Michael Crichton

Best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction and thriller genres The best-selling author, physician, producer, director and screenwriter, John Michael Crichton MD sadly died November 4, 2008. Born October 1942, he was raised on Long Island, in Roslyn, New York and showed a keen interest in writing from a young age; at 14, he had a column related to travel published in The New York Times. He enrolled at Harvard College in 1960 as an undergraduate studying literature and obtained his bachelor’s degree in biological anthropology summa cum laude in 1964 and was initiated into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He received a Henry Russell Shaw Traveling Fellowship from 1964 to 1965 and was a visiting lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in 1965.Crichton later enrolled at Harvard Medical School, when he began publishing work under the pen names “John Lange” & “Jeffrey Hudson”( a famous 17th-century dwarf in the court of Queen consort Henrietta Maria of England). His novels epitomise the exciting techno-thriller genre of literature, often featuring catastrophes caused by humans and technology. Many of his future history novels also have medical or scientific underpinnings, reflecting his medical training and science background.

In 1966 Michael Crichton published his first novel Odds On under the pseudonym of John Lange. Which concerns an attempted robbery in an isolated hotel on Costa Brava, which is planned scientifically with the help of a critical path analysis computer program, however unforeseen events get in the way. Then In 1967 he published Scratch One, which concerns A handsome, charming and privileged Chap named Roger Carr, a who practices law, as a means to support his playboy lifestyle than a career. Who is mistaken for an assassin after being sent to Nice, France, and finds his life in jeopardy, implicated in the world of terrorism. In 1968, he published two novels, Easy Go and A Case of Need, Easy Go relates the story of Harold Barnaby, a brilliant Egyptologist, who discovers a concealed message while translating hieroglyphics, informing him of an unnamed Pharaoh whose tomb is yet to be discovered. A Case of Need, is a medical thriller in which a Boston pathologist, Dr. John Berry, investigates an apparent illegal abortion conducted by an obstetrician friend, which caused the early demise of a young which earned him an Edgar Award in 1969. In 1969, Crichton published three novels. The first, Zero Cool, dealt with an American radiologist on vacation in Spain who is caught in a murderous crossfire between rival gangs seeking a precious artifact. The second, The Andromeda Strain, follows a team of scientists investigating a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism that causes death within two minutes. In 1969, Crichton published the Venom Business which concerns a smuggler who uses his exceptional skill as a snake handler to smuggle rare Mexican artifacts while importing snakes to be used by drug companies and universities for medical research. Crichton also wrote a review for The New Republic (as J. Michael Crichton), critiquing Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

In 1970, Crichton published the novels: Drug of Choice, Grave Descend and Dealing: or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues with his younger brother Douglas Crichton. “Dealing”, was written under the pen name ‘Michael Douglas’, using their first names. This novel was adapted to the big screen and set a wave for his brother Douglas as well as himself. Grave Descend earned him an Edgar Award nomination the following year. He also worked at Boston City Hospital, and graduated from Harvard, obtaining an MD in 1969, after which he undertook a post-doctoral fellowship study at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, where he experimented with astral projection, aura viewing, and clairvoyance, coming to believe that these included real phenomena which other scientists had dismissed as paranormal.

In 1972, Crichton published two novels. Binary, which concerns a villainous middle-class businessman, who attempts to assassinate the President of the United States by stealing an army shipment of the two precursor chemicals that form a deadly nerve agent. He also published, The Terminal Man, which concerns psychomotor epileptic sufferer, Harry Benson, who after suffering seizures conducts himself inappropriately and blacks out, only to wake up hours later with no knowledge of what he has done. Believed to be psychotic, he is investigated by the medical profession who implant electrodes in his brain with novel results. The novel was also adapted into a film starring George Segal, Joan Hackett, Richard A. Dysart and Donald Moffat, released in June 1974.

In 1975, Crichton wrote the historical novel The Great Train Robbery, about the Great Gold Robbery of 1855, a massive gold heist, which took place on a train in Victorian era England which was also made into a 1979 film directed by Crichton himself, starring Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland. And was nominated for Best Cinematography Award by the British Society of Cinematographers, also garnering an Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture by the Mystery Writers Association of America. In 1976, Crichton published Eaters of the Dead, a novel about a tenth-century Muslim named Ahmed ibn Fadlan who travels with a group of Vikings to their settlement and recounts his journey north and his experiences with the early Russian peoples, whilst the remainder is based upon the story of Beowulf, culminating in battles with the ‘mist-monsters’, or ‘wendol’, a relict group of Neanderthals. The novel was adapted into film as The 13th Warrior, In 1980, Crichton published Congo, which centers on an expedition searching for diamonds in the tropical rain forest of Congo. The novel was loosely adapted into a 1995 film, starring Laura Linney, Tim Curry, and Ernie Hudson. In 1987 Crichton published Sphere, a novel which relates the story of psychologist Norman Johnson, who is required by the U.S. Navy to join a team of scientists assembled by the U.S. Government to examine an enormous alien spacecraft discovered on the bed of the Pacific Ocean. The novel was adapted into a film in 1998, starring Dustin Hoffman as Norman Johnson, (renamed Norman Goodman), Samuel L. Jackson, Liev Schreiber and Sharon Stone.

PART TWO

In 1990, Crichton published the novel Jurassic Park. A cautionary tale Which features a biological preserve” created by Billionaire John Hammond Housing genetically recreated dinosaurs including Dilophosaurus, Velociraptor, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus rex, which all manage to escape and cause chaos. Director Steven Spielberg then learned of the novel in October 1989, while he and Crichton were discussing a screenplay that would become the television series ER and Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park, and its sequels, were made into films starring Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant, Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler, Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm (the chaos theorist), and Richard Attenborough, as John Hammond, the billionaire CEO, of InGen. In 1992, Crichton published the novel Rising Sun, an international best-selling crime thriller about a murder in the Los Angeles headquarters of Nakamoto, a fictional Japanese corporation. The book was instantly adapted into a film, released the same year of the movie adaption of Jurassic Park in 1993, and starring Sean Connery, Wesley Snipes, Tia Carrere and Harvey Keitel.

His next novel, Disclosure, published in 1994, addresses the theme of sexual harassment previously explored in his 1972 Binary. Particularly sexual politics in the workplace, emphasizing an array of paradoxes in traditional gender functions, by featuring a male protagonist who is being sexually harassed by a female executive. The novel was made into a film starring Michael Douglas, Demi Moore and Donald Sutherland. Crichton then published The Lost World in 1995, as the sequel to Jurassic Park. It was made into a film sequel two years later in 1997, again directed by Spielberg and starring Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn and Pete Postlethwaite. In 1996, Crichton published Airframe, an aero-techno-thriller concerning a quality assurance vice-president at the fictional aerospace manufacturer Norton Aircraft, who investigates an in-flight accident aboard a Norton-manufactured airliner. Then In 1999, Crichton published Timeline, a science fiction novel which tells the story of a team of historians and archaeologists studying a site in the Dordogne region of France, where the medieval towns of Castelgard and La Roque stood. They time travel back to 1357 to uncover some startling truths. The novel, addresses quantum physics and time travel. A film based on the book was released in 2003, directed by Richard Donner and starring Paul Walker, Gerard Butler and Frances O’Connor.

In 2002, Crichton published Prey,  Which features a Nanorobotics company called Xymos, which is testing a revolutionary new medical imaging technology based on nanotechnology, which is sabotaged by a rival company, MediaTronics with disasterous consequences. In 2004, Crichton published State of Fear, a novel concerning eco-terrorists who attempt mass murder to support their views. Michael Crichton’s final novel was Next, This follows transgenic animals, in the quest to survive in a world dominated by genetic research, corporate greed, and legal interventions, wherein government and private investors spend billions of dollars every year on genetic research. Sadly Crichton died in 2008 however the novels Pirate Latitudes and Micro were found and both published posthumously. Crichton also wrote Five Patients, which recounts his experiences of practices in the late 1960s at Massachusetts General Hospital and the issues of costs and politics within American health care. The book follows each of five patients through their hospital experience and the context of their treatment, revealing inadequacies in the hospital institution at the time, which also includes abrief history of medicine up to 1969. Then In 1983, Crichton authored Electronic Life, a book that introduces BASIC programming and defined basic computer jargon, which was intended to introduce the idea of personal computers to a reader who might be unfamiliar and using them at work or at home for the first time.

Jacques Villeneuve snr.

Canadian racer Jacques Villeneuve Sr. was born November 4, 1953. He is the younger brother of the late Gilles Villeneuve, and uncle to Jacques Villeneuve (1997 F1 world champion). Born in the small town of Berthierville, Quebec, Canada, Villeneuve has had a varied motorsport career, taking in Formula Atlantic, CART, Can-Am, snowmobile racing and Formula One, and remains a revered figure in Canadian motorsport circles. Villeneuve was the first person to win the World Championship Snowmobile Derby three times and has continued to race snowmobile events throughout his career.

From 1976 to 1978 He moved into saloon racing and won the Honda Civic series and many other races. He then raced in Formula Fords, and then Formula Atlantic, where he took Rookie of the Year in 1979, then consecutive titles in 1980 and 1981. He also won the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in 1980. At the end of 1981, he took a pair of drives for the Arrows Formula One team, but failed to qualify for the Canadian Grand Prix, or the Caesars Palace Grand Prix. In 1979 he competed in the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash in a Porsche 928 co-piloted by John Lane (Gilles Villeneuve’s sponsor and friend). In 1982 Villeneuve won the World Championship Snowmobile Derby & took home $11,300 for his win, with cash and prizes totaling over $50,000. Sadly his brother Gilles Villeneuve died in May 1982. Jacques spent most of the year in Can-Am, though he would take a one-off drive in CART. 1983 saw him take the Can-Am title, as well as another Formula One drive (narrowly failing to qualify a RAM for the 1983 Canadian Grand Prix). During this period, he also kept up his snowmobiling exploits, winning a number of prestigious races, and had a one-off drive at the 1983 24 Hours of Le Mans.

1984 saw a return to CART, with Villeneuve ranking 15th overall, having taken pole position at the Phoenix round. The following year he became the first Canadian to win a CART race, taking victory in the wet/dry race at Road America on his way to eighth overall in the standings. He became the only person to win a third World Championship Snowmobile Derby in 1986. After spending the season of CART and his only appearance in the Indianapolis 500, Villeneuve scaled back his motor racing activities, though he has regularly returned for occasional drives to CART, Formula Atlantic (winning some of these guest races) and IMSA. He also remained highly active and successful in snowmobiling, also branching out to powerboat racing. On January 18, 2008, Villeneuve was seriously injured in an accident during a snowmobile race at Eagle River, Wisconsin. He suffered multiple leg and pelvic fractures as a result, in addition to a spinal injury. It is estimated that it will take Villeneuve seven to nine months to recover from his injuries.”Uncle” Jacques Villeneuve was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2001.

The Three Doctors

I have recently watched the classic Doctor Who episode The Three Doctors again. starring William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee it begins after A powerful superluminal signal is beamed to Earth, carrying with it an unusual energy creature that seems intent on capturing the Doctor. In the meantime, Gallifrey the homeworld of the Time Lords is also under siege, with all power being drained through a black hole. Trapped and desperate, the Time Lords break the First Law of Time, allowing the Doctor to aid himself by summoning his two previous incarnations from the past. Unfortunately, the First Doctor gets trapped in a time eddy. However the Second And Third Doctor are able investigate the origins of the creature and the black hole, while UNIT headquarters faces an attack by gel-like alien creatures. The First Doctor surmises that the black hole is a bridge between universes, so the other two Doctors allow the TARDIS to be swallowed up by the energy creature, which transports them, Dr Tyler, Jo Grant, Sergeant Benton and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney)  into an antimatter universe.

Once in the Anti-Matter universe They are then captured by more gel-like alien creatures and are taken to meet a legendary Time Lord named Omega, who has managed to survive in the world of Anti Matter by using his scientific knowledge to create a domain for himself. Omega is venerated by the Time-Lords as he was the Solar Engineer who created the Supernova which powers Time-Lord Civilisation. However he was thought by the Time-lords to have been killed by the Supernova.

However Omega is not dead he is trapped in the world of Anti-Matter and is most aggrieved that the Time Lords abandoned him to his fate and wants to escape the Anti-Matter universe and wreak revenge on the Time-Lords. So he has summoned the Doctors here to take over the mental maintenance of the antimatter universe so he can escape. So the Doctors give  Omega a proposition They will give him his freedom if he sends the others back to the positive matter universe. Omega agrees, however the time he has spent in the Anti Matter universe has had a bizarre effect on him and all does not go quite to plan….