Is this possibly the worst plot device Michael Crichton has ever written?

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Is this possibly the worst plot device Michael Crichton has ever written?

I am currently reading "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton. In the book the heroes find themselves trapped in an ice crevasse in Antarctica, in temperatures we are told where only minutes exposed to the air will kill them.

Heroically they struggle out of the doomed machine and climb out of the crevasse, only to collapse in the snow on the way back to base camp. They are dying, there is nothing they can do, no one knows where they are or even that they are in trouble.

Then just on death, after some corny “life before your eyes” flashback, guess what rolls up, in a dangerous wasteland where there are no humans or life? A NASA robot. Just emerging out of thin air and never explained again.

What was Crichton thinking, or is this book just a poorly written potboiler following a formula plot?

This strikes me as one of the worst pieces of writing I have seen in ages.

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Extract from the book ...

Sarah fought to retain consciousness, but the desire it, sleep was becoming overpowering. She struggled to keep her eyes open and, to her astonishment,, began to see swift scenes from her life-her childhood, her mother, her kindergarten class, ballet lessons, the high school prom ...

Her whole life was passing before her. Just like the books said happened, right before you died. And when she looked up, she saw a light in the distance, just like they said happened. A light at the end of a long, dark tunnel ...
She couldn't fight it any longer. She lay down. She couldn't feel the ground anyway. She was lost in her own, private world of pain and exhaustion. And the light before her was growing brighter and brighter, and now there were two other lights, blinking yellow and green ...Yellow and green?

She fought the sleepiness. She tried to push herself upright again, but she couldn't. Her muscles were too weak, her arms blocks of frozen ice. She couldn't move.

Yellow and green lights, growing larger. And a white light in the center. Very white, like halogen. She was starting to see details through the swirling snow. There was a silver dome, and wheels, and large glowing letters. The letters said NASA.

She coughed. The thing emerged from the snow. It was some kind of small vehicle-about three feet high, no larger than those Sunday lawnmowers that people drove around on. It had big wheels and a flattened dome, and it was beeping as it came directly toward her.

In fact, it was going to drive right over her. She realized it without concern. She could do nothing to prevent it. She lay on the ground, dazed, indifferent. The wheels grew larger and larger. The last thing she remembered was a mechanical voice saying, "Hello. Hello. Please move out of the way. Thank you very much for your cooperation. Hello. Hello. Please move out of the way ..:'
And then nothing.

Out there on the ice, he had been certain he was going to die. How he found the strength to get to his feet, he did not know. He had felt Sarah kicking him, but he did not respond to her. Then he'd heard the beeping sound. And when he looked,up, he saw the letters "NASA:'

He'd realized vaguely that it was some kind of vehicle. So there must be a driver. The front tires had stopped just inches from his body. He managed to get to his knees, and haul himself up over the tires, grabbing onto the struts. He hadn't understood why the driver hadn't climbed out and helped him. Finally, he managed to get to his knees in the howling wind. He realized that the vehicle was low and bulbous, barely four feet off the ground. It was too small for any human operator-it was some kind of robot. He scraped snow away from the dome-like shell. The lettering read, "NASA Remote Vehicle Meteorite Survey."

The vehicle was talking, repeating a taped voice over and over. Evans couldn't understand what it was saying because of the wind. He brushed away the snow, thinking there must be some method of communication, some antenna, some
Then his fingers had touched a panel with a finger hole. He pulled it open. Inside he saw a telephone-a regular telephone handset, bright red. He held it to his frozen mask. He could not hear anything from it, but he said, "Hello? Hello?"

Nothing more.

He collapsed again.

But the nurses told him what he had done was enough to send a signal to the NASA station at Patriot Hills. NASA had notified Weddell, who sent out a search party, and found them in ten minutes. They were both still alive, barely.
By netchicken: posted on 3-11-2007

Whoa! I am not the only person not to like this book. Turns out popsci.com dislike his politics and distortion of science as well :)

To the dismay of the many scientists whose work and words are blatantly distorted within its pages, Michael Crichton’s new book, State of Fear, was still hanging around best-seller lists months after its debut. It even came up in debates on the Senate floor.

Science has always taken center stage in Crichton’s thrillers—The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, Prey—but recently he seems to be taking himself, and his ideas, a bit more seriously. State of Fear is the next step in Crichton’s transformation from storyteller to soothsayer, a novelized lecture on global warming complete with charts, graphs and footnotes.

The story hinges on a plot by callous environmentalists to initiate a series of natural disasters that will kill tens of thousands of people. Why? To convince the world that global warming is real. Genre-appropriate fare, to be sure.

But Crichton doesn’t intend this to be mere entertainment. He has appended to the novel an essay calling for free scientific inquiry and, rather inexplicably, a disjointed list of personal opinions on topics from safety (too much emphasis on it in our society), declining wilderness (we shouldn’t worry about it), people (they mean well), and cornflakes (they’re good for you but taste better with berries). (OK, so the last one is mine.)


 http://www.popsci.com/popsc...

and

 http://www.grist.org/advice...
By netchicken: posted on 3-11-2007

Yeah I read bits of this book. I found it pretty weird in the first few pages when some eco-terrorist woman sleeps with a lab tech and finally ends up killing him after using him.

It jumps at lot from one point to the other. I was pretty intriuged at the level of research he actually did. I mean there really is a sports store on the banks of the Thames and everything. I unfortunately couldnt finish it but apparently it got good reviews.
By IAF: posted on 3-11-2007








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