The United States government is given a warning by the preeminent biophysicists in the country: current sterilization procedures applied to returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere. Two years later, seventeen satellites are sent into the outer fringes of space to "collect organisms and dust for study." One of them falls to earth, landing in a desolate area of Arizona. Twelve miles from the landing site, in the town of Piedmont, a shocking discovery is made: the streets are littered with the dead bodies of the town's inhabitants, as if they dropped dead in their tracks. The terror has begun....
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Horton Hears a Who Based on thinking out of the box (not cliché in 1969), Crichton was a genius. His theories on possible aliens is not the expected. After he explains them you will be a believer. He is to biology, what Clarke was to rockets. I have always had a great interest in biology and the diversity it can have. I have a certain awe and wonder on the many different places life takes hold, on the many different strategies life comes up with. Life is everywhere, bottom of the ocean, deserts, and in the air, so why not in space?
I'M SURE IT'S A FLUKE This book is not for everyone. I would not call it hard science, which is what I call books that have so much complex science they are hard for the average person to understand. The science is understandable, it is just the plethora of facts that are included. At times, I felt, surely he could have just gave us a summary of the facts instead of laboriously going over each and every detail. In the hardback some of these are in graphs and drawings. In the audible version they are monotonous. In one part we are read a TRANSCRIPT OF VOICE COMMUINICATIONS SCOOP MISSION CONTROL, in which we hear the hours, minutes and seconds before each verbal communication. These communications are often 2 or three seconds apart, yet we still get 0097, 03, 31, etc... There are some other faults, such as it is dated and the amount of times the geniuses miss obvious clues. The reader gets them immediately and we find ourselves screaming at the radio, it's the acid stupid, the acid. Also the statement is made that we have never had a biological crisis. I would think the Black Plague or the Influenza in 1918, would be consider biological crises.
WILDFIRE Besides coming up with a great alien invasion, Crichton comes up with a great underground facility. The emergency secret group of scientists and doctors, who must answer the call immediately when something happens is also pretty cool. He used this again in Sphere.
The narrator is sufficient, not great. He has a gravely voice that he uses for a number of characters. This book is not about character development, so that lack of distinction does not play that heavily as it would in some other books.
If you are a fan of Arthur C. Clarke you will enjoy this book. If books with too much data, turns you off, then read one of Crichton's later books. When this was written, data, was important to Science Fiction books. The concepts and imagination of Crichton over ride some of the flaws in the writing style. Don't get me wrong, there are some very exciting action parts to the book, it is not all about the numbers. I give the book a B+.
The author leaves just enough out of the plot to make this a follow along detective novel for biochemists and science fiction enthusiasts alike. Get ready to day dream all types of alien biological attacks for the next few days, because when microorganisms come from space, your mind can make anything believable. I wish this book was 2 times longer, I feel the author finished it in a rush!