Saturday, July 30, 2016

Michael Crichton Manuscript to be Published in 2017

An unpublished book by Michael Crichton is scheduled to be published by Harper Collins in May 2017. Crichton's widow, Sherri Crichton, discovered the manuscript Dragon Teeth while going through his archives.

From the press release:

Michael Crichton’s DRAGON TEETH follows the notorious rivalry between real-life paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh during a time of intense fossil speculation and discovery in the American West in 1878. The story unfolds through the adventures of a young fictional character named William Johnson who is apprenticed first to one, then to the other and not only makes discoveries of historic proportion, but transforms into an inspiring hero only Crichton could have imagined. Known for his meticulous research, Crichton uses Marsh and Copes’ heated competition during the ‘Bone Wars,’ the golden age of American fossil hunting, as the basis for a thrilling story set in the wilds of the American West.

Sherri Crichton has been working to honor her late husband by creating the Michael Crichton Archives through her company CrichtonSun. “When I came across the DRAGON TEETH manuscript in the files, I was immediately captivated. It has Michael’s voice, his love of history, research and science all dynamically woven into an epic tale.” She traced its genesis back to correspondence between Crichton and Professor Edwin H. Colbert, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. “DRAGON TEETH was clearly a very important book for Michael. I’m so pleased to continue the long relationship that he shared with HarperCollins with its publication.”

I've seen mentions of unpublished projects in Michael Crichton's interviews, but I don't remember anything about this one. Time to go through my own Michael Crichton archives. When Pirates Latitudes was published, I discovered that Crichton had mentioned it in an interview.

The Origin of Pirate Latitudes

Origins of Pirate Latitudes - Part 2

There's something else to look forward to. National Geographic is planning a mini-series based on Dragon Teeth.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

“Given Michael’s history with Amblin, and his love of science, I am delighted to have found the perfect home for Dragon Teeth at Nat Geo,” said Sherri Crichton. “Dragon Teeth was a very important book for Michael and is another example of his immense talent and versatility as a writer and his appreciation and understanding of a great page in the history of paleontology.”


Narayan said...

yippppppppppppeeeeeeeeee...that would be my comment ....if this is a genuine MC manuscript. of late there has been a spurt in the discovery of lost manuscripts/ books...the latest being Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee. So i take these news only with a pinch of salt.

Darren said...

Marla, what other unpublished/planned novels can you remember reading about? I know that he was at least making notes for another autobiographical book like Travels. I also remember reading an interview where he mentions that when he was younger his editor would read a finished manuscript and tell him it wasn't good enough to publish (the implication being that he shouldn't even edit it), and this didn't bother him when he was younger but in his later years he could no longer afford to completely abandon a novel. So its possible there are more unpublished manuscripts out there.

Stevenc said...

"I also remember reading an interview where he mentions that when he was younger his editor would read a finished manuscript and tell him it wasn't good enough to publish (the implication being that he shouldn't even edit it), and this didn't bother him when he was younger but in his later years he could no longer afford to completely abandon a novel."

What interview was this?

Henrique Zimmermann Tomassi said...

You know what is the best news? This:

"The vast Michael Crichton library will continue to be explored, with many works that have yet to be seen."

I wonder what else we will still see. I would love to read the first draft of Jurassic Park, the one of a pterodactyl clone. Or notes from this and other novels.

Darren said...

Hi Stevenc,

It was here in this article about Michael Crichton's editor Robert Gottlieb. I think Bob Gottlieb had a great influence on Crichton's signature novel style, advising him to write as though he were writing a non-fiction book.

"Occasionally Bob has said to me, The new book doesn't work. Forget it. Which I have done. That has happened a few times. But it was in part a result of my method of working, which is to go off and tell nobody what I'm doing and write something; sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn't. I guess because of my youth it didn't seem so devastating. I just thought, Oh well, that didn't work, I'll go do something else. I don't work that way anymore - I'm too old."

Darren said...

Hey Henrique,

I agree, that prospect is very exciting! A number of artists/film-makers have had selections from their archives published as big coffee table books (e.g. Stanley Kubrick). Featuring their notes, drafts, writings etc. I'd love to see a big book published of 'The Michael Crichton Archives'. What a treasure trove that would be!

(By the way, Crichton's screenplay for Jurassic Park used to be online. Did you ever read it?)

Darren said...

Heres something that puzzles me: we know that Michael wrote several novels under pseudonyms before the first novel under his own name - 'The Andromeda Strain' - which was a hit in 1969. But then the next year he went back to publishing under a pseudonym. Why? Wouldn't the novels have had a better chance of success under his own name, now that he was a best-selling author? Or maybe he'd written and sold them prior to 'The Andromeda Strain'?

Darren said...

(actually, 3 books in 1970, and one in 1972 under pseudonyms. It took 6 years before he published another novel under his own name).

Henrique Zimmermann Tomassi said...


Yes, I read his screenplay wich was rewrited by Maria Scotch-Marmo, but recently came out a new sript for Jurassic Park, did you knew that? A Jurassic fan found it, is a VERY early draft from 1991, and it wasn't rewrited by anyone, it means it is PURE Crichton! Here is the link to it:

Darren said...

Wow nice find! Thanks Henrique!

Darren said...

This summary of 'Dragon Teeth' has been published on Amazon:

The year is 1876. Warring Indian tribes still populate America’s western territories even as lawless gold-rush towns begin to mark the landscape. In much of the country it is still illegal to espouse evolution. Against this backdrop two monomaniacal paleontologists pillage the Wild West, hunting for dinosaur fossils, while surveilling, deceiving and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars.

Into this treacherous territory plunges the arrogant and entitled William Johnson, a Yale student with more privilege than sense. Determined to survive a summer in the west to win a bet against his arch-rival, William has joined world-renowned paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh on his latest expedition. But when the paranoid and secretive Marsh becomes convinced that William is spying for his nemesis, Edwin Drinker Cope, he abandons him in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a locus of crime and vice. William is forced to join forces with Cope and soon stumbles upon a discovery of historic proportions. With this extraordinary treasure, however, comes exceptional danger, and William’s newfound resilience will be tested in his struggle to protect his cache, which pits him against some of the West’s most notorious characters.

A page-turner that draws on both meticulously researched history and an exuberant imagination, Dragon Teeth is based on the rivalry between real-life paleontologists Cope and Marsh; in William Johnson readers will find an inspiring hero only Michael Crichton could have imagined. Perfectly paced and brilliantly plotted, this enormously winning adventure is destined to become another Crichton classic.

Anonymous said...

Wow... so looking forward to read this book.
It's dinosaurs/science/history/western in one package