Best known for five-minutes-into-the-future science thrillers like Jurassic Park and Andromeda Strain, biogeek author Michael Crichton has died. The 66-year-old, who was also behind major media hits like medico-drama ER, authored several works of science fiction such as Congo, Sphere, Next, and underrated cyborg revolt movie Westworld. He had been struggling privately with cancer for several years, his family revealed. Though he preferred to keep this struggle out of the spotlight, Crichton's recent novel Next did include a subplot about a cancer survivor whose genes are harvested by an evil biotech company. Many of Crichton's novels were made into movies, though none were as successful as Jurassic Park. One of the trademarks of Crichton's style is clean prose, fast pacing, and impeccably-researched biotech speculation. A former doctor, Crichton's first novel Andromeda Strain actually has several pages of bibliographic notes. He also delved into politics with some novels, dealing with a sexual harassment case in Disclosure that was so strange that it might as well have been science fiction. And in Airframe, he explored how an airline accident is misinterpreted by scandal-loving media. Crichton brought a realism to biotech science fiction that hadn't existed before he began writing in the early 1970s, and his influence lives on in scifi-inflected genome thrillers like Species and medical detective franchises like House. Michael Crichton Dies [via ET]
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I applaud your use of scare quotes, Annalee. Even in Obama's America, death remains mandatory.