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Next by Michael Crichton
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Next (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Michael Crichton

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,9431551,193 (3.24)82
Is a loved one missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why an adult human being resembles a chimp fetus? And should that worry us? There's a new genetic cure for drug addiction, is it worse than the disease? We live in a time of momentous scientific leaps; a time when it's possible to sell our eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars or test our spouses for genetic maladies. We live in a time when one fifth of all our genes are owned by someone else, and an unsuspecting person and his family can be pursued cross-country because they happen to have certain valuable genes within their chromosomes. Devilishly clever, Next blends fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems, and a set of new possibilities can open at every turn.… (more)
Member:aleph123
Title:Next
Authors:Michael Crichton
Info:London, Harper, 2007
Collections:Italy and Europe, NextPolitics, Reviewed, Previewed_quickread, Your library
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

Next by Michael Crichton (2006)

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English (148)  Spanish (3)  German (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Romanian (1)  All languages (155)
Showing 1-5 of 148 (next | show all)
How far will scientists go with genetic testing? This book explores all aspects of this question and spins a tale of a very scary possible future for humans. Michael Crichton is a master at bringing science and adventure together and this book excels in entertainment. ( )
  PaulaGalvan | Jun 30, 2020 |
Remarkably effective soporific. ( )
  hatingongodot | May 3, 2020 |
it's been a while since i've read a biological thriller. this was really fun. the science and biological ethics that he brings up are super intriguing. as a thriller it's not great - there are so many strands of the story and many of them are thin, plus he goes too far with some of the speculative biology - but overall the ethical questions and biology were so interesting that i didn't really mind. the main issues are patenting (and therefore ownership) of genes and biological specimens and transgenic organisms/animals/creations. he brings up a lot of really interesting questions in the novel, and if you aren't sure his point, he has a nice author's note in the back that tells you what he thinks about all of it, with a reading list to back it up. i loved it for this ethical biology aspect and everything he does with it. the rest is honestly just meh, but it's totally worth reading for the good parts. it's also nice to read a thriller that has deeper implications. this was a fast, good read for me. ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | May 2, 2020 |
This is, decidedly, not the book I was looking for. Next feels like an early draft of something that could have ended up being an interesting scientific thriller, but it’s a mess. And even saying that much is kind.

Where Next starts to dive a little into genetics, it struggles to find footing on an exact aspect of the science it wants to target. There’s corporate policy, ownership, patents, ending, morality in extraction, morality in experimentation… that’s the tip of the iceberg. While Crichton can be a bit preachy at some times, he’s often more balanced than he was in Next.

Every character in this book is the worst example of humanity. Male characters consistently belittle female character. All characters are incredibly greedy, going sideways outside the law in any way they can to get what they want. Every character is extreme and there’s so. many. POVs. I don’t think I saw a POV repeat until about page 100. There’s so many dramatic character interactions. This includes children trying to kill one another, animal testing, and a woman who was hired to frame a man for statutory rape (that whole scene… I have so many issues). While I don’t want to belittle these things, because they happen in real life and they are tragic and terrible, Crichton just went for all the most depraved aspects of humanity as though to say “genes will destroy humanity”. … Which is just… a little too conspiracy theory for me.

The storytelling itself almost entirely missing. There’s almost no consistent storyline, and the end of he book feels very much like a quick “oh shit” wrap up where most of the storylines come together. Of course, some characters and storylines were abandoned in the first half of the book and there’s no closure. Each chapter is one screenshot after another of some way gene therapy or genetic experimentation has ruined the lives of the character.

Overall I wouldn’t recommend Next to anyone. Not only is it an unimpressive story content-wise, it’s such a hot mess as a novel. It feels like a first draft more than a finished book and it’s a little surprising that it got all the way to publication in this state, because it’s such a mess? But bestselling authors do tend to get some leeway on these things. Crichton has a lot of a better books than this, and I suggest picking up one of those instead. ( )
  Morteana | Feb 23, 2020 |
A genetic based thriller about a possible near future where genetic research and treatments become abused by corporations, the court system, and other areas. The story has multiple POVs that deal with different areas of concern with genetics in a health system, financial, and in our culture. While the idea of exploring a science fiction genetic thriller is a great idea, the execution is poor. The main problem is that the POVs jump back and forth very quickly. Some chapters are shorter then 1 page. There was not near enough time to figure out the characters and their story line. The ideas and the implications behind the book are entertaining. If the author would have just focused on one POV for a longer period of time before moving on, it would have been a much better read. ( )
  renbedell | Sep 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 148 (next | show all)
All science fiction has some element of titillation — a strategy of taking known facts and stretching them to the limits of credulity, for the purposes of both entertaining and enlightening. But Crichton seems intent on confusing his readers, pummeling them with a barrage of truths, half-truths and untruths, until they have no choice but to surrender. As one of the author’s numerous stand-ins warns a naïve interlocutor, “Disinformation takes many forms.” Here, finally, Crichton has a point that should be heeded.
 
''Next'' would be a narrow, uninteresting book if its sole point were to condemn such tactics as transgressive. Instead Mr. Crichton moves far beyond questioning the morality of such experiments and acknowledges that they happen. His whole thriller-tutorial boils down to one troubling question, asked about each freakish breakthrough described here: Now what? Since ''Next'' is one of Mr. Crichton's more un-put-downable novels, the reader may experience some frustration. It's tempting to stop and look up each of the genetic, legal and ethical aberrations described here in order to see how wild a strain of science fiction is afoot. Save a step. Just believe this: Oddity after oddity in ''Next'' checks out, and many are replays of real events. ''This novel is fiction, except for the parts that aren't,'' Mr. Crichton writes, greatly understating the book's scary legitimacy.
 

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Epigraph
This novel is fiction,
except for the parts that aren't.
The more the universe seems incomprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.
—STEVEN WEINBERG
The word "cause" is an altar to an unknown god.
—WILLIAM JAMES
What is not possible is not to choose.
—JEAN-PAUL SARTRE
Dedication
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Vasco Borden, forty-nine, tugged at the lapels of his suit and straightened his tie as he walked down the plush carpeted hallway.
Quotations
Our bodies are our individual property. In a sense, bodily ownership is the most fundamental kind of ownership we know. It is the core experience or our being.

That is why when an individual donates tissue to a doctor of a research study, is is not the same as donating a book to a library. It never will be. If the doctor or his research institution wishes later to use tht tissue for some other purpose, they should be required to obtain permission for this new use. And so on, indefinitely.

Because the descendants of a dead person share his or her genes, their privacy is invaded if research is done, or if the genetic makeup of the dead person is published. The children of the dead person may lose their health insurance simply because contemporary laws do not reflect contemporary realities.
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