Micro

MicroMicro by Michael Crichton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Micro” is a typical example of the late Michael Crichton books – like Prey and Next. The pattern is the same – an emerging science topic, a start-up and a crime. As usual the book is to be read in one breath – I personally started it at 11 pm and read until 5:30 in the morning. 🙂
The book however has its flaws. The main topic is almost the same as the one in (view spoiler)[Fantastic Voyage. The micro world is really well described. (hide spoiler)] There is a really great number of movies and books and it is hard to come up with something unseen and unheard of. Because of that I hate it when in some comments in IMDB for example someone is shouting TOTAL RIPOFF OF THE LITTLE RED RIDINGHOOD! THE WOLF WAS TALKING THERE TOO!!! Still the fact, that there were two editions of (view spoiler)[Isaac Asimov’s Fantastic Voyage (hide spoiler)] with the same topic makes Micro a bit unoriginal. The other thing that bothers me is that for a guy that writes about the dangers of modern technologies and human stupidity Crichton has quite a conservative view of the world, like someone watching only Fox News. For me it was irritating to read something like “yes, we in the USA are not perfect, but imagine this weapon in the hands of dictators or terrorists!”. I don’t expect everyone to be “hippie pinky commie” apologist, but still to have this in the book almost smells like Pentagon dollars. And we have enough propaganda on Fox Crime and the like with brave Three Letter Agency agents valiantly fighting the evil people who hate Americans for their freedom. When you have a terrible new weapon and contracts with the military complex and the only bad guy is a lonely heartless corporate asshole (still what an asshole!) reminds of the concrete-minded party members of the former communist countries, who are convinced that the system is perfect and can not be criticized and only single individuals can be blamed.
Enough of that, the book is not political in any way, it is just either less realistic or with hidden agenda. The latter I started to suspect after Crichton wrote State of Fear.
The characters are an interesting bunch of young scientists and one extremely irritating egoistical moron who is studying how the others make science and is always against everything, provoking meaningless discussions on philosophical topics like Umberto Eko saying this or Cundera saying that. The strange thing about him is that on the one hand he is described as annoying and everything he does is against my instinct for right or decent and on the other hand he seems to have the sympathies of the author(s). Almost at the beginning of the book I was already waiting for him to be killed in an ugly and violent way. Yes, he is THAT irritating!
A nice thing, breaking the usual plot pattern is that the authors don’t have scruples about (view spoiler)[killing main characters(view spoiler)[. From a crime perspective there are no surprises, which is another weak point.
So, to summarize:
story – well told, captivating, crime thriller aspect not developed enough
characters – interesting, some development, not clear good guy/bad guy, but more cold reality than moral – bad things happening to good people, bad people walk away unharmed
message – almost none. There is supposed to be a message about human understanding of nature, undeserved human self-confidence, but actually I don’t see a clear message
topic – not very original both compared to Crichton’s other books of and to books of other authors.
world – excellent description of the fast paced California style start-up world, great description of the micro-world, a little naive/conservative macro-political world. (hide spoiler)]
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