Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Michael Crichton thinks we're all idiots

State of Fear
Michael Crichton

Let me say this up front: I don’t like Michael Crichton. Okay, Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain are exceptions, but those days are gone. Instead, we have a Crichton with an agenda — and it’s obvious. But, in the interest of full disclosure, I was given this book (and this one) by a friend, and I’m not not going to read a book without giving it a try, especially if it appears I can have some fun with it here.

Unlike my last Crichton read, this one actually has a plot, instead of “here’s some bad stuff caused by science.” This one provides Crichton’s agenda on global warming: namely, that it’s all a bunch of rubbish and anyone who believes in it is misinformed at best and an utter dunce at worst.

Ok so admittedly I’m no scientist. I fear global warming is true, in the same way I fear global thermonuclear war or a serial killer marking me for his prey, but when you get right down to it, I know no more than anyone else. Sure, I occasionally notice bizarre weather changes, but that doesn’t mean they are indicative of global warming. Sure, I try to recycle and do my part to help the planet, but good lord, I’m human, and yes I threw out a plastic water bottle last week cause I was too lazy to walk to the recycling bin and YES I FEEL BAD ABOUT IT but I’m working through it and doing just fine, if you please.

Back to State of Fear, which is meant to hammer home the point that global warming is a myth set forth by either dumb scientists or evil environmentalists with nothing better to do than save the earth. Page after page is dedicated to, very subtlely I might add, knocking down common assumptions about global warming. Oddly enough, at one point, Crichton becomes so wearied of asserting his point that he simply inserts a whole page of references. There! Let the reader do it! He claims all references contained in the novel are true, but I highly doubt that many readers would bother to double check.

A couple of pages later, Crichton gives us this gem:

“What about the trojans?” Kenner said. “How are they timed?” In computer slang, a trojan was an innocent-looking program installed in the system. It was designed to wake up at a later time and carry out some action. It derived its name from the way the Greeks won the Trojan war—by making a huge horse and presenting it to the Trojans as a gift. Once the horse was within the walls of Troy, the Greek soliders [sic] who had been hiding inside it came out and attacked the city.

Well, thanks, Mike. I’d never have known. You know, the American educational system certainly has its flaws, but I think we’ve got the Trojan horse covered. In fact, I’m pretty sure the meth head down the street has got the Trojan horse allusion down pat, and her last two brain cells are busy fighting for total supremacy. But really, thanks. I could have better done with a definition of “soliders,” because I don’t know what the hell they are.

Relax, buddy. Michael Crichton says you're cool.

Please note that I have quelled my desire to here insert a Gerard Butler 300 pic as evidence of a "solider soldier." This is will power, people.

In a nutshell: I'm done talking about this piece of rubbish.

Bibliolatry Scale 1 out of 6 stars


Matt said...

Nice review, gave me a few chuckles. I'm sorry I can't help you out with the definition of "soliders" either.

Jurassic Park is the only Crichton book I've read, and I don't plan on reading any others. He reminds me of Tom Clancy, I used to be a fan but his books have gotten more and more terrible until I finally realized I needed to stop reading them.

Mirtika said...

As someone who's made more than her share of blog entry typos (not to mention fiction ones), I cannot cast a stone.

But...I'm assuming "soliders" are the antithesis of "gaseousers" and somewhat closer in type to "liquiders." The grapevine says "soliders" are hard and unyielding types one ought to try hard to avoid bumping into.

Just a wild guess, tho.

And as someone with a Gerrd Butler fan blog, I can only say that a pic of Gerry would be an asset to any blog post. :D Decorative, at minimum. I admit to bias, however.


Bibliolatrist said...

Thanks, Matt - I agree with your Clancy analogy, too. I'm glad these books were free ;)

Mir - I love your definition of solider! But you're right, I've been the perpetrator of many a typo -- I'd have overlooked it, though, if the rest of the novel were good, or at least if he didn't explain the Trojan horse as though we were all a bunch of fools.

And a Gerard Butler fan blog?!?!? Where do I sign up?!

c.hanrahan said...

Admittedly I've never been a fan of Chrichton's fiction, but he wrote a fantastic book of personal essays titled "Travels." I've read it four or five times.

Lesley said...

I've never actually read any of his stuff, but he strikes me as sort of a scientific Dan Brown, am I right?

Loved your review by the way.

Bibliolatrist said...

Lesley - I think the label "scientific Dan Brown" hits the nail right on the head.

And thanks for the recommendation, c.hanrahan -- I've never heard of Travels -- thanks!

Irish said...

I just read your blog on this and was highly amused. I must also say that while the crack head down the street might know of the Trojan horse...I have a friend who didn't know of it until we went to say that not so great film "Troy" a few years back.

While the movie wasn't so great the best moment was when they are showing the Trojan horse scene and in the quiet theatre you hear her say. "They're in the horse?!?! No Freakin' Way!" At first we thought she was joking...bad sadly...she was serious. She'll never forget that moment for we never fail to remind her. *laughs*

Raquel said...

I do tend to read Michael Crichton an awful lot. But I must admit I do often feel as though I'm thought of as a third grader reading his books. I usually skim past these explanations, therefore, I did not notice the typo.

However, I am currently reading NEXT right now. It's kind of hard going, but the bit about the humanzee is amusing. Anywho, there is a typo in there as well. On page 184, where the character Henry Kendall is meeting his chimp son for the first time, "What do you think? This is illegal as shit, Henry. A transgender higher primate? You know Hitler..." blah, blah, blah. Holy crap! Not only is the ape a half-breed, it has gender identity issues! Priceless!