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The Andromeda Strain [Mass Market Paperback]

Michael Crichton
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (298 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 10 2008

The United States government is given a warning by the pre-eminent biophysicists in the country: current sterilization procedures applied to returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere.

Two years later, seventeen satellites are sent into the outer fringes of space to "collect organisms and dust for study." One of them falls to earth, landing ina desolate area of Arizona.

Twelve miles from the landing site, in the town of Piedmont, a shocking discovery is made: the streets are littered with the dead bodies of the town's inhabitants, as if they dropped dead in their tracks.

The terror has begun . . .

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The Andromeda Strain + The Lost World: A Novel + Jurassic Park: A Novel
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Some biologists speculate that if we ever make contact with extraterrestrials, those life forms are likely to be--like most life on earth--one-celled or smaller creatures, more comparable to bacteria than little green men. And even though such organisms would not likely be able to harm humans, the possibility exists that first contact might be our last.

That's the scientific supposition that Michael Crichton formulates and follows out to its conclusion in his excellent debut novel, The Andromeda Strain.

A Nobel-Prize-winning bacteriologist, Jeremy Stone, urges the president to approve an extraterrestrial decontamination facility to sterilize returning astronauts, satellites, and spacecraft that might carry an "unknown biologic agent." The government agrees, almost too quickly, to build the top-secret Wildfire Lab in the desert of Nevada. Shortly thereafter, unbeknownst to Stone, the U.S. Army initiates the "Scoop" satellite program, an attempt to actively collect space pathogens for use in biological warfare. When Scoop VII crashes a couple years later in the isolated Arizona town of Piedmont, the Army ends up getting more than it asked for.

The Andromeda Strain follows Stone and rest of the scientific team mobilized to react to the Scoop crash as they scramble to understand and contain a strange and deadly outbreak. Crichton's first book may well be his best; it has an earnestness that is missing from his later, more calculated thrillers. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"He had me convinced it was all really happening" -- Christopher Lehmann-Haupt New York Times "Science fiction, which once frightened me because it seemed so far-out, now frightens me because it seems so near. The Andromeda Strain is as matter-of-fact as the skull-and-crossbones instructions on a bottle of poison - and just as chillingly effective" Life "Terrifying...One of the most important novels of the year" Library Journal --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was written around 1969, when astronauts were first landing on the moon. There was a serious concern about the possibility, however slight, that there were micro-organisms on the moon that might return to Earth and cause an epidemic. This concern led to the quarantine of returning astronauts (and the rocks they collected) from the first few missions that landed. This ended when the fears proved unfounded. (There is an interesting side note. The second moon landing recovered several pieces of an unmanned probe that had landed several years earlier. It was found that bacteria in the probe had survived the launch, the landing on the moon, and several years on the airless surface of the moon with temperature swings of hundreds of degrees.)
This book plays off of this idea of "bad stuff from space causes problems on Earth." There are more than 300 other reviews, so I'll mostly leave the plot alone here. What I liked about it was the sense it gave of scientific investigation of an important topic on a short time scale. Trying to "beat the clock," the scientists have to come up with and discard theories for how the unfamiliar organism works with unaccustomed speed, which (as you might imagine) stresses them out. In parallel with other Crichton books, the action takes place over about a week, with simple errors and accidents costing valuable time. The book is newly relevant with the possibility of "designer" biological agents from labs in rouge nations (or from terrorists) playing the role of the alien infectious agent in the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Andromeda Strain May 18 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton is a book about a virus that has never been heard of. Mr. stone is investigating the death of a small town. The town was an ordinary town before the virus hit. Mr. stone needed help so he got it from a man named Mr. Hall. Fortunately there were two survivors in the toen that lived through the virus. Mr. Stone and Mr. Hall were able to do tests on them. Mr. Stone started a top-secret program called wildfire. This program was designed to make a vaccine for the virus. Whenever they got real close to finding an solution they would always find a problem. They could not find a relationship between the 65-year old man and a baby. They looked everywhere. They thought of everything that they could think of. They kept running into the same thing. Mr. Hall was convinced that there was a relationship that wouldput all the pieces together. They kept going back to the same thing. The were convinced that there was something to do with the old man's ulcer. Eventually they found out that the mysterious germ could live with no protein. They could not believe this descovery because there was nothing else known that could run with no proteins. They also concluded that the virus started at teh lungs and then would clot the blood so the person would suffocate. Throught the whole book they kept thinking otf the most complex answer but it was right beneath their nose.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I thought that this was a very good book. May 9 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The Andromada Strain", starts out with a young man named Jeremy Stone throwing a party. He gets the call he was hoping would never come, and is transported immediately to a 5 leveled lab, underground, with six other men to activate a project known simply as "Wildfire". I won't say anymore, except one thing: project Wildfire will be dangerous - VERY dangerous if it gets out of the lab!
I thought that this was a pretty good book, but it was probably aimed at more higher level readers than me. Some parts of this book were confusing, and others were just stupid, but overall it was pretty good. The only part that really bothered me was the ending. Michael Crichton built the story up so much that you were left saying," WHAT? THAT WAS IT??" I mean, it was a good ending, but it was kind of dissapointing, because it was not as exciting and dramatic as the rest of the book.
Another thing about this book was that it changed view points a LOT. Almost every chapter was a different one of the 7 main people. This was good, because that way, you could see what everyone was thinking, and not one person's biased opinion. Kind of like these book reviews!!!
Again, this book was for adults, but was good all the same!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Michael Crichton's First Novel May 4 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN was Michael Crichton's first novel; it was published way back in 1969. Crichton (pronounced "Cry-ton") was a lad of 26, just out of medical school, when he decided to become a writer instead of a doctor. THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN is a very well-written first novel, although it is a bit too heavy on technical scientific detail. I found that to be a problem when I first tried to read the book 10 years ago; I only got about a third of the way into it because I found this level of detail to be overpowering the story, this rendering it noninteresting for me. By comparison, I had found that JURASSIC PARK, which I had read before my first attempt at ANDROMEDA, had just the right mixture of science and story; it was an extremely fascinating read which took me only three days to complete. Now, with THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, I have just recently read the entire book cover-to-cover, and I'm glad I finally did so because, even though I find the scientific detail to be occasionally overpowering at times, the human story is remarkably compelling.
This human story is of how five widely different members of a top-secret government research team combine intellectual forces to deal with the horrific results of an infectious biologic agent, which had been accidentally introduced into the small town of Piedmont, Arizona by way of a returning space probe that had been sent from Earth, killing all but two of its 48 inhabitants. The team must find out what the nature of the infectious agent is, how it killed its victims, why the two extremely different survivors, a crochety old man and a two-month-old baby, survived, and how they can stop this agent before it is able to do any further damage.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay
Not a bad read, but also not as gripping as other, later Michael Crichton novels.
Published 1 month ago by Tom C
5.0 out of 5 stars I bow to the master
When I started reading the debut novel by Michael Crichton I certainly did not expect to find myself already facing a little masterpiece. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Anakina
2.0 out of 5 stars Sham
This book is a sham. It frustrates me because it tries to appear credible in its approach with scientific jargon and figures, but it's out of date and it's highly implausible. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2009 by M. P. L. WOULFE
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bacterial View
The Andromeda Strain, one of Michael Crichton's early works, is a masterpiece. The plot is deceptively simple; a new, strange and deadly form of bacteria hits a small United... Read more
Published on Sept. 3 2007 by Vera C. Fran
3.0 out of 5 stars A very captivating book for its tiem.
'The Andromeda Strain' involves a new deadly disease that has been brought back to earth, by a military/science sattelite. Read more
Published on June 14 2004 by Randy Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read!
The Andromdeda Strain was the first Crichton book I ever read. I recieved it as a Christmas gift from my mother, but put it aside after reading a few pages. Read more
Published on May 29 2004 by J. Naft
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic Hold Up Fairly Well
A satellite that orbits the Earth to collect particles and organisms for study goes off course and crashes near a small town in Arizona. Read more
Published on March 18 2004 by J. Vilches
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have better ending
Michael did put in a lot of effort in studying bio-chemistry subject. This is a good to read science fiction. However, the book could better by having more dramatic ending.
Published on Feb. 23 2004 by CS Goh
5.0 out of 5 stars A Strain of Its Own
The book I am reviewing in this review is a book I would have never foreseen myself reading. It is called the Andromeda Strain and it is by Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic... Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2004
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