Wed
Nov 5 2008 2:05pm

Michael Crichton: 1942-2008

This just in: Michael Crichton, creator of the TV show ER, and best known as the writer of Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, and Lost World, has died today unexpectedly. He was 66.

UPDATE: He's died of cancer, so possibly not that unexpectedly. His funeral will be private, and few other details are known. We'll keep you posted.

And another UPDATE: Here's a good piece on the NYT about Crichton.

19 comments
Robert Lock
1. BobLock
That is sad, sad news. Crichton was the master of the tropes in which the best laid plans of mice and men all too often go astray. Even though a scientist himself he didn't flinch from portraying scientists as being arrogant and contemptuous of the side effects that perhaps their work could incur. My condolences to his family.
EZG
2. EZG
@Boblock: For someone contemptuous of the side effects of science, he sure preached about Global warming being a big lie.

I'm sure I come off as callous, but I won't miss him one little bit. Maybe I'm the only one that thinks so. But I've seen him as small minded and a pretty bad dude for quite a while.
Melissa Ann Singer
3. masinger
I read The Andromeda Strain when it was newly published, in 1969. I thought it was one of the scariest things I had ever read (I was 10). I've read and enjoyed a number of Crichton's novels, but none of them have had the same OMG! effect on me as that very first book.

And ER was brilliant in its first years, in my opinion.

My condolences to the family and all those who knew him.
EZG
4. G Manchess
Micheal Crichton was an amazingly good writer, using science fiction to not only explain, but to enhance the beauty of real science. Anyone who misses that point is missing the essence of his work.

I liked all of his ideas, some more than others. It was unfortunate that he chose to confuse people with the global warming angle, but I think he was writing from an alternate point of view to stir people up and get them questioning again.

No one could hold a reader's interest like he could with his pacing. Astonishing. And he did it over and over again.

I got a chance to paint two covers for him, but they were fun, pulp novels, not science fiction. I will miss his work.
Declan Ryan
5. decco999
The very first science fiction book that I ever read was The Andromeda Strain. And I haven't stopped since, nearly forty years later. For this I have always been thankful to Michael Crichton. The last book of his that I read was Timeline - well before the film was released, I add. Not perhaps the finest of works ever produced, but it was a hell of a good page-turner. His death is indeed a sad loss.
EZG
6. cannotspell
His writing was eye opening, entertaining and enjoyable. I agree with him about globle warming, he was first and formost a scientist! He will be missed.
Jon Evans
7. rezendi
Sad news.

Crichton had his flaws as a writer, but he was better at pacing than anyone else in the world.
Michael Cassidy
8. barnowl66
This is sad news.

I enjoyed reading "Timeline" and "Eaters of the Dead" very much.

E.R was an amazing television show for the early years when I watched it.

He will be missed.
My condolences to his family...
EZG
9. Cris Cohen
I liked that he wrote about really different subject matter while also weaving in commentaries on things like the modern day media. He had an interesting mind.
Blue Tyson
10. BlueTyson
Definitely a shock.

Jurassic Park was great stuff, and lead to some interesting research papers, as well.
Thiago Leitão
11. kwisatzhaderach
It's a shame he passed away at too soon an age to die nowadays. 66 may not be young, but it's definetly to soon to die.

Even though I didn't like his writings (except for Eaters of the dead, which I loved), I'm sorry he's gone.
EZG
12. Ross Smith
I'm with EZG. I wouldn't normally speak ill of the dead, but I'm prepared to make an exception for a slimeball as vile as Crichton. His fight for global warming denialism was the worst of his crimes but far from the only one. (And putting a critic who pointed out how crappy his "science" was into his next book as a child molester was just the icing on the cake.)

For those not familiar with the depths Crichton sank to, Dan Rutter has posted a good summary: http://dansdata.blogsome.com/2008/11/06/a-writer-of-unique-talents-i-hope (apparently Tor.com doesn't allow links?)

I don't believe in an afterlife, but it would be nice to think he's currently experiencing global warming firsthand. The only thing tragic about his death was that it didn't happen twenty years ago. Good riddance.
EZG
13. Bob Lock
EZG:

I don't feel I am qualified enough to say whether or not Global Warming is as bad as it is made out to be. There are so many conflicting opinions that I find it difficult to come down on one side or the other.
Take for example Mark Serreze of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, didn't he tell Agence France-Presse in an interview on June 27, 2008, that by the end of the 2008 summer, there might, for the first time in human history, be no ice at the North Pole?

As far as I know the ice is still there.

BTW:
You said
For someone contemptuous of the side effects of science, he sure preached about Global warming being a big lie.


I didn't say Crichton was contemptuous, I said the scientists he portrayed were contemptuous of any side effects.

i.e. In Jurassic Park chaos theorist Ian Malcolm states that there is a flaw in the way the dinosaur population is analyzed and is ignored etc etc.

Anyway, I just wanted to put the record straight in that I didn't suggest Crichton was contemptuous of the side effects, his characters were.
Torie Atkinson
14. Torie
@ 12

Feel free to be critical of his work and his admittedly all-too-public political positions, but do not use this as a forum to vent nastiness about what you think he deserved. Attacks like that are entirely inappropriate, and any other comments like this will be deleted.

@ 13

This should be obvious, but Tor.com is not the place to argue over the validity of global warming. I expect no further arguments on this subject.
Tomasz P.
15. Nieznany
Sad news.

Michael Crichton was great writer.

My condolences to the family and all those who knew him.
EZG
16. Bob Lock
@14

I suggest you read my post again. I am not arguing on whether or not Global Warming exists, I am merely stating that with so many conflicting views on the subject I am unable to decide which of the two opinions I feel more comfortable with as a person with no qualifications on this subject. I have no idea as to whether or not Michael Crichton's views on this subject were valid, I was attempting to rectify a misquote attributed to me.

That is twice in one string of comments that I have been misinterpreted or have had words put into my mouth. If it's misinterpretation then I'm sorry I am I not explaining myself clearly enough, if it's the latter then please refrain from doing so.

It's a shame that what I hoped was a heartfelt salute to a writer I respected and a wish of condolences to his family has been side-tracked in this way.
Torie Atkinson
17. Torie
@ 16

I was referring to your paragraph about the National Snow and Ice center: that debate goes somewhere else.
Rainer Skupsch
18. Rainer
Just like millions of people around the world I loved the first years of "Emergency Room" - and like quite a few people I think that some of Crichton's novels were pretty mediocre ("Lost World", "Prey").
But this ist not the reason I am raising my insignificant voice here. Having read Torie's admonitions above I cannot help but feel that this is a website addressed exclusively to lobotomy patients. Torie, do I have to infer from your stern warnings that you do not want us to bother you with nasty news about real life? Is this site perhaps little more that one big advertisement after all?
Yours sincerely, Rainer
Torie Atkinson
19. Torie
@ 18

If you really think Ross Smith's wishing Crichton an early death and hoping he is currently in hell was appropriate for a remembrance post, please do illuminate me.

As for global warming: you can criticize his views or agree with them, I don't care. I just don't want to see summaries of scientific studies on either side of the debate, particularly in an obituary thread. Link things if you want, but I'm asking that people please not repost arguments here.

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