We continue our series of tributes to Michael Crichton with a few highlights from the newspapers.
The Man Who Turned the T-rex into a Superstar
By Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune, November 6, 2008
Crichton, though, was much more than a science fiction writer. He never met a fact he didn't want to question, never found a topic he wasn't willing to take on, never came across a windmill at which he didn't want to tilt. He relished holding a contrarian opinion on topical issues such as global warming…
At his best, Crichton was part of the great tradition of American storytellers, those who gauge their success not by yachts or by dollars, but by a simple measure: Did you keep turning the pages? Did you keep watching?
With Crichton's work, there is a simple answer: You did.
An Appraisal - Michael Crichton: A Tireless Craftsman
By Charles McGrath, New York Times, November 5, 2008
Michael Crichton, who died on Tuesday at the age of 66, was like a character in a Michael Crichton novel. He was unusually tall (6 feet 7 inches), strikingly handsome and encyclopedically well informed about everything from dinosaurs to medieval banquet halls to nanotechnology. As a writer he was a kind of cyborg, tirelessly turning out novels that were intricately engineered entertainment systems. No one — except possibly Mr. Crichton himself — ever confused them with great literature, but very few readers who started a Crichton novel ever put it down…
But a deeper source of their appeal was the author’s extravagant care in working out the clockwork mechanics of his experiments — the DNA replication in “Jurassic Park,” the time travel in “Timeline,” the submarine technology in “Sphere.” The novels have embedded in them little lectures or mini-seminars on, say, the Bernoulli principle, voice-recognition software or medieval jousting etiquette. Several also came with extensive scientific bibliographies, as if the author, having learned all this fascinating stuff, couldn’t help sharing it with his reader.
Why Readers Loved Michael Crichton and Critics Didn't
By Alan Cooperman, Washington Post, November 6, 2008
Michael Crichton once compared writing a novel to being deep in the bowels of a ship. "All you can see are the pipes and the grease and the fittings of the boiler room, and you have to assume the ship's exterior," he said, adding that the role of an editor is to stand on the dock and say, "Hi, I'm looking at your ship, and it's missing a bow, the front mast is crooked, and it looks to me as if your propellers are going to have to be fixed."
Despite that admission, Crichton, a physician turned author who died of cancer this week at age 66, was a master of narrative structure. Fans loved the way he mixed fact (especially science) into his fiction.
Tributes to Michael Crichton - Charlie Rose