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Thread: State of Fear by Michael Crichton

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    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    State of Fear by Michael Crichton

    Techno-thriller Michael Crichton's (Jurassic Park, Timeline) latest novel. Love it? Hate it?
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

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    Livin' the life Dinahann's Avatar
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    Well darn! What do YOU think, phat?

    I read the book and swallowed his theory, hook line and sinker, partly because I find MC such a fascinating, intelligent sort of guy on a myriad of subjects. I mean, why would someone push a hidden agenda in guise of a novel? Okay, I'm being disingenuous.

    I do think this novel is an antidote to the movie The Day After Tomorrow, and I agree that the media plays on the fears of the average, not-so-well-informed public. Is it an organized and thought out campaign to manipulate the masses? I don't think so. I don't know about the media in other countries, but I think that the American media is prone to hysteria and sensationalist coverage to boost ratings.

    The characters are lackluster and interchangeable, and I can see Sam Neal doing his classic double take as Kenner, the good-at-heart-but-woefully-misinformed lawyer. The book had the feel of a college lecture gone awry. MC had good intentions, I've no doubt, but the end result can be a bit hard to swallow.

    The point of interest to me is that MC is promoting a viewpoint I hadn't heard before. I've always assumed that global warming was a scientific fact. I guess I was led by the media, those pesky rumormongers!

    Here are some reviews from leading newspapers: http://www.reviewsofbooks.com/state_of_fear/

    I found it interesting that some of the reviewers acted as if MC was attacking them personally as members of the media. Some loved it, while others thought it was a political statement. And maybe it was.
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    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Dinah, I was a reporter once upon a time, so, yes, maybe I have a vested interest in defending American journalism, but any author, any filmmaker, any public wag who points a finger at the media is instantly suspect to me. I can't speak for other reporters, but I can say that when I researched a story, I researched it from every angle.

    I find scum like Bernie Goldberg and Ann Coulter instantly suspect: Don't like what you see in the papers? Well, there's an easy answer for that: Shoot the messenger. Cast doubt and suspicion on the papers, and get your ditto-heads to do the same, and in that way, you don't have to debate them on the level of what's being discussed, you debate the validity of the media at large. Clever, but scumbag, tactic.

    Crichton is not an entirely original thinker. He just reads a bunch of stuff and gets his characters to spit back his research in the form of "dialogue." And I don't believe for one second that he looked at his research with an open mind. I think he had an idea what he wanted to say and then simply found a bunch of research to back it up. And that is the worst corruption of the Scientific Method he claims to hold so dear.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

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    FORT Fan annimal's Avatar
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    so after reading those reviews...still wondering...can't firgure out...to a person who enjoys his books for mindless reading...would you recommend it?

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    Livin' the life Dinahann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat32

    Crichton is not an entirely original thinker. He just reads a bunch of stuff and gets his characters to spit back his research in the form of "dialogue." And I don't believe for one second that he looked at his research with an open mind. I think he had an idea what he wanted to say and then simply found a bunch of research to back it up. And that is the worst corruption of the Scientific Method he claims to hold so dear.
    So you DIDN'Tlike it - don't beat around the bush!

    If someone says "I believe totally in global warming" doesn't that make them just as biased as MC saying the whole thing's a crock? And he doesn't do that, really. In the appendix he says that there just isn't enough good information to make a decision either way. I think the main point he was trying to make is that the media is biased and prone to sensationalism. Heck, I believe that (but not about you, phat). I do believe it's okay to tell a story that way. The sticky thing is that he says he doesn't have an agenda, and whether or not you believe him is up to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by annimal
    so after reading those reviews...still wondering...can't figure out...to a person who enjoys his books for mindless reading...would you recommend it?
    Do you like MC? Obviously State of Fear not one of phat's favorites ( ) I've enjoyed all his fiction works, albeit some more than others, and I've read them all. This is admittedly not one of his better efforts as far as charactor development goes, but the plot is bang-up.

    to the FoRT, and to the books forum. It's great to have another fellow reader to post with!
    Well I was born in a small town
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  6. #6
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinahann
    So you DIDN'Tlike it - don't beat around the bush!
    Dinahann, wanna hear something funny? I'm about 80 percent of the way through it now, and I like it a lot more now that it's an adventure yarn.

    MC is better when he's writing a globetrotting, high-tech thriller than when he's standing on a soapbox with his hand on his heart. Crichton took a while to clear his throat with this one (until Kenner and Evans headed out for Antarctica, in this case), but, finally, the novel works.

    As I read about (no spoilers) the lightning strikes and the floods, though, I thought about what Paulie said about Timeline (Crichton doesn't write books; he writes screenplays in novel form) and thought it was so, so true. (I keep trying to cast the movie in my mind.)

    Although I wonder if Martin Sheen is eventually going to file a libel suit against Crichton, it's a fun, mindless read.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

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    FORT Fan annimal's Avatar
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    Thanks for the welcome...got an avid reader here for sure....i am obessive and go through at least 3 books a week...

    so it sounds like i might want to pass on this, generally i enjoy MC - but from the looks of this, not that great. perhaps i will pick it up in paper back or in the bargain bins at some point

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    FORT Fan evilgemini's Avatar
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    doesn't seem like anyone's posted here in a while, but if anyone's out there...
    i'm a huge crighton fan and i loved timeline, but i agree this book is a bit slapdash. the hokey plot exposition and pysuedo-science dialog gets a bit tired -- regardless of your views on global warming, it just isn't a well written book. on the other hand, i've been interested in the prepoderance of environmental misconceptions (and lies) for a while and I guess crichton is the man to broaden the conversation. still, michael, the bad guys are environmentalists who are trying to blow up the world? you've been spending too much time in hollywood, my friend.

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    Organizing my sock drawer RBmumsie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evilgemini
    still, michael, the bad guys are environmentalists who are trying to blow up the world? you've been spending too much time in hollywood, my friend.
    Hee hee, sounds like a Dirk Pitt/Clive Cussler sort of plot, eh?

    Actually, I enjoyed State of Fear. And, I found it MUCH better than Prey.
    Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History...Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  10. #10
    FORT Fan Miss Understood's Avatar
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    LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book! Loved his point of view, the plot, the story and he is probably more on track towards the truth!

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