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Attila the Pun
Monday, December 13, 2004
 
Blue State of Fear

Speaking, as I was earlier, of Michael Crichton's new book - Slate has a review up. Surprise surprise, they didn't like it:

State of Fear is a 600-page tirade about global warming. Crichton thinks environmentalists have become overheated about the threat and have substituted demagoguery for hard science. So he unleashes a cabal of ruthless greens, who build weather machines to punish their SUV-drivin', carbon-dioxide-emittin' neighbors with a plague of hurricanes and tsunamis. For Crichton's fans, this has got to be heartbreaking: The boy-novelist who engineered a tyrannosaurus in Jurassic Park and mysterious pathogens from outer space in The Andromeda Strain has become a political pamphleteer, a right-wing noodge.

Heart breaking for you maybe. The reviewer pretty much lays it out though - he likes Crichton as long as he is writing non-political stuff (i.e. Jurassic Park), but doesn't like any right wing noodge stuff:

Chricton's books have suffered as his right-leaning politics have come to the fore. Titles like Rising Sun, Disclosure, and Airframe (about the mendacity of the electronic media) were naked political screeds designed to land him on the op-ed page.

Get it? Alien diseases, dinosaurs good - Unfair Japanese trade practices, female sexual harassment/blackmail bad.

The reviewer even likes Crichton's "erudite polish" and use of real world facts in a fiction setting - provided the facts agree with the reviewer's prejudices. Otherwise:

"when Crichton begins to proselytize, State of Fear-style, the journal citations begin to seem indistinguishable from those contained in the latest study from the Brookings Institution or the American Enterprise Institute. Instead of being charmed by the nerdy footnotes, you feel suspicious of them—they're propaganda."

Again, I have to admit that at least the guy is honest:

This isn't to say that Crichton doesn't believe his right-leaning, contrarian poses. It's his belief in these poses that's the problem. Crichton's early novels were escapist fantasies that happened to be instructive. His political books are hectoring screeds that incidentally turn out to be thrillers.

Before rounding it out with some nice condescension towards someone who is so obviously deluded to believe that man made global warming is a myth:

A woman named Sarah, fleeing from a man-made lightning storm—don't ask—crawls smack-dab into the middle of a nest of … scorpions. Why scorpions? I have no clue, but I loved it. It's like something a grade-schooler would have thought up—it has childlike, "top this" passion.

Ignoring of course, that by the time Crichton was 30, he had:

"gradated from Harvard, taught at Cambridge University, climbed the Great Pyramid, earned a medical degree, married and divorced, been a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute, published two bestselling novels, and now made a movie. "

Not a bad effort.

I haven't read the book, so I can't comment on its quality. However, me being a right wing noodge and claiming it is great because I agree with its premise is as stupid as this reviewer reading the book with his mind already made up about all of Crichton's "political" books. It is obvious that it what happened. Damn left wing noodge

Please write a pro-globalisation/free trade book next Mike!

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