Lydia Steenhoek's Reviews > The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
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's review
Dec 09, 2010

it was amazing

Speculation that other life exists beyond planet earth is a touchy subject: some think it's ridiculous, others are fervent believers, others don't know what to believe. As many viewpoints as there are, an equal number of speculations are made as to the forms of these extraterrestrials. What if, rather than little green men, the visitors came in the form of a simple organism; an organism was deadly to humans?

The town of Piedmont,Arizona, formerly overlooked by most of the U.S., has finally grabbed the attention fo the government. The satellite for Project Scoop, an army device meant to look for extraterrestrial pathogens, has crash landed in the middle of Piedmont. The retrieval team goes into Piedmont, only to find a horrific scene: everyone is dead. It seems Project Scoop has been a success, perhaps too much so.
We follow the progress of Project Wildfire, a select group of scientists, in the scramble to understand and cure the Andromeda Strain before its eventual spread. Laced with scientific details and unbelievable research, Crichton's first novel may be one of his best. While shorter and less developed than his later novels, The Andromeda strain contains an intensity and energy that makes it a truly absorbing read.

Some biologists speculate that if we ever make contact with extraterrestrials, those life forms are likely to be--like most life on earth--one-celled or smaller creatures, more comparable to bacteria than little green men. And even though such organisms would not likely be able to harm humans, the possibility exists that first contact might be our last.
That's the scientific supposition that Michael Crichton formulates and follows out to its conclusion in his excellent debut novel, The Andromeda Strain.

A Nobel-Prize-winning bacteriologist, Jeremy Stone, urges the president to approve an extraterrestrial decontamination facility to sterilize returning astronauts, satellites, and spacecraft that might carry an "unknown biologic agent." The government agrees, almost too quickly, to build the top-secret Wildfire Lab in the desert of Nevada. Shortly thereafter, unbeknownst to Stone, the U.S. Army initiates the "Scoop" satellite program, an attempt to actively collect space pathogens for use in biological warfare. When Scoop VII crashes a couple years later in the isolated Arizona town of Piedmont, the Army ends up getting more than it asked for.

The Andromeda Strain follows Stone and rest of the scientific team mobilized to react to the Scoop crash as they scramble to understand and contain a strange and deadly outbreak. Crichton's first book may well be his best; it has an earnestness that is missing from his later, more calculated thrillers. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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message 1: by ME Pruitt (new)

ME Pruitt Your review is solid (except you forgot the word "that" at one point). I think you did a pretty good job following your model, although there are parts where I actually like your review better than the model. Nice job 15/15.

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