Next, What a mess

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I just finished reading Next by Michael Crichton. He is one of my favorite authors, but this book really left a lot to be desired. While I do have to say that I read the book pretty fast and I wanted to keep going, I think it was mostly to see if he could untangle the mess he had created.

The first issue I encountered is that I could not keep the characters straight. Initially I thought it was because he was introducing to many, then later I realized that, while all of the mini stories were connected, they did not flow. I ended up not caring for any character in particular, there was no real hero, no real victim, no real redemption, no main story.

The book tries to bring genetics to the forefront of our mind, but it does so in a very disjointed way. I don’t feel like he was thinking of the reader when he wrote the book, or at least not the average reader. One of the things I have always loved about Crichton is that he makes science seem easy, but in this book we feel very removed from he actual science, catching only glimpses of it. If genetics was to be the main character of the book, it was an elusive character that never quite came to the forefront of the story.

I blame Google for the spastic nature of the book. Imagine someone doing a search on Google about genetics and then trying to fit every link that came back in the first page into a book.

I do not recommend this book, but if you want to read Crichton start with Timeline or Airframe; both are way better written. I am sad to say that this book ended up being an spaghetti bowl that I expected to find meatballs inside of, I searched and searched and in the end I ended up with a bunch of noodles that filled me up, but I did not really enjoy.

3 comments on “Next, What a mess

  1. Have been reading Crichton since I was a boy, starting with (Andromeda Strain”.

    While his level of quality has been inconsistent, I have enjoyed most of them. Haven’t gotten to this one or “Airframe” yet tho.

  2. The problem with Crichton these days is he’s writing novels to be easily adapted into screenplays. Read Timeline and you can almost see him putting the director’s instructions on where to place the cameras. Same thing here….

  3. I read a few Crichton books back in high school but the inconsistency killed me. There was one book out of four I actually enjoyed, and even with that one I had to trudge through a bunch of nonsense chapters to get through.

    I know he’s a respected writer, I can’t knock his skill. There’s just something about his style that turns me off. I’ve never been able to place why, but I don’t force myself when there are plenty of other authors and books out there to enjoy.

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