Andrew Mueller's Reviews > The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
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M 50x66
's review
Jan 26, 2009

really liked it
Read in December, 2008

The Andromeda Strain starts fast in a small Arizona town where a mysterious military satellite has crash landed. When a dispatch team is sent to retrieve the satellite, something terribly wrong happens. At the site of the satellite, the dispatch team also sees a horde of dead bodies surrounding the satellite. As the dispatch team contacted a nearby military base to tell the news they are suddenly overcome by a mysterious unknown force, leaving them dead, and the communicator silent. The military then acts fast, engaging a procedure meant only for this type of emergency. They gather a team of professional scientists together, each with separate unique specialties. This emergency procedure codenamed Wildfire is professionally setup in order to end the potential for an epidemic. After a thorough scan and sampling from the crash site they realize the cause of the deaths was a mutant alien virus. The team then works together to come up with an antidote and a vaccine for this highly contagious, highly dangerous virus. As they do this they encounter several problems which make an epidemic inevitable.
The overall presentation of the book was very good, giving a mixture of well planned events and a creative writing style. Even at the beginning, the suspense was overwhelming. It only takes a few pages to get fully absorbed into the book. The beginning was perfectly created to catch and keep the reader’s attention. After the first chapter the suspense doesn’t end. The fast paced storyline only slows down for a few parts but picks right back up again. However, if science isn’t your thing, then this book isn’t for you. It is packed with real facts to back up the reality of the plotline. Michael Crichton, an ex-physician used a lot of science based theories and terms to describe possible causes for the virus. A lot of medical terms were used as well when describing and classifying the virus. When the reader is first introduced to the virus identification building it starts to over explain some of the technologies and procedures. Some chapters explicitly just explained layers of the facility and why it was that certain way. Though these parts may seem boring, they add to the seriousness of the situation and end up helping the reader’s imagery.
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton is a classic book displaying the mysteries of the universe. It is another work that shows that the human race might not be as intelligent as they think they are. Michael Crichton is also known for several other great works such as Jurassic Park that display the same type of message. The book shows themes such as organization and persistence which are reflected on constantly throughout the book. The writing style that Crichton shows is more casual than most authors and doesn’t challenge the reader as much as some may hope. The writing however, though casual, displays a great deal of imagery which helps visualize the setting in both the crash site and the project area. During the introduction to the project facility, Michael Crichton uses simplistic images in the book to carry out the full feel of the technological advances used in the building. The characterization that he uses is also excellent. During the virus analysis Crichton really gives the doctors a personality. As they find more and more about the virus they show signs of excitement and self-fulfillment which make them seem life-like. Each scientist is given a specialty that they are to focus on for the project. This separates their qualities so that the author can focus on each scientist’s character traits. As the book progresses the characters become better defined.
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