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The Terminal Man

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  16,695 ratings  ·  458 reviews
From the bestselling author ofJurassic Park, Timeline, andSpherecomes a neurological thriller about the dangers of cutting-edge medical experimentation.

Harry Benson suffers from violent seizures. So violent that he often blackouts when they take hold. Shortly after severely beating two men during an episode, the police escort Benson to a Los Angeles hospital for treatment.
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Published (first published April 12th 1972)
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Years ago, I saw "The Andromeda Strain" & then saw this book, so I picked it up. It was pretty good & was an early explorer of man-computer interfacing. It also shows the fallacy of positive feedback as a form of control. There's a fair amount of gore & the hospital descriptions really impressed me. It might be a bit dated now, though.

If you have to hunt up a volume, try to find the first hardback. It had some good, if a bit gruesome, illustrations in it, as I recall.
The Terminal Man is so far my least favorite of all Michael Crichton's novels. (I'm almost finished reading all of his fiction books.) But I couldn't rate it lower than three-stars, because this is Crichton, for pity's sake. He's one of my favorite authors. And I suppose the tremendous research and effort dedicated in this book is worth an additional star.

Okay, so this is about a man named Benson who frequently had violent seizures. People from the Neuropsychiatric Research Unit decided to app
Apr 04, 2014 Paul rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one with a critical brain
Shelves: thrillers
'The Terminal Man' by Michael Crichton

The Plot:

Harry Benson is a man who suffers from seizures, caused by brain damage incurred as a result of a car accident. These seizures are unpredictable & distressing for Benson who has blackouts, can't remember where he has been or his actions whilst 'unconscious'. What happens, invariably, during these blackouts, is that Benson becomes involved in fights. He attacks his victims with a ferocity that belies his diminutive stature.
Benson comes to the a
The Terminal Man by Michael Crichton.

One of Crichton's earlier works The Terminal Man is not as polished or as engaging as his later Science Fiction or Medical Fiction, but the hint of greatness is definitely evident and despite the fact that the books is 41 years old this year the story is still a compelling read with a few unexpected twists and turns. The Terminal Man is the story of, Harry Benson, a normal man who following a car accident develops a violent side which is triggered by a seizur
Apr 02, 2011 Jonathan rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody!
I had high hopes for this book after reading Crichton's 'The Andromeda Strain.' I thought it would be another techno-thriller with the same kind of intriguing ideas and medical realism that would make the plot believeable and far-fetched at the same time. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Perhaps the book is dated in the sense that a man receiving brain implants and receiving shocks in order to stimulate the brain is no longer science-fiction and rather is a reality of today's medicine. Furt ...more
Sam Ang
Apr 28, 2012 Sam Ang rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi
Shelves: fiction
The full review is available at the following link:

Although he is not the protagonist of the story, the whole event revolved around Harry Benson, a patient suffering from a violent seizure known as Acute Disinhibitory Lesions, or ADL (not sure if it is a real syndrome). Harry's seizure came and go, and was so violent that a police guard was required to escort him into the hospital in case his epilepsy occurred. During the course of the seizure, Harry would
Paulina Sanchez
Quite an excellent story, Crichton, once again, kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book. The only reason why I don't give this book the 5 stars is because the ending leaves you on the edge, there are some unanswered questions that I am still curious about. I am hoping that the film has an ending that will help me out with some closure.

That being said, The Terminal Man is an excellent story, ahead of its time and very relevant right now.

I recommend it to anyone who likes specul
Barbara ★
Harry Benson is a computer analyst who works for the DOD and thinks machines are taking over the world. On top of his delusions, Harry was in a car accident which resulted in brain damage. Harry suffers from seizures which make him violent and he is wanted by the police. Most of the medical staff at University Hospital think he's a perfect candidate for surgery - implantation of a computer in his brain to stop the impulses triggering these seizures. All except his psychiatrist, Janet Ross, who r ...more
Laura Williams
I cannot fault a book for when it was written, but it is a huge understatement to say that this book has not stood the test of time. It is a book about implanting a computer into someone's brain in order to treat a violent form of epilepsy. Computers were brand new technology in 1971 and Crichton's book focuses on the fears that people had about computers getting too powerful. Usually Crichton's books are chilling in their accounts of science going awry but, unfortunately in this case, his imagi ...more
I really enjoy Crichton's work and the immersive environments he creates and the hard-science edge he adopts. Tis is no different in that respect. It moves along at comfortable pace and I found myself going through it quite quickly. A great work that once again explores morality combined with science.
A recommended read for the sci-fi/thriller fan.

Plot ***Spoilers***
Harry Benson, a man in his 30s, suffers from psychomotor epilepsy. He often has seizures followed by blackouts, and then wakes up ho
I have always had a rocky relationship with the genre of cautionary science fiction. There tend to be two types of this, those that explicitly or implicitly anti-science or anti-technology (I might call it science fiction for Luddites), and those that are not. I find the later to be far more acceptable than the former. I find Micheal Crichton's work to be especially iffy, many of his works are described as "cautionary techno thrillers" and no book of his is more explicitly anti-tech than this on ...more
I've got to say I am more than a little disappointed after finishing this book. I tried my hardest in putting myself in the early 70s mindset of awe and apprehension towards computing and technology, but it was more the story itself which let me down. True, the book hasn't aged particularly well due to some of the science being wrong, much of the technology being woefully out-dated, but for the time the opinions and technology were right and worked. That said however, the story just isn't all th ...more
Esta novela fue escrita en 1971 y las cosas que cuenta eran ciencia ficción de la buena entonces, aunque hoy estén anticuadas muchas de ellas. El argumento es bueno (de nuevo, marca de la casa Crichton) y la conclusión es triste: máquinas y hombre están condenados a no habitar en simbiosis. La visión es bastante pesimista. El libro, que terminé un día después de "Acoso", me pareció mucho mejor.
Scientists attempt to link a man with behavioral disorders to a computer that will mollify his violent tendencies, but fail.

This take on the Frankenstein story (a staple of modern sci-fi) is less successful than the predecessor "Andromeda Strain," but still displays Crichton's fearlessness: there are pages and pages of references in the appendix, most of which are real articles and books, but others were invented for the purpose of the story. A clever way of confusing the reader into thinking p
I didn't like this book. It was stupid and I really didn't care what happened to any of the characters. I especially was annoyed with the psychiatrist who kept telling the murdering Benson guy that he would be ok. Her answer for everything was that he would be fine and everything would be ok. Doesn't sound very clinical to me. Not very believable when this guy just tried to kill her hours earlier. Crichton was trying to post a moral dilemma that if we use computers to heal us that we are becomin ...more
Ben Bouwhuis
The Terminal Man written by Michael Crichton takes place between March 9 and March 13, 1971. When Harry Benson got into a car accident, his life changed drastically. Benson suffers from seizures, which are caused by the brain damage suffered in the accident. The seizures that Benson develops are unpredictable and often start with the smelling of unnatural scents. During these seizures, Benson becomes violent. He is involved in fights and attacks his victims with ferocity.

Surgeons at Neuro-Psychi
The Terminal Man By Michael Crichton is a story about Mr. Benson. He is a man who suffers from a disease called ADL or “Acute Disinhibitory Lesion syndrome” which causes him to “periodically lose his inhibitions against violent acts”. Benson’s lesion occurred when he was involved in a car crash and was found unconscious. He was brought to a hospital and was later discharged seemingly a healthy man. Four months later, he began to randomly have “blackouts”. These would last a few minutes and he i ...more
The Terminal Man was interesting, in its way. It's an older Michael Crichton book and isn't as polished or as intense as his later works. It's another of his books that I would recommend only to hardcore Crichton fans. I had some difficulty understanding Harry's actions, even though they were fully explained in the book. I'm not sure if this was more about me not comprehending the psychological/medical/technological aspects of the book or if the book wasn't basic enough for a lay-person.
When I was younger, I practically worshipped Michael Crichton. I don't know if it's the cynicism of adulthood or if this book is especially prejudiced, but I definitely did not appreciate the sexism and homophobia that ran rampant in this book. Other than that, though, it was a very interesting exploration of the ethics of technology and medical intervention.
Jane Lee
I was pretty interested in this book, expecting action-packed scenes and suspense. However, the book wasn't satisfying in that arena. It was full of scientific mumbo jumbo that could be pretty confusing to those who aren't in the medical field. Furthermore, the book's pacing was slow and by the time the conflict was revealed, it was pretty much predictable.
Paul Dinger
I guess you shouldn't re read some of the books you read when you were younger. I saw a film version of this recently that had NO elements of the book. This made me think, did I really read it? I guess I put it on the back burner. I did re read it, and while it was interesting, it didn't make a lot of sense. Is he the terminal man because of the terminal installed in his brain or because he signals the end of mankind? How is it possible since that terminal in his brain didn't stop his bad crimin ...more
This was one of Crichton's earlier books, published in the early 70s. It's about a guy who is violent so he gets a microchip inplanted into his brain to shock away the seizures. Then the techonology goes all wrong. The thing is, the whole book is about all the cutting edge computer technology. Cutting edge for 1971. In 2014, it's ridiculous. Not all books pass the test of time. A postage sized stamp computer that hooks up to a battery implanted in your shoulder with wires! WOW when computers tak ...more
Raegan Butcher
I can hardly believe that I was only in the 5th grade when I first read this, but there you have it. I've re-read this book at least 4 times. It is a compulsive page-turner with a fascinating premise.
A. Jr.
This is one of Chriton's earlier works, but delivers the suspense that his other books have. Based from the medical perspective, Terminal Man goes quickly into a thriller. Good read.
Aaron Hales
This book would have been a lot better had I read it in 1972 when it first was released. Although the fear that technology and computers are taking over the world is still prevalent, in today's modern world it's pretty hard to deny that it's already happened, to a certain extent. We might not have wires in our brains controlled by a computer that can make us feel good, but most of us carry computers in our pockets 24/7 and use them whenever we are bored, need to communicate, or various other rea ...more
None of the works of Michael Crichton is bad. They are almost always a 'safe read'. Meaning, they have movie-style plots and don't emphasize much on the wording and such. That's why even the worst book of Crichton is still enjoyable. It's the magic of his 'dedicated' explanation when making science fiction so that the story would be believable to the readers. The Terminal Man is excellent at the beginning, but goes bad as it progresses. It's like reading an introduction the whole time. I was wai ...more
This book was so advanced for its time and the while the story progression could have been better, i loved reading the twists and turns of this book.
Allison Wong
Interesting topics for discussion. Quick read, interesting mystery.

"Double-edged thinking...the idea of a brain being like a computer worked two ways, in two different directions. On the one hand, you could utilize the computer to probe the brain, to help you analyze its workings. At the same time, you could use your increased knowledge of the brain to help design better and more efficient computers. As McPherson said, ''The brain is as much a model for the computer as the computer is a model f
Danny M
The author has written many novels which I always find entertaining. I decided to write a general review which will cover all the novels. The author Michael Crichton is well known for his science fiction books. In Crichton novels, the real story is not always contained among the central characters, but within the underlying theme of the books. The author tends to be a bit of an alarmist with a very, very, active imagination. Crichton's novels are very informative and entertaining. The author see ...more
Brian Gordon
Harry Benson is a man with a problem. He is suffering from debilitating seizures that lead him into a fugue state where he becomes prone to violences. A secondary side effect is that Harry is paranoid about machines taking over the world. Members of the Neuropsychiatric Research Unit have come up with a way they think will help out poor old Harry. A computer will deliver a shock to part of his brain every time a seizure begins. As things often do in Crichton books sciences doesn't quite end up a ...more
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Michael Crichton (1942–2008) was one of the most successful novelists of his generation, admired for his meticulous scientific research and fast-paced narrative. He graduated summa cum laude and earned his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1969. His first novel, Odds On (1966), was written under the pseudonym John Lange and was followed by seven more Lange novels. He also wrote as Michael Douglas ...more
More about Michael Crichton...
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“... we have created a man with not one brain but two. ... This new brain is intended to control the biological brain. ... The patient's biological brain is the peripheral terminal -- the only peripheral terminal -- for the new computer. ... And therefore the patient's biological brain, indeed his whole body, has become a terminal for the new computer. We have created a man who is one single, large, complex computer terminal. The patient is a read-out device for the new computer, and is helpless to control the readout as a TV screen is helpless to control the information presented on it.” 6 likes
“Actualmente mucha gente piensa que vivimos en un mundo predeterminado que sigue un derrotero fijo y establecido. Las decisiones pasadas nos han legado la polución, la despersonalización y la suciedad urbana; alguien decidió por nosotros y ahora nos enfrentamos a las consecuencias.” 2 likes
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