The Passing of a Legend: Michael Crichton

The Passing of a Legend: Michael Crichton

The Passing of a Legend: Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton didn’t win a Pulitzer or a national book award for his writings, however, his books sold as many as 150 million copies around the globe. There is no doubt that Crichton contributed to a healthier world in more ways than one!

   

His movie and TV credits were equally as impressive including Jurassic Park and the successful television series ER and his new novel was scheduled to be released in a month or so but he died unexpectedly. Michael Crichton, the great author and film director died of cancer on November 4, 2008. The unexpected death of Crichton stunned his fans, critics and media all over the world. Reaction came up from various sources.

The New York Times said, “Reviewers often complained that Mr. Crichton’s characters were wooden, that his ear for dialogue was tin and that his science was suspect. Environmentalists raged against his skeptical views on climate change, first expressed in the 2004 novel, “State of Fear,” and subsequently in various public forums. Even his severest critics, however, confessed to being seduced by his plots and unable to resist turning the pages, rapidly”.

Crichton was an elegant writer of technology related thrillers. He spoke about the consequences of misuse and misunderstanding of science and nature. He also unveiled the adverse effects of too-much dependence on scientific advances. Regarding Crichton’s works, USA Today pointed out, “In Jurassic Park, Crichton posed warnings about what could happen if dinosaurs were once again allowed to roam Earth. In The Andromeda Strain, he preached caution when dealing with bacteria and biological agents. In State of Fear, he pondered the dangers of politicizing scientific issues such as global warming. And in Prey, he mulled the hazards inherent in artificial intelligence”.

Crichton was born in Chicago on October 23, 1942.  His father was a journalist and editor of a magazine. His first write-up appeared in the travel section of the New York Times, when he was just 14. He became a doctor, acquiring his MD from the Harvard Medical School in 1969. “He helped pay his way through medical school by writing mysteries, including A Case of Need, written under the pen name Jeffrey Hudson, which won the 1969 Edgar Award for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America”, revealed USA Today. In his writing career, Crichton was influenced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In 2006, Crichton's last novel, Next, was released. Next was centered on transgenic animals [animals with genes introduced from a separate organism] and expressed Crichton’s concerns over the cutting-edge genetic technologies. The novel attracted audiences as well as media attention including criticism calling Next an extension of the arguments Crichton made in his earlier novels in 90’s, Jurassic Park and The Lost World. Crichton’s 2004 novel, State Of Fear, also fueled serious adverse reactions. In this novel, he suggested that it is a speculation, not fact that global warming is caused by human activities.

The 90's was the most glorious decade for Crichton’s career. “In quick succession in the early 1990s, Michael Crichton's novel Disclosure was No. 1 on the U.S. best-seller charts; the film Jurassic Park, based on another of his novels and on whose screenplay he worked uncredited, was America's top-grossing film; and the television series ER, which he created, was the best-rated program on U.S. television”.

According to the British newspaper The Guardian, in an obituary on Crichton, “At his peak, he was earning tens of millions of dollars a year, but he rarely slowed down his pace of work, once claiming to have as many as 30 ideas for books ‘buzzing around in my brain’ at any time”.

Crichton’s writing style was appropriate for films, because, his novels were mainly plot-driven, attractive to audiences, and crafted on a base of highly-fascinating techno-thrillers. As a result, his books and screenplays created Hollywood films. He was highly successful as a film director and pioneered the use of computer-generated special effects.

Thank you Michael Crichton for contributing to A Healthier World.


Stacy Matson is a health enthusiast from Southern California and regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.

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