Whether you are a fan of thrillers or just want to have some fun, you will want to pick up some of the best Michael Crichton books. These are the best bestselling fiction and non-fiction titles of the renowned author.
Whether you’ve seen Jurassic Park, the novel, or the movies, you know that Michael Crichton was a writer. He was an American novelist, screenwriter, and filmmaker. He was born on October 23, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. He died on November 4, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.
As a novelist, Crichton wrote numerous novels about the ramifications of advancing technology. He also explored genetics and chaos theory. Several of his novels were made into successful movies. He was also known for his meticulous research.
The movie adaptation of his novel, Jurassic Park, came out in 1993. The film broke box office records and paved the way for four sequels. As of 2022, the Jurassic Park franchise has grossed over $5 billion worldwide.
When the film was released, it received mixed reviews. Some critics felt that the film had a shallow character development. Others thought that the film was just too unbelievable to be believable. However, it’s been said that the movie changed how we look at special effects forever.
The novel was a bestseller when it was published in 1990. It was adapted into a movie in 1993 by Steven Spielberg. Universal paid Crichton a half million dollars for the rights to the novel.
The Andromeda Strain
Described by Michael Crichton as a “techno-thriller” novel, The Andromeda Strain is the first book of Crichton’s to be published under his own name. It was also his first New York Times Best Seller. It is a tense and fast-paced techno-thriller with no gore, but a lot of language.
The Andromeda Strain is about a team of scientists who must tackle an alien life form that has landed on earth. It has the potential to kill all living creatures on the planet.
The novel is set in the mid-1970s, but is more like a science fiction movie than a true science fiction novel. Although the science in this novel is not speculative, some readers may find the scientific procedures a little elementary.
The novel begins in a small town in western Arizona where everyone has died. The town is poor, and the population is mostly made up of the elderly. The town drunk is Peter Jackson, and he drinks a lot of stove alcohol in order to stave off an ulcer.
The Andromeda Strain’s story begins when an airborne life form lands in the desert near the town of Piedmont. This life form only survives in very narrow ranges of pH and blood acidity, and it quickly mutates into a different, lethal form.
Eaters Of The Dead
Originally published in 1976, Eaters Of The Dead by Michael Crichton is a rip-snorting adventure novel that takes readers to exotic locales. It charts the travels of a Muslim Arab in the 10th century as he joins a Viking party on their way to the kingdom of Rothgar. The book is full of awe-inspiring scenes of violence and intrigue.
The novel is based on two texts, the first of which is an actual historical manuscript penned by Ahmad Ibn Fadlan in the early part of the 10th century. The second is a Beowulf-inspired tale of a cosmopolitan Arab who takes to the high seas with a group of warriors.
The novel is a hoot. It is narrated by a fictional character whose style resembles that of Ibn Fadlan. It is an homage to the real-life text, but with a few quibbles. The book is also an exercise in irony.
It is a fun send-up of scholarship. It is a good cinematic interpretation of the book. The plot is also a believable one, albeit a little implausible.
Originally written in 1980, Michael Crichton’s Congo is a novel about an expedition team searching for diamonds in the African jungle. The novel is based on fictional accounts of previous expeditions to the Congo, suggesting that the region’s resources are mysterious and not well-studied.
The book centers around Earth Resource Technology Services (ERTS) expedition, which is sent to the Virunga region of the Congo looking for diamond deposits. The team is attacked by unknown creatures and lost in the jungle.
In the end of the novel, the team appears to have been killed by a gorilla. In fact, the gorilla was inspired by a real-life ape named Koko. The ape had a sign-language vocabulary of 620 words. It was also part of a language learning experiment in San Francisco.
In addition to the gorilla, the crew of the Earth Resource Technology Services (ERTS) expedition includes an American company’s computer-whiz Karen Ross. Her expedition uses portable computers and laser-beam navigation to guide the group.
Meanwhile, a team of ERTS researchers led by primatologist Dr. Peter Elliot is accompanied by an ape linguist, an African mercenary, and half a dozen Kikuyu porters.
Often criticized for being overly didactic, Michael Crichton’s Rising Sun is actually a well-crafted crime thriller. While the book is not the most innovative, it is a fun read and the climax is satisfying.
In short, the novel is a solid example of a “worst-case” scenario wherein a country’s economic and political system are thrown into chaos due to a series of unforeseen events. This includes a foreign government taking over the world, a financial meltdown, and an economic recession.
The novel is set in the mid-1990s, a time when Japan’s economy was in freefall. It is also a time when America pressured Japan to weaken its yen against the dollar. This led to a xenophobic backlash.
The novel is a tad more complicated than the average crime thriller, but it does have the hallmarks of the Crichton oeuvre: a snarky female protagonist, a hulking villain, and a slew of bumbling characters. There are even bilingual characters who explain Japanese to the non-Japanese speaker.
The book’s best and most surprising plot twists come at the end. There is a bit of a love triangle between LAPD Lieutenant Peter Smith, his former wife, and Theresa, an unsavory reporter. This neophyte detective is assigned to investigate the murder of a call-girl at the Nakamoto Tower, a Japanese company with a large presence in Los Angeles.
The Great Train Robbery
Originally a novel by Michael Crichton, The Great Train Robbery was adapted into a film in 1978. The movie was directed by Michael Crichton and starred Sean Connery as the character of Edward Pierce.
The story takes place in England in the mid-nineteenth century. The novel opens with the protagonist, Edward Pierce, who is an experienced professional burglar. He plans to rob a train of twelve thousand pounds of gold bullion. He assembles a team of unlikely criminals to carry out the heist.
Edward Pierce is a mysterious figure, whose name is probably a blatant lie. He’s rich and elegant, and charms his way into the confidence of prominent citizens. He is doubtful of his plan. He also could not predict the consequences of a steam locomotive robbery.
The Great Train Robbery is set in Victorian England. The story explains the railroads of the time and includes fictionalized versions of historical figures.
The book has some interesting details about the era, including the Liverpool & Manchester Railway’s opening in 1830, which reshaped urban topography. It’s a bit bleak in parts, but the story is nevertheless a thrilling read.
The Lost World
Originally published in September 1995, The Lost World is a techno-thriller novel written by Michael Crichton. It was a sequel to his 1990 bestseller Jurassic Park. A paperback edition followed in 1996.
The plot of The Lost World picks up six years after the events of the first novel. Ian Malcolm, a scientist, is called back to Isla Sorna, an island in Costa Rica, where dinosaurs were breading. Ingen, a biogenetic company, wants to use the island for breeding dinosaurs. They begin to go wrong, and a rival firm attempts to steal their secret. This creates dangerous situations for the scientists.
Throughout the book, characters have different opinions. This gives the story a more prosaic scientific debate. There are discussions about different theories of evolution, and the role of prions in brain diseases.
The Lost World has a disproportionate number of predators for a small island. There are raptors, t. rexes, and even procompsognathus, a type of dinosaur. This is more than a little reminiscent of the film adaptation.
Crichton’s novel is also packed with gorgeous cinematic images. It features a new map of Isla Sorna, illustrated endpapers, and a special “dinosaur skin” slipcase.
The Terminal Man
Originally published in 1972, “The Terminal Man” by Michael Crichton is a science fiction novel that explores the dangers of a cutting-edge medical procedure. It features a few interesting characters, a clean text, and is one of the earliest examples of the man/machine subgenre.
The story centers around a brilliant computer scientist named Harry Benson. He is diagnosed with psychomotor epilepsy, a condition that causes seizures and blackouts. The hospital decides to do a “stage three” procedure to stop his seizures. The doctor inserts a device into his brain. It delivers shocks to ward off violent episodes.
“The Terminal Man” is the twelfth overall novel written by Michael Crichton. In addition to writing the novel, Crichton also directed Coma (1978) and Physical Evidence (1989). He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Science. He wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation.
The Terminal Man is a good example of the author’s philosophies on how scientific advancements in science fiction could affect real life. During his writing career, Crichton explored the blurred ethical boundaries of genetic engineering and nanotechnology.