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The Andromeda Strain [Mass Market Paperback]

Michael Crichton
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (297 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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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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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 I bow to the master July 11 2014
By Anakina
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When I started reading the debut novel by Michael Crichton I certainly did not expect to find myself already facing a little masterpiece. My expectations were low, however, they have been denied by a book that I feel compelled to include among my absolute favourites.
Maybe because of the matter (biology), which I know well, and therefore I was able to fully understand every passage of the work. Maybe because of the very original author's choice to present the novel as if it were a report of something really happened, including the credits at the beginning signed MC. Maybe because what is told could really have happened or could happen at any time.
In one way or another I found myself literally devouring this book in a few days and almost missing it when it was not with me.
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of Crichton's works is that in them science is not an excuse to tell a story. On the contrary, the story is an excuse to talk about science. So much that his novels are accompanied by an extensive bibliography, as if they were non-fiction books.
The real regret is that this author has died and that, although I still have to read some of his works, sooner or later they will end up.
However, he is a source of great inspiration to me and to those like me, man and woman of science, who loves fiction.

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli, author of Red Desert - Point of No Return
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Bacterial View Sept. 3 2007
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 States town, nearly obliterating it, and a team of U.S. scientists is quickly assembled to unravel the mysteries of the strange bacterial form. Crichton's novel opens up numerous philosophical controversies, many of which are relevant today (government policy on the rights of individuals and animal rights) and some of which have intrigued mankind since the beginning of time, (our destiny and our power to have control over it). I really enjoyed this novel and 'could not' put it down. If able to, I would have read right through, but not shirking my other responsibilities, I spent a few days relishing this marvelous book - an excellent read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A very captivating book for its tiem. June 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
'The Andromeda Strain' involves a new deadly disease that has been brought back to earth, by a military/science sattelite. A space rpogram has been designed to enter space and bring back samples in the hopes of finding a new bacterial weapon. The book describes a secret government base where such diseases can be contained and researched.
Well, the program is a success. A deadly germ is brought back to Earth, and proceeds to wipe out a remote town. The germ is isolated in the governmetn facility, and the race is on to find how this entity reactes with the human body and how it can be cured or neutralized.
The book is a little dated, but none the less a great plot. I remember seeing the movie when I was young and loving it. I finally found the time to read the book. It is one of Critchon's early works, but stil very good.
If you are a Critchon fan (or not) I would recommend this book. It is quick paced and good for those days beside the pool or at the beach.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read! May 29 2004
By J. Naft
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. After taking an introductory college biology class, though, the story came alive for me; the real science Crichton incorporates into his writing gives it an air of credibility and reality that wouldn't let me set it down.
I love Crichton because his writing is so thought provoking. Even after the story ends happily, I was left with the haunting notion that extraterrestrial organisms could potentially wreak havoc on our fragile ecosystem. It could happen.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book for anybody with the science background necessary to digest it.
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Most recent customer reviews
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 Andromeda Strain
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. Read more
Published on May 18 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars I thought that this was a very good book.
"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... Read more
Published on May 10 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Michael Crichton's First Novel
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,... Read more
Published on May 4 2004 by Robert J. Schneider
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. 24 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
5.0 out of 5 stars The Andromeda Strain to put the book down
A real Crichton classic. I would reccomend it to anyone and everyone, although it's age level should really be suited for 13+. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2004
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