Thursday, November 6, 2008
The Den of Mystery takes a moment to mark the passing of author Michael Crichton, who lost a battle with cancer this past Tuesday.
I devoured much of Crichton's oeuvre in my formative years, with The Andromeda Strain, Sphere, and Jurassic Park being my favorites. In fact, I just finished re-reading Jurassic Park last week. I must confess that aside from Prey, I haven't read much of his more recent work. I remember not loving it, but perhaps I'll take the time to revisit it now, as well as checking out State of Fear, Next, and the as-yet untitled work that will sadly be his final novel, to be released next year.
When I started reading with real intent, Crichton was one of the first authors I really took to, absorbing much the same books as Buck mentioned, as well as Congo, The Lost World and the brilliant The Case of Need (writing as "Jeffrey Hudson"). His prose was always clear, crisp and accessible, without speaking down to the reader. No one will confuse him with Faulkner; his writing was mainstream and any messages weren't to be hidden by complicated stylistic structures or obtuse characters. My dad's favorite is undoubtedly the Viking-centric Eaters of the Dead, which only shows Crichton's range as an author. Hard Case Crime is re-releasing his early mystery novels, published under pseudonyms, in affordable paperbacks. If you love to read, you'll love the blend of science, thrills, humor and excitement that Crichton brought to the craft. He will be dearly missed. (He is the second of my favorite authors to have died this year, following the (cowardly; that's right, I said it) suicide of David Foster Wallace.)