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Michael Crichton Dead At 66 388

Posted by samzenpus
from the velociraptors-confirm-it dept.
Many readers have submitted stories about the death of Michael Crichton. The 66-year-old author of Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain died unexpectedly Tuesday "after a courageous and private battle against cancer," a press release said. In addition to writing, he also directed such sci-fi classics as Westworld and Runaway. Crichton was married five times and had one child.
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Michael Crichton Dead At 66

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  • Sad. RIP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zymano (581466) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @09:40PM (#25654841)

    Andromeda Strain was an excellent scifi movie.

    • Re:Sad. RIP (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Q-Hack! (37846) * on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @09:47PM (#25654931)

      The 1971 version was one of my favourites as a kid... haven't seen the remake yet.

      • Re:Sad. RIP (Score:5, Informative)

        by Lisandro (799651) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:07PM (#25655145)

        Stay the fuck away from the TV remake. Forgive me for beint this blunt, but it really is that bad.

        The 1971 is perhaps the most accurate book-to-movie conversion i've seen. I first saw it arround 5 years ago, and it found it gripping. There was little a remake could improve over it.

        • Re:Sad. RIP (Score:5, Insightful)

          by repapetilto (1219852) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @11:29PM (#25655917)
          Listen to parent, the tv remake was one of the most retarded things I've ever seen. For example, the whole multilevel decontamination procedure was replaced by what looked like a rave party with everyone dancing through foam with lights strobing.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet (841228)
            Yep really REALLY bad. The 1971 had a "countdown to extinction" feel that really gave it a sense of danger. And the ending on the remake was so damned lame it'll make you want to pull an Elvis on the TV. The only remake I can say was worse was Salem's Lot. Rutger freaking Hauer as the damned master vampire? WTF??? IMHO if you want to watch Andromeda watch the original and pretend the remake never existed. Trust me you'll be better off having never saw it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ishmaelflood (643277)

          Well, yes, it was a faithful transcript of the book. But the book was as boring as bat shit, and the movie was worse.

    • by joeflies (529536) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:13PM (#25655209)

      I found the book Andromeda Strain entertaining, it was something that was easy reading and there was a puzzle to unravel. Then I reached the end of the book and thought, "That's it?". Usually the protagonists are somewhat involved in the solution to the problem.

      • by PCM2 (4486) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:16PM (#25655233) Homepage

        Usually the protagonists are somewhat involved in the solution to the problem.

        Meh. Not in The War of the Worlds, and that's an acknowledged classic.

      • by Valdrax (32670) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @11:23PM (#25655861)

        Usually the protagonists are somewhat involved in the solution to the problem.

        You must be new to Michael Crichton's work. See also Sphere, Congo, Jurassic Park, etc. All of them have a major deus ex machina component to their endings. (Technically, in Sphere, they remove themselves from relevance to the problem.)

        The man knew how to write towards a climax damned well but has no idea how to resolve the story afterwards. Andromeda Strain is just one of the most jarring in that regard.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bassman59 (519820)

          You must be new to Michael Crichton's work. See also Sphere, Congo, Jurassic Park, etc. All of them have a major deus ex machina component to their endings.

          Speaking of adapting books to movies, and deus ex machinas, the film Adaptation [imdb.com] neatly ties this all together. Brian Cox plays a veteran screenwriter who offers the following advice to a depressed, panicky Charlie Kaufman:

          "I'll tell you a secret. The last act makes a film. Wow them in the end, and you got a hit. You can have flaws, problems, but wow them in the end, and you've got a hit. Find an ending, but don't cheat, and don't you dare bring in a deus ex machina. Your characters must change, and the chan

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by InlawBiker (1124825)

        It was here that he first discovered the formula he would use over and over: humans discover science - humans abuse science - humans pay.

        He did cop out the ending of that one, but it was an early novel. I like to think of him as mostly a sci-fi writer, because the ideas were more important than the characters.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The Terminal Man was interesting reading. Many of the ideas in it are starting to poke onto the feasability horizon now.

      (anyone else want to get electrodes wired into their brain?) ...
      (would you reconsider if it made your response time quicker in an FPS?)

      -ellie

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @09:42PM (#25654871)
    I just read some sad news on Slashdot - Sci Fi writer Michael Chrichton was found dead in his Los Angeles home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.
  • by greg_barton (5551) <greg_barton.yahoo@com> on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @09:43PM (#25654881) Homepage Journal

    I really don't think there's consensus on whether he's actually dead or not.

    Further study is required.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by lionheart1327 (841404)
      You, sir, are an asshole.
    • by Malevolent Tester (1201209) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @09:48PM (#25654941) Journal
      It's been confirmed by Netcraft.
    • by fyoder (857358) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @09:50PM (#25654983) Homepage Journal

      I would suggest preserving some of his dna for later cloning but chaos theory dictates that something bad would happen if we tried that. Not sure why, I'm not an expert on chaos theory.

    • by PCM2 (4486) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:08PM (#25655149) Homepage

      For those that modded the parent "Troll": Michael Crichton's Web site seems to be down now, but he gave a speech called "Aliens Cause Global Warming" [crichton-official.com] in which he claimed to debunk "consensus science." The gist was that political discussion of global warming too often invoked "scientific consensus," where he argued that science was not consensus-based and that such claims were therefore meaningless.

      Similarly, though we may not have consensus that Michael Crichton is dead, it makes absolutely no difference to him.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        I'm sure whomever modded the grandparent "troll," knew to what the post was referring. In case you hadn't noticed, there's not a small population of vocal anthropogenic global warming skeptics and denialists here at Slashdot.

        • by Michael Wardle (50363) <mikel&mikelward,com> on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @11:14PM (#25655809) Homepage
          Calling it denial is to equate skepticism with other taboo topics such as Holocaust denialism, and to attempt to shut down debate, rather than offering meaningful theories or evidence.
          • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @11:23PM (#25655865) Journal

            I wasn't actually referring to people with legitimate skeptical opinions. There are in fact a few scientists who potentially know what they're talking about (given education, etc) that don't buy the consensus opinion. I think they're wrong, as do most climate scientists around the world, but that's how science works - people have theories they try to test and poke holes in.

            I'm talking about denialists, people whose response to the (fairly overwhelming) consensus that exists is to say stuff like "the geocentric universe and flat earth views were also scientific consensus, once upon a time." That's true as far as it goes, but it utterly fails as a critique of the science, the theories, or the models. It's not skepticism, it's just ignoring and refusing to discuss. Similarly, when people latch on to localized variations in temperature as proof that global warming doesn't exist. That's shutting down debate before it begins - it's not the presentation of an argument, or evidence, or meaningful flaws in existing theories - it's ignoring the issue, declaring victory, and plugging one's ears.

            This latter category of person is primarily who you find here, and in most places on the intertubes.

          • by mrsquid0 (1335303) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @04:18AM (#25657993) Homepage

            The problem is that there are a lot of people out there who have no clue what the science actually is, have not studied the issue beyond readying a few Web sites, and then claim to be informed skeptics. In fact, most of them are just denying something that they barely understand, which is not skepticism. Denial is a good term to describe many of the people who claim that they do not believe in climate change. Belief has nothing do do with it. It is a matter of science, not belief.

        • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @11:50PM (#25656143)
          Once, when I was younger I had great respect for Crichton. I read Jurassic Park in high school and was so amazed by it I had my mother arrange for me to go talk to a paleontologist about what was right and wrong in the book. Most of it was wrong, rather not at all probable, but the journey of discovering why it was wrong was fascinating. I also saw a talk by the T-Rex expert after who the paleontologist in the book was modeled. Those experiences along with one or two other things led me to become a geology major and 15 years later I'm still at it.

          However, there were three points where I lost a massive amount of respect for Crichton. The first was when I saw the movie westworld on an airplane once, for which he wrote the screenplay. It's the exact same plot as Jurassic Park, only substitute dinosaurs with robots. Exact same plot. The second and third books after Jurassic Park were so bad that I don't think I even finished them, that's the second point, it was obvious he was writing books to get made into Spielberg movies.

          The third was when he wrote State of Fear and testified before congress. I never read the book, but just to watch the kind of anti-intellectuals like Inhof invite a science fiction author to be regarded as an expect on climate change. Focusing on whether the consensus view is necessarily correct or not has nothing to do with the irrefutable evidence that the climate is changing and the likely probability that humans are causing it completely or contributing to it.

          While I have very fond memories of how cool it was to read Jurassic Park the first time (way way before Spielberg got his dirty little paws on it), my opinion is that the guy was a hack, a very very clever one, but a hack nonetheless. He won't be remembered as one of the "great authors", in my opinion.
          • by scottrocket (1065416) <loudfellow@gmail.com> on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:28AM (#25656447) Journal
            One could say the same thing about Jules Verne: Protagonists embark on a fantastic journey (center of the earth; submarine; airborn), encounter fantastic things (new environments with: giant lizards; giant squids; dinosaurs), then escape at the last minute following some cataclysm and have a great story to regale to their peers. Although a bit formulaic, that doesn't make the stories any less compelling or romantic to read.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by dhudson0001 (726951)
              When comparing Crichton with Verne, please don't forget that the latter was a sci-fi pioneer who lived in the 19th century.

              There was no excuse for Prey...IMO it desperately sucked..especially as the laypersons introduction to the nascent field of Nanotechnology at the turn of this century.

          • by Kamokazi (1080091) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @02:15AM (#25657291)

            Unless I missed something, he only wrote one sequel to Jurassic Park...The Lost World. And I liked it much better than the first. The movie version of that one was absolutely horrible. Almost as bad as the Sphere movie, which I thought was his best book, personally.

            Sounds like you just got pissy that his views on global warming didn't line up with your own and found reasons not to like him before that.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Mistshadow2k4 (748958)

              Unless I missed something, he only wrote one sequel to Jurassic Park...The Lost World. And I liked it much better than the first. The movie version of that one was absolutely horrible.

              Agreed. For one thing, they completely ignored what was an essential plot point of the book -- that studying resurrected dinosaurs to learn more about them was nearly pointless. They wouldn't act like dinosaurs did because they had no other dinosaurs to learn behavior from. The dinosaurs in the book were out of control, with r

              • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @08:43AM (#25659533)

                The grandparent is correct, I was mistaken and there is only one sequel to Jurassic Park, I got confused with the movies. Yet, I stand by my point that a) Lost World sucked and b) Crichton was a hack.

                You talk about it being neat that studying the behavior of dinosaurs is nearly pointless because of these dinosaurs had no mothers to learn from. Do you know what how much "nature vs. nuture" was in dinosaurs, i.e., genetic vs. learned behavior? Considering we don't even know how much is even in humans, talking about it being pointless to study recreated dinosaurs for their behavior is itself pointless. If we were to do recreate dinosaurs and study them, it would be just about as good a guess as studying the long dead bones of dinosaurs to get clues about behavior, which is precisely what we do right now because we have nothing else (mostly we just infer anatomy, but sometimes we get some ideas about behavior). Writing that book, he forgot that he's supposed to be entertaining us, not getting on a soap-box about his paranoid beliefs about science.

                Anyway, this is all fine until you start applying this clever, but incorrect logic to the real world instead of your private science fiction --it's called pseudoscience and the U.S. is rife with it. For State of Fear, my opinion of Crichton was only lowered a little bit when he testified, it was already low because of Lost World. I was more annoyed at Inhof and the members of congress and the administration about their denial about the possibility of climate change at first, then their stonewalling to keep from doing anything about it.

                As for Crichton being a hack, let's put it this way, if I read a Jack London novel, even a not so good one, it's still pretty entertaining. If I read a lesser known Hemingway or Steinbeck I am still entertained. I was not entertained by Lost World, and I was not entertained by him again putting those idiot children in those books, and I was not entertained in the least by Westworld because I had seen that movie before, the same way that Lost World was sorry and predictable. From reading this thread, some people are entertained by his other novels, so maybe I'm wrong and he is a good author, but I would bet dollars to doughnuts that Jurassic Park won't make it into any school reading lists the way H.G. Wells stuff does or George Orwell, or some other science fiction by truly great authors.

          • by stephanruby (542433) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:31AM (#25657753)

            Focusing on whether the consensus view is necessarily correct or not has nothing to do with the irrefutable evidence that the climate is changing and the likely probability that humans are causing it completely or contributing to it.

            Crichton predicted future warming at 0.8 degrees C.

            So taking out that "irrefutable" phrase out of your statement since Michael Crichton (in his book or in real life) wasn't even trying to refute that part of it in the first place.

            We're left with:

            Focusing on whether the consensus view is necessarily correct or not has nothing to do with [...] the likely probability that humans are causing it completely or contributing to it.

            ...and yet your statement still doesn't make sense. The "likely probability that humans are causing it completely or contributing to it" is your conclusion. We know that. We know Crichton disagreed with it. You can't use the fact that Crichton disagreed with you to discredit him. That's just silly.

            The third was when he wrote State of Fear and testified before congress. I never read the book, but just to watch the kind of anti-intellectuals like Inhof invite a science fiction author to be regarded as an expect on climate change.

            Michael Crichton spoke on "the politicization of Science". Here is the google-cached written reproduction [209.85.173.104] of that talk (which I found on his site, but his site is currently down). And here is the educational background of Michael Crichton. That being said, don't just rely on his educational background. And don't rely on the fact that he was seen testify in front of an idiot. His talk speaks for itself. It's quite short, and to the point.

            Crichton graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College, received his MD from Harvard Medical School, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, researching public policy with Jacob Bronowski. He taught courses in anthropology at Cambridge University and writing at MIT. Crichton's 2004 bestseller, State of Fear, acknowledged the world was growing warmer, but challenged extreme anthropogenic warming scenarios. He predicted future warming at 0.8 degrees C. (His conclusions have been widely misstated.)

            Crichton's interest in computer modeling went back forty years. His multiple-discriminant analysis of Egyptian crania, carried out on an IBM 7090 computer at Harvard, was published in the Papers of the Peabody Museum in 1966. His technical publications included a study of host factors in pituitary chromophobe adenoma, in Metabolism, and an essay on medical obfuscation in the New England Journal of Medicine.

            • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @05:44AM (#25658441) Homepage

              Degrees in medicine and biology do not make one an expert on climate change. We wouldn't be having this discussion if Crichton had written "GOTO Considered Just Fine, Thankyouverymuch."

              Crichton botched [realclimate.org] the science [realclimate.org] that he was trying to criticize. I think that's a much stronger condemnation than the presence or absence of any given piece of university-derived parchment.

              The first article disputes his 0.8C prediction, pointing out that the trend he attributes his predicted rise to should actually have a bit of a cooling effect.

              Here [realclimate.org] is a list of other, specific rebuttals to Crichton (primarily his novel "State of Fear"), in case you're interested.

      • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @11:10PM (#25655775)
        he argued that science was not consensus-based and that such claims were therefore meaningless

        .

        Consensus is meaningful when you have to make decisions.

        In 1952 there were 58,000 new cases of polio reported in the U.S. and over 3,000 deaths.

        The vaccine that most everyone agrees will probably be ready for distribution before 1955 gets more resources than the one which most won't likely become available before 1960.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TapeCutter (624760)
        Chrichton wrote great anti-science fiction and was entitled to his opinion. What I find unbelivable is that certain US senators cannot tell the difference between science and fiction, so much so that Chrichton was introduced to a senate commitee as a climate expert [realclimate.org].
  • by bipbop (1144919) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @09:49PM (#25654953)
    At the risk of being modded troll or flamebait, let me be the first to say that whoever put that tag on this article is an asshole.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was about to post the same. An extremely insensitive tag. I understand some morons may be trying to rant against the commercialisation of the "Jurrasic Park" franchise, but you can't pin that on this extraordinary author. I doubt anyone who marked that tag up actually read any (of his, in particular, but not necessarily exclusively) books.

      • Maybe his work isn't bad for reading that you don't have to think about, but the man was barely a cut above John Grisham as a fiction writer.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Smackintosh (1009941)
          I'm not sure about extraordinary, but certainly a cut or two above average. I'd like to know which of his works you read as there were quite a few that were at a minimum thought provoking, if not quite novel in context of the time they were written. Maybe not in complexity of plotline, but at least in terms of interesting and somewhat unusual topics.
    • by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:38PM (#25655437)
      Well, he's dead. His feelings can't be hurt. And really, he hadn't written anything worthwhile in the last 20 years. And some really awful stuff, most notably "State of Fear", a very dishonest attack on the global warming idea, presented as fiction, so his bogus science can't be questioned, yet often cited as fact. Like a lot of thriller writers he started with some great ideas and treatments of old themes, then with his name established and fat advance checks guaranteed for anything he put his name to, ended up with tedious sequels and curmudgeonly diatribes. (c.f. Frederik Forsyth, Tom Clancy.)

      Jurassic Park succeeded because of Spielberg and CGI, not really much to do with the story, which was, if you think about it for a moment, dumb. But some of his early stuff -- books and movies like Andromeda Strain, Westworld -- was really entertaining and had a few decent ideas.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Thinking about it, the story of Jurassic Park wasn't "dumb". Whilst it is certain a broad exaggeration of a concept, that concept it is based upon is on a day by day basis, becoming more likely. It's hardly a stretch to imagine a moment in the future where extinct animals are exhibited, either.

        If anything, making it a pop culture movie diminished its reputation as an interesting piece of fiction.
        • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @11:36PM (#25655987)

          The basic premise of Jurassic Park wasn't dumb. The science background was, and the "chaos theory means that they must run amok and kill us all!" part was just utterly nuts.

          • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @11:39PM (#25656033) Homepage Journal

            "chaos theory means that they must run amok and kill us all!"

            And also happened to be an embellishment of the film.

            People should really learn to read again.. the book series was much better than the Hollywood treatment.. as is often the case.

            • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @11:46PM (#25656095)

              Was it? I read the book many years ago so it all sort of runs together for me, but I distinctly remember each chapter beginning with a picture of successive iterations of a fractal, and I'm pretty sure that this tied in somehow with chaos theory. Wikipedia says:

              Both are pessimistic, but Malcolm, having been consulted before the park's creation, is emphatic in his prediction that the park will collapse, as it is an unsustainably simple structure bluntly forced upon a complex system.

              Is it not so?

  • by joeflies (529536) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @09:52PM (#25654995)

    I'm somewhat confused by why his books spend so much time writing about science (or at least science fiction) when he appears to have been personally bent on the unscientific new-age mysticism activities. Travels talks extensively about his beliefs in fortune tellers, auras, astral planes, and spending two weeks talking to a cactus. It seems contradictory to build a career on science and not approach mysticism with a more cynical eye.

    Then again, the science in Critons' books usually end up trying to kill man, so perhaps it's not his love of science that drove him to write, but rather his belief that science with have its retribution on man.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Travels talks extensively about his beliefs in fortune tellers, auras, astral planes, and spending two weeks talking to a cactus.

      That was Marge Simpson, you insensitive clod!

    • by westlake (615356)
      It seems contradictory to build a career on science and not approach mysticism with a more cynical eye.

      .

      It worked out rather well for Isaac Newton.

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      He's an odd character. His books are all man vs science and science is always the villain. I think its sad that he will be remembered as the guy who wrote a discredited book on how global warming is a myth. Heck, Rising Sun is just an anti-Japanese screed.

      I think of him as something of tragic figure. A sad person who fears science, foreigners, foreign investment, global warming, etc but had a built-in audience that agreed with him. I think at one time, especially in his early works, he was talented but fel

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @09:53PM (#25655003)

    Michael Crichton was great author, but also a scientist. He was one of few people who warned about the the dangerous trend of mixing politics into science, especially in regards to global warming.
    His Aliens Caused Global Warming speech is a must read. [michaelcrichton.net]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "after a courageous and private battle against cancer,"

    They never say stuff like "after capitulating to cancer like a big pussy,"

    But anyway, to employ another cliche-- he will be missed. Forget Jurassic Park- I still get creeped out by the proto-Terminator robot in "Westworld". And who can forget the classic 1981 cloning/CG extravaganza, "Looker". Well, everyone.

    Here's an hour-long video interview [google.com] with him on Charlie Rose.

  • by Mish (50810) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:00PM (#25655073)
    An earlier Wikipedia entry that told the truth about his death has been 'corrected'...

    Michael Crichton has died on November 5, 2008 after a long, private battle with a velociraptor. [wikipedia.org]
  • Lost World (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ezratrumpet (937206) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:01PM (#25655075) Journal
    I remember reading "The Lost World" when I was a under-read, newly minted college graduate. One of the characters, Sarah Harding, had a sequence where she talked about George Schaller reading everything that had ever been written about a subject before he began field studies - and that once he got to the field, he discovered that almost everything he had read was wrong. The two ideas - of mastering a subject and of discovering new things about that subject - intrigue me to this day. I will miss his work.
    • Re:Lost World (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sootman (158191) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @11:09PM (#25655765) Homepage Journal

      I remember reading "The Lost World" when I was a under-read, newly minted college graduate.

      After four years of being required to read every crappy book ever written* in high school I was pretty much burned out on reading. (I always liked reading, ever since I was young... I even remember reading Iacocca's biography instead of whatever I was supposed to be reading at the time.) But by the time Hight School was done I was only reading car magazines and stuff like that.

      The summer after my first year in college I found (literally--someone left it behind in the movie theater where I was working) a copy of Jurassic Park and I started reading it. I got sucked in right away, literally to the point of hiding it in my cash drawer and reading it at the concession stand that I was working at when it was slow. I burned through it in no time, then started reading his other stuff. I remember reading Andromeda Strain and Terminal Man early on and reading Congo and Sphere later on. (Sphere and Jurassic Park are my favorite books by him and I've read and re-read them both several times.) Then I remembered liking some Stephen King stuff that I had read in the past so I went and looked for more by him (Christine, Firestarter--his early stuff) and then I found more and more authors and I got back into reading and I've been reading steadily ever since. But I'll always remember that it was him and Jurassic Park that got me back into reading for fun. Thank you, Mr. Crichton. You will be missed.

      * a couple, like Mosquito Coast, were OK, and I loved Catcher in the Rye, but overall, I hated all the selections at my HS. About 10 books a year, including 2 or 3 to read over the summer. The Guns of Navarone, On the Beach, stuff like that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mr100percent (57156)

      Ah yes, that passage has stayed with me over the years.

      'But the thing is, boys donâ(TM)t like girls who are too smart.â
      Sarahâ(TM)s eyebrows went up. âoeIs that so?â
      'Well, thatâ(TM)s what everybody saysâ¦â
      'Like who?â
      'Like my mom.â
      'Uh-huh. And she probably knows what sheâ(TM)s talking about.â
      'I donâ(TM)t know, Kelly admitted. âoeMy mom only dates jerks, actually.â
      'So she could be wrong?â Sarah asked, glancing up at Kelly as s

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've seen the global warming killed him on other sites and similar cracks on this very site.

    Much of his career he wrote very thoughtful science-based pulp fiction that was very influential to many of us. Time and again he was very skeptical of many of the uses of technology and almost universally anti-corporate and anti-military with his evil characters. He was a friend to the techno-luddite left until he wrote one damn book that dared questioned the religious-left's view of climate catastrophe and question

  • RIP Mr. Crichton (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GRH (16141) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:02PM (#25655081)

    For any of you folks who have only seen some of MC's movies, don't judge his storytelling ability without reading the books first. The Andromeda Strain is clearly a classic, but some of his later books like "Airframe" and "The Rising Sun" are good reads too.

    I've don't know why, but for whatever reasons, Hollywood has slaughtered just about every title they tried to turn into a movie. The ~1970 Andromeda Strain is probably about the only one where they came close (including Jurassic Park).

    Rest in peace, Mr. Crichton.

    • by PCM2 (4486)

      I only read his most recent book, Next, and found that it didn't really live up to what I'd hoped from the dust jacket. It was full of interesting ideas, but eventually it just wandered off and I wondered what the point was. It also confirmed what I suspected about Crichton before I'd read anything of his -- that his books are basically plot-driven, which explains their success at airports etc. But he was clearly a modern man who liked to think and discuss ideas, and I think any Slashdotter should be able t

    • by mblase (200735)

      For any of you folks who have only seen some of MC's movies, don't judge his storytelling ability without reading the books first.

      For those who have, read the books anyway.

      There's one thing I've always admired about Crichton, and that's his willingness and ability to write on just about any subject. His thrillers cover the whole range of modern science and medicine, and while no one would call his work "hard science", it's still extremely well researched by NYT-bestseller standards.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by The Bungi (221687)

      Anybody else think The 13th Warrior [imdb.com] (based on his Eaters of The Dead [wikipedia.org]) is actually a good film?

      I liked it. Still do. I think it's unappreciated.

      /ducks

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The ~1970 Andromeda Strain is probably about the only one where they came close (including Jurassic Park).

      The "Great Train Robbery" (1979 - also directed by Crichton) was an enjoyable film. Here's the trailer:

      http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=h_QathS_8Ok [youtube.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:10PM (#25655185)
    For a guy who had a scientific education, he always struck me as being squarely against technology and science. I know it sells books, but why do the engineers/scientists always have to be portrayed as being arrogant and irresponsible? Surely there is some good that can come out of genetic engineering, nanotechnology, outsourcing, etc...??
    • by Miseph (979059)

      "Surely there is some good that can come out of genetic engineering, nanotechnology, outsourcing, etc...??"

      Of course there is, but that doesn't mean we should rush into doing it just because we can without any concern for consequences and ramifications.

      Also, Timeline was shite, and the movie was even worse than the book.

    • by stormguard2099 (1177733) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @06:15AM (#25658615)

      Maybe a story about scientists being cautious and thoughtful doesn't lead to dire consequences which just doesn't make a good book.

      chapter 20: After verifying his results once again the scientist then circulates his findings amongst peers to scrutinize his work from a different perspective.....

      Yeah, I'm gonna preorder that puppy!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Goaway (82658)

      It's the usual crypto-Luddism common in lots of hack sci-fi writing. And kind of common on Slashdot, too: How many stories every week get the "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" tag?

  • by gillbates (106458) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:11PM (#25655191) Homepage Journal

    I expected it to end with ...There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

  • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorpNO@SPAMGmail.com> on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:23PM (#25655295) Homepage Journal

    At least of modern times, anyway. He was writing "techno-thrillers" before critics coined the term for Tom Clancy... he gave incredibly descriptive narratives about telecom technology in Congo, years before Clancy wrote The Hunt For Red October. Like many great genre authors, he could also write outside his genre... see Eaters of the Dead and The Great Train Robbery. I was completely unaware of his battle with cancer, and news of his death made an already rotten day worse.

  • by olivermomo (1245410) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:45PM (#25655507)
    This [macosxhints.com] post by the founder of the Mac tips website, macosxhints.com, states that Crichton was an early donor to the site. Although I didn't care for every one of his books, I was certainly a fan of his body of work and I find it very cool that he donated to a website that collects technical tips for Mac fans.
  • Travels (Score:2, Insightful)

    If you haven't read Travels, you're missing a fascinating autobiography and vicarious insight into what it was like to be a young man in the 1970's. Crichton documents his search for the meaning of life among every New Age craze and pursuit of that decade, intermixed with stories of his many bedroom conquests. It will lead the religious reader to conclude that he was looking in the wrong place, but the secular reader will realize that his search never ends -- the hallmark of a true scientist.

    Then again
  • This was the first Crichton book I read, when I was in middle school, and it stuck with me for a long time. In fact, his writing formed part of the aura around science/technology for me that made me want to pursue an education and career in technology. I never saw his stories as warnings about science, I saw them as warnings about the failings of people who choose to ignore what science says for various reasons. Political, personal, etc. Andromeda Strain is a great example of this.

    I have mixed feelin
  • by eyebum (952909) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:59PM (#25655655)
    I personally found Crichton's work to be shallow. It was not much more than a film script fleshed out with a few more articles and conjunctions. The characters were wooden and a bit too one-dimensional. His vehement rejection of global warming pretty much showed his analytical skills were out of whack too. Not such a big thing except that he bought the political lines spun to deny global warming. The movies made from his books will, in my opinion, really only be remembered for their special effects and the inclusion of the "one novel idea" that he could inject into it. Proof: Sphere.
  • by Captain Sarcastic (109765) * on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:42AM (#25656563)

    ... one of the first full-length books I read was The Andromeda Strain.

    Later, I read the condensed version of The Terminal Man, and remembered (and loved) the line where a doctor explains to a policeman that the subject had a radioactive battery, making him a possible contamination threat. The policeman's response was "Alpha or beta particle emitter?" When the doctor looks surprised, he adds, "I went to college. I can even read and write."

    That was where I learned that even cops could have the geek nature.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Full Disclosure: he was always in a State of Fear in the land of the Rising Sun. He was on his way to the Lost World, betting his Odds On a Case of Need to Easy Go to the Next Timeline. After being attacked by the Eaters of the Dead, he was admitted to the ER in a Coma. Turns out he was, after all, The Terminal Man. Let us Prey for him. The funeral will be held at Jurassic Park.

      P.S: Did he Grave Descend by overdosing on his Drug of Choice?

      P.P.S: Too soon?
  • Environmentalists (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bugeaterr (836984) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @10:18AM (#25660463)

    Notice how most of the posts mocking, belittling and having fun with the man's death are coming from the "How dare he question Global Warming" crowd.

    State of Fear had hundreds of footnotes referencing the 3rd IPCC and actual scientific studies from actual scientists.

    Regardless your view on Global Warming, he has a valid point in the book:
    *Enviornmentalists feed on fear.
    *The media feeds on fear.
    *Politicians feed on fear.
    Results in
    *Echo chamber effect.

    It's hard to get elected saying or to get a story on the news about how: "The sky is NOT falling, or not falling that fast, or it's not our fault that it's falling".

    Apparently that is all it takes to get the altruistic, gentle Green movement dancing on your grave.

  • Why... (Score:4, Informative)

    by pngmangi42 (1312017) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @11:36AM (#25661661)
    ...does everyone just mention Jurassic Part, Sphere, and The Andromeda Strain? He wrote other great books, such as Eaters of the Dead, The Great Train Robbery, and Timeline! I'll admit, though, that Next did suck.
  • by slapout (93640) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @02:40PM (#25664565)

    Michael Crichton used to write articles for computer magazines. I remember reading one where he talked about the timing how long it took you to type your name and password to determine if it was really you.

    http://www.atarimagazines.com/creative/index/index.php?author=Michael+Crichton [atarimagazines.com]

  • by IronChef (164482) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:45PM (#25665455) Homepage

    So Crichton isn't Hemingway. Big deal. He wrote enjoyable books, for the most part, and did so for decades. He wrote stories that kept you thinking about them after you put the book down, even if they had flaws.

    Books, like movies and even food, don't have to be "art" to be worthwhile and worthy of some respect.

    As a (hack) writer myself I have much respect for authors like Crichton, (old) King, and even Dean Koontz. Their works won't be taught in school, but they sweep you away for a few hours, and get under your skin. And for me anyway, they make me want to write a book myself.* They make it look easy, in the way only real talent can.

    Compare Crichton to a real hack like Robin Cook. Ugh!

    I will be lifting a glass in his memory tonight, and I rarely drink. The world's a poorer place without him and his tales of Science Run Amok.

    * Not that I have written a book lately because hey, I am lazy, but that's another story.

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