Sean's Reviews > The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
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M 50x66
's review
Mar 10, 2011

liked it

The Andromeda Strain is a science fiction novel about a chemical that comes to earth on a satellite and kills everyone near the crash-site. The satellite crashed in Arizona where it killed everyone in the town and then the scientists from a group called Wildfire that went to retrieve it. It seemed like aliens may have came on the satellite, but it turns out there was a chemical on it that it crashed with in space. This chemical killed people by coagulating their blood. There were two survivors however, an old man and a baby.
The chemical, labeled Andromeda, was studied in a secret laboratory where they discovered how it killed people and that it could turn matter into energy, making it hard to defeat. Because it killed people through coagulating their blood, the old man and baby survived because they had an unusual pH level in their blood. With no way of defeating the chemical, Wildfire is able to send Andromeda to the future through a wormhole, where it is researched and sent back before the crash landing with a message on how to fight it.
While the book deals with extra-terrestrial themes and time travel, it can still be easily related to biology. The reason the chemical kills everyone in its path is because it is not from earth, so no one has ever been exposed to it, meaning they haven't evolved to be able to reject the deadly chemical. In terms of what is currently possible, this relates to an idea we talked about in class. Mixed genes are better adapted for survival because they can handle a greater variety of situations. For example, if a disease emerges in a country that has no diversity, it would be a lot more dangerous that in a diverse country. This is because through diversity, humans receive different genes that have adapted to survive from both ethnicities and locations as opposed to carrying the same genes through many generations.
The book was a slow read and at some points boring. There was a lot that talked about scientific research being done which made the only suspense in the book come from wondering about Andromeda, not the characters. At least I didn't find the characters interesting. If you're interested in science fiction you may enjoy this book because the main premise is fairly plausible.

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