Friday, June 12, 2009

The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

After reading a lot of non-fiction it was starting to get a bit dry and I wanted to read a fast paced thriller. So I picked up Michael Crichton's 'The Andromeda Strain', and I must say I was not entirely satisfied in terms of what I was looking for. Maybe the movie would have been more interesting, or I am not entirely into thrillers dealing with a heady mix of biology, physics and chemistry. Let me give just a brief inkling of the plot and not play spoilsport in case you may want to read it.

The Andromeda Strain’ refers to a class of virus which is not found on earth, and enters the planet via a satellite probe that was sent to orbit the earth for military purposes. Once exposed to open air, it rapidly kills humans by blood coagulation, based on the chemical composition of the individual’s blood. Project Wildfire comprises of a team of scientists trying to study and neutralize the possible dangers of an alien life form entering the planet. The project's facility has all the technological know how to quarantine and neutralize any extra-terrestrial life forms. There are a few survivors on whom the virus seems to have no effect, and the team of scientists gets to work of studying and testing the strain of virus to discover how it replicates and kills humans. They find its amazing ability to mutate and adapt to the environment. Crichton frequently explains concepts ranging from biology to physics in order for the reader to understand the developments the scientists are making. The novel alternates between being thrilling, informational and fictitious. This is a decent thriller, and you can finish it in one go. I plan on getting my hand on another of Crichton’s books the next time I am bored with non-fiction.

BTW, does the name ‘Michael Crichton’ ring any bells? No? He was the author of the original novel ‘Jurassic Park’. The movie became part of popular culture, and had me spellbound as a kid; it showed Hollywood’s expertise in bringing a plot to life. Later dozens of other movies of similar genre came out and computer graphics became mundane.

The Andromeda Strain was made into a movie in 1971 and a TV series in 2008.

A number of scientific documents are presented to support claims for the strains characteristics. I later came to know that this fabrication of scientific documentation (numbers, charts, etc.) is part of a false document literary technique. This is fiction written about apparently real, but actually fake documents.


ZiLliOnBiG said...

I got a hand on this book while at college and i had similar feelings about it. I didnt quite like the subject and the plot, which i was expecting after reading Jurassic park or Congo or Disclosure. Try the other fictions by the same writer if you havent. Congo is much better and "disclosure" is slow paced but nice read.

In fact i still have the book, but i have just read it half way and cant force myself to complete it. Thanks for the review. Cheers.:))

Rahul Anand said...

Sure, I will try the other ones. Thanks :)

Smita said...

Nah! Not read this one too :-)

In fact haven't read any book from this author. My next seat neighbor is however a big fan of this author and keeps advocating his writings. May be one day i will pick him :)

Good Review!

Rahul Anand said...

Smita, yes maybe you might want to try 'Congo' as Zillionbig mentioned. Thanks.

The_Sniper said...

Hmmm, The Andromeda Strain was good....... but as you rightly pointed out Congo is better!!!

Loved your review though!

rahul said...

Sounds interesting..maybe will pick it up next time!!

Aparna said...

Not read this one but have read Disclosure.Congo seems interesting. May be will try out that one.

Rahul Anand said...

@Sniper: Yes, I got to check out Congo

@Rahul: Yup, its good for a sci-fi lover.

@Aparna: I will add Disclosure to the reading list :)

Chhaya said...

who doesnt know Michael Crichton!!

he was (he is dead, right?) a great writer when it comes to thriller.. but i suggest u never read the "State of fear".. god... so boring that i cudnt even finish it.. and that is saying something.

Rahul Anand said...

@Chhaya, I did not read 'The state of fear'. Will make sure not to pick that one :-)