Jeffrey's Reviews > Next

Next by Michael Crichton
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Apr 22, 2007

it was amazing
Read in October, 2007

Next by Michael Crichton is a ridiculous, silly book. But I bet a lot of people said the same thing about Brave New World, Dune, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Stranger in a Strange Land, and 1984 when they came out. No, Next can not hold a candle to these science fiction classics, but it is the same kind of book, and it is poignant for its time. The fact is, Crichton writes satire, and the general perception of him does not accept this. Next is both silly and excellent. More importantly, I learned quite a bit from reading it. I did not know that genes can be patented, human tissues can be used in any way by whomever happens to end up with them, and that gene testing results can be hidden in such a way that deaths have been covered up because they were "trade secrets". Crichton shows the extreme possibilities of these insane laws. In Next, a man has a gene that could be a groundbreaking cure, but when the company that has the patent for it is sabotaged and loses all its samples it believes it is within its rights to hire bounty hunters to track down this man's daughter and grandson and surgically take some of their genes since they are the company's property. This is just one story that intersects the others in Next (Oh, by the way, there is a transgenic chimpanzee-human in the book). Will it happen? Probably not. But do we only produce children in test tubes like in Brave New World? Have we colonized the moon like in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress? And while surveillance gets scarier and scarier are we actually being watched all the time like in 1984? No. Satire, by definition, is trafficking in exaggeration to warn people about where we are going. Crichton might be mentioned more frequently in a list that includes John Grisham and Danielle Steel, then with the likes of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, but he is a satirical science fiction writer, and a pretty good one. His popularity and high quantity output is making people think he is for thirteen-year-old boys only. He is better than that. Give the man a chance. Start with Next.
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06/01/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Bill Sweet Glad to see somebody got it! I loved it too.


Sasha Thompson I agree! I loved it too


message 3: by El (new) - rated it 5 stars

El Zippo Great book. One of Crichton's best novels.


message 4: by Ryan (new) - rated it 1 star

Ryan Morris Horrible book. Horrible review.


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