Michael Crichton Passes Away, Futuristic Theme Parks Free to Run Amok


The Cooler

The Cooler


I note with sadness that Michael Crichton, the MD turned novelist, turned businessman, turned director, turned television producer, turned global warming whistle blower, turned naturalist and who-knows-what-else, passed away.

I won’t say he was a first-rate writer, but I will say he was a first-rate second-rate writer to paraphrase Strauss’s critique of his own musical standing.

It seemed to me Crichton’s modus operandi was to research a subject–almost anything–until he had mastered enough information to write four of five brilliant essays about it, plug in characters, settings and McGuffins, and then stretch a plot around it.  The plot was his weakness in that he often stretched it far too thin for my taste–for instance his novel Timeline has learned things to say about the Middle Ages and quantum physics, but the plot revolves around an evil Bill Gates wanting to go back in time to build a history theme park. Okaaaay, again with the theme parks.

On the other hand, research insight and readability were his strengths.  He loved history, science, and nature, and wanted other people to know about them as well. My favorite novel of his is Airframe. It is about the business of airplane manufacturing, the business of tv journalism, and the research and plot come together beautifully. And the book is worth it if just for the vivisection of 60 Minutes.

The other book I recommend is, of course, State of Fear. Aside from going through the forensic data of Global Warming theory, he does a masterful  job of showing the iceberg tips of the colossal forces that are at work every day on our planet and just how trivial the physics of man are in comparison.

Finally, he wrote many excellent stand alone essays that should be read, some are included in his books, some can be found on his website HERE.  And at least one is preserved in the digital amber of our friend Scott Thong’s website Buuuuuurrrrring Hot.com.


4 responses to “Michael Crichton Passes Away, Futuristic Theme Parks Free to Run Amok

  1. Tears almost just came to my eyes… He was my favourite writer. It’s thanks to him that I started looking into the global warming hoax. And to think, I was critical of his rejection of global warming in the first few chapters of State of Fear…

  2. He wrote an entire essay on the management of Yellowstone National Park, and how the environmentalist nearly destroyed the ecology there with their meddling, which I can’t find. Scott, was that included in State of Fear?

  3. That was the most succinct and insightful writeup I’ve run into about Michael, hands down… thank you for posting it.

    I always delighted in his imagination, commended his research, loved his enthusiasm, and while I often cringed at his characters and plots, I kept on reading.

    Books on tape worried me at first (the end of literacy! etc etc) but eventually I gave in and got Airframe.. it was a clever, absorbing adventure I enjoyed during a drive from one end of California to another.

    I was very sad to hear he was taken so young.

  4. Michael Crichton was a rare individual indeed. Thanks for all your succinctly drawn cartoons.

    You never miss the mark with so few words in your thought balloons.


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