[This post will be regularly updated based on my reading pace and the availability of Crichton books on my shelf.]
Sci-Fi fans, wave your hands!!!
The moment I first heard of Michael Crichton is still vivid in my memory. No it wasn’t through Jurassic Park (I haven’t read that or seen the movie yet. I know right!?Haha). It was through my Physiology Professor during my first year in medical school.
At that time we were discussing a chapter in Guyton’s textbook about Ophthalmology. My professor was explaining how our eyes adapt to movement and how this mechanism called parallax works. He mentioned that he learned the principle when he read The Great Robbery, a novel written by a Medical Doctor turned writer/director named Michael Crichton.
Since then, whenever I visit BookSale or Chapters and Pages, I dedicate my time to finding Crichton’s books. I have already collected several but it was only this quarantine season when I found time to read them.
I actually regret leaving the rest of my books in Manila when I went home to my province before the lockdown. So the books you see in the picture above are the only Crichton books I was able to sneak in to my luggage.
Before I start enumerating what I have and have not read, please know that I might drop in spoilers here and there. So if you’re planning to read the books and hate spoiliezs (yup that’s Jake Peralta haha) better stop here now.
Here we go.
THE TERMINAL MAN
If you love Neuro-Psychiatry, you’ll sure love this. This is a story of a man diagnosed with Acute Disinhibitory Syndrome. He loses control of himself during attacks to the extent of hurting other people and/or himself. The doctors in the story decided to treat him with a controversial procedure wherein his brain will be connected to an external computer to control the episodes. The patient is an IT specialist whose greatest fear is becoming a “machine”. He codes computer stuff so he knows full well what would happen to him when his brain is controlled externally.
I love how Crichton described technical medical terms in layman terms and how he tackled well the ethical and the medico-legal issues surrounding the story.
And what impressed me most is this Reference Page at the end of the book, with all these scientific Journal Articles supporting every technicalities he used in the story. Yup, APA citation.
“… we have created a man with not one brain but two. … This new brain is intended to control the biological brain… The patient’s biological brain is the peripheral terminal — the only peripheral terminal — for the new computer… And therefore the patient’s biological brain, indeed his whole body, has become a terminal for the new computer. We have created a man who is one single, large, complex computer terminal.”
THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN
This is a timely read during this pandemic. It was about an extraterrestrial microorganism infecting a particular town and killing people except two — a newborn child and a chronic alcohol drinker taking ulcer medications. The scientists went on their way to study the mechanisms and pathophysiology of the disease and eventually identify what the organism is. They also investigated why these two patients were spared of the infection.
Being a Medical Laboratory Scientist myself, I love how the book described in detail the protocols done in a laboratory from disinfection, to wearing PPEs, to culturing organisms and using microscopes. And as a medical student, I love how the author discussed disease processes in a light manner even the interpretation of Arterial Blood Gas wasn’t that difficult to understand.
The book was breathtaking you can never put it down until you’re done.
“Human intelligence was more trouble than it was worth. It was more destructive than creative, more confusing than revealing, more discouraging than satisfying, more spiteful than charitable.”
“In his blackest hours, Stone doubted the utility of all thought, and all intelligence. There were times he envied the laboratory rats he worked with; their brains were so simple. Certainly, they did not have the intelligence to destroy themselves; that was a peculiar invention of man.”
A CASE OF NEED
The best one yet!!! I can’t stop thinking about it hours after I finished the book. It was a complicated mesmerizing story.
This one’s more of a medical mystery than a sci-fi. The story revolves around a teenage girl who died due to severe hemorrhage. An abortion was suspected but there were no evidence of pregnancy. This girl is the daughter of a renowned Surgeon in a Boston Hospital.
The story is from the pov of a pathologist/ex-cop who went his way investigating the cause of death of this girl. Trying to save his fellow physicians from being convicted of doing the abortion, he did his best to find out who the real abortionist is. But in between all these, he discovers more surprising facts which all the more complicates the case.
At the end of the book, the author also discussed several points regarding the medicolegal issues in the book and what should be done if those things happen in real life.
I personally loved this not only because of its accurate medical details but because I love detective stories. And this one’s a pov of a detective-doctor who successful deduced who the real culprit is.
“Never take a position unless you are certain it can be defended against onslaught…a courtroom is nothing more than a very civilized war.”
“You are making excuses.”
“Am I?” He shook his head. “No, man. Tou are. You’re playing the loyal doctor, right down the line. You’re sucking up to the tradition, to the conspiracy of silence. You’d like to see it handled nice and quietly, very diplomatic, with no hard feelings at the end.”
“Isn’t that the best way? The business of a lawyer,” I said, “is to do whatever is best for his client.”
“The business of a lawyer is to win his cases.”
- Jurassic Park
- The Lost World
- Rising Sun
- The Great Train Robbery