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State of Fear
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State of Fear [Kindle Edition]

Michael Crichton
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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A Michael Crichton Timeline reveals a few facts about the "father of the techno-thriller."

1942: John Michael Crichton is born in Chicago, Illinois, on Oct. 23.

1960: Crichton graduates from Roslyn High School on Long Island, New York, with high marks and a reputation as a star basketball player. He decides to attend Harvard University to study English. During his studies, he rankles under his writing professors’ criticism. As an act of rebellion, Crichton submits an essay by George Orwell as his own. The professor doesn’t catch the plagiarism and gives Orwell a B-. This experience convinces Crichton to change his field of study to anthropology.

1964: Crichton graduates summa cum laude from Harvard University in anthropology. After studying further as a visiting lecturer at Cambridge University and receiving the Henry Russell Shaw Travelling Fellowship, which allowed him to travel in Europe and North Africa, Crichton begins coursework at the Harvard School of Medicine. To help fund his medical endeavors, he writes spy thrillers under several pen names. One of these works, A Case of Need, wins the 1968 Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allan Poe Award.

1969: Crichton graduates from Harvard Medical school and is accepted as a post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Science in La Jolla, Calif. However, his career in medicine is waylaid by the publication of the first novel under his own name, The Andromeda Strain. The novel, about an apocalyptic plague, climbs high on bestseller lists and is later made into a popular film. Crichton said of his decision to pursue writing full time: “To quit medicine to become a writer struck most people like quitting the Supreme Court to become a bail bondsman.”

1972: Crichton's second novel under his own name The Terminal Man, is published. Also, two of Crichton's previous works under his pen names, Dealing and A Case of Need are made into movies. After watching the filming, Crichton decides to try his hand at directing. He will eventually direct seven films including the 1973 science-fiction hit Westworld, which was the first film ever to use computer-generated effects.

1980: Crichton draws on his anthropology background and fascination with new technology to create Congo, a best-selling novel about a search for industrial diamonds and a new race of gorillas. The novel, patterned after the adventure writings of H. Ryder Haggard, updates the genre with the inclusion of high-tech gadgets that, although may seem quaint 20 years later, serve to set Crichton's work apart and he begins to cement his reputation as “the father of the techno-thriller.”

1990: After the 1980s, which saw the publication of the underwater adventure Sphere (1987) and an invitation to become a visiting writer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1988), Crichton begins the new decade with a bang via the publication of his most popular novel, Jurassic Park. The book is a powerful example of Crichton's use of science and technology as the bedrock for his work. Heady discussion of genetic engineering, chaos theory, and paleontology run throughout the tightly-wound thriller that strands a crew of scientists on an island populated by cloned dinosaurs run amok. The novel inspires the 1993 Steven Spielberg film, and together book and film will re-ignite the world’s fascination with dinosaurs.

1995: Crichton resurrects an idea from his medical school days to create the Emmy-Award Winning television series ER. In this year, ER won eight Emmys and Crichton received an award from the Producers Guild of America in the category of outstanding multi-episodic series. Set in an insanely busy an often dangerous Chicago emergency room, the fast-paced drama is defined by Crichton's now trademark use of technical expertise and insider jargon. The year also saw the publication of The Lost World returning readers to the dinosaur-infested island.

2000: In recognition for Crichton's contribution in popularizing paleontology, a dinosaur discovered in southern China is named after him. "Crichton's ankylosaur" is a small, armored plant-eating dinosaur that dates to the early Jurassic Period, about 180 million years ago. "For a person like me, this is much better than an Academy Award," Crichton said of the honor.

2005: Crichton’s newest thriller State of Fear is published.'s Significant Seven

Michael Crichton kindly agreed to take the life quiz we like to give to all our authors: the Significant Seven.

Q: What book has had the most significant impact on your life?

A: Prisoners of Childhood by Alice Miller

Q: You are stranded on a desert island with only one book, one CD, and one DVD--what are they?

A: Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (Witter Bynner version)

Symphony #2 in D Major by Johannes Brahms (Georg Solti)

Ikiru by Akira Kurosawa

Q: What is the worst lie you've ever told?

A: Surely you're joking.

Q: Describe the perfect writing environment.

A: Small room. Shades down. No daylight. No disturbances. Macintosh with a big screen. Plenty of coffee. Quiet.

Q: If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?

A: I don't want an epitaph. If forced, I would say "Why Are You Here? Go Live Your Life."

Q: Who is the one person living or dead that you would like to have dinner with?

A: Benjamin Franklin

Q: If you could have one superpower what would it be?

A: Invisibility

From Publishers Weekly

For his latest foray, Crichton alters his usual formula--three parts thrills and spills to one part hard science--to a less appetizing concoction that is half anti-global warming screed and half adventure yarn. This adds a mission impossible element to Wilson's narration: how to make pages of research interesting enough to hold the listener's attention until hero and heroine face their next peril. Unfortunately, Wilson approaches the statistical information like a newscaster communicating via Teleprompter. This earns him an A-plus for elocution and timbre, but a more average grade when it comes to dramatic interpretation. Consequently, the scientific material that Crichton spent three years researching seems even more copious in audio format than in print. And it's certainly much harder to flip past. Wilson is more successful in handling conversational passages, employing accents and adding subtle touches to various voices--a cynical tone for the hero, who's a mildly hedonistic corporate lawyer, and an edgier, less patient attitude for the beautiful, ready-for-anything heroine. As they hot-foot it around the globe, assisting an Indiana Jones-like MIT professor in thwarting evils perpetrated by a mass-murdering environmentalist, Wilson stirs up a little suspense by speaking faster and more energetically. But the book's abundance of statistics would slow any narrator's momentum, and Wilson is no exception.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3018 KB
  • Print Length: 624 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (Oct. 13 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC2NQW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What happened? Nov. 27 2005
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am a huge fan of Michael Crichton and own and love every single one of his books. But this book fell flat for me. I think character development is critical to any book. Most of the main characters were entirely two-dimensional and therefore no empathy could be created. I think the author jumped on a topical bandwagon and coupled it with a fantastical and literally unbelievable plot line. Moreover, although Mr Crichton is always thorough in his research, I think it was a little over the top. At times, it was more like reading a university paper with all the endless footnotes for his scientific references. A huge disappointment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neat novel about eco-terrorism... March 10 2013
By Pat the cat TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Yes, it comes across as a little preachy but, you've got to admire the amount of research and documentation that the author completed to write this story. A few things bothered me but, overall, it was an intriguing story that made you think (a lot) and entertained you at the same time. I've always been a little skeptical about some of the causes promoted by the environmental movement and, I've recently become very annoyed by the media that seems to delight itself in exaggerating and over-reporting every weather hick up. So, I was in a receptive frame of mind for a novel aimed at eco-terrorism. It's a very thoughtful story and, once explained, even the title will make you reflect on your own environmental opinions. That said, I wish that the author had spent a little more time in developing the crises so that the good guys' abilities to overcome just about every possible problem would be a little more believable. Also, the love interests of the Evans character are kind of silly. No matter, I give this book 4 stars out of 5 (very good and intelligent!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having heard about the contrarian views regarding climate change espoused in this book, I hoped to find an interesting dialogue in the form of a novel. What a disappointment!

To begin with, the plot and its execution strain credulity in this security conscious post 9/11 world. In one instance for example, we are expected to believe that a large number of school and community groups would go camping, all at the same time and all in the same specific area, after having received funding for it from charities unknown to any of them. Nobody would have become suspicious? There is a lot more of that sort, but I won't go into it.

Then there are the flat, cardboard characters more suitable for comics pages than a book that professes to address a serious subject. Evans, one of the main players and a lawyer, shines through his ignorance on almost anything, but especially the stuff he should know, considering who his client is. Yet, he gets himself out of tight spots that would even challenge the legendary James Bond.

Further the style: Too much idle conversation to fill pages, interspersed with rough language to give the appearance of toughness. The headings of the chapters - place, time and date - are supposed to indicate a fast pace, but it doesn't work. The whole thing reads more like an ill-defined draft for a movie script.

Lastly, and most importantly, the arguments: If not outright flawed, they are at best presented in tabloid manner. At one point for example, (page 402 of the hard cover edition), after hearing someone stating that global warming could mean insect infestations, which could kill whole forests, Jennifer asks Evans, her colleague, "Do you really believe this sxxx?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great work of Crichton between novel and essay July 10 2014
By Anakina
Format:Kindle Edition
Only years after the death of Crichton I finally discovered his great value as a writer and it happened with this book, bought almost casually without knowing exactly what it was about, and that turned out to be very interesting for me, as it is fully in line with my thought.
The topic is that of the so-called theory of anthropogenic global warming, which personally, even as an ecologist, I never believed, that is being analysed while the author tells a great story of action and adventure, and in doing so brings us a lot of scientific information, all confirmed with real references, which can be controlled, as they are then listed in the large bibliography of the volume.
Considering the way in which the author dismantles the theory of global warming and complaints the speculation and sensationalism, which accompany it; I completely understand why this book has never become a movie. It's too much against the trend. It goes against the economic interest of the moment.
Never let it be that people read it and believe it!
Maybe one day, when public opinion will have enough of this fake ecological drama we are witnessing, the opposite theory will appear (maybe they will be telling us that we are moving toward the ice age?) and then maybe this book will come out, which will be properly manipulated.
What the book says instead is that mankind is definitely not able to demonstrate whether our planet is really going towards a global warming (we are not even able to know with certainty what the weather will be like tomorrow!), so much so that every theory from 20 years ago was later denied. Much less mankind is able to prove whether they are able to influence these events (both positively and negatively) and to what extent.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic. Genious. Entertaining
Anyone with the slightest interest in policy, environment or the natural sciences will be glued to this book. Read more
Published on June 25 2008 by Andrea Szenasi
3.0 out of 5 stars More of a lesson on global warming
I have read almost every book by Michael Crichton and with every new release I find the book reads less like a thrilling novel and more like an essay on the authors beliefs and... Read more
Published on Oct. 26 2007 by Neil Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars I was convinced
Of all the Crichton books, this one had one of the most serious points to make about our immediate surroundings. Read more
Published on Sept. 23 2007 by Vick
2.0 out of 5 stars A fizzled flare
Mickey Crichton's fought a long war with science. First, he didn't want objects sent into space to be retrieved. Read more
Published on May 15 2007 by Stephen A. Haines
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Crichton book
Author Michael Crichton has made his mark dealing with the `what-if' scenarios of science. State of Fear is different. Read more
Published on April 10 2007 by David Dent
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work of fiction
I thoroughly enjoyed State of Fear. It's always refreshing to read a point of view that doesn't sheepishly follow the mainstream "Chicken Littles" with their predictions of... Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2007 by S. Tofflemire
2.0 out of 5 stars Just not up to Par!
Over the years Michael Chrichton has become more technical in his writing and for me it seems to just not work. Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2007 by Kris Hollywood
3.0 out of 5 stars This Is Fiction??? How Come There Are Footnotes On Every Page
First of all I would like to say that this review is actually two and a half stars not three. Second thing I would like to mention is that there is not actually a footnote on every... Read more
Published on Nov. 19 2006 by Erico
4.0 out of 5 stars A Provocative and InformativeThriller about Avoiding Fear
This book reminded me very much of Moby Dick with its heavy emphasis on both an adventure story and sharing detailed information. Read more
Published on July 15 2006 by Donald Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, Infomative Examination of a Very "Hot" Issue
This is a thoroughly entertaining, frightening, and educational novel about global warming, environmental issues, and sci-fi high tech interference with nature and the weather ... Read more
Published on June 19 2006 by Erika Borsos
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But as Alston Chase put it, when the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power. &quote;
Highlighted by 57 Kindle users
politico-legal-media complex. The PLM. And it is dedicated to promoting fear in the populationunder the guise of promoting safety. &quote;
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I am leading to the notion of social control, Peter. To the requirement of every sovereign state to exert control over the behavior of its citizens, to keep them orderly and reasonably docile. To keep them driving on the right side of the roador the left, as the case may be. To keep them paying taxes. And of course we know that social control is best managed through fear. &quote;
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