurple (109 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Proof yet again that Crichton is a stupid fuck.
posted by nofundy at 11:06 AM on December 14, 2006


Oooh! Pencil Pusher Fight!!
posted by jonmc at 11:08 AM on December 14, 2006


A string of drool oozed from Mick Crichton's twisted grin as he added another kitten to the blender.
posted by fleetmouse at 11:10 AM on December 14, 2006 [6 favorites]


Mikey is almost as stupid as the people that think he is a good writer.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 11:10 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed Jurassic Park, and I seem to recall Crichton as being a serviceable writer of scientific potboilers. That new excerpt, though, is downright awful. Has Crichton gone over the edge in recent years, or did I have really bad taste in high school?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:12 AM on December 14, 2006


At first I thought Crichton was just another example of how even intelligent people can get caught up in their own agenda to the point where they blind themselves to any other alternative.

I suppose we can take some solace that this is the depths to which global warming-deniers think they have to go — even if they don't realize they are embarassing themselves into obscurity in the long run.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:12 AM on December 14, 2006


You know, the asshattery of this aside, it's just not very good writing either.
posted by Target Practice at 11:12 AM on December 14, 2006


Never noticed how easily "blockbuster" can be read as "lackluster" until now. The article's subject helped immensely, I think.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:13 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


I always enjoyed his novels, until I read Travels and found out how credulous he was towards spoon bending. I could never quite think of him the same way.
posted by Llama-Lime at 11:14 AM on December 14, 2006


In lieu of a letter to the editor, Crichton had fictionalized me as a child rapist. And, perhaps worse, falsely branded me a pharmaceutical-industry profiteer.

Zing! He'll be here all week, folks.
posted by rkent at 11:15 AM on December 14, 2006


Here's a Direct link to Crowley's original Crichton-bashing article.

I was a big Crichton fan, myself, when I was newly literate. That was at about the time I thought Piers Anthony was the pinnacle of good writing.
posted by gurple at 11:15 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Wowee. Michael Crichton makes Danielle Steele look like James Joyce.

Let me ask you though, isn't this child pornography? Where the fuck is that ass-bandit McCain when we need him?
posted by Mister_A at 11:16 AM on December 14, 2006


Wait we're criticizing the guy who wrote Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park II for being ignorant of scientific models and theories? The same guy who proposed extracting DNA from insects in amber, throw some frog DNA for the missing parts and -- viola -- a dinosaur? That guy? Not a reliable figure for factual science? Really?
posted by geoff. at 11:19 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


# rm -f /usr/global/warming
posted by b1tr0t at 11:19 AM on December 14, 2006


I often enjoy my fiction with pulp and oft enjoyed Mr. Crichton and his brand of books. Rising Sun, Jurassic Park and lots of others were entertaining and exciting; great airplane books. Occasionally, books like The Andromeda Strain actually might even qualify as "good" in the sense of "almost literature". The books have been slipping more and more to screenplay territory, but they still entertained. I even liked Airframe (though many did not). Then I ... attempted to read State of Fear. I was truly sorry that I gave someone money for that; I fear it may be used for evil. What a pile of crap; not only the topic, but the writing, characters everything. Even before I became aware of the bent (I kept thinking there was going to be a miraculous flip), it was hard going; I kept putting it down for a couple of weeks at a time.

He has jumped the shark. Or gone batshitinsane. Or was always batshitinsane, but has let it creep into his writing/public life, kind of like Tom Cruise ...
posted by Bovine Love at 11:19 AM on December 14, 2006


Wait we're criticizing the guy who wrote Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park II for being ignorant of scientific models and theories?

Nah, we did that back in aught-three. This time around it's his tasteless critic-bashing.
posted by gurple at 11:21 AM on December 14, 2006


For the record, I read and enjoyed The Lost World (for some reason I never read the first book) and Sphere, and I think one or two other novels of his...

...when I was 14 or so.

A few years later I tried reading something else of his (The Andromeda Strain, I think), and decided to chalk my enjoyment of the former to youthful indiscretion.
posted by Target Practice at 11:21 AM on December 14, 2006


Ya gotta long for the good old days when Michelangelo painted his critics as devils in the Sistine.

Course, if Crichton had Michelangelo-level talent, I might be tempted to cut him some Raphaelite-level slack.

(I have no idea what that means; I just like how it sounded)
posted by dreamsign at 11:22 AM on December 14, 2006


Wow. That's really quite astounding.

You know, I came to this thread with all my regular gripes against Crichton at the ready, you know, stuff like the science in Prey being a bit duff and his global warming book being utterly moronic, but this is so much more dickheaded than any of that that he's passed to a new level...
posted by Artw at 11:23 AM on December 14, 2006


Now that I think about it, I guess this isn't much worse than what the sculptor of the Waiting for the Interurban statues in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood did to one of his critics.
posted by gurple at 11:25 AM on December 14, 2006


I like how he hasn't bothered in the slightest to make it subtle. It's just a raw demonstration of power.

For the record, I fancy Maura Tierney.
posted by cillit bang at 11:26 AM on December 14, 2006


Umm, this is scary.
posted by carmina at 11:26 AM on December 14, 2006


I too enjoyed his books back in junior high (that was about the time Terminal Man came out, so he wasn't quite as well known), but now, all I can say is what a scumbag!
posted by TedW at 11:26 AM on December 14, 2006


I'm sitting here in Lincoln, Nebraska. It's 62 degrees on December 14th and we haven't had a single flake of snow yet this year. Weatherman says maybe we'll hit the 30's by the 20th. Last year was so mild that people who signed onto the fixed-budget plan for natural gas got royally honked. I sure don't recall weather like this when I was growing up. Used to snow in October. Certainly early November. I dunno if it's a freak cycle or GW ... but it sho' is peculiar.

ObCrichton: I loved his early stuff. "Andromeda Strain" might have been the first SciFi I read. Loved "Westworld". I'm tired of seeing my heros turn out to be such schmucks.
posted by RavinDave at 11:29 AM on December 14, 2006


Proof yet again that Crichton is a stupid fuck.

Further proof was needed of this?
posted by blucevalo at 11:32 AM on December 14, 2006


Umm, this is scary.

You scare too easily.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:32 AM on December 14, 2006


Seems to me that "Andromeda Strain" was a great story. So great, in fact, that he redressed it and called it "WestWorld", then again as "Jurrasic Park". They seem to me to all be the same storyline, just set-decorations and names of characters have been changed.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 11:38 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


cillit bang : For the record, I fancy Maura Tierney.

I have no idea what this is in reference to, but oh hellz yeah. Maura is babe-o-licious.

Crichton not so much. His path is actually kind of reminding me of Orson Scott Card; a writer who's books I enjoyed in my youth, but I eventually discovered was kind of a dolt.
posted by quin at 11:40 AM on December 14, 2006


Unlike thi guy, HP Lovecraft will never get any worse. Cthulhu f'tagn, baby.
posted by Mister_A at 11:43 AM on December 14, 2006


*this
posted by Mister_A at 11:43 AM on December 14, 2006


Andromeda Strain and Westworld remain top movies though. Even Jurrasic Park and it's paelolithic CGI remains pretty cool.

Lets not talk about Futureworld...
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on December 14, 2006


Is that actionable? I don't have a firm grasp on libel/slander laws, but it surely seems that the person presented as a child rapist could sue to have future editions changed, especially since the character isn't relevant to the plot.

That said: MC: What an asshat he is, no?
posted by dejah420 at 11:51 AM on December 14, 2006


Unlike thi guy, HP Lovecraft will never get any worse.

In a weird kind of way all his alleged racisim, misogyny, shut-in tendencies and fscist sympathies makes him MORE intersting. It's actually kind of disapointing when they turn out to have been a little overblown.

...by people like me. Must resist... urge... to selflink...
posted by Artw at 11:53 AM on December 14, 2006


Monkey0nCrack - OK, I see Westworld == Jurassic Park. But how is Andromeda Strain == Westworld?

Apart from the whole "Science does something, becomes bogeyman and goes on rampage!" aspect of course, which is pretty much every MC story.
posted by Artw at 11:56 AM on December 14, 2006


[This post has spoilers]

I loved Crichton's stuff as a teenager and I have to admit, Jurassic Park is one of the few novels I read over and over again- in fact I've re-read it in the last year. I would love to see an unabridged miniseries that keeps the darker aspects of the novel and runs contrary to Spielberg's treatment- more of the corporate espionage, Hammond dying, and the whole part where people are still on the island trying to repair damages before everything goes to shit.

And Eaters of the Dead (which The 13th Warrior was based on) is goddamn brilliant. While the movie was a straight action flick, the book was written as a fake "translation" of a non-existent travelogue of an Arab Muslim watching the events of Beowulf had they really happened. Again, brilliant.

But yes, Crichton's work has gone in the crapper ever since The Lost World, which in itself was borderline aggravating (for one thing, it was infuriatingly designed to coincide with the movie sequel, to the point that Crichton retconned Jeff Goldblum's character into living; he died in the first novel). Airframe and State of Emergency were forgettable, and Timeline was written as straight-to-screenplay pap.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:58 AM on December 14, 2006


Those of you who regret buying his books can console yourselves by recalling he is a 1969 graduate of Harvard Medical School, and that by keeping him from practicing as you have, you may have saved unnumbered innocent human beings from deep misery or death .
posted by jamjam at 11:59 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


With the discussion we're having, you have to wonder how he'll slander metafilter in his next book.
posted by clevershark at 12:03 PM on December 14, 2006


Small penises all around, I should imagine.
posted by gurple at 12:05 PM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Which will, I suppose, be hardest on the ladies.
posted by gurple at 12:05 PM on December 14, 2006


His path is actually kind of reminding me of Orson Scott Card; a writer who's books I enjoyed in my youth, but I eventually discovered was kind of a dolt.

Good comparison. I think a lot of people went through the same thing with Card. Not that I think it's cool to lose affection for an author of fiction because his real-life politics are unsavory (say, Card on digital media rights), but when they turn out to be assholes as well, that tears it.

And yeah, Lovecraft, baby.
posted by dreamsign at 12:06 PM on December 14, 2006


Um. Torn affection for the author. Not torn asshole. (Let's leave Harlan Ellison out of this)
posted by dreamsign at 12:08 PM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Heinlein. Incest. That is all.
posted by Artw at 12:09 PM on December 14, 2006


dejah420: It's disgusting, it may not be actionable. That said, the book is also published in England, alas, and England's libel laws are pretty hardcore.

From my distant legal studies I remember a case called Cassidy v. Daily Mirror. Cassidy was a carpenter from Camberwell, and the Daily Mirror published an entirely accurate article claiming that a (different) carpenter called Cassidy from Camberwell had been convicted of some sort of violent behaviour. The innocent Cassidy sued for libel on the grounds that people might think the Cassidy referred to was him, and he won.

I'd pay to watch Crowley v. Crichton.
posted by athenian at 12:12 PM on December 14, 2006


clevershark: With the discussion we're having, you have to wonder how he'll slander metafilter in his next book.

As Ralph frantically searched through the internets, desperately seeking aid for his now burning teeny weenie, he saw ahead of him on the information superhighway a giant blue cube. It pulsed with negative dataflow. It was as though a thousand voices were screaming at the same time. Ralph started to back down the datapath, but he was on dialup...too slow to escape and now the cube had spotted him.

With speed belying it's massive size, it glomped towards him with critical mass. It's gelatinous sides quivered with the anticipation of fresh meat. Ralph, in an act of last minute desperation quickly shielded himself with a jpg of goatsx...but it was too late...too late.
posted by dejah420 at 12:12 PM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Well, dreamsign, took me a few seconds to get that. Always a pleasure to see someone with a more twisted, perverse dirty mind them my own. Nice. I feel embarassed to miss that.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:13 PM on December 14, 2006


You need to make those comics a little bigger Artw, a lot of that text is almost unreadable.
posted by Tenuki at 12:15 PM on December 14, 2006


People still read Micheal Crichton? I would've thought the sheer clownshoes ridiculum of Disclosure would've purged the last of his fans. This hack has never even been good enough for airport reading. Or toilet reading. Or toilet paper. He's lucky to make it to the end of a paragraph without tying his shoelaces together and stomping on a rake.

And hasn't Dan Brown taken over as pulp author extraodrinaire for semi-literate middle America? Who the hell's paying attention to Micheal Crichton?

This desperate act of his is more sad than scary. Picture old Mikey reading the New Republic article about what a sad, puffy, public joke he's become. Picture him going pink, then red, then hoping no one sees him chewing his lip or fighting back tears. His despair lasts just long enough to sit him down in front of his word processor.

Inspiration strikes, once more Micheal's muse sings to him! Crowley won't seem so smart once he's been branded a tiny-dicked child rapist in a paperback!

Makes me fall in love with reading all over again, it does ....
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:21 PM on December 14, 2006


RavinDave writes "Loved 'Westworld'. "

Shit, I didn't realize he had written Westworld. Robot cowboys!
posted by mr_roboto at 12:24 PM on December 14, 2006


Its a sophmoric trick, and lame asshattery on Crighton's but the number of readers that will link this obscure writer with the other obscure character in this obscure book = 0.
posted by sfts2 at 12:26 PM on December 14, 2006


quin: As if the Harvard medical degree, bestselling author, Hollywood go-to guy, etc. etc. weren't enough, Crichton is also creator and executive producer of a little series called ER, now in its 13th season. Imagine the residuals — he gives his castoffs to Oprah!
posted by rob511 at 12:29 PM on December 14, 2006


Those of you who regret buying his books can console yourselves by recalling he is a 1969 graduate of Harvard Medical School, and that by keeping him from practicing as you have, you may have saved unnumbered innocent human beings from deep misery or death

Why would you say that? The fact that he is not scientifically minded has nothing to do with being a doctor. Most doctors are not scientifically minded. Medicine is not science. He should have stuck to following the rules handed down from his academy, the nut.

The big head-scratcher for me was in the moderately scary second link of the OP, part of which says:

Mr. Barnes, who describes Mr. Bush as "a dissenter on the theory of global warming," writes that the president "avidly read" the novel and met the author after Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, arranged it. He says Mr. Bush and his guest "talked for an hour and were in near-total agreement."

So, he was in total agreement with a fiction author about a scientific topic.

Well, as Suzuki said in his bio, most politicians are scientifically illiterate. People should be using the batshitinsane tag more often around here, I suggest.
posted by Listener at 12:31 PM on December 14, 2006


that is really kind of bizarre. I mean, it's such a blatant, unoriginal, high school kind of insult, and to insert it into a book you wrote, for no reason except being pissed off? Didn't his editors think it was a weird segue? Or is this a joke? Or... I just don't understand.

the spoon bending thing is also kind of confusing because he seems to just be saying if you rub metal for a long time it gets soft enough to bend easily. That seems neither here nor there to me - the claim was "bending spoons with your mind".
posted by mdn at 12:32 PM on December 14, 2006


This is not news - this is signature Crichton! You all need to pick up the "Unrated: Author's Edition" of Jurassic Park and read the harrowing portion in which the procompsognathi successfully overpower the two young Murphy children, inject them with smack, and then proceed to run the train on them over the course of 6 hours. Stop complaining - now that Crichton has enough money to call the shots, you're able to read the versions he's always meant you to read.
posted by krippledkonscious at 12:37 PM on December 14, 2006


Its a sophmoric trick, and lame asshattery on Crighton's but the number of readers that will link this obscure writer with the other obscure character in this obscure book = 0.

Yes, but now that the link has been made once, someone from the AP just needs to write the story titled "Crichton depicts critic as child rapist in new book" and then suddenly everyone will know who Crowley is. It's the kind of headline that would shoot to the top of Yahoo's "most emailed" list very quickly.
posted by epugachev at 12:38 PM on December 14, 2006


I love the movie Disclosure. It has what has to be the best stuoid VR scene evah.
posted by Artw at 12:39 PM on December 14, 2006


Proof yet again that Crichton is a stupid fuck.

But is there consensus?
posted by homunculus at 12:39 PM on December 14, 2006 [6 favorites]


Ok, so I dislike Crichton, but how does Paul Kiel=Mick Crowley? They were both journalists with degrees from Yale? Were there other parallels? It seems like a weak connection on Crichton's part.
posted by craniac at 12:43 PM on December 14, 2006


Hah ha ha, mdn. "Editors"! You slay me. :-)
posted by rusty at 12:44 PM on December 14, 2006


...Crichton is also creator and executive producer of a little series called ER, now in its 13th season.
rob511-that is exhibit A in the Museum of Why Michael Crichton Should Go Shit in His Hat. Yea I know I'm mixing "exhibit" metaphors, go fuck yourselves.
posted by Mister_A at 12:49 PM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


craniac: Kiel is another writer covering the story for tpmmuckraker. Michael Crowley was the TNR writer fictionalized as Mick Crowley. See Crowley's article for the full story.
posted by epugachev at 12:50 PM on December 14, 2006


Yes, but now that the link has been made once, someone from the AP just needs to write the story titled "Crichton depicts critic as child rapist in new book"

Indeed! Or close, anyway.

I swear that one wasn't there when I FPP'd....

And, craniac, the critic is named Michael Crowley.
posted by gurple at 12:50 PM on December 14, 2006


hasn't Dan Brown taken over as pulp author extraordinaire?

It's not like Brown doesn't have his own little secrets and misdemeanors. There was his (hushed up after his success) first book, a romance handbook called 187 Men to Avoid credited to "Danielle" Brown. Then there was his stint as a soft-pop singer/songwriter.

On reflection, I kind of wish that he'd stuck to music.
posted by Iridic at 1:00 PM on December 14, 2006


"Andromeda Strain" was a great story. So great, in fact, that he redressed it and called it "WestWorld", then again as "Jurrasic Park".

Escape from the Gangs of Andromeda West Park Story
Cliques of robot dinosaur singer-dancers infected with a fatal alien virus battle each other for control of an important hostage in post-apocalyptic Manhattan. They love, they live, they die, but in the process learn a little about what it means to be human.
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:08 PM on December 14, 2006


Wow. And odd too given the anti-anti-pedophilia propaganda in Disclosure

(In other words, opposed to what he saw as moral panic about pedophilia and sexual harassment in the 1980's)
posted by delmoi at 1:08 PM on December 14, 2006


I would flick a booger on Mr. Crichton, if I could get past his solid gold fence and lasers beams and stuff...
posted by Mister_A at 1:14 PM on December 14, 2006


Ok, got the connection sorry.
posted by craniac at 1:17 PM on December 14, 2006


Dream headline: Global warming denier eaten by swimming polar bear!
posted by algreer at 1:20 PM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


"But is there consensus?"

Everyone agrees that Crichton is getting stupider, but not everyone thinks it's because of human causes.
posted by klangklangston at 1:28 PM on December 14, 2006 [6 favorites]


Harlan Ellison has said he names characters after stupid people he's encountered or people who made his life miserable. He always gives them a grim end.
posted by dobbs at 1:32 PM on December 14, 2006


This seems like a joke that Stephen Colbert (in character) would put into a Tek Jansen novel.
posted by Telf at 1:37 PM on December 14, 2006


The producers of "Farscape" should go back and change all references to their main character's name to something more respectful... I'd recommend "Scalzi" myself.

"Red Dwarf" can keep the name of the goofball robot as is.
posted by wendell at 1:49 PM on December 14, 2006


More than anything else, the writing is abysmal. If I read it on someone's blog I'd think they were a sub-par writer that wasn't worth the time it took me to load up the blog. The fact that he'll probably make millions of dollars from it would be appalling if it wasn't so routine these days.

The critic's response was fucking funny though, from the "research" into who it might be referring to, to the fake realizaiton that hey, this could be about me! to the bit about the evils of being a pharmaceutical heir.

If nothing else, I'm now a fan of this Crowley chap. Thanks, Mr. Chrichton!
posted by The God Complex at 1:51 PM on December 14, 2006


wendell - Too true! Farscape ruled - Micheal Crichton does not even begin to deserve any splashover coolness from that wonderful show.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:59 PM on December 14, 2006


Hah ha ha, mdn. "Editors"! You slay me. :-)

I know, I have a strange kind of optimism about the quality of things. I've never read crichton, and generally can't deal with pulp fiction. But here & there I've checked out some beachy reading - sci fi, historical mysteries from my dad, that kinda thing. My impression's been that it's often cheesy & cliche, but fun, has some interesting ideas or details, and doesn't include creepy irrelevant man-on-toddler images. seriously: WTF? If I came across that in the middle of a story, ...
No, I can't think what to say beyond WTF.

as I was saying above, I feel like I have to assume this is an elaborate meta-joke of some kind because on face value it's too ridiculously juvenile to actually end up in print.
on preview: yah, tek jansenish, but meaner and stupider.
posted by mdn at 2:01 PM on December 14, 2006



It's terrible writing.
posted by bukharin at 2:08 PM on December 14, 2006


At least when Ellison takes revenge on someone with the same trick, the character fits into the story in some appropriate way. This is a pathetic.
posted by maudlin at 2:48 PM on December 14, 2006


I blame the error in the last post on Crichton's pernicious influence.
posted by maudlin at 2:49 PM on December 14, 2006


I don't really have anything to add (liked a few of his books in my early to mid teens, haven't given him much thought after that), except that Mister_A has now provided me with a new catchphrase:

Cthulhu f'tagn, baby.

I am going to end all my conversations with that from now on.
/off to practice my Bruce Campbell voice
posted by slimepuppy at 2:58 PM on December 14, 2006


dobbs

The main difference being that Harlan Ellison is a good writer.

...also, I don't think he's ever portrayed a real person as a child rapist before.
posted by Target Practice at 3:01 PM on December 14, 2006


Also, what maudlin said. I've never seen a story by him where he just had some random segue about somebody he didn't like.
posted by Target Practice at 3:02 PM on December 14, 2006


I've read probably a half-dozen Crichton books - all more than 10 years old - and enjoyed them all. Like a lot of successful novels, they overcame pedestrian writing with good storytelling and interesting ideas. Crichton also overwrites less than guys like Tom Clancy and that hack Dan Brown.

But the linked excerpt from "Next"? Pee-ew.

Course, if Crichton had Michelangelo-level talent, I might be tempted to cut him some Raphaelite-level slack.

(I have no idea what that means; I just like how it sounded)
posted by dreamsign at 11:22 AM PST on December 14


img s r c = teenagemutantninjaturtles /
posted by diddlegnome at 3:06 PM on December 14, 2006


Didn't Dante do the same thing ? I seem to recall him writing in long, florid descriptions of his enemies being brutally maimed and tortured in bowels of hell.

(Not to compare Crichton to Dante in the literary sense, the former being a pulp novelist and the latter being one of the greatest poets in the western canon)
posted by Ndwright at 3:17 PM on December 14, 2006


I gotta say, I've always thought Timeline was more in the Jurassic Park ('omg awesome!') category than the Airframe ('interesting reading but why did he write this?') one. Nobody agrees?
posted by Firas at 3:18 PM on December 14, 2006


But I thought that those turtle boys didn't cut 'em no slack.
posted by Iridic at 3:21 PM on December 14, 2006


wendell : "Red Dwarf" can keep the name of the goofball robot as is.

Fortunately the robot was actually named Kryten and thus not tarnished by association. Also at best guess, Kryten the robot would have looked at the situation created by this writer and come to one logical conclusion about the character of a man who would stoop to such pettiness:

He is a smeg head.
posted by quin at 3:22 PM on December 14, 2006


Metafilter: I have no idea what that means; I just like how it sounded.
posted by quite unimportant at 3:26 PM on December 14, 2006


Yeah! Fuck Middle America!
posted by Evstar at 4:01 PM on December 14, 2006


Airframe

I liked it, it was a decent, geeky read - especially on the plane.

Frankly I like most of what he has written (with the exception of 'State of Fear' - which I thought was pushing an agenda) for mindless 'book pablum'.

Its the same as watching an episode of 'Friends' - not a 'life-changing-event' - just a simple way of passing the time.

However, I generally do not buy books until they are on-sale, remaindered or used - so he doesn't make too much profit from me.
posted by jkaczor at 4:28 PM on December 14, 2006


Wait, I thought one of the perks of fame/power was the ability to use it for utterly petty and vindictive things?
posted by nightchrome at 4:33 PM on December 14, 2006


I don't really read that much trash, so Michael Cricton is irrelevant to me as a writer. But. I. LOVE. this. He casts someone he doesn't like in the most loathsome role he can think of, because he can. It's Southparkian. It's not slander, it's not actionable, yet it's an utterly profound dis -- genius. Cricton has now done something worthwhile, and can die.
posted by Methylviolet at 5:08 PM on December 14, 2006


Artw: OK, I see Westworld == Jurassic Park. But how is Andromeda Strain == Westworld?

I'd say Andromeda Strain is closer to Jurassic Park than it is to Westworld. They both have the generic Chrichton plot where a group of experts in various fields is gathered and brought to a remote location for secret reasons that are only revealed once they have arrived. It's also true of Sphere and Timeline... and others I'm sure.
posted by brundlefly at 5:12 PM on December 14, 2006


Slander?
Libel?
Defamation of character? Oh boy, this book better never get published in Merry Olde England. Crowley will have a jolly good time with Crichton there.
posted by caddis at 5:14 PM on December 14, 2006


EatTheWeak writes "This hack has never even been good enough for airport reading. Or toilet reading. Or toilet paper."

Well, sometimes you're walking your dog and you don't have any of those plastic baggies with you, and the nearest shop is out of the New York Post. It's then that you'll be glad to see Crichton's latest opus in the remainder bin.
posted by clevershark at 5:19 PM on December 14, 2006


Is there a term for this device, a la Mary Sue?
posted by kurumi at 6:26 PM on December 14, 2006


Greg Feely?
posted by Artw at 7:39 PM on December 14, 2006


Google is failing me on the Greg Feely front, apart from this, but aparently he's a critic who various peopel have written into stories.

Grant Morrison, mentioned above, turned out never to have heard of him.
posted by Artw at 7:43 PM on December 14, 2006


Was that really the best he could do? My critic is a microphallic rapist of children?

If I were pissed at a critic, I'd fictionalize him as a microphallic hydrocephalic victim of repeated rape by children he's too weak to defend himself from, who gets off on sitting on kittens and thinks Yahoo Serious was the funniest thing ever. I might also give him megacolon.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:53 PM on December 14, 2006




It's especially absurd as the small penis/ anal rape of child in diapers combo stands out as awkward, offensive, exploitative and unedited writing: no one writes about penis size in relation to rape (let alone adding in diapers and anal when you are talking about a child) when discussing a court case, either in fiction or journalism.

I mean, what would possibly get penis size details into the court record-- the child claimed that it was large but the defense argued that it was small? His previous infantile victims all reported small penile size so the prosecution claimed it had to be the same guy? The defense claims it wasn't so bad to be raped by a small penis?

The critic's comeback was brilliant though.
posted by Maias at 8:27 PM on December 14, 2006


brundlefly's got it. I read Sphere way back, enjoyed it. Read Andromeda Strain next, felt ripped off for reading the same damn book with two different covers. No more Crichton books for me. If he wants to keep writing for popcorn movies, fine. There's worse things.
posted by NortonDC at 9:29 PM on December 14, 2006


Eaters of the Dead is, in fact, worth reading. The rest of them, not so much.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:56 PM on December 14, 2006


And Eaters of the Dead (which The 13th Warrior was based on) is goddamn brilliant. While the movie was a straight action flick, the book was written as a fake "translation" of a non-existent travelogue of an Arab Muslim watching the events of Beowulf had they really happened.

Actually, the beginning was loosely based on fact. See the Viking Answer Lady on Eaters of the Dead.
posted by homunculus at 10:25 PM on December 14, 2006


For more on Ibn Fadlan, check out The Buried Soul: How Humans Invented Death, by Timothy Taylor.
posted by homunculus at 10:31 PM on December 14, 2006


If I were pissed at a critic, I'd fictionalize him as a microphallic hydrocephalic victim of repeated rape by children he's too weak to defend himself from, who gets off on sitting on kittens and thinks Yahoo Serious was the funniest thing ever. I might also give him megacolon.

...

I think I've read that exact scenario somewhere before...

OH MY GOD. You're Thomas Pychon!
posted by sparkletone at 12:04 AM on December 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


I remember reading Crichton novels between long stints of "Redwall". That is all.
posted by tehloki at 12:26 AM on December 15, 2006


If I'm Thomas Pynchon, who's that in your chili?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:35 AM on December 15, 2006


As long as he's an occultist, mystic, hedonist and sexual revolutionary, why not be a pedophile as well.

Oh. Michael Crowley... Yeah, then MC's an ass. Nice to see so many people feel the same way about him as I do - couldn't get enough in Junior High (including a Case of Need, even), but then stopped being interested. I tried reading timeline at one point. But also stopped being interested.
posted by hoborg at 9:00 AM on December 15, 2006


Speaking of Aleister, he was a pro at taking thinly-veiled swipes at critics and other Golden Dawn members. Moonchild in particular always cracks me up when he's mercilessly attacking A.E. Waite.
posted by malocchio at 11:03 AM on December 15, 2006


EatTheWeak: And hasn't Dan Brown taken over as pulp author extraodrinaire for semi-literate middle America? Who the hell's paying attention to Micheal Crichton?

The key difference between Brown and Crichton is that, while Brown seems to care about improving at his craft (though it's probably not worth suffering through Angels and Demons to test my assertion), Crichton has done nothing but get worse. In fact, that passage does remind of Angels and Demons, and that's a pretty serious insult. (If Dan Brown's reading this, I apologize. I have it on some authority that he's not a bad guy, and like I said, he does seem to try to approve.)

The other big difference between Brown and Crichton is that one of the two is a crypto-misogynist acting out his mother issues in the highly public eye. (You know which one I'm talking about -- the one with the small penis...)
posted by lodurr at 8:09 AM on December 18, 2006


Harlan Ellison has said he names characters after stupid people he's encountered or people who made his life miserable. He always gives them a grim end.

Ellison can be a major prick, but he's never been less than a really good writer. And you could bet that it would be a smarter jab than this.
posted by lodurr at 8:14 AM on December 18, 2006


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