Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Andromeda Strain: Candle #9

It felt really good to get back to a book that I enjoyed reading. And it's good to know that sometimes one's taste does stay the same. Just finished re-reading The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton as another of my Birth Year Challenge books. This is Michael Crichton before Jurassic Park and before Prey. Naturally, some of the science doesn't hold up now. And the pacing may seem a bit slow for those used to more modern biological thrillers. But, even though I knew the plot--having both read the book before and having seen the movie--Crichton still managed to hold me in the palm of his hand.

I was amazed for the second time at how well he works in all the scientific terms and jargon. Using language that laymen can easily understand (which helps, because some of the graphs baffled me), he introduces the reader to various "fundamentals" of biological experimentation and research that might intimidate. It was also good to see the mistakes that were made along the way. Every good scientists knows that mistakes are made...they may not be pubicized, but they can be useful if used to promote learning. Who wants scientists who automatically do everything right during the whole book? Where would be the suspense in that?

Crichton has a way with language that pulls the reader into the situation and maintains the suspense without taking it over the top. The only let-down is in the ending--it's just a bit anti-climatic. But it does serve to underscore how much we don't know about what's out there. Even though man may think he's master of this planet and, to some extent, space, he really doesn't have near the control he believes he has.

Chalk up a happy Birth Year Candle and four stars out of five on Visual Bookshelf. Now, I'm off to read Cop Out by Ellery Queen. This one should be intriguing. The two-man writing team decided to use my birth year to do something different. No Ellery and Inspector Queen in this one. To quote the book blurb: It is "an exciting new departure...Cop Out is a chilling tale of a payroll robbery-murder and its unexpected, stunning aftermath during seven unbearable days in and around a small, typically American town." Not my usual stuff. Gonna be interesting to see what I think.

1 comment:

J.G. said...

I think I remember this being a really good movie. Not that I remember anything else about it . . . . Whenever I try to picture it, I get scenes from Logan's Run. Oh well.