Sunday, December 4, 2011

Honey, I Shrunk My Enemies: Michael Crichton's Posthumous Novel Doesn't Disappoint

Bestselling author Michael Crichton was always on the cutting edge of science. From his earlier works The Andromeda Strain and the cyborg thriller Westworld to his later blockbuster masterpiece Jurassic Park, Crichton always made his readers extremely leery of the advancement of technology in a world unready for the oft-times horrific implications.

After Crichton's death in 2008, the prolific author left behind an unfinished manuscript as well as outlines and plans for other stories he planned on completing. One book, the rather unfortunate novella Pirate Latitudes, was published posthumously in 2010. Now,  Harper Publishing has released the first full-length Crichton novel since his passing, a superb what-if technological thriller titled Micro, which was completed by accomplished non-fiction and science fiction author Richard Preston, who wrote the spellbinding true story about the killer Ebola Virus The Hot Zone. 

In Micro, Crichton and Preston spin an at-first familiar tale, the long-sought after ability to shrink matter into a miniature form, and put a frighteningly different new face upon it. From timeless tales such as The Fantastic Voyage and The Incredible Shrinking Man to family friendly Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, human kind's obsession with miniaturizing objects has long been well-established. The novel pits a group of people struggling to survive after being turned into tiny versions of themselves, smaller than an insect, by the requisite scientific bad guy looking to cash in on the technology while having his enemies eaten by bugs. Crichton and Preston can sometimes get mired down in the...minutia of the situation, but they manage to weave crisis after crisis from some not-so-obvious places.

It's familiar territory for Crichton, of course, who always expertly managed claustrophobic situations (Prey, The Andromeda Strain) and knew how to keep the tension brewing. Preston is the perfect selection to help complete the novel, adding his own touches seamlessly to the fast-paced storyline. 

After completing Micro, it made me sad to realize Crichton was no longer with us. Here's hoping there are more unfinished stories to tell and that Richard Preston helps bring them to fruition.

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