We're speaking the same language, but you don't understand a word I'm saying, do you?

Published November 6, 2008

Michael Crichton died yesterday, and I don’t think I’d be lying if I said he was my favourite author of all time. I didn’t even know he was ill, which is so unusual in this day and age that it makes me like him even more.

Obviously the usual applies, with thoughts and feelings going out to his family, but on a purely selfish level, I’m sad that there will be no more books. Every novel I picked up I thought was going to be a nightmare to read, with so many scientific, technological, and futuristic plots. But Crichton has a way of making the complex understandable and from that it becomes enjoyable.

Here are my five favourite books that you should read if you haven’t already.

  1. Timeline. I loved this book the first time I read it, even though I couldn’t get my head around the time travel thing. So I read it again. And again. Now I think I understand, but don’t ask me to explain it to you, eh? The film is not as good as I hoped, but stays pretty true to the book.
  2. Jurassic Park. The book is actually pretty different to the film, but even the basic idea of bringing dinosaurs back to life is pure genius, and the rest just flows from there. The film itself is one of the only book-turned-big-screen transformations I actually like.
  3. Congo. A super intelligent gorilla who can communicate by sign language is taken back to the jungle as a team investigates a lost city. What’s not to like? I haven’t seen the film but apparently it’s not good.
  4. Disclosure. It made me really angry, actually, but in a good way. A book that can stir up emotions, especially in my heart of stone, is especially worth reading. Again, I haven’t seen the film but I think it’s quite a famous one.
  5. Sphere. This entire book is super spooky, with an alien spaceship found under the ocean. It’s not a new story, in that human beings are affected in ways they could never have imagined, but of course Crichton makes it his own. Once again, there’s a film which can also be pretty scary at times.

I don’t like all his work, and I haven’t read every single one. I just didn’t understand Airframe, so have scheduled that one to read again now I know someone who is clued up on planes. The Andromeda Strain left me unfulfilled, and The Great Train Robbery was just so different, I felt like I was missing something.

Even those I didn’t like were still enjoyable in terms of thought-provoking and fascinating subject matter. I would (and do) recommend Crichton’s works to everyone.

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