Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008

Michael Crichton, 1942-2008

It would take half a dozen obituaries to do Crichton justice. He was a movie director (Westworld) and a TV producer (ER), and oh, yes, a Harvard-trained doctor. (He was also a towering 6 ft. 9 in. tall.) But those were sidelines compared to his career as a novelist, the author of The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park and more than a dozen others. All told, he sold over 100 million books. A skeptic and a contrarian, Crichton pioneered the techno-thriller, the genre that epitomizes the 20th century's fascination with, and suspicion of, the relentless advance of science. Crichton was fascinated by technology and computers even as he warned us, often with uncanny prescience, of how little we could do to control them.

Lev Grossman