Around a month ago I finished reading Timeline, a thrilling time-travel adventure story written by Michael Crichton.
This was my second time reading this book as I once read it about ten years ago. I remembered it being interesting, but forgetting the details about how things worked in the story. After reading it again, I can certainly say that, along with Jurassic Park, Timeline might be one of Crichton’s *best* stories.
Set in modern time (1999), Timeline begins with a couple traveling through the Southwest and discovering a man wandering around in a desert. There’s no explanation for him being there, and he’s dressed in Medieval clothes. The man is rambling and obviously injured, so the couple drives him to a nearby clinic. Unfortunately, he soon coughs up blood, goes into cardiac arrest, and then dies. What’s even more puzzling to the doctors is that the x-ray and CT scan show that basically all of the man’s organs, bones and blood vessels are slightly offset within his body.
It’s soon revealed that the man is an engineer for ITC, a high-tech company located in an isolated part of New Mexico. To make matters more interesting, the man had a diagram for an ancient French monastery that was destroyed hundreds of years ago.
Over in Dordogne, France, American professor Edward Johnson is leading a small team of archaeologists and historians in an excavation of two towns separated by a river — Castelgard and La Roque. The area being studied was known for being a battleground between English and French forces. Read more…
Theme parks are known for having a combination of highly themed lands as well as a mixture of family-friendly as well as thrilling attractions.
These places also draw a firm line where there’s limited interaction between the park guests and the theming. While you may see a costumed actors, you’re not allowed to challenge them to a duel. There may be a bank in a western town, but you’re not allowed to draw your gun and rob it.
What if there was such a park where you could carry out such fantasies? What if you were allowed to live for several days in a highly themed, interactive area, living life as you would in that time period, complete with being able to actually fight and “kill” bad guys? Don’t worry though, safety protocols are in place to prevent the park guests from receiving any harm.
That’s the premise in the 1973 science-fiction film, Westworld. Written and directed by Michael Crichton, Westworld follows along as a small group of tourists arrives at one of if not the most technologically advanced theme park in the world. Instead of having rides, this theme park allows guests to live out their fantasies in one of three themed areas. This movie features Richard Benjamin as Peter Martin, James Brolin as John Blane, and Yul Brynner as the Gunslinger.
Westworld begins with a television commercial for Delos – The Vacation of the Future, a sophisticated, futuristic theme park divided into three zones / “worlds”: West World (the American Old West in the 1880s), Medieval World (medieval Europe), and Roman World (pre-Christian Rome). A reporter asks guests about their recent experiences in Delos and how much they loved their experience. Although visiting Delos costs $1,000 a day, the interviewees claim that it was an incredibly realistic experience well worth the money. To get to Delos, all we have to do is speak with a travel agent and arrange a ride on the hovercraft that transports guests there. Read more…
One of my all-time favorite novels is Michael Crichton’s dinosaur-themed adventure story, Jurassic Park.
I first read the book in college. Since then, I’ll usually read the story again once every couple of years. It’s just that good of a story.
The story begins with mysterious animal attacks in the jungles of Costa Rica. It seems that a small, lizard-like creature has been blamed for attacking a few people. Something that almost seems like it should be . . . extinct.
Meanwhile, billionaire John Hammond, founder and CEO of International Genetic Technologies (InGen), is bringing in experts to take a tour of his new biological preserve / theme park established on Isla Nublar, an island about 100 miles off the coast of Costa Rica. He needs these people to evaluate his park and give their approval before it opens to the general public.
After all, his park is like nothing the world has ever experienced. InGen has cloned and brought back living dinosaurs. Those experts and top minds are Dr. Alan Grant, a paleontologist, Ellie Sattler, a paleobotanist, Dr. Ian Malcom, a mathematician, and Donald Gennaro, a lawyer. And just to make things interesting, also included are John Hammond’s grandkids, Lex and Tim.
Upon arrival at Jurassic Park, the gang is shown a tour of the facility. Some of the stops include laboratories where the dinosaurs’ DNA is examined, where the eggs are fertilized, and of course, a hatchery where the young dinosaurs are born.
What makes Crichton’s novel so interesting is that he’s using what seem to be sound scientific concepts to bring the dinosaurs back to life. The dinosaur DNA is extracted from mosquitoes fossilized in amber millions of years ago. The gaps in the DNA’s code is complete with frog DNA. And in the end, the DNA is inserted into an egg which ultimately becomes a living dinosaur. Tinkering with the DNA’s code allows the InGen scientists to control the sex of the dinosaur, essentially making them all female. The thought is that if they’re all female, then there would not be any unauthorized breeding outside of the compound. Read more…
Set deep in the heart of Africa, Michael Crichton’s Congo takes readers on a thrill ride on a race for rare diamonds.
The only problems are that not only is the team of explorers racing rival teams from other countries, but none of the previous expeditions to that part of the Congo have made it back alive. But when it comes to accessing a mineral so rare and beneficial that your corporation will make billions of dollars in profits, those are accepted risks that go along with the mission.
That’s basically the premise for Michael Crichton’s thriller, Congo.
Congo begins as an expedition is hunting a remote part of the African rain forest for exclusive minerals known as Type IIb diamonds.
The expedition from Earth Resource Technology Services, Inc. (ERTS) out of Houston, Texas. The company specializes in sending expeditions to the toughest places on the planet, all while using satellites and the most advanced technology to assist with the missions.
One of the expedition’s members sets up the video camera and begins the process of achieving a satellite lock with the headquarters in Houston. Halfway around the world, Dr. Karen Ross is at ERTS and monitoring the current expedition in the Congo region of Africa. The workers note the satellite lock from the expedition’s camera, but when the company responds, nobody on the expedition acknowledges the transmission. Dr. Ross is able to active the camera remotely, and what she and the other technicians at ERTS witness is something out of a nightmare.
The video feed shows the expedition’s camp in a state of disaster. The tents are destroyed. There’s a body of one of the expedition members lying on the ground, his head smashed in a gruesome manner. Perhaps the most disturbing sight of all is what appears to be a gorilla walking around the campsite. It knocks over the camera and ends the video transmission.
Dr. Ross alerts ERTS CEO R. B. Travis of the disaster in the Congo. Travis makes a decision to withhold news of the disaster for thirty days and to send another expedition into the Congo. Those Type IIb diamonds are worth to much to simply withdraw and allow other companies access to the area. They MUST be the first team to locate and make a claim for the land containing the diamonds. Read more…
Just how well do you think that you know about nature?
I’m not talking about the weather or geography here, but rather plants and insects; some of the most dominant forms of life on this planet. If you were to step outdoors, could you accurately name at least some of the plants and insects found outside of your home?
Sadly, I fall with the majority in my lack of knowledge of the great outdoors. Trees are trees, plants are plants, and bugs are bugs. Some of them fly, others can sting. But as a whole, I just don’t have the detailed knowledge that I should have concerning the world found outside of the home.
Michael Crichton’s book, Micro, easily changes your perspective on the world of plants and insects. Sadly, Crichton died in 2008 before Mirco was finished. Author Richard Preston was asked to pick up where Crichton left off and complete the story. Mirco was finally completed and published in 2011.
Micro begins with a corporate espionage break-in of the company Nanigen. Nanigen’s headquarters is located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. The company itself specializes in some incredibly advanced technology.
Mario Rodriguez, the person breaking into Nanigen, is somewhat puzzled as it’s really easy to break into Nanigen. There doesn’t appear to be any type of a security system. He walks around some of the laboratories before noticing that he’s bleeding. The cuts just mysteriously appeared on his body. Frightened, Rodriguez flees from Nanigen and returns to the person who hired him, a man named Willy Fong. Fong is being visited by an unknown Asian man when Rodriguez arrives. Rodriguez tries to tell Fong what happened at Nanigen, but all three men are cut by the mysterious forces and they all die within a matter of minutes.
The police arrive at Willy Fong’s office a few days later and discover the three dead men. The cuts on their bodies were made with surgical precision. However, there’s no murder weapon found anywhere inside or outside of Fong’s office. And to make the mystery even more puzzling, the doors and windows are all locked from the inside. There’s no sign of a forced entry or a fourth person at the scene of the crime. It’s as if the three men were sliced open by a ghost.
Mirco then jumps halfway around the world to the land of academia at Cambridge, Massachusetts. Seven graduate students, Rick Hutter, Karen King, Peter Jansen, Erika Moll, Amar Singh, Jenny Linn and Danny Minot, at an unspecified college are leading experts in botany, insects and venoms. One day the students are visited by Nanigen’s president Vin Drake, the CFO Alyson Bender, and another Nanigen executive, Eric Jansen. Eric just happens to be Peter Jansen’s older brother. Read more…
Today I finished reading one of Michael Crichton‘s earlier works, The Great Train Robbery.
The Great Train Robbery takes readers back to the 1855 during the Victoria-era in London, England. As you’ll experience in the novel, from child labor to the treatment of women, times were quite a bit different during that age of steam power and the Second Industrial Revolution.
The Great Train Robbery revolves around a simple concept: a professional burglar wants to pull off a big heist (known as a “pull”).
The motive: Greed.
The target: A shipment of gold being transported on the South Eastern Railway.
Set in 1855, The Great Train Robbery is a fictionalized though mostly true telling of the infamous Great Gold Robbery of 1855. The novel takes place in London, and the majority of the story deals with the planning of the heist, specifically, gaining copies of keys for the safes’ locks. Key characters have to be recruited, though at least one of them ultimately finds himself as being expendable and disposed of in a brutal method. Read more…
Avast, ye landlubbers!
If any of ye be seeking adventure, treachery, damsels in distress, treasure, and bloody vengeance, then Michael Crichton‘s Pirate Latitudes may be just for you.
This short but highly entertaining story has just what you would expect for today’s view of Caribbean pirates from the 1660’s. It features a cunning pirate hero, a treasure ship packed with riches, the tropical setting of Caribbean islands, ship-to-ship combat, a hurricane, and even a sea monster. Name your favorite piece of pirate folklore and you’ll probably find it in this novel. Read more…
Today I finished reading Michael Crichton‘s novel, Airframe.
Overall, it was pretty good like most of Crichton’s other stories, but as an FAA licensed private pilot and general aviation enthusiast, I felt like the story was lacking better substance and a more evil plot.