I never take the synopsis from the cover of a book but, alas, there is a first time for everything.  First book I’ve read by Crichton and so the first time I’ll let the jacket speak for the pages before I do:

Is a loved one missing some body parts?  Are blondes becoming extinct?  Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species?  Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why a chimp fetus resembles a human being?  And should that worry us?  There’s a new genetic cure for drug addiction – is it worse than the disease?

We live in a time of momentous scientific leaps, a time when it’s possible to sell our eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars and to test our spouses for genetic maladies.

We live in a time when one fifth of all our genes are owned by someone else, and an unsuspecting person and his family can be pursued cross-counry because they happen to have certain valuable genes within their chromosomes…

The format of this book is pretty interesting.  Lots of very short chapters, each from different character’s perspectives and ALL make some point relevant to the above ideals by the end.  Admittedly I found it a bit tiring about a third of the way in as I really have a thing about having a sense of where a story is going instead of something akin to what Heller dealt out in Catch – 22; but it got there.  Shortly after that irritation set in I was taken on a ride I couldn’t stop, nor did I want to.  I needed to know.  Part of this is absolutely driven by my passionate views against the patenting of genes for reasons the book actually gets into and another was just the curiosity of how it all winds up connecting.

As with so many books by darlings of the publishing industry there are things that ultimately, for the story, didn’t need to be in there HOWEVER all of the material went to make a point and boy were those points illuminating.  The prose is very simplistic and not at all literary, he tells instead of shows, takes us out of points of view to explain the scientific stuff many people probably don’t know (myself included) and still his thoughts are critical, arguments are sound and at no point does it feel as though he’s preaching.  So curious about what he had included in the work I actually read through all the Author’s Notes in the back and can assure you it is something one should endeavor to do.

It’s what I would consider to be intellectual pop fiction.  It asks the reader to question and think about some things they might otherwise not and that, in my opinion, is always worth a read.


13 responses to “Next

  • jessicabookworm

    Kimberly my interest is peeked! I know I know the name Michael Crichton but have never read any of his work. As you know by now though I do like an educational read as well an entertaining one. I may have to mull this one over.

    • kimberlyloomis

      Jessica, I would definitely recommend it. I selfishly gave into my son’s desires to watch “Thomas & Friends” so I could finish the book. 😉

  • Chris

    I’ve read this, and several other titles my Crichton. He’s definitely a great scifi author, and as you said, does a great job of providing actually educational technical information without losing you in it, so it really magnifies the impact of the storyline.

    I’d definitely recommend any of his book if you want something a little more fun to read but isn’t just mindless drivel. A lot of his books have been done into movies, Jurassic Park, Andromeda Strain, etc.

    • kimberlyloomis

      Chris – I truly had no idea how fun and informative of an author he was. Now that I do I went out and bought two more of his books to add to our library. “Jurassic Park” and “State of Fear”. 🙂

  • DL Hammons

    Chrichton has been hit or miss for me. I’ve not read this one and it looks interesting, but the last one I read of his (can’t remember title – I wonder why) disappointed me.

    • kimberlyloomis

      He wrote so much I’d be surprised if there weren’t a few that were sub-par. A few people I know didn’t particularly get into the first post humus release “Pirate Latitudes” so I’ve decided to not read that one for a bit. Will let you know how the other two I picked up wind up going. 🙂

  • Emily Ann

    Leaving the reader thinking is one of the best signs a book is well written!
    As to simple prose, some people can do it and some people sound choppy.

    • kimberlyloomis

      Emily Ann – There were some sections that had me cringing due to that choppiness but, honestly, those areas weren’t horrible and so brief and infrequent it wasn’t too much of an issue. Never did I think I wouldn’t finish it and that last half kept me turning pages. He had a very impressive intellect near as I can tell and it was communicated aptly without over reaching into that realm of dictating to the reader what the “right” conclusion was. The language wasn’t artful but the storytelling was top notch. 🙂

  • Joy

    Don’t think I’ve read anything by Chrichton, but you made it sound interesting, despite the drawbacks.

    • kimberlyloomis

      I was actually so impressed I bought a couple more of his books. Will see how those go but I anticipate some very interesting science and a fun/intense plot. 🙂

  • Elena

    Great review. I actually found this a little too didactic for my taste. (Also, I read it after already reading Jurassic Park and Timeline by Crichton — it’s hard to measure up to Jurassic Park!)

    This was actually the book that turned me off reading his work, and I think it’s really interesting that you’ve made a lot of the same observations that I did, but the things you enjoyed seemed to irritate me for some reason.

    Enjoy Jurassic Park! It’s pretty freaking aweome 😛

    • kimberlyloomis

      Elena – Thanks! I actually have Jurassic Park on my TBR shelf (along with loads more)! I’ve been thinking I’d tackle it when I finish Watership Down. 😀

  • Books that Have Influenced me the Most « The Perpetual Writer

    […] Some runners up:  Oath of the Renunciates, Borges and the Eternal Orangutans, Wuthering Heights, Lord of the Rings, and Next. […]

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