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The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
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The Andromeda Strain (original 1969; edition 1995)

by Michael Crichton

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6,99595515 (3.64)137
Member:Maurizio70
Title:The Andromeda Strain
Authors:Michael Crichton
Info:Arrow (1995), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (1969)

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Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
Just a quick reread as it had been about fifteen years. This is lots of fun and shows off Michael Crichton's skills at making some pretty wonky science entertaining. The 1960's era computer stuff is pretty eye-opening for those too young to recall the Dark Ages. ( )
  5hrdrive | Sep 25, 2016 |
From Amazon:

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.

My Thoughts:

Michael Crichton must be a psychic. Thirty years before researchers discovered the effects of microorganisms, Crichton predicted a virus just as deadly. The Andromeda Strain is a classic, terrifying novel of biophysics. The way Crichton combines facts and fiction results in a masterpiece. With the exception of some intense scientific vocabulary, the descriptive language used by Crichton in this novel is brilliant. Michael Crichton tells a simple but logical tale in this volume and as he often does in his books, makes it hard to distinguish between the real elements of science that he uses for the basis of the premise, and the fictitious facts he makes to take the premise to its conclusion. This is classic fiction, and the fact that it is over thirty years old takes nothing from it. Definitely worth the read. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
Probably one Chrichton's best. Good alien sci fi. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
When a military satellite returns to Earth, a recovery team is dispatched to retrieve it; during a live radio communication with their base, the team members suddenly die. Aerial surveillance reveals that everyone in Piedmont, Arizona, the town closest to where the satellite landed, is apparently dead. The base commander suspects the satellite returned with an extraterrestrial organism and recommends activating Wildfire, the government-sponsored team that counters extraterrestrial biological infestation.

The Wildfire scientific team studying the unknown strain comprises Dr. Jeremy Stone, molecular biology specialist; Dr. Peter Leavitt, disease pathology; Dr. Charles Burton, infection vectors specialist; and Dr. Mark Hall, M.D., surgeon, biochemistry and pH specialist. He is the 'odd man', since he is the only one without a family. A fifth scientist, Dr. Christian Kirke, electrolytes specialist, was unavailable for duty because of appendicitis.

The scientists believe the satellite, which was actually designed to capture upper-atmosphere microorganisms for bio-weapon exploitation, returned with a deadly microorganism that kills by disseminated intravascular coagulation. On investigating the town, the Wildfire team discovers that the residents either died in mid-stride or went "quietly nuts" and committed bizarre suicides. Two Piedmont inhabitants, the sick, Sterno-addicted, geriatric, Peter Jackson, and the constantly-bawling infant, Jamie Ritter, are biologic opposites who somehow survived the organism.

The man, infant, and satellite are taken to the secret underground Wildfire laboratory, a secure facility equipped with every known capacity for protection against a biological element escape into the atmosphere, including a nuclear weapon to incinerate the facility if necessary. Wildfire is hidden in the remote area of Flatrock, Nevada, sixty miles from Las Vegas using a method similar to that in the book The Purloined Letter, by locating it in the sub-basements of a legitimate Department of Agriculture research station.

Further investigation determines that the bizarre deaths were caused by a crystal-structured, extraterrestrial microbe on a meteor that crashed into the satellite, knocking it from orbit. The microbe contains chemical elements required for terrestrial life, but lacks DNA, RNA, proteins, and amino acids, yet it directly transforms matter to energy and vice versa.

The microbe, code named "Andromeda", mutates with each growth cycle, changing its biologic properties. The scientists learn that Andromeda grows only within a narrow pH range; in a too-acid or too-basic growth medium, it will not multiply — Andromeda's pH range is 7.39–7.43, like that of human blood. Thus, that is why Jackson and Ritter survived, both had abnormal blood pH; however, by the time the scientists realize that, Andromeda's current mutation degrades polymer plastic and escapes its containment. Trapped in an Andromeda-contaminated laboratory, Dr. Burton demands that Stone inject him with Kalocin ("the universal antibiotic"); Stone refuses, arguing it would render Burton too vulnerable to infection by other harmful bacteria. Burton survives because Andromeda has already mutated to nonlethal form.

The mutated Andromeda attacks the neoprene door and hatch seals within the Wildfire complex, racing to the upper levels and the surface. The self-destruction atomic bomb is automatically armed when it detects a containment breach, triggering its detonation countdown to incinerate all exo-biological diseases. As the bomb arms, the scientists realize that given Andromeda's ability to generate matter directly from energy, the organism would feed, reproduce, and ultimately benefit from an atomic explosion.

To halt the atomic detonation, Dr. Hall must insert his special key to an emergency substation anywhere in Wildfire. Unfortunately, he is trapped in an unfinished section with no substation. He must navigate Wildfire's obstacle course of automatic defenses to reach a working substation on an upper level. He barely disarms the bomb in time. Andromeda eventually mutates to a benign form and is suspected to have migrated to the upper atmosphere, where the oxygen content is lower, better suiting Andromeda's growth.

The novel's epilogue reveals that a manned spacecraft, Andros V, was incinerated in atmospheric re-entry, because its polymer heat shield failed. Space flights are discontinued.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
I first read this book over 30 years ago and I loved it. LOVED IT! A few years ago, however, I re-read it and with all the advancements in technology, this book (which seemed so cutting edge long ago) is on the dull side. It was a wonderful book for its time but not one I'd recommend reading today. There are so many other Crichton books that describe technology my head still can't get around. (Timeline comes to mind...the concept is difficult to grasp and the book is all the more marvelous because of it.) ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Crichton, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chris NothNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The survival value of human intelligence has never been satisfactorily demonstrated. — Jeremy Stone
Increasing vision is increasingly expensive. — R.A. Janek
THIS FILE IS CLASSIFIED TOP SECRET
Examination by unauthorized persons is a criminal offense punishable by fines and imprisonment up to 20 years and $20,000.
DO NOT ACCEPT FROM COURIER IF SEAL IS BROKEN
The courier is required by law to demand your card 7592. He is not permitted to relinquish this file without such proof of identity.
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for A.C.D., M.D., who first proposed the problem
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A man with binoculars.
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Er is nooit een afdoende bewijs geleverd dat de menselijke intelligentie van waarde is voor de overleving van het ras. (Jeremy Stone) Verruiming van inzicht betekent verhoging van de kosten. (R.A. Janek)
"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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060541814, Mass Market Paperback)

Some biologists speculate that if we ever make contact with extraterrestrials, those life forms are likely to be--like most life on earth--one-celled or smaller creatures, more comparable to bacteria than little green men. And even though such organisms would not likely be able to harm humans, the possibility exists that first contact might be our last.

That's the scientific supposition that Michael Crichton formulates and follows out to its conclusion in his excellent debut novel, The Andromeda Strain.

A Nobel-Prize-winning bacteriologist, Jeremy Stone, urges the president to approve an extraterrestrial decontamination facility to sterilize returning astronauts, satellites, and spacecraft that might carry an "unknown biologic agent." The government agrees, almost too quickly, to build the top-secret Wildfire Lab in the desert of Nevada. Shortly thereafter, unbeknownst to Stone, the U.S. Army initiates the "Scoop" satellite program, an attempt to actively collect space pathogens for use in biological warfare. When Scoop VII crashes a couple years later in the isolated Arizona town of Piedmont, the Army ends up getting more than it asked for.

The Andromeda Strain follows Stone and rest of the scientific team mobilized to react to the Scoop crash as they scramble to understand and contain a strange and deadly outbreak. Crichton's first book may well be his best; it has an earnestness that is missing from his later, more calculated thrillers. --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:07 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

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)

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