Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “michael crichton”

narfna’s #CBR4 Review #06: Sphere by Michael Crichton

Sphere is a frustrating book (not as good as Jurassic Park, better than Congo). I really liked the premise behind it, and even the way it all played out at the end, but it dragged out a bit too long, and the real kicker, I didn’t care a thing about any of the characters. You’d think I’d care after spending 371 pages with them, but nope. Didn’t care at all.

A handpicked team trained to deal with the threat of first contact with alien life heads to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to examine a spaceship that appears to have crash landed there at least three hundred years before. But when they get there, the ship is empty, and it doesn’t appear to be alien after all . . . except for a large black sphere found in a robotic arm deep in the bowels of the ship. With the team stuck at the bottom of the ocean, the threat the sphere poses becomes very, very real.

My favorite thing about Michael Crichton books is all that applied technobabble he’s so good at, and there’s plenty of that to be found in Sphere. Black holes, submarines, time travel, a three hundred plus year old ship buried at sea, a mysterious sphere that won’t open, and psychology psychobabble on top of all that . . . it’s all good. And the more he technobabbles about it, the more I like it. Good premise and technobabble aside, meh. It’s not good when the best part about a book is the technobabble, is what I’m saying. The characters are more like cardboard cutouts than people, and while I enjoyed reading it at the time, it’s not something I can ever see myself revisiting.

[Link to original review here.]

taralovesbooks’ #CBR4 Review #4: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Cannonball Read IV: Book #4/52
Published: 1991
Pages: 480 (1,751 total pages this year)
Genre: Fiction/Thriller

I am terrified of dinosaurs. I frequently have nightmares where they take over my house and eat me. My friend convinced me to ride the Dinosaur ride at Disney World in college and I actually huddled in a ball on the floor of the ride sobbing. I fully blame my 3rd grade teacher for showing the class Jurassic Park in school. Hm…showing a freaking terrifying PG-13 movie to a bunch of 8-year-olds without parental permission? Yayyyyy public school in the 90s! Anyways, even though I was traumatized as a child, I now absolutely love Jurassic Park.

I read the book sometime back in college and loved it. I’m one of those people who can read a book or watch a movie and immediately forgot almost everything about it except whether I liked it or hated it. Therefore I have no problems re-reading books because I generally have forgotten almost everything besides the basic plot. This irritates my husband to no end because it means I can watch a movie 400 times and not get tired of it.

Okay, back to Jurassic Park (the book)I’m pretty sure everyone knows the plot — crazy, rich, old man recreates dinosaurs from DNA to open a dino theme park. Things don’t go as planned and the dinosaurs get out and eat people. Main characters include paleobotanist grad student Ellie Saddler, paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant, pre-hipster hipster mathematician Ian Malcolm, crazy old man’s grandkids, Tim and Lex, and a few other minor characters.

Read the rest of my review in my blog…

taralovesbooks’ #CBR4 Review #3: Congo by Michael Crichton

Cannonball Read III: Book #3/52
Published: 1980
Pages: 496 (1,271 total pages this year)
Genre: Fiction/Thriller

In Congo, an American technology company sends a team deep into the Congo rainforest to find a lost city that supposedly has a blue diamond mine. The first team doesn’t fare to well and are all killed by having their skulls crushed. So, another team is sent out to figure out what happened. Turns out there are some crazy killer gorillas out in the middle of the Congo.
It is a Crichton book, so of course there’s a lot of scientific mumbo-jumbo that I couldn’t understand if I tried. Somehow Crichton figured out how to make a scientific thriller readable to just about anyone. I still can’t figure out his secret, but I just keep reading his books despite my hatred for science. However, somewhere along the line he did figure out how to better balance the science with the rest of the book. This one was much less dry than some of his earlier works.

Taralovesbooks’ #CBR4 Review #2: The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Cannonball Read III: Book #2/52
Published: 1969
Pages: 327 (775 total pages this year)
Genre: Fiction/Thriller

I guess I’m on a Michael Crichton kick (I just started Congo). I’ve had this book for a while, but never picked it up. I love biological terror books (The Hot Zone, The Stand), but somehow never got around to reading The Andromeda Strain. I assumed it would be more like The Stand, with it being fictional and all, however, it was more scientifically driven like the non-fiction The Hot Zone.

Basically, the government has been sending satellites to outer space to bring back foreign organisms. They have a very elaborate plan in motion just in case a satellite brings back a biological disease that effects humans. It involves a small scientific team being summoned to a remote, high tech lab in the middle of a Nevada desert to figure out what they’re dealing with. The plan (dubbed “Wildfire”) goes into effect once a disease-carrying satellite crashes down into small Piedmont, Arizona, killing the entire 68-person population.

Read the rest of my review in my blog.

Taralovesbooks’ #CBR4 Review #1: Micro by Michael Crichton & Richard Preston

Cannonball Read III: Book #1/52
Published: 2011
Pages: 448 (448 total pages this year)
Genre: Fiction/Thriller

I haven’t read any Crichton in a while and I read and loved Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone several years ago, so I figured I’d give Crichton’s newest posthumous novel a try.

The premise isn’t THAT original (especially to us who grew up during “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and all 750 sequels), but it still kept my interest. Seven grad students from Massachusetts accept an invitation to visit the mysterious Nanigen Microtechnologies corporation in Hawaii. While there, they find out what Nanigen is really working on– they figured out how to shrink people and are sending them out on expeditions to discover microscopic species and data that no regular humans could see.

Read the full review in my blog!

Baxlala’s #CBR4 Review #1: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Everyone knows what this book is about, right? Because of the movie? Duh, DINOSAURS. You know the dinosaurs are coming but Crichton tries to stall for a while by saying some “strange lizards” are roaming around Costa Rica, biting children and eating the face off of a baby (TRUE STORY) but, I mean, there’s a picture of a dino-skeleton on the cover and, again, there’s the movie. The book delves much more into the science of the thing, as if Crichton was preemptively all, “no, wait, this is seriously possible!” which…dude, I’m not worried about it. I just want to read a story about modern day dinosaurs. Save your amphibian DNA nonsense for Ross Geller.

Jurassic Park, the movie, came out when I was 11, and so I spent most of my tween and teen (and beyond!) years watching the hell out of it. I eventually read the book once I got to high school, but it just didn’t make the same impression as the movie. Maybe I should have listened to the John Williams score while reading it, I don’t know. There are significant differences between the book and the movie, the most jarring, I think, is that in the book Tim is the oldest, the dinosaur-lover, AND the computer nerd. Book!Lex is younger and…um, likes baseball. In truth, Book!Lex is pretty annoying and only serves to be really loud and cough at inopportune times. I’m so very glad they gave Lex something to do in the movie, even if she does spend a significant amount of time whining. Still, I’d like to see how you react after almost being eaten by a T-Rex.

The other significant (to me) difference is that Grant and Sattler in the book? Not together. Broke my little shipper heart. Book!Grant is 50-something widower, rugged and burly and prone to wearing Hawaiian shirts, and Sattler is a 24-year-old scientist engaged to some doctor in Chicago. Boo! I rejected all knowledge of this as I read and left Sam Neill and Laura Dern as my stand-ins for the characters, which I highly recommend.

I feel bad that I keep saying the movie is better because obviously the book is still awesome. Come on, it’s about dinosaurs! At a theme park! And things go all haywire! Plus, and I think this is something the book really has going for it, there are about a billion more velociraptors than in the movie, including some adorable baby ones. Spielberg may have had all the money in the world at hand to make his movie but Crichton could write whatever the hell he wanted and it cost zero dollars for the reader to imagine it. You win this round, books!


I also blog at Long Story Short.

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