Andromeda Strain, The

Michael Crichton
The United States government is given a warning by the pre-eminent biophysicists in the country: current sterilization procedures applied to returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere.Two years later, seventeen satellites are sent into the outerfringes of space to "collect organisms and dust for study." One of them falls to earth, landing in a desolate area of Arizona.Twelve miles from the landing site, in the town of Piedmont,a shocking discovery is made: the streets are littered with the dead bodies of the town's inhabitants, as if they dropped dead in their tracks.


Reviewed: 2017-02-08
Reviewed: 2016-06-24
This was my first Crichton book, and I have to say, I wasn't terribly impressed. I know, I know, this is a Science Fiction Classic, but I just kept waiting for something to happen.

I suppose if I was a scientist, or a biologist, I wouldn't feel that way. Probably, if I was a researcher, I would have found this book riveting, fascinating and terrifying. As a human of roughly average intelligence, I found it none of those things, and I felt like I should have.

The premise is excellent: a satellite returning to Earth brings back an alien substance that causes the rapid death of everyone in town except two; researchers rush to find a cause and/or cure. Scary because it could potentially happen. Awesome. I like plague stories, and this sort of fit, like rounded corners on the square peg- it'll still make it through the square hole, but it's not an exact fit.

I'd wanted to see the movie for a long, long time, but I held out until I could read the book first. Unfortunately, now that I've read the book, I'm not too sure I want to see the movie. I just kept flipping to the back cover of the book where the Pittsburgh Press is quoted as saying the book is "Relentlessly suspenseful... A hair-raising experience." and the San Antonio Express-News calls it a "Crackerjack of a novel... Filled with gut-wrenching tension". Yeah, I didn't get any of that. After quite a lot of experiments, and explanations of experiments, theories and explanations of theories, etc, I was just ready for the suspense to start. I flew through the last 25 pages, which I will admit were getting exciting, but the end of the book left me very unsatisfied. Very. I'd see the movie now only because I'm curious as to how they kept the audience's attention.

The characters didn't seem to be well fleshed-out, so when they FINALLY saw some danger, I was concerned, but not overly. I understand that this was Crichton's first novel, so it's understandable that the characters were just characters. I hope that his later books improved upon this. It just seemed to me that the book focused more on the scientific than the human aspects, and that's not my cup of tea. I like a bit of excitement and entertainment with my science-fiction.
Item Posts
No posts