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Micro by Michael Crichton
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  1. 10
    Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (JoshMock)
    JoshMock: The book was sort of "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" meets Jurassic Park.
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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
I'm a bit disappointed in this book. I've read a few by Crichton and he usually keeps a sense of the credible and high suspense. This one, for me, had neither.

Michael Chrichton had the knack of making the incredible credible. He fails to do so in thei book.

A nano-technology company is seeking to recruit seven university students in the fireld of microbiology. However, when being shown around the company and what is involved in their research, the students are thrust into a a hostile world all to familiar and all too new; a dangerous world where the students find themselves in a life and death struggle against the forces of a nature they themselves have intensively studied but never dreamed of knowing by first-hand experience.

It sounds great but the movement but as you read on, the characters seem remote and, in comparison to Crichton's other books, lacks high suspense. I was actually surprised and disappointed as to the main plot as it seemed an unlikely idea to come out of Crichton and too fanciful. There is an unexpected turn and a couple of characters are interesting, especially Karen King, but it does not help the story overall.

I must add that, unfortunately, Crichton died before the book was finished and Richard Preston took over. To the latter's credit, there is no discernible difference, at least, to me of any change in style; however, wherever he started, his writing added nothing to improve the story. ( )
  atdCross | Mar 1, 2014 |
I wasn’t expecting great literature, but I was expecting a more entertaining story.

A mishmash of graduate students who are studying spiders, beetles, venom, medicine, hormones, pheromones, plus a postmodernist who is studying scientists, are visited by three corporate executives who are recruiting for a secret project. The connection is made because a student and an executive are brothers. The students are flown to corporate headquarters in Hawaii, where the project is revealed: “tensor fields” can shrink sophisticated robots to the size of bugs, and hordes of them are at work analyzing flora and fauna at a microscopic scale. So far, the people are pretty much cardboard going through motions, but OK, maybe now they’re in place and something interesting can happen. However. Behind the surface secret project is a nefarious secret project. And just before the students arrive, the executive brother disappears in a boating accident. The police play a tourist video of the accident for the student brother, and he recognizes something suspicious. Rather than mention it, he concocts an elaborate plan to elicit a public confession from the villain. This does not have the desired effect. The tensor fields can shrink people too, and the graduate students, now 1/2” tall, are deposited in the landscape. So now they need to get back, through a dangerous jungle of predatory bugs, to the tensor fields, which can unshrink them to normal size. Meanwhile things aren’t going so smoothly for the villain either, because the police aren’t as dumb as he assumes, and it’s the coverup that gets you.

There are actually a few cool bits involving bugs, but nowhere near what one might suppose from the six page bibliography, and not enough to redeem the cartoon plot.
  qebo | Jan 9, 2014 |
Interesting concept let down by shonky prose, flat cliched characters and a plot that often broke the suspension of disbelief. Some of the botany and insect science was interesting, but the awful, unlikeable characters had me cheering inside as each one was eaten or butchered by the natural world. Fun in parts, but dull to read in others. Needed much better copy-editing in my humble opinion. Large parts felt rushed and the prose was so basic and repitious in parts that I felt this was aimed at 10 year olds. ( )
  ColinF.Barnes | Oct 15, 2013 |
Micro is book much like the many that have come from Michael Crichton. Sadly, he died before he finished the novel, and Richard Preston picked up from where he left off. While Micro is still part of Michael Crichton's work of novels, it doesn't feel the same as the rest. Richard Preston did a great job on trying to recreate the same feel, but it doesn't live up to the other books. I could see the ideas and promise of the book, but the actual book only grazed the surface of what could have been.

The premise of the book is simple. A high tech corporation develops groundbreaking technology: they can shrink living creatures and objects down to the micro world (hence the title). Something goes wrong and now a group of graduate students are thrown into an unfamiliar and dangerous world, fighting for their very survival. If this sounds very familiar, it should. The basic plot of the book very similar to that of Timeline, another of Crichton's stories. The whole idea of going into the micro world has endless potential for a thrilling book.

The book starts off fairly slow. There is a lot of build up to the main plot of the book. Almost all of the characters are thrown at you at the very beginning of the book, creating a very confusing first quarter or so of reading. While the very act of introducing these characters early on is not that bad, the personalities of them are what make it so hard. Some characters are very well developed throughout the story, while some just are dragged along for the ride. Vin Drake, the chilling investor in the company is one of the better characters. Preston found a way to really bring out his cold and calculating mind and I felt a real loathing for him. Many times I found myself angry at what he did. But, Preston left some of the characters really underdeveloped, such as Danny Minot, one of the graduate students thrown into the dark, dangerous world. He was a bit plain and although Preston tried to bring across his personality, it seemed a bit forced and unnatural.

Preston did, however, bring in a lot more scientific fact into the story. Micro is littered with small passages explaining some nuance of insects or poisons. While not exactly boring, I found these little tidbits a bit distracting from the hectic pace of the story. I am intrigued by science behind the characters actions, but it didn't feel like they added a whole lot to the story. They were added in more for the sake of having something to talk about than to explain bigger ideas.

All in all, Micro doesn't exactly feel like a Michael Crichton book. I can see his influences in the writing and in the whole idea, but Preston didn't execute the whole idea perfectly. During some parts of the book, I was well into reading, but I just couldn't connect with some of the characters. While not the very best book, Micro is still a good read. It has suspense and action, but feels a bit short on character development. ( )
  Plyte | Sep 1, 2013 |
This book deserves a 3.5 stars. As I said, as a long time Crichton fan, I probably came equipped with an overly high expectation. The book started out slow, with lots of loose ends that needed to be tied together, but came together nicely at around 30%. Without giving too much away, I'd have to say Crichton's high-tech, breakthrough technology is here, as well as the thrill factor, so the book is a page-turner. The general idea of the plot was good, and the story could be easily adapted into a movie like all his other books.

What I did not like about the book, is that the characters, especially the few graduate students, blur together a bit in the beginning. I had a hard time telling them apart, and I had no idea who the main characters were, until the very end; since once I developed the liking and understanding of one, she or he gets killed off. The villain is a bit too unrealistic and inhuman.

Preston was good in given reliable and descriptive scientific facts throughout the book...but weak in story telling and character development. I was quite surprised about this since his non-fictions, "The Hot Zone", and "Demon in the Freezer" read almost like a great fictional story. However, for readers who thrive on facts, you would learn a lot about insects, plants, as well as toxins in this story. Overall, it was an enjoyable read, and I think all Crichton fans should read it, but wait for the price drop first. ( )
  lovestampmom | Aug 8, 2013 |
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Michael Crichtonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Preston, Richardmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Minute creatures swarm around us . . . objects of potentially endless study and admiration, if we are willing to sweep our vision down from the world lined by the horizon to include the world an arm's length away. A lifetime can be spent in a Magellanic voyage around the trunk of a tree.
-E. O. Wilson
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For Jr.
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West of Pearl Harbor, he drove along the Farrington Highway past fields of sugar cane, dark green in the moonlight.
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Book description
In Jurassic Park, he created a terrifying new world. Now, in Micro, Michael Crichton reveals a universe too small to see and too dangerous to ignore.

IN A LOCKED HONOLULU OFFICE BUILDING, three men are found dead with no sign of struggle except for the ultrafine, razor-sharp cuts covering their bodies. The only clue left behind is a tiny bladed robot, nearly invisible to the human eye.

IN THE LUSH FORESTS OF OAHU, groundbreaking technology has ushered in a revolutionary era of biological prospecting. Trillions of microorganisms, tens of thousands of bacteria species, are being discovered; they are feeding a search for priceless drugs and applications on a scale beyond anything previously imagined.

IN CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, seven graduate students at the forefront of their fields are recruited by a pioneering microbiology start-up. Nanigen MicroTechnologies dispatches the group to a mysterious lab in Hawaii, where they are promised access to tools that will open a whole new scientific frontier.

BUT ONCE IN THE OAHU RAIN FOREST, the scientists are thrust into a hostile wilderness that reveals profound and surprising dangers at every turn. Armed only with their knowledge of the natural world, they find themselves prey to a technology of radical and unbridled power. To survive, they must harness the inherent forces of nature itself.

Micro pits nature against technology in vintage Crichton fashion. Completed by visionary science writer Richard Preston, this boundary-pushing thriller melds scientific fact with pulse-pounding fiction to create yet another masterpiece of sophisticated, cutting-edge entertainment.

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060873027, Hardcover)


Amazon Exclusive: “Micro is Anything But Small” by James Rollins

An avid spelunker and scuba enthusiast, James Rollins holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine and is the author of the New York Times best-selling Sigma Force series, the most recent of which is The Devil Colony.

First I have to admit, Michael Crichton is why I write. In fact, if not for his books, I’d probably still be a practicing veterinarian in Northern California, dealing with flea allergies, ear infections, and all manner of medical maladies. It was Crichton’s stories of wild adventures, his explorations into the strange frontiers of science, and his truly ripped-from-the-headlines plotting that inspired me to set down my own scalpel and stethoscope and pick up pen and paper.

But his influence went beyond mere heady inspiration. His books also served as a tutorial into the practicalities of storytelling. When I tackled my first novel (a deep-earth adventure titled Subterranean), I continually kept a copy of Jurassic Park on the shelf above my desk. That book became my roadmap on how to build a story’s structure: who dies first and when, at what point do we see the first dinosaur, how do you fold science into a novel without stagnating the flow? That old copy of Jurassic Park remains dog-eared and heavily highlighted, and it still holds a cherished place on my bookshelf.

So I dove into Crichton’s latest novel, Micro, with some trepidation, fearing how a collaborative effort might tarnish his great body of work. Now, to be fair, I’d also read Richard Preston’s nonfiction masterpiece of scientific horror and intrigue, The Hot Zone. That book was as brilliant as it was terrifying. But still I wondered, could Preston take Crichton’s story and truly do it justice?

In a word: YES.

In two words, HELL YES.

Micro is pure Crichton. Dare I say, vintage Crichton, harkening back to the scientific intrigue of Andromeda Strain, to the exploration of the natural world covered in Congo, and to the adventure and thrills of The Lost World. As only Crichton can, he has taken a scientific concept as wild as the one he tackled in Timeline and exceeded in making it chillingly real. It took a clever quirk of genetics and cloning to give rise to the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. Likewise, a twist of science in Micro calls forth a new horror out of the natural world—but not just one line of threat. In this book, the entire biosphere becomes a vast and deadly playground. Its depiction is both darkly beautiful and stunningly dreadful. It is a terrain as foreign as any hostile planet, yet as close as our own backyard. To tell more would ruin a great adventure that will have you looking out your window with new eyes.

Similarly, this lethal and toxic terrain must be traversed by a band of gutsy heroes. But in typical Crichton style, these are not elite commandos or a highly trained black ops team. They’re simply a group of graduate students—each uniquely talented and flawed—gathered from various scientific disciplines: entomology, toxicology, botany, biochemistry. They must learn to combine resources and ingenuities to survive and ultimately thwart a danger threatening to break free into the world at large, all the while pursued by a sociopath as cunning as he is sadistic.

In the end, Micro has everything you’d expect in a Crichton novel—and so much more. But the greatest achievement here is a simple and profound one: with this novel, the legacy of a true master continues to shine forth in all its multifaceted glory. And someone somewhere will read this novel, turn the last page, and in a great aura of awe and inspiration, come to a realization: I want to try to write stories like that.

And they will.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:59 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Three men are found dead in the locked second-floor office of a Honolulu building, with no sign of struggle except for the ultrafine, razor-sharp cuts covering their bodies. The only clue left behind is a tiny bladed robot, nearly invisible to the human eye. In the lush forests of Oahu, groundbreaking technology has ushered in a revolutionary era of biological prospecting. Trillions of microorganisms, tens of thousands of bacteria species, are being discovered; they are feeding a search for priceless drugs and applications on a scale beyond anything previously imagined. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, seven graduate students at the forefront of their fields are recruited by a pioneering microbiology start-up. Nanigen MicroTechnologies dispatches the group to a mysterious lab in Hawaii, where they are promised access to tools that will open a whole new scientific frontier. But once in the Oahu rain forest, the scientists are thrust into a hostile wilderness that reveals profound and surprising dangers at every turn. Armed only with their knowledge of the natural world, they find themselves prey to a technology of radical and unbridled power. To survive, they must harness the inherent forces of nature itself.… (more)

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