Wed 5 Nov, 2008 01:04 pm
CBS) Best-selling author and filmaker Michael Crichton died unexpectedly in Los Angeles Tuesday, after a courageous and private battle against cancer, according to a statement released by his family. He was 66.
Crichton is best known as the author of "Jurassic Park" and the creator of "ER." His most recent novel, "Next," about genetics and law, was published in December 2006.
"While the world knew him as a great story teller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us -- and entertained us all while doing so -- his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes," the statement said. "He did this with a wry sense of humor that those who were privileged to know him personally will never forget."
I actually did not read his books. I did enjoy the movie of Jurassic Park.
Aw, sad news. I have read every one of the great man's books, and loved them all, including Next. Thank you for the news on his passing.
Michael Crichton: A Master Storyteller of Technology's Promise and Peril
Michael Crichton, who died from cancer Tuesday in Los Angeles at the age of 66, was an outsized figure in almost every possible way, beginning with his height, which is usually listed at 6 ft. 9 in. He was married five times, and divorced four. But it's his polymathic professional achievements that make him an almost implausibly imposing figure. Crichton trained as a doctor at Harvard Medical School. He directed Yul Brinner in Westworld and Sean Connery in The Great Train Robbery. He created ER, one of the most successful TV dramas of all time, and co-wrote the screenplay for the 90s tornado-chasing thriller Twister.
But it's as a novelist that Crichton was best known. He wrote two dozen thrillers, including The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Sphere and Jurassic Park, that collectively sold over 150 million copies. (A new one, its title and subject matter still unannounced, is slated for publication in December.) Crichton was never a literary stylist, but his skills as a storyteller were enormous. His plots have a crystalline perfection that has been much-copied, by The Da Vinci Code's Dan Brown among many others, and his sense of pacing and his ability to weave diverse plot strands into an elegant braided whole are virtually unmatched. His oeuvre is among the most-filmed of any author in history.
Crichton's authorial persona paradoxically combined a true nerd's fascination with science and technology " he even dabbled in computer programming " with an extreme cautiousness about their uses. Time and again his novels feature overeager scientific researchers, greedy for cash and knowledge, who evade regulation and supervision to open one Pandora's Box after another, always with fatal consequences. In his world-view the raw chaos and complexity of nature always lead to unforeseen consequences. "Science is a kind of glorified tailoring enterprise," Crichton wrote in Travels, "a method for taking measurements that describe something " reality " that may not be understood at all."
He wasn't a great writer but he was an invariably interesting story teller. I've read all of his books and they were each interesting reads that prompted curiosity in me about a variety of things.
I just finished reading Next and had read State of Fear and Prey in the last month. I was at a bookstore the other day and hoping he'd release a new book soon and will miss his stories.