Saturday, 3 September 2011

Michael Crichton - keeping the angels enthralled

Believe it or not, I only just found out that John Michael Crichton had passed away, back in November 2008. I somehow missed this very sad news, and maybe just didn't realize it because books kept appearing. What a sad loss, a genuine person who could inspire and make us think about possibilities and choices that face us in the near future. He was one of my biggest influences, since I first saw and then read the Andromeda Strain, then later Westworld, then Jurassic Park etc. I was actually penning a novel about invasive nannites when Prey came out. I read it in a weekend and binned my part-started novel - no way I could compete. I still think about State of Fear, not only in relation to climate change, but generally - I'm sure if he was still around he would have pushed out a novel about the global economic disasters we keep hitting, and would show us what is really going wrong with our financial system - and make it exciting too!

I always thought of his books and films as 'techno-thriller' rather than science fiction, though the line between the two is hazy. But I loved the way he paced his novels, how they were sassy and well-researched, and how his central characters were always understated heroes - and most of all how he made it all seem so possible, vivid like a film, and so close to reality. So when I wrote my first novel, even though it borders slightly more on the Scifi side, I tried to do the same, and was 'chuffed' when someone wrote back to me saying how it reminded her of Michael Crichton.

I was also sad to hear he died of cancer - I have people close to me who have had it, some made it through, some not. All of them are heroes to me, as are those who look after them, and in the sad cases, survive them. So in my second book, due November, mankind finally finds a cure. Probably if I had one wish, that would be it - let us find a cure for this dreadful, often random disease.

So, a little late, I know, but I'd like to dedicate the book to his memory. No doubt he's up there with the angels, keeping them all enthralled.

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