Monday, November 4, 2013

Five Years Ago

(I apologize for not posting something on what would have been Michael Crichton’s 71st birthday on October 23. It could not be helped, as my health has not been good lately. Mea maxima culpa, Michael, and to all my Musings readers.)

Five years ago today, we lost Michael Crichton. I still find it difficult to accept. I feel he is still a part of the universe somehow. Anything else would be unthinkable.

Here’s a comment I posted in the New York Times story about his death:
Michael Crichton was far more than a novelist. He was a brilliant philosopher who explored ideas and issues through fiction. On a wide range of important topics, he ignited analysis and debate among readers around the world as few writers have ever done. Crichton’s strength was not in the answers he provided, but in the questions he provoked. His death is a tragic loss, but his books will continue to entertain and educate readers.
I just went back to the article and found some other comments that illustrate how Michael Crichton will continue to live through his work. Many future readers will have their minds illuminated through his words.
I was an extra in the movie version of “Coma” which Crichton directed back in 1977. (It was filmed in and around Boston.) I remember being shocked the first time I saw him on the set – he was 6 ft. 7 and I don’t think I’d ever seen anyone that tall before! My memory of him as a director is that he was low key and in control, everything went smoothly during the production. It is so sad to hear of his untimely death.
— laurel

Michael was unassuming, good natured, and a friend, though we were separated by years and distance. We often breakfasted together on Saturday mornings on Kauai after the farmer’s market when we both lived there. He told me he always considered himself more of an anthropologists and each novel, a paper for class. He had a wonderful sense of humor. I miss him.
— Myles Ludwig

Michael Crichton is to a large degree responsible for at least one professional biologist – upon reading The Andromeda Strain as a small boy (and I still have that copy), I became enthralled with molecular biology. His writing launched me on my scientific career path thought MIT and Harvard, and I have read all of his subsequent books. Thank you so much , Dr. Crichton, and rest in peace. My life would have been much different without you. I see a last book was scheduled for publication in early December – was it near enough to completion to be finished and released?
John Greene, Ph.D.

A big lost for the literature world! Today I’m a researcher, thanks to the Crichton’s works, not because I’m influenced, but because his books kept the paleontology “flames” burning inside me. And then I choosed paleontology as work. His books also had told us that we must never accept the obvious without think deeper about it, as most scientist do… Official mourning decreed…
— Henrique (Brazil)

I have never read a Michael Crichton book, but I am still a big fan of his. By the time my daughter Alice turned 12, she had read eight of Crichton’s books. I took her to see him at a book signing for the novel Prey. At the time, Alice was a shy girl, and she fretted about what to say to someone she looked up to so much. Mr. Crichton immediately made her feel at ease and was wonderfully kind to her, asking her questions about her favorites. Alice and I both left that meeting as enthusiastic fans of Michael Crichton.
— Maggie

I read all his books in high school, and still count Sphere as a top 5 book – always fascinating and engaging stuff – but his non-fiction book ‘Travels’ really changed the way I saw the world, made me very curious about things I’d never thought about. I have huge respect for him. His legacy for me and hopefully a lot of others is to let laziness and incuriousness be damned.
— Chris

after admiring him for many years, i met mr. crichton at a fundraising talk he gave for a community center. i was working the sound system for him. he was so incredibly gracious and appreciative toward me, the lowly sound guy. after it was over, he sought me out and thanked me for my work. he was not only a brilliant thinker and gifted storyteller. He was a genuinely kind & caring person. to his family, i’m so sorry for your loss.
— peter c


steve said...

Marla, thanks for posting this. I hope you feel better soon!

Henrique said...


I didn't remember the comment I wrote. Thanks for bringing it back to my memory. He is still a reference to me, last night I oppened an paleontology course in a university with a quote from crichton: "I am CERTAIN there is TOO MUCH CERTAINTY in the world".

Maybe people still didn't realize, but he's Jules Verne from 20th Century. They will perceive it in the next decades.

Anonymous said...

Could someone tell me what is the difference between speech

and article

Is this a individual publication inspired by the speech?
Or maybe something else?

Marla Warren said...


You're very welcome! Thank you for your good wishes!

Marla Warren said...


How delightful to find that the comment was yours! It didn't occur to me, but it should have.

Marla Warren said...


This is a publication of a speech that Michael Crichton made on May 21, 2007 at the "Who Owns Your Body?" symposium at the Kent School of Law in Chicago. The first is an archived link from the official Crichton website. (Still don't know why they took down the speeches section, but thank Heaven for the web archive.) The second link is from a Kent Law School publication of that speech. Thank you for finding the link.

Anonymous said...

It's my pleasure.