Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Prey” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  126,139 Ratings  ·  2,458 Reviews

In the Nevada desert, an experiment has gone horribly wrong. A cloud of nanoparticles—micro-robots—has escaped from the laboratory. This cloud is self-sustaining and self-reproducing. It is intelligent and learns from experience. For all practical purposes, it is alive.

It has been programmed as a predator. It is evolving swiftly, becoming more deadly with each passing hou

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by HarperCollins Publishers
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Prey, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Paul O'Neill
It was always going to be asking too much to go 3 for 3 (5 star ratings for both Jurassic Park and Timeline). This was still a fairly entertaining book. I think the science was there, for some reason Crichton fails to add in the element of horror or fear. This results in a big 'So, what?' factor.

Still a good book, but read Timeline or Jurassic Park first

Jurassic Park
Artificial intelligence morphing into artificial life, threatening life as we know it. Nano-bots and their hive mentality, swarming and learning. Sounds like a winner, but it didn't even reach mediocre for me. The uber-thin characterizations capped it. I remember liking this author's Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain, but this one didn't do much for me.
Jul 10, 2015 Shandra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unable-to-finish
DNF at page 175/369.

Dear book,

Don't like you photo: I dont like you itsme_zpse8e97248.gif

It's me, not you. I was really into you in the beginning, but you lost me when you got too technical. That's when I lost my interest in you. There was no coming back from that. While I found your premise fascinating and terrifying at the beginning, after you lost me, the premise wasn't interesting to me anymore. This is purely me, and is not your fault. You see, I have an addiction to the Kate Daniels series. I was spending time with you while waiting for the buddy
David P.
Mar 01, 2009 David P. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember I first learned that Jurassic Park was actually a book - that was sometime last year. Well, I read it this year, and Jurassic Park turned out to be one of the best books I've ever read. And then I saw Prey by Michael Crichton (the genius behind Jurassic Park) and figured "There's no way this is as good as Jurassic Park." After reading it, though, I found out that Prey is another home run by Michael Crichton, a spectacular book comparable to Jurassic Park, and probably a top three book ...more
Jan 01, 2012 Philip rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
I used to love Crichton. I got on a kick in high school where I read Jurassic Park, Terminal Man, Andromeda Strain, and Congo, and I liked them all. The stories and characters were overused stereotypes, but I always felt like I learned something because Crichton did such thorough research.

The last 2 I tried to read were Timeline and Prey. I couldn't even finish either one. The science was SOOO bad. I don't know if I've just gotten more sophisticated, or if he's jumped the shark, but I can't imag
Feb 10, 2008 Allen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are brain dead.
Probably the worst book I have ever read (and believe me, that's saying something!). Michael Crichton (who used to write so well!) offends every branch of the sciences in this book. Suspending disbelief is one thing, but to buy this book would require a frontal lobotomy. Unless you want to have your intelligence offended, don't bother.
Jun 03, 2012 Kimmy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If someone recommended to me a book about shape-shifting creatures who feed on human flesh to spawn and have a central mothership nest in the middle of a desert, I think I would have never, ever picked up that book and recommended Twilight to that person in return, out of sheer spite. Yes, and I think I would have picked Twilight over this kind of book in a heartbeat.

Well, what do ya know, those would have been the most horrible mistakes that I could have ever committed in my life. Well, never j
Sep 30, 2008 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like all Chrichton books, I really enjoyed this blend of modern technology, science, and fiction. It's an entertaining way to learn something new while enjoying a decent story. Yeah, it can be a slower read at times while you work thru the descriptive science, but I never felt that it distracted from the experience. Not as good as Jurassic Park, but a tad better than Sphere and much better than Congo, Timeline, & Eaters of the Dead.
Oct 25, 2007 Paul rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
This is the only book I have intentionally left on a plane after reading it. It is so mind-numbingly stupid as to defy belief. Its pretty sad when completely nonsensical science gets combined with a dumb story. Get either of them about right and I'm happy, get both of them terribly wrong and I want my money back.
Apr 28, 2007 Nathan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of robots-will-take-over-the-world theories
I had to read this book for my second-semester artificial intelligence class because it deals with nano-bots that use swarm-intelligence--something we were studying at the time. Basically the idea is that large groups of individually "stupid" agents can potentially display seemingly intelligent behavior. Think about insects: ants are a good example. Each ant is incredibly stupid, and by itself would wander aimlessly and accomplish nothing. But a very simple set of pre-defined behaviors causes th ...more
U uvodu autor opisuje kako će se nano tehnologija, molekularna biologija i umjetna inteligencija (kompjuterski programi koji sami uče) spojiti i tako će doći do stvaranja novog oblika života čije ponašanje i daljni razvoj ne možemo unaprijed predvidjeti. Upozorava da moramo biti vrlo pažljivi i unaprijed odrediti pravila za kontolu. Što bi se dogodilo da se takav život razvije prije nego li definiramo pravila i ograničenja? Tu kreće zaplet ovog romana.

Početak je obećavao. Događaje pratimo očima
Rhiannon Lawrence
Apr 27, 2008 Rhiannon Lawrence rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hated this book! I am convinced that this was done by a ghost writer as it was not up to Crichton's normal detailed story telling. I was bored, I didn't believe the story, and the characters were flat for me. Gag.
Ok so did jack succeed or what?!??

This was a very cloak and dagger type read. It was full of mysteries, and non-stop action! The lead character was a noble hero!! I don't think anyone could not root for him. But I am worried for the supporting characters... WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM!!!
The story was a little far fetched. But idk maybe it's something that could happen, all this technology getting better and better, more and more complicated EVERYDAY!!!

Kinda frightening when you think of it that way..
Dec 29, 2015 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me encantó! Es muy ingenioso lo que propone y se ve que se basa en hechos científicos reales, hace tiempo que quería leer algo más del autor, sólo había leído Rescate en el tiempo que me encantó también.
Jun 04, 2015 Rade rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ehh, it was alright. The concept was interesting but the characters were quite bland for my taste. The little kid who kept saying "It's not fair" was quite annoying. The ending I liked and the author explained just about everything that was going on and how it all went down.

Overall the subject of the book was interesting and raises some questions about nanotechnology but the book itself was about average.
Sep 07, 2007 Dan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not
Shelves: sci-fi
A really good hard science fiction novel illustrating the potential danger of nanotechnology would be a welcome addition. Prey is not that novel.

Here’s the plot: Somewhere in the Nevada desert, a hi-tech corporation has been experimenting with nanotechnology swarms. Of course, the little critters get loose and begin evolving into fierce predators. Jack Foreman, an expert in designing computer programs that mimic the behavior of swarming animals, is called in to deal with the swarm. Jack’s wife
Titas (Emperor)

Because you see, when you write "Later I was able to see all this from the Camera footage" at the peak of life-n-death moments, there remains no imagination about the ending and it really ruins the book.
Nothing actually happens throughout the first half of a 500 page book other than a rabbit getting killed. Even after that it goes on to repeat a routine of "we have to go outside!...oh no!the bugs are coming!run inside! died" again and again. Finally it picks up just before it ends and lea
Oct 27, 2013 Cara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was pretty good, even though I'm not huge into science fiction. I've seen that lots of people review this book and say that the science is so farfetched that it's unbelievable and stupid, but honestly, it's fiction. It's not supposed to be perfectly believable. Suspension of disbelief is required when reading this. I personally just enjoy books that can entertain me, and this one did. It brought up some interesting "what if" concepts, even though they would never really happe ...more
Jonathan Swartz
I found Prey on the bookshelf of a lodge we were staying at over the weekend and thought it seemed like a good mindless vacation read.

I used to like Michael Chrichton (Juraissic Park, Disclosure) but hadn't read any in a while. Sadly, the poor writing quality kept jerking me out of what was otherwise a decent story. I don't know whether this is because his writing has gone downhill or my standards have just changed.

The premise is exciting enough (nano-robots gone rogue) but Chrichton keeps break
Aug 26, 2015 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great book. Only the second Crichton novel I've read, but I'm really enjoying his style. It's a quick-read, and once the action starts, it barely lets up. Prey shows Crichton definitely knows how to write characters, dialogue, and a damn interesting plot.

The whole sci-fi aspect of nanobots is an intriguing one, and it certainly lends itself to the ideas of evolution and nature. The only "fault" with the book is, jeeze, there's a ton of science in it. Which isn't necessarily bad. He'll thr
Apr 19, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part sci-fi, part potential pre-apocalypse. If that is even possible.I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the stay at home dad vs. stay at home mom. Actually, I enjoyed the first part of the book, much better than the last part. I think it touched something I could relate to. I enjoyed the harried housedad immensely. I thought, I have seen that guy. I may not understand the techno babble so much, but I get the idea of nano technology. It could go really good, or really bad. Maybe there are just some t ...more
Mark Hebwood
This was easily Michael Crichton's weakest plot recently. The novel still manages to be engaging as Michael, even at his near-worst, always seems to be able to bring characters to life through dialogue rather than descriptions. The plot is fast-paced, the story-telling is engaging, but... as the plot unfolds, it is starting to verge on the ridiculous.

Swarms of nanoparticles imitate their hosts and create doppelgaengers that interact with real people. Yea right. Not that realism is a valid bench
The premises were all good: an interesting sci-fi concept and Crichton’s direct writing style (which I liked in Jurassic Park, Sphere, etc.) so Prey seemed a great fit for me. Unfortunately the book deteriorated into a B-horror movie script including the over the top finale ((view spoiler)).
Better stick with the much better Crichton’s earlier novels.
Apr 12, 2014 Elar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Idea behind the book is very catching and gives small introduction to machine learning and other IT techniques. But why is the main character intelligent in one moment and dumb as as a doorstop in next?
Carolyn F.
The narration is great on this audiobook but I have a few complaints.

1. I know we need to know some of the basics about nano-technology but this seemed way too much. I've read Crichton before so I'm familiar with his way of teaching you a little, but maybe it was the subject matter I didn't care for. Mind wandering often.

2. Jack is not taking any of this serious enough. The swarms are killing people. They tell him to run, he asks why. They say the swarms are coming, he says just a minute. They
Chris Dietzel
This was the closest thing I've found of Crichton's later work that could compare to his early science fiction. It's still not as compelling or entertaining as Sphere or The Andromeda Strain, but it's much better than Timeline or Airframe. Crichton definitely felt compelled to turn his later books into near research papers, loading them with all of the information he came upon in learning about the subject. That, more than anything, is the difference between why this didn't work for me as much a ...more
Travis of NNY
Mar 04, 2016 Travis of NNY rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, action, geocache
Crichton really jumped onto the nanotechnology early. Fascinating ideas as the reality is quite frightening. Maybe not the exact way the book describes things , but the more general idea of science meddles in things they don't fully understand but feel they understand it well enough to let it loose and see what happens. Then the entire human race is in danger. That absolutely is a possibility.
Oct 31, 2015 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great story from Michael Crichton. This time a stay home dad, who has lost his job, due to trickery, finds being Mr. Mom is not all it is cracked up to be. His wife has changed, he has bad dreams, she is into some new kind of technology, and is becoming erratic and secretive. She is working on something new, while he is changing nappies.

Jack is dealing with raising the three children without his wife's input. He is offered a job on his wife's project and takes it, while she is in hospita
Nigel Mitchell
Jul 25, 2014 Nigel Mitchell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Let me start out by saying I'm a huge fan of Michael Crichton. His books Jurassic Park and Andromeda Strain are classics. That said, his other work is hit and miss. He tended to work in a formula which didn't always gel: group of people trapped in a building with something scary. Jurassic Park was a hit. Prey is definitely a miss for me.

Despite claims on the cover and the description, this book is not really about nanotechnology. It's about killer dust. The premise is that a computer programmer
Apr 26, 2012 Carol rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Poor Jack has lost his computer job. He use to monitor the computers of other employees in his firm. Then he found out about some fraud and stealing of money committed by several high ranking employees and the higher ups used the information against Jack and had him fired and blacklisted. So Jack stays home and takes care of the kids, shopping for place mats at Crate and Barrel and buying groceries. Julia his wife works on nanotechnology but is acting strange, irritable and paranoid. She shows h ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Unresolved questions? 2 37 Apr 09, 2015 06:38AM  
What is your opinion about the Micro Robots's cloud? 14 140 Jan 23, 2015 05:18PM  
  • Amazonia
  • Red Rabbit (Jack Ryan Universe, #3)
  • The Genesis Code
  • Acceptable Risk
  • Seize the Night (Moonlight Bay, #2)
  • The Cobra Event
  • Factoring Humanity
  • Mount Dragon
  • Recoil
  • Binary
  • Deep as the Marrow
  • Death Match
  • Camouflage
  • Cradle
  • The Astronaut's Wife
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...

Share This Book

“We think we know what we are doing. We have always thought so.” 93 likes
“They didn't understand what they were doing.
I'm afraid that will be on the tombstone of the human race.”
More quotes…