Jurassic Park and The Lost World practically defined my childhood and opened me up to the wonders of storytelling. Reading his books was not like reading a story, but getting lost in an alternate reality, something I think we all aspire to. He was one of the greats.
I rank Jurassic Park up there in the top ten commercial thrillers written in the last fifty years. I've enjoyed several others.
One really rare quirk he had was no inner monolog, or so I recall. Perhaps that's one reason why the criticism included that his novels read like screenplays. Knowing him I'm sure he had a well-thought-out theory for not using that tool. Hammett didn't use any in The Glass Key, and he considered that his finest work (although I think he was greatly mistaken on that point).
I posted a note at The Rap Sheet - as this is aweful
This is just terrible news, really terrible news. I have followed Mr Crichton's work for many years and even have a UK first edition of THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN - a book that got me excited about science. In fact Crichton was one of the reasons that I studied science. He influenced the direction of my life.
I never got to meet him, and now curse at missing him last time he was in London when he came over to promote STATE OF FEAR. I had been invited by HarperCollins to a reception after a signing in the West End. Unfortunatley there was a major clash in my diary as Crichton was over only for the weekend. I had to miss the event, and now I will never have the chance to tell him how important his work was to me.
I also wanted to tell him this story.
There had been a gap in Crichton's publishing - due his movie work, then in either 1989 or 1990 my wife had a friend over the weekend and wanted me to take them to a huge mall that had opened in the area for a days shopping.
I cursed as I hated shopping, but on entry to the mall, I noticed a bookshop 'Dillons' and in a big window display was a stack of 'JURASSIC PARK' by Michael Crichton. I got so excited and bought the book and told my wife and her friend to take their time shopping as I was going back to the car to read. They laughed at my excitement as I was raving - A NEW MICHAEL CRICHTON NOVEL I roared running back to the car.
Anyway, 6 hours later my wife and friend came back to the car loaded with the clothes they bought. I was on the last chapter and told them to please get a coffee while I finshed my book.
When they returned, my wife sensed my excitement. I was raving that one of my favourite writers, and a main reason why I studied science at university had written the most amazing book. She asked me what it was about - when I told her the plot about the genetic cloning of dinosaurs, she replied in a statement that I often replay at dinner parties -
"Ali, that sounds such a stupid idea, you read such rubbish, that will never sell, in fact that's why your own writing is always rejected, you read and write such uncommercial tripe. What a stupid idea, genetic cloning of dinosaurs indeed, I expect to see the book in remainder bins within a month....."
The rest they say is history
Mr Crichton, a salute to you.
Your books, screenplays, films and of course your hieght made you a special man - You stood as tall in your writing as you did in your stature.
You will be missed by many, but from this scientist - you changed my life.
Kind of a strange anecdote. I mentioned to a good friend from Wausau, WI last night that Crichton had recently died. She told me that Crichton's dad was a best college buddy of her parents and had stood up in their wedding. As long as my friend could remember, her mother had used this old, tattered birth announcement the friend had sent them as her favorite bookmark, for literally decades. It was Michael Crichton's birth announcement. Her mother died two summers ago and has no idea what happened to it at this point.