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 are usually within the action genre and heavily feature technology and epitomize the techno-thriller genre of literature, often exploring technology and failures of human interaction with it, especially resulting in catastrophes with biotechnology. Many of his future history novels 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 fatally clots human blood, causing 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 three more 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, which concerns the Great Gold Robbery of 1855, a massive gold heist, which took place on a train traveling through Victorian era England. The novel 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.

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 the same year by Barry Levinson, and 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, another cautionary tale 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 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.

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