Monday, November 29, 2010

Reading Andromeda Strain Again

Recently I finished reading The Great Influenza by John M. Barry. This well-researched book, which tells the story of the 1918 pandemic, was fascinating. I highly recommend it.

Barry devoted a large portion of the book to the efforts of the scientists who researched the disease, trying to develop a vaccine or cure. Their efforts reminded me of the scientists in Michael Crichton’s novel The Andromeda Strain.

I have a special fondness for this book, because it was how I discovered Michael Crichton.

When I was nine years old, my father decided the family was going to see the 1971 film of The Andromeda Strain. (Dad would just come home and tell us we were going to see a particular film. I hadn’t heard of Star Wars before Dad told us we were going to see it.)

From my father I inherited a love of both science and science fiction. When I saw The Andromeda Strain, I was enthralled. I pestered my dad with questions all during the movie and for the next several weeks.

Two years later, I read my father’s copy of the novel. And I’ve been hooked on Crichton’s work every since.


steve said...

What an amazing coincidence ... I am also re-reading this! Well, maybe not that amazing. I guess someone is always reading this somewhere.

I remember seeing the movie when I was in junior high school, shortly after I read a tie-in paperback edition of the book. As I recall, the employees at the theater concession stand were wearing that key around their necks -- the key that James Olson used to deactivate the nuclear self-destruct mechanism. I wanted one of those keys too!

Narayan said... seems that I too was hooked on to MC after seeing a movie. The move was JURASSIC PARK and it was my father who took me to the theatre. I was in school then, and hadnt heard about this movie. what i saw was amazing...and two years later i read Jurassic Park...and i was hooked. i now buy each and every MC as soon as they are published.

Marla Warren said...


I want one of those keys! I’ll keep an eye on Ebay, maybe one will turn up.

I don’t have an artifact of the 1971 film. But I do have something from the 2008 TV remake. (Which I wasn’t crazy about myself. I think of it as “Andromeda Strained”.)

There was a sweepstakes to promote the mini-series on a sci-fi website and I was one of the winners. I received, as advertised, an Andromeda Strain t-shirt, DVDs of the 2008 mini-series and the original 1971 film, and a paperback copy of the novel. I also received something that was not advertised as part of the prize.

When I opened the package, a small plastic bottle fall out of the package. The label reads “The Andromeda Strain Antibacterial Handsanitizing Gel”. Too funny!

Marla Warren said...


It occurs to me that there are two kinds of Michael Crichton fans. Pre-Jurassic Park and Post-Jurassic Park. I can’t take any credit for being a Pre-Jurassic Park fan. If my dad hadn’t been such a sci-fi fan, who knows when I would have discovered Michael Crichton?