Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park and many other books, most of them popular techno-thrillers, has died at the age of 66. Funny, just the other day I was contemplating reading his latest novel, Next, as I looked around the bookshop at FACT in Liverpool. (I'm obviously a couple of years behind in my reading.)
I feel some ambivalence about Crichton's work, which has a strong anti-science, technophobic element running through it. But at the same time, I'm surprised by the way his novels are so often dismissed as if they were wooden and worthless. That's not my experience at all: I've always found them suspenseful and engaging, and have often devoured a long Crichton thriller in a single day, even when cursing at some aspects. My own handling of Kong Reborn was obviously patterned, to an extent, after the Jurassic Park series of books and movies, though without the strong streak of technophobia.
You can love Crichton's work or hate it - or you can gulp it down hungrily at the same time that it infuriates you. For me, his death is a sad loss.