November 6, 2008

Remembering Michael Crichton

November 6, 2008 by Michael Hickerson

Best-selling writer Michael Crichton has passed away at the age of 66 according to the Associated Press. Crichton had been privately battling cancer according to his family.

Crichton wrote a string of New York Times best-selling novels including "Jurassic Park," "The Andromeda Strain," "Sphere," and "Timeline." Many of Crichton's novels were turned into movies with several of them being huge hits. "Jurassic Park" and "Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World" are among the most succesful films in Hollywood history and spawned a franchise for Universal Pictures.

Crichton also helped create the long-running televison series, "ER."

"Through his books, Michael Crichton served as an inspiration to students of all ages, challenged scientists in many fields, and illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way we could all understand," his family said in a statement.

"While the world knew him as a great storyteller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us — and entertained us all while doing so — his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes."

He's even had a dinosaur named for him, Crichton's ankylosaur.

"Michael's talent out-scaled even his own dinosaurs of `Jurassic Park,'" said "Jurassic Park" director Steven Spielberg, a friend of Crichton's for 40 years. "He was the greatest at blending science with big theatrical concepts, which is what gave credibility to dinosaurs again walking the Earth. Michael was a gentle soul who reserved his flamboyant side for his novels. There is no one in the wings that will ever take his place."

John Wells, executive producer of "ER" called the author "an extraordinary man. Brilliant, funny, erudite, gracious, exceptionally inquisitive and always thoughtful.

"No lunch with Michael lasted less than three hours and no subject was too prosaic or obscure to attract his interest. Sexual politics, medical and scientific ethics, anthropology, archaeology, economics, astronomy, astrology, quantum physics, and molecular biology were all regular topics of conversation."

Crichton's novels were designed to spark debate and controversy, from his exploration of sexual politics in "Disclosure" to his examination of global warming in "State of Fear." Crichton was working on a final novel that was scheduled for publication next month by Harper Collins. At this time, the book has been postponed.

Crichton was married five times and had one child. A private funeral is planned.


Crichton was probably the author I read the most in my lifetime and will continue to read until I've read everything he's written. His books were intelligent, scientifically accurate, well written, entertaining, intriguing, and he wrote characters that made us think that he was talking about real people! As a bonus, his books always made me investigate and question things. Now that he's gone... the world will be missing that careful blend of sci-fi, true science, storytelling and that eternal "what if" that he seemed to inject into each story. Needless to say, this geek will miss you sir...


PS. Crichton books I have read so far: Jurassic Park (2 times), The Lost World, Congo, and Timeline...

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