Sunday, December 6, 2009

Book Review: State of Fear by Michael Crichton

Ok, so the book I am going to briefly review here is a couple of years old, but I've been in college since the time this book was published and only recently made my way out. Now I have both enough time to read it and enough time to write a blog that no one will read.

Michael Crichton's State of Fear focuses on a eco-terrorist group's attempt to initate a series of attacks to highten awareness about global warming while a group of characters attempt to foil their plans. I have been, in the past, a fan of Crichton's stories. They usually feature a white-knuckled adventure capped off with elegant detail acted out by broad, three dimensional characters. I have several problems with this book, but will only mention two here. First, while many of Crichton's novels have an agenda or are seen as a warning (i.e. don't clone f'ing dinosaurs because they will soooooo eat you!), this book read as a polemic against global warming. This is the point to which many reviewers criticized Crichton. For me, it was annoying to say the least.

The plot of the novel focuses on several attempted eco-attacks meant to mimic climate change in order to highten awareness. In the real world, the teams assembled to fight terrorism usually consist of the military or the CIA or the FBI or some federal agency with trained professionals. People trained in combat and so on. Crichton's team consists of a college professor, 2 lawyers, a billionaire's assistant, a billionaire, and an actor. Move over Delta Force, take a seat Navy Seals, no need to call the A-Team. I almost stopped reading because of this. How did Crichton expect the reader to believe that these people would have been doing what they were doing. At one point, one of the lawyers mentions that he had never fired a gun, but by the end of the book he is running around shooting terrorist with machine guns. It's just assinine.

Of all the book I have read by Crichton, this is by far the worst. Both of Crichton's two previous books, Prey and Timeline, were well-written, exciting, and the people involved had a reason to be involved. Their role in the actions of the story were imperative to the plot, while in State of Fear, you begin wondering why the people going after the terrorists keep calling up the fucking lawyer to go hunt them down. The lawyer is the main character of the story, but he shouldn't even be there.

Grade: D+

Other Crichton books (if you're interested)...Prey: B+, Timeline: A-, Eaters of the Dead B-

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