9.3.05

Disappointed by Crichton

I have long been a fan of Michael Crichton. His books number among my favorite fiction novel's. I have a cynical streak, and so I quite enjoy reading about futuristic technologies going terribly wrong due to lack of wisdom on the part of humans. I had been under the impression that, while still fictional, they were generally well researched. Well, they are better researched than most fictions, or I think so, but his newest book "State of Fear" was disappointing.

It's a decent fiction, I read it fast and it held my attention, but the characters were far from beleivable. The plot was interesting, took quite a twist on the usual: a supersmart intellectual turned government agent travels the world thwarting environmental terrorists (who plot strikes which would, or it seems to me, have a negative effect on the environment... but then these environmentalists only care about money, not trees) while debunking the idea of global warming to anyone who will listen.

What was really disappointing was the science and assumptions. This book does to climate science what "Da Vinci Code" does to Christian history (by the way, I really enjoyed the Da Vinci code). I mean, its ok to have opinions, and there are "global warming skeptics", some of them noted scientists, but some of the arguements brought up in "State of Fear" rely on such tactis as the straw man, misquoting and/or misunderstanding data, and simple logical fallacies (we don't know as much as we should, or we don't know very much, therefor we know nothing... ummm, no. Or how about confusing local and global conditions?).

I won't go into any real details, you can go here to read a discussion of the fallacies, and you can read his book to see what you think of it. I enjoyed the book, but compared to Crichton's usual writing it was definitely lacking. If your going to read Crichton, and haven't read every other science fiction book he has written, don't start with "State of Fear."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

i was talking to pat last night about the left behind seires, and i told him--i could forgive bad or sloppy theology, but i could not forgive sloppy writing.

dan brown is one of the worst writers i have ever encountered.

(have you read holy blood holy grail f or a well written and well concieved examanation of this sort of nonesense--or the comic rue mourge, which has a brilliant website)

i owe you an email too--sorry

Andrew said...

Haven't read any of these well written/conceived examinations no, is that one you would recommend?

As for Dan Brown, I would never say he is an great author, but I did enjoy his book. I do have a low threshold of entertainment :)

Anthony said...

i mean the whole thing is shit--right, but decent pulp is decent pulp.

you have a much much lower thresh hold then i do, but then you know how much of a prentious ass i am.

Anthony said...

i mean the whole thing is shit--right, but decent pulp is decent pulp.

you have a much much lower thresh hold then i do, but then you know how much of a prentious ass i am.