Remembering Michael Crichton

I was very sorry to learn this morning of the passing of Michael Crichton.

The first movie that ever gave me nightmares was the original Andromeda Strain, which I saw on TV at age eight — it’s still the better of the two adaptations, I think. I read both The Andromeda Strain and The Terminal Man in junior high, one summer working (or when I should have been working) in my mother’s library — and I really dug the style they were writtten in — sort of a scientific procedural, with some nice storytelling devices playing up the feeling that you were reading secret reports about things that officially never happened. I liked them enough that in high school I named a cyborg character “Crichton” in a short story (I imagine the robot in Buck Rogers‘ second season was named for him, too).

I wasn’t as big into Jurassic Park — and honestly, the only ER episodes I’ve ever seen were of the identically-named backdoor spinoff from The Jeffersons in 1984 (which, strangely, also starred George Clooney!).

On the other hand, I’m know I’m one of the bigger fans of Looker, a sometimes maligned film he wrote and directed which includes some pretty imaginative ideas — including the insertion of computer-generated characters into video (which seems to have more or less happened last night with CNN’s “holograms”). Took a long time for the DVD of it to come out, but it might be worth a second (or first) look, if only for the cool light gun and some of the interesting pre-Max Headroom views in there about the power of the media.

I need to get back and read some of the books I missed. There is not nearly enough science in science fiction, but Crichton did his part to change that.