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Gravity Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

Tess Gerritsen used to be a doctor, so it comes as no great surprise that the medical aspects of her latest thriller are absolutely convincing--even if most of the action happens in a place where few doctors have ever practiced--outer space.

Dr. Emma Watson and five other hand-picked astronauts are about to take part in the trip of a lifetime--studying living creatures in space. But an alien life form, found in the deepest crevices of the ocean floor, is accidentally brought aboard the shuttle Atlantis. This mutated alien life form makes the creatures in Aliens look like backyard pets.

Soon the crew are suffering severe stomach pains, violent convulsions, and eyes so bloodshot that a gallon of Murine wouldn't help. Gerritsen brilliantly describes the difficulties of treating sick people inside a space module, and how the lack of gravity affects the process of taking blood and inserting a nasal tube. Dr. Watson does her best, but her colleagues die off one by one and the people at NASA don't want to risk bringing the platform back to earth. Only Emma's husband, a doctor/astronaut himself, refuses to give up on her. As we read along, eyes popping out of our heads, all that's missing is one of those bland NASA voices saying, "Houston, we have a problem--we're being attacked by tiny little creatures that are part human, part frog, and part mouse."

Other examples of Gerritsen's controlled medical horrors: Bloodstream, Harvest, and Life Support. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Gerritsen (Bloodstream) meshes medical suspenseAher specialtyAand the world of space travel in another nail-biting tale of genetic misadventure. Much of this scary thriller is set aboard the International Space Station, where a team of six astronauts suddenly find themselves threatened by a virulent biohazard. Victims first register a headache, followed by stomach pains; then their eyes turn blood red. Finally, they convulse so violently they literally bash themselves apart. Most frightening is what spills out of their bodies: green, egg-filled globules. As astronaut Emma Watson, the station's onboard doctor, struggles to fight the outbreak, her colleagues are dying one by one. A Japanese astronaut, the first to get sick, is sent down to earth via the space shuttle, but he's dead on arrival. Panic spreads when military physicians discover a deadly mutantAa creature that's part human, part frog and part mouseAin the eggs that spill from his body. The military, fearing bioterrorism or even an extraterrestrial invasion, quickly traces the contaminant to an experiment on the space station that was funded by a company researching tiny organisms in the ocean off South America, where an asteroid hit thousands of years ago. Meanwhile, back on the station, Watson is the only one left alive. The military says she's already infected and must be left to die in space, but Watson's husband, fellow astronaut/physician Jack McCallum, won't tolerate that decision, and scrambles to find a way to get her home. It's a tribute to Gerritsen, herself a medical doctor, that such an outlandish tale can be told so compellingly and convincingly. Thanks to her impressive research, the novel's detailed descriptions of life in space consistently ring true, and the progress of the breakout is satisfyingly horrific. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild and Mystery Guild main selections, Doubleday Book Club Super Release; Simon & Schuster audio; author tour. (Aug.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reissue edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671016776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671016777
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (292 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.

While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, "Adrift", which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.

Tess's first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), The Keepsake (2008; UK title: Keeping the Dead), Ice Cold (2010; UK title: The Killing Place), The Silent Girl (2011), and Last To Die (August 2012.) Her books have been published in forty countries, and more than 30 million copies have been sold around the world.

Her books have been top-3 bestsellers in the United States and number one bestsellers abroad. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon). Critics around the world have praised her novels as "Pulse-pounding fun" (Philadelphia Inquirer), "Scary and brilliant" (Toronto Globe and Mail), and "Polished, riveting prose" (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the "medical suspense queen".

Her series of novels featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the TNT television series "Rizzoli & Isles" starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By "theladypandora" on December 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I just happened to pick this book up because I loved the cover. It also happened to have a blurb by my favorite author, Stephen King, across the front and I quote, "She is better than Palmer, better than Cook...yes, even better than Crichton." That's a pretty high recommendation, so those 2 factors encouraged me to read this book and boy, does it live up to the potential! Emma Watson, a brilliant research physician, has been training for the mission of a lifetime: studying life in outer space. Emma's ex-husband, Jack McCallum, has also shared her dream of space travel, but a unforeseen medical condition leaves him grounded and very bitter. He must watch Emma take the chance of a lifetime and watch her go into space without him. Once Emma reaches the space station, however, things begin to go wrong. An experiment runs deadly, stranding Emma aboard the station with no way to get home without threatening the Earth's population. The rescue attempts have all but failed, and one by one the astronants are dying...what happens next will amaze you! This is a fabulous read, nice and easy, but yet, keeps you on the edge of your seat. After reading Gravity, I went back and read Tess Gerritsen's other books. You will too, and you won't be disappointed
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Josh on August 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I'm one of those people who picked up this book because it just had too cool of a cover to pass up (that, and I'm a Robin Cook fan, so I was challenging King's cover quote). So, is Tess Gerritsen better than Cook? Hard to say; can't really compare the two. Tess leans more towards the sci-fi, while Cook sticks to terrestrial diseases. But, that doesn't make Gravity any less thrilling! This is one of the few books to actually give me the chills! Strong characters, vivid and graphic pictures of what exactly the crew members of the ISS are facing combined with superb research and writing skills make Gerritsen an author I'll be returning too. I eagerly look forward to reading her other books! Gravity is a roller-coaster of a read and one you won't soon forget.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By L. Paschal on August 19, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is my second reading of my favorite Gerritsen book so far. Dr. Emma Watson is on the International Space Station doing scientific experiments when something goes terribly wrong. One of the crew is afflicted with stomach pains, vomiting and blood-red eyes. Soon, he's dead and his body seems to be liquifying before their very eyes. NASA is being told they have to abandon their astronauts; they have no clue what is happening to their crew members, so they can't allow it to come here and kill more people. But Jack McCallum, Emma's soon-to-be ex-husband, is back on earth trying to figure out what has gone wrong - and how to save Emma and the rest of the crew from dying from this strange disease that has somehow made it onto the space station. Where did it come from? How did it make it through all the security regulations for an ISS experiment?

I loved this book - it's fast paced, creepy, and extremely well-written!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on September 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Gravity is a very fast, exciting read that combines science fiction, biology, NASA and some problems for the characters.
In the story, a biological sample begins to infect the crew onboard the International Space Station. The victims have bloodshot eyes, muscle cramps, and then violently die, spreading the organism around to infect others.
On the ground, a space shuttle crashes, and NASA is forced out of the picture by the military, who want to cover up the infection and protect the people on the ground. The surviving crew members are quarintined on the station, while infection eats them away, one by one.
I found this to be a very dramatic read, with nice mixes of the Hot Zone, Cobra Event, Apollo 13 and Aliens. There is also quite a bit of science, which well supports what is going on in the story. Gerritsen's characters are really well written, with all of their problems and weaknesses. I also enjoyed the research parts, reminisent of the Hot Zone.
However, this book did have some problems. The first people to die were the ones that weren't that interesting. Its as if they are just there to hold a place.
Also in the book, everyone seemed to worry way too much about routine shuttle lift offs. This might go wrong, that might go wrong. The space shuttle is one of the most efficient machines around.
Emma and her husband's relationship was pretty dry. Apart, they hated each other on the ground, while together, they seemed to be okay with each other, even though their relationship was shot and they hate each other. When Emma is up in space, her husband can't stop worrying about her.
Lastly, I would have liked to see more of the Alien organism, after the first stage.
Overall, not a bad read. Its hard to put down, but hardly above the avarage, or extraordinary.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 19, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
No environment contains as many medical threats as a space station. A small group of people living in close proximity, limited medical equipment, and a host of biological experiments always in process, all of this adds up to a high risk for infectious and deadly diseases. For this reason, incoming work is carefully screened for possible toxicity, and the team is trained in careful adherence to procedure. Yet the smallest of slips can spell disaster.
When a tragic accident back on earth triggers a momentary slip on the station, something unexpected is let loose. Dr. Emma Watson arrives on the station to discover the first signs of an inexplicable infection that has horrific symptoms. Without good equipment, all she can do is try to ease the symptoms and wait for a miracle. Back on earth, her husband tries desperately to find the source of the disease and a way to treat it. But government authorities start directly interfering with NASA efforts and McCallum begins to suspect the problem is worse than a bad bug.
Tess Gerritsen succeeds at the kind of medical thriller that is the Waterloo of writers with less capability. She has to balance a tremendous amount of science with the personal issues of men and women faced with a slow and ugly disease. Making everything seem real is a major challenge. Gerritsen was an internist before she took up writing and she has a knack for communicating medical details without stupefying the reader. In addition, she manages to master NASA speak well enough to convince this reader that her scenes were completely real.
But Gerritsen really shines at steadily building suspense in the interweaving of the personalities of her characters. What her characters feel and think will complete engages the reader.
Read more ›
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