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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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. Those who prefer one aspect or the other will probably find themselves flipping quickly through the pages that emphasize the other aspect.

Popular opinions are almost always wrong. That's the theme of this book. The point is made in...
Published on July 15 2006 by Donald Mitchell

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What happened?
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...
Published on Nov. 27 2005


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Provocative and InformativeThriller about Avoiding Fear, July 15 2006
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This book reminded me very much of Moby Dick with its heavy emphasis on both an adventure story and sharing detailed information. Those who prefer one aspect or the other will probably find themselves flipping quickly through the pages that emphasize the other aspect.

Popular opinions are almost always wrong. That's the theme of this book. The point is made in the context of describing how global warming, as perceived by the public and media, is different from what scientists are describing. Dr. Crichton argues through his story that we can waste a lot of time and resources on popular delusions, and we need to get our facts right. His appendix I on the dangers of politicized science is something everyone should read. The eugenics example is a chilling one.

The adventure story itself is a Frederick Forsyth/Clive Cussler-type thriller written from the perspective of a young lawyer who tags along with a James Bond-like character who single-handedly saves the day along with his trusty, almost silent, sidekick. They are about as good a source for scintillating conversation as the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Instead of greedy multinationals or rich megalomaniacs being at fault, this story looks at how lawyers and rabid environmentalists can get carried away.

In typical Michael Crichton fashion, the story develops around little-known scientific facts about how humans can influence the environment. So if you wanted to know more about how giant ice bergs, tsunamis and flash floods can be created, this is your book. At the same time, there are nice subplots around how to track terrorists via the Internet and an obscure way to assassinate people.

I found myself drawn to both the adventure story and the global warming information. It's a nice combination for the reader who likes a little substance along with their thrillers. Even I, though, thought the global warming was overdone. The characters needed a lot of work to become interesting, rather than just being devices to drive the plot along. I graded the book down accordingly.

I kept thinking as I read this book that I would like to read a book like this by Dr. Crichton that looks at people manufacturing domestic terrorism for political gain. Perhaps that will be his next subject.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Crichton book, April 10 2007
By 
Author Michael Crichton has made his mark dealing with the `what-if' scenarios of science. State of Fear is different.

This is a book about political science, and the politicization of science. While the specific issue is climate change, the more general one is the power of media in shaping public opinion. Interestingly, the book shows that both the left and right manipulate media to sway public opinion. Media are portrayed as unwitting dupes of interest groups, politicians, and public relations specialists, because of mindless parroting of press releases from seemingly reputable organizations and experts.

Through his protagonist, Crichton challenges the conventional media wisdom of human influence on climate change. While he may or may not agree with the position of any of the book's characters, Crichton cautions us all to read, watch and listen with a critical mind, because politicized science is dangerous.

Indeed, Crichton , in a speech at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, January 17, 2003, likened the current climate change juggernaut as pseudo science, similar to the eugenics movement, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence SETI, and a nuclear winter.

Highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun read that gives you something to think about.., Dec 30 2004
This review is from: State Of Fear (Hardcover)
First off, this book is typical Crichton, a fun thriller, with good characters and great pacing. It seems most of reviewers of this book agree on that. There is a controversy concerning the science and Mr. Crichton's stance on the subject of global warming. I am not sure myself on this issue, but the author does give the reader plenty to think about. For me personally I see both sides, how can man not be having an effect on the enviornment including weather? but how can we even pretend to know what this effect will be? We can't even predict next weeks weather. I also know that over the last 500,000 thousand years or so the earth has had cyclical periods of warmer and colder weather (ever hear of the ice age? in fact some theories suggest we are still in the ice age just a warmer interglacial period). How are we to be able to predict just what the effect of man will be? when I was a kid a remember the fear was that the earth was heading into the next ice age? I am not saying that we shouldn't study the forces that effect climate, but I think a person has to try and think logically about all this and try and learn from all sources. Enjoy this book, and open your mind to the issues. I also recomend "A TOURIST IN THE YUCATAN" cool arceological thriller!
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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
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
1.0 out of 5 stars Dispense with reading the book, go straight to Author's message at end., Jan. 28 2011
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?" Crichton wrote the book after the devastation of Western pine forests by beetles as a result of them surviving warmer winters was already well documented. Not much research there.

Don't waste your time wading through this tome. Go straight to "The Author's Message" and Appendix I at the end. They are worth reading and thinking about. Too bad this could not have been transposed better into the body of the book itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More of a lesson on global warming, Oct. 26 2007
By 
Neil Lane "book aficionado" (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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 theories. This is no exception. I have done many studies on global warming (in my science degree) and found much of the dialogue about the subject interesting in the book. However, I bought this book with the hope of reading an exciting adventure. Sure, there was exciting adventure, but for only half of the book. It was broken up by major discussions on scientific topics. This seriously affected the pacing. Most Michael Crichton books have taken me less than 24 hours to read. This one took me over a week. Enough said.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, June 26 2005
By 
Carl (Richmond, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: State Of Fear (Hardcover)
I have been a Michael Crichton fan for years. He is a writer whose stories should be taken seriously. They are very insightful. In this fascinating page turner, the author makes his readers to learn interesting things about their world, in a the subject matter whose influence nobody can avoid.
"State of Fear" revolves around environmental extremists with an agenda that threatens to destabilize the status quo and a small group dedicated to unravel a plot. The characters are succinctly drawn to give the story the credibility that it deserves. Through the person of the young protagonist, Peter Evans, Crichton presented this story of global warming perfectly.
The discussions about global warming and the pitfalls of media-geared scientific investigations are succinctly exposed. Crichton's case is strong. This is a thriller that is steeped in reason with a message for the environment. I couldn't help but recall the nature of the anxiety it generated to those from TRIPLE AGENT DOUBLE CROSS,GOD'S POLITICS, DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE And Crichton concludes it with his by declaring his position and a footnote to links to this issue. The book has a lot of integrity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, Infomative Examination of a Very "Hot" Issue, June 19 2006
By 
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 ... written as a murder mystery. Interspersed throughout the book is a vast amount of scientific data from the 1880s to current times presented in the form of graphs and footnotes that back up the author's viewpoint that the environment is *always* changing and manages to balance itself without outside interference from mankind. Clearly, the author's message seems to be for the most part, left alone nature corrects the problems that arise with everyday modern living. However, the author *does* advocate studying the changes in nature and man's interference, to prevent misuse and destruction. It seems to this reader, the author espouses modern life despite its problems rather than the "back to nature" and more primitive lifestyles of the past ...

In this fascinating novel, an impending catastrophe of astronomical proportions for all of mankind is predicted by a group called NERF ((National Environmental Resource Fund) which was founded by lawyers. They present themselves as environmental activists working to save the planet. They expect a 10 million dollar donation from a wealthy philanthropist, George Morton, who since he retired from his business career, has had two main interests, pretty women and making the world a better place to live. The only problem is, George Morton has discovered that NERF plans to use the money to finance a lawsuit against the government for its lack of action against corporations and businesses whom they claim created the problems of rising waters in the Ocean. NERF maintains the island nation of Vanutu, located somewhere out in the Indian Ocean and all its inhabitants will be disappear due to a rise in sea level created by global warming. George Morton has learned the truth, NERF is falsifying data, there is no such threat of rising Ocean levels. He speaks at a major fundraiser for NERF, where he receives their coveted "Man of the Year" award but blows apart their plans by rescinding his planned donation.

The story begins in Paris but later chapters takes off in a myriad of directons. In Paris an oceanographic researcher is discovered floating in the Seine River. Peter Evans, one of George Morton's lawyers meets with the head of NERF, after NERF discovers details placed in the 10 million dollar donation contract limits their funding due to specific clauses. Subsequently, George Morton unexpectedly buys a Ferrari and disappears, his bloated dead body washes up on a California beach and is identified by his lawyer and most recent personal assistant, Sarah. Peter Evans finds himself recruited to visit places such as, Iceland, Antartica, the Solomon Islands, and the jungles of Malaysia, as George Morton's representative. He accompanies John Kenner, Ph.D. from MIT who heads the Center for Risk Analysis and Sanjon Thapa Ph.D. a research associate for the Department of Geoenvironmental Engineering. They are tracking the mysterious disappearance of secret high tech equipment from governmental labs throughout the world and their subsequent reappearance in obscure places where their use and abuse could create major ... possibly permanent catastrophic environmental damage.

This book is a nonstop exhilarating, exciting reading experience. It is a suspense-filled novel complete with a mesmerzing subject matter that is given a thorough examination in a most intriguing, entertaining and enjoyable manner. An environmental terrorist group accesses the most sophisticated technology with plans to wreak havoc and destruction on innocent people. All this, in order to influence power and control over the nations of the world. They falsify data and tout an untrue philosophy. They have no qualms about killing possibly millions of innocent lives just to win millions of dollars in donations and achieve more control over environmental issues. There are some amusing moments in the book, too. One is where a very attractive athletic female defends herself against the unwanted advances of a vain, shallow, handsome male actor, who is a spokes person for the environmetnal group, NERF. Another is the inclusion of cannibals who end up feasting on an unsuspecting victim ... In conclusion, Michael Crichton has written a phenomenal book which follows in the great tradition of other modern New York Times best-selling authors, Tom Clancy (world threats to mankind, high tech equipment with unusual acronymns), Dean Koontz (frightening threats from unusual sources that are overcome by caring people), and John LeCarre (murder mysteries associated with threatening clandestine groups). Michael Crichton has combined the best of these three novelists in one book. This book is most highly recommended, my plans are to reread it several more times to discover what I missed. It is jam-packed with research and footnotes and enjoyable twists, turns, and surprises. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Crichton Has Done Better Thrillers, But This Is Pretty Good, Oct. 31 2005
By A Customer
Amidst a high paced and (as usual) unrealistic thriller, where characters get in and out of life threatening situations in some amusing and sometimes ridiculous ways, Crichton makes an effective critique of the hysteria caused over Global Warming. I actually like the reactions to this book even better than the book itself. It seems to have enraged a large group of people who take what news media and environmentalists say about Global Warming at face value. Crichton doesn't come across as anti-environment at all, but does give us good reasons to question something that is taken to be fact, when it is still theory. Crichton uses a the novel as a means to have various charcters engage in arguments over environmentalism and global warming. He has several charcters produce evidence for and against. His evidence against is the most compelling, and despite many negive reviews of the book because of this, Crichton sources every bit of information from valid and reputable sources. Many sources he uses are ones that environmentalists themselves use. Studies, publications and journals are used. Crichton does a good job of weaving this information into the narrative and dialogue. I never felt bogged down or bored. I was intrigued. Intrigued enough to check out his sources, and they are all reputable.
Crichton not only critiques Global Warming, but he goes after scientists, their methods, and the environmental movement itself. He presnts scientists as biased based on need for funding. It makes a lot of sense. He presents their methods as flawed because they do not have blind funding or blind verification. This also makes sense. He presents the environmentalist movement as a multi billion dollar industry that needs funding, and uses fear as a means to ensure that funding. This, sadly, also makes a lot of sense. I'll be paying much more attention now, and will not quickly dismiss those who have an alternate viewpoint. I have no doubt that Mr. Crichton will face many unfair attacks over this book.
I give it 3.5 for the thiller which I enjoyed, but an extra half point for making me use my brain.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Read this book - no matter what side of the debate you're on, May 6 2005
By 
David W. Wildeboer (Lacombe, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: State Of Fear (Hardcover)
One of the masters of the science type thriller (the Jurassic Park books, Timeline, etc.) returns with this compelling and well researched thriller that challenges the bedrock upon which the environmental movement and the global warming debate stand. Using well thought out and documented arguments, Crichton questions the present infatuation with the fear of global warming. As the thriller suggests, anyone with a view contrary to the media and environmental elite is instantly discredited. Using a radical environmental organization's (one that really exists) plans to further their agenda allows the author to expound in laymen's terms on the arguments for (very little reliable and reproducible evidence) global warming and those against it.
Crichton also gives the reader a lesson on the pervasiveness of the media in our society and how it can drive opinion even when the evidence isn't there. Dr. Crichton has written an engrossing thriller that can be enjoyed for the thrills alone, yet he's also made an important argument about not blindly believing "everything" but instead, checking the evidence for oneself.
No matter what side of the debate about the theory of "global warming" (remember, it is only a theory, it's not a proven scientific fact) and climate change one is on, this book deserves a read. I challenge everyone, no matter how set in your beliefs you are, to read this with skepticism, check out the references and do the research yourself and prove Crichton wrong. Go for it!
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State Of Fear
State Of Fear by Michael Crichton (Hardcover - Nov. 23 2004)
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