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Remembering Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton died Tuesday.

Anyone want to talk about his legacy, or name a favorite book?

His books, many of them later also movies, had a profound effect on our society because they took abstract ideas that people had perhaps read about in a newspaper or a science book and gave them human texture, making them not just something we'd read about but something we'd experienced.

Some of his books were controversial in various ways. Rising Sun, Disclosure, and State of Fear are examples of books that went out on a limb and made socially controversial claims that provoked a lot of discussion.

As for a choice of best book, well, I think I'm going to go with Timeline as my favorite, not because it was technically better or more imaginative than The Andromeda Strain or Jurrasic Park but because I just liked it better as a story. I also admired the “humanity” of some of his more offbeat characters in Next. But the structure and detail of Timeline was really rich both in the technology it showcased and in the human adventure story that the technology made possible; in that sense, it seemed to typify all of the best in what he seemed out to bring us.

Most of us would consider it career success to write a work as good as even one of his books. And yet he had so many that it's hard to choose. That's quite a legacy.

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