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The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

The Andromeda Strain (original 1969; edition 2008)

by Michael Crichton (Author)

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8,041111688 (3.66)169
The United States government is given a warning by the pre-eminent biophysicists in the country: current sterilization procedures applied to returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere. Two years later, seventeen satellites are sent into the outer fringes of space to "collect organisms and dust for study." One of them falls to earth, landing in a desolate area of Arizona. Twelve miles from the landing site, in the town of Piedmont, a shocking discovery is made: the streets are littered with the dead bodies of the town's inhabitants, as if they dropped dead in their tracks.… (more)
Title:The Andromeda Strain
Authors:Michael Crichton (Author)
Info:Harper (2008), Edition: 9/28/08, 384 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (1969)

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» See also 169 mentions

English (106)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (111)
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
Dull. I tried to keep going (and made it pretty far) but then my cat died and I just don’t have the mental energy to force myself to slog through the very end of this. But on the plus side, it’s not super sexist like so many sci-fi books of this time. Only because there are virtually no women in it, but beggars can’t be choosers, right? ( )
  Aug3Zimm | Mar 18, 2020 |
When a deadly contagion wipes out the small city of Piedmont, Arizona following the crash of a US satellite, it sets into motion Project Wildfire. Comprised of five scientists, Wildfire is dedicated to dealing with pathogens that may arrive from an extraterrestrial origin. Of the original Piedmont population, only two survived- an old man and a colicky infant. Codenamed Andromeda, the organism kills on exposure, and appears to be airborne. It is unlike anything ever seen before, and contains no proteins. It shouldn't be 'alive,', but it is. It shouldn't be able to kill, but it does. Quite efficiently. Then it evolves.

I first read The Andromeda Strain many many moons ago, after I'd read Jurassic Park in ninth grade and fallen in love with Crichton's writing. At the time, I wasn't as enamoured of Andromeda as some of his other works. It's coming up on three decades, and I have a greater appreciation for this speculative science tale. It did start out kinda slow. It *is* one of Crichton's earlier works, and as a comparison point, it's fascinating to see the growth of a writer from early works to becoming well-established. As a writer, and a more seasoned reader, I can appreciate this more!

The majority of the story takes place in one locale- the underground Wildfire complex. This is a completely isolated, underground biohazard complex, with each successive level having stronger safeguards. For Stone, Leavitt, Hall, and the other scientists, about 90% of that time is spent on the deepest level. Like an abyssal descent, reaching the lower labs takes hours. Personally, I'd go nuts. Also, its final failsafe is nuclear detonation. Nope.

There's a great deal of science behind this story, and it's clear Crichton did his research. I loved the exploration of Andromeda, and the organism itself. Pretty much the only thing I didn't care for was Leavitt's storyline. The allusions to his condition, and the fact he had it at all, seemed contrived and rang false. I understand it was leading up to one critical moment, but I think said moment could have been better achieved in a different manner. Still, overall I loved my reread and I'm looking forward to reading The Andromeda Evolution.

***This book was read and reviewed for my own enjoyment. ( )
  PardaMustang | Jan 17, 2020 |

This is not a book of the genre I usually read (that is, I read thrillers but rather not with such strong science fiction elements). The more I am surprised how much I liked it.

What makes this book so good is in my opinion its strong realism. This story does not seem like fiction, but like a report of real events. And that's really something! Ultimately, we have here elements typical for science fiction - contact with an alien form of life from space. This topic is very difficult to classify as realistic, but the author managed to do it. It is the realism of the whole situation that keeps you in suspense. And let me say in very high suspense.

The author managed to achieve all this thanks to the unusual form he used. This year I read several longer reports or memoires written by journalists and this book reminds me such a report. The events are described from the perspective of a person who knows how it all ended, who points to mistakes made by scientists from the perspective of later findings, etc. This is a very interesting way of writing. This writing style, combined with fictitious research results and a strong support in scientific works gives the whole history this unique, fantastic realism.

Of course, the plot itself is also very interesting. I'm not a fan of science fiction books, but I read a few thrillers with such elements. And this one is definitely one of the better ones. Although the very idea of contact with an extraterrestrial life form that kills almost all the inhabitants of a small American town may not be that unique, all the events described in the book together create a very interesting story. I really liked the human aspect of the whole situation. And again this realism, paying attention to details, for example small technical faults that no one detected in time, which would certainly appear if the situation were real.

After reading the book, I discovered with amazement that it was written in the late 1960s. I don't feel it at all, it seems so modern. I thought it was written in the late 90s or even later. This book has not grown old. It shows how good this story is. On the other hand, I am not surprised that it was written during the Cold War, it has something from those times.

This is my first book by Michael Crichton but of course I've heard about him before. I am sure I will read some of his other books one day. I hope they are as good as this one. I also know that a film was made based on this book. It may be interesting, I may watch it. It also seems to me that a continuation of this story was recently released, I need to check it out. ( )
  Sarielle | Jan 15, 2020 |
I enjoyed the science, but the overabundance of technical jargon felt like it injured the story. This was a story I wanted to like rather than found myself immersed in it's unfolding. ( )
  ryanzus11 | Dec 21, 2019 |
An excellent tale, though not as complex as I like. Worth reading. ( )
  LeonardSmith1 | Nov 7, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Crichton, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Noth, ChrisNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The survival value of human intelligence has never been satisfactorily demonstrated. — Jeremy Stone
Increasing vision is increasingly expensive. — R.A. Janek
Examination by unauthorized persons is a criminal offense punishable by fines and imprisonment up to 20 years and $20,000.
The courier is required by law to demand your card 7592. He is not permitted to relinquish this file without such proof of identity.
for A.C.D., M.D., who first proposed the problem
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A man with binoculars.
"All yours, Gunner." Wilson did not answer. He dropped his nose, cracked down his flaps, and felt a shudder as the plane sank sickeningly, like a stone, toward the ground. Below him, the area around the town was lighted for hundreds of yards in every direction. He pressed the camera buttons and felt, rather than heard, the vibrating whir of the cameras. For a long moment he continued to fall, and then he shoved the stick forward, and the plane seemed to catch in the air, to grasp, and lift and climb. He had a fleeting glimpse of the main street. He saw bodies, bodies everywhere, spreadeagled, lying in the streets, across cars ... "Jesus," he said. And then he was up, still climbing, bringing the plane around in a slow arc, preparing for the descent into his second run and trying not to think of what he and seen. One of the first rules of air reconnaisssance was "Ignore the scenery"; analysis and evaluation were not the job of the pilot. That was left to the experts, and pilots who forgot this, who became too interested in what they were photgraphing, got into trouble. Usually they crashed.
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This is the book The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. Please do not combine with any of the film adaptations.
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Haiku summary
Space germ kills humans.
Gather team of researchers!
We only sent four?

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