Remembering Michael Crichton

I find it difficult to believe that today marks the three year anniversary of the passing of super-author Michael Crichton.  The man’s work in books, television, and movies left an indelible mark on all three mediums.

Mr. Crichton penned so many awesome tales that this blog post would be insufficient to give them all a proper sounding.  Instead I’d like to focus on two of my favorites.

Pirate Latitudes
This posthumously published novel of 17th century pirate adventure provides a ripping yarn with all of the requisite nautical trimmings.  The year is 1665, and main protagonist Captain Charles Hunter throws in with the opportunistic Governor of Jamaica to hatch a plan to rob the seemingly impenetrable island treasure-hold of Matanceros.  After assembling a colorful and dangerous crew, Hunter and his men endure many twists, turns, and reversals in pursuit of their prize.  Filled with plenty of historically accurate action and just a dash of Hollywood flourish, Pirate Latitudes delivers on its promise of being great historical fiction.  Mr. Crichton purportedly worked on this book since 1970, and it was discovered on his computer in its complete form after his passing in 2008.

The Eaters of the Dead
Cleverly disguised as a historical treatise drawn from the real-world writings of Arab traveler and scholar Ahmad ibn Fadlan, Eaters of the Dead caused only a minor stir when it was first published back in 1976, but it has stood the test of time, and even endured the Hollywood treatment with the release of the film adaptation, The 13th Warrior.  This amazing little book offers a re-imagining of the Beowulf tale, and deftly mixes scholarship and fantastic elements.  The aforementioned movie really isn’t so bad, and would certainly be worth borrowing if you like period-based action flicks.

When I think of Michael Crichton’s long and successful career, these are the two works that jump immediately to mind.  Which Michael Crichton book, TV show, or movie tops your list?



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7 responses to “Remembering Michael Crichton

  1. Scott, these both sound great! I’m not really familiar with a lot of his work, but I definitely want to read the ones you chose to highlight.

    Leigh Anne

  2. lizzy

    I remember reading Jurassic Park (long before the movie sensation) and being really mesmerized by the science. It came across as far more complex than what ended up in the movie–definitely one of those examples where books and movies are two totally different beasts! And when you’re glad you read the book before seeing the movie.

  3. Marian

    I loved his first book Andromeda Strain! I read it about 10 years after it came out. I also enjoyed Disclosure, which was totally different than most of his books. Plus I loved the tv show ER.

  4. Yes, and yes. My favourite — Timeline. The movie was pretty decent too.

  5. My favorite from the ones I’ve read so far is “Airframe”. My fascination with airplanes and hunger for information/science I think influence my choice. But seriously, it’s a very well-told story. What makes it especially brilliant is that he manages to give life to the characters in the tale as deftly as he manages to get the science right and inform readers about many facts. The works you mention above are new to me, thanks a bunch for these. They’ll go on my ever-expanding reading list now :)

  6. I adored Jurassic Park – literally could not put it down. I was walking through Metro almost stumbling onto the tracks! I still remember the part on chaos theory. Loved it!!

  7. Nina

    My favorite is “State of Fear.” It was hard to get into for me, though. My next favorite is “Timeline” followed by “Andromeda Strain.” “Prey,” about creeping nanoparticles was also enjoyable. See transcript of his speech ‘Aliens Cause Global Warming.’ I’m a believer in organic GW not man-made GW.

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