Crichton is a go-to for captivating "what if" technological thrillers, and he can embed his strong and well-researched messages of technology ethics in the plot without seeming overly preachy.
The novel is written as a cautionary tale on the risks involved in nanotechnology and programming machines based on predator-prey algorithms and distributed intelligence. However it isn’t a dry read by any means. It really is one of those books that once you start reading it you can’t put it down. It hasn’t been made into a movie yet as far as I know but it read almost like a novel written with an eye to selling the movie rights. Apparently 20th Century Fox bought them. There are the ethnic characters in the mix that conform to ethnic stereotypes, Rosie the hot Latina, Mae the shy cerebral Oriental woman. SPOILERS AHEAD! The hero (and heroine) destroy the menacing swarms against all odds, but in real life faced by such a menace any rational person would have brought in the authorities. This might not have made for such a page-turner of a novel, but it certainly would have made for a more believable one. Although Crichton keeps repeating how rapidly self-reproducing swarms may evolve and advance the developments he shows defy belief. The chapter at the end that is supposed to wrap up all the loose ends doesn’t really do so. We never find out why Jack’s wife Julia had her car accident; it seems it was just a device thrown in to keep her away from the Nevada fabrication plant until the climax of the book.
Nevertheless, I would recommend the book. Crichton has a delightful sense of humour. I particularly liked Julia’s reference to a pair of high heels as her f—k me shoes.
This book was a really great read. The techno-jargon wasn't too heavy, and was always translated into something more easily understood. I feel it is a good book for early sci-fi readers.
I'm not usually into books where the storyline is based on tech, and at first was going to put this one down. I'm glad I read through it. It held my interest throughout, even though it was predictable by the last third or so. Shades of Aliens in one particular section...
I think this is one of Crichton's best. His ability to translate boring scientific language into something understandable to all readers, and even more, something exciting, never ceases to amaze me
Readable work, yet not one of Crichton's best. A good portion of the story is tecnho-jargon, and it is pretty easy to figure out what is going to happen well before the end of the book. I kept waiting for a little bit more excitement, anything more "crichton" but it never quite materialized. I wouldn't tell someone to skip it, but I'd remind them that this book isn't his best.
The story has a considerable amount of technical jargon, whether it is true, or part of the fiction, there simply is too much of it. Also some of the characters reactions, particularly to the death of friends and relatives, is surreal..the author doesn't include real life emotion to such tragedy...just an OK novel in my opinion.
Pretty good. It was interesting enough, and it made me want to read more of his books. Not outstanding, but definitely readable.
I would say this has to be his worst. I have most of his books and he is one of my favourite authors, but when I read this I was thoroughly disappointed. Skip this one.
A good science fiction thriller. Hard to put down. Could this happen? Scary.
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