Thursday, November 6, 2008

R.I.P Michael Chrichton

"There's a line between our awe of science and technology, with all the possibilities they offer us, and our fear of same, that the sense of control they offer is a lethal illusion. Few authors made that line their own as skillfully -- and as profitably --as Michael Chrichton." - Gary Susman of Entertainment Weekly

Michael Crichton passed away yesterday at the age of 66 after a private battle with cancer. The former medical doctor is best known as the author of the best-selling Jurassic Park and the creator of the television series ER. Crichton wrote many other novels which include 1969's The Andromeda Strain. This particular book holds a special place in my heart. I read the novel back in junior high and it ignited within me a passion for the study of epidemiology, or infectious diseases. Much to my parent's delight, I didn't follow this career path for very long (8 months) but for awhile there this book was a source of pure fascination. The book follows the mutation of a deadly microorganism and the all-too-realistic threat of wiping out society. Although the book instilled a legitimate fear of/obsession with the reality of infectious strains (ex. MRSA Staph infections- go look it up if you're not aware of it), I have to respect Chrichton's ability to make biology and science extremely exciting, even to a 7th grader. To this day I have to credit him with not only my short lived career path but also the early formation of my love of sci-fi. Mr. Chrichton you will be missed.