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Next Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 28, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (November 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060872985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060872984
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 6.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (590 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Is a loved one missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why a chimp fetus resembles a human being? And should that worry us? There's a new genetic cure for drug addiction--is it worse than the disease?


What's coming Next? Get a hint of what Michael Crichton sees on the horizon in this short video clip: high bandwidth or low bandwidth

We live in a time of momentous scientific leaps, a time when it's possible to sell our eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars and to test our spouses for genetic maladies.

We live in a time when one fifth of all our genes are owned by someone else, and an unsuspecting person and his family can be pursued cross-country because they happen to have certain valuable genes within their chromosomes...

Devilishly clever, Next blends fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems and a set of new possibilities can open at every turn.

Next challenges our sense of reality and notions of morality. Balancing the comic and the bizarre with the genuinely frightening and disturbing, Next shatters our assumptions and reveals shocking new choices where we least expect.

The future is closer than you think.

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Crichton (Jurassic Park) once again focuses on genetic engineering in his cerebral new thriller, though the science involved is a lot less far-fetched than creating dinosaurs from DNA. In an ambitious effort to show what's wrong with the U.S.'s current handling of gene patents and with the laws governing human tissues, the author interweaves many plot strands, one involving a California researcher, Henry Kendall, who has mixed human and chimp DNA while working at NIH. Kendall produces an intelligent hybrid whom he rescues from the government and tries to pass off as a fully human child. Some readers may be disappointed by the relative lack of action, the lame attempts to lighten the mood with humor (especially centering on an unusually bright parrot named Gerard), and the contrived convergence of the main characters toward the end. Still, few can match Crichton in crafting page-turners with intellectual substance, and his opinions this time are less likely to create a firestorm than his controversial take on global warming in 2004's State of Fear.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Michael Crichton was born in Chicago in 1942. His novels include Next, State of Fear, Prey, Timeline, Jurassic Park, and The Andromeda Strain. He was also the creator of the television series ER. One of the most popular writers in the world, his books have been made into thirteen films, and translated in thirty-six languages. He died in 2008.

Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Aleksandra Nita-Lazar on October 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have very mixed feelings about "Next" and I will try to describe them accurately here, although there are hundreds of reviews already and mine will not add much to the discussion probably - but maybe some points will be reinforced by my adding to the subject.

The novel's central theme is genetic manipulations and the ethical issues surrounding them. There are many subplots, all revolving around the famous philanthropist, Jack Watson (is the name a pure coincidence?), who advocates scientific progress and donates money to biotech companies. The plethora of characters includes bounty hunters, lawyers, drug addicts, physicians, teachers, secretaries, security guards, and, of course, scientists of all levels, both from academia and biotech (the difference between the two becoming less and less clear). The animal-human hybrids are made in secret; the genes are patented, the genetic screens are used to the advantage of insurance companies and in numerous trials as a tool to extort money; the scientists are depicted as vicious breed. The only two families who seem honest are the Burnets, who because of Frank Burnet's precious cancer cell line become involved in a massive scheme, and the Kendalls, who decide to adopt Henry Kendalls genetic son Dave, a hybrid between human and chimpanzee.

The novel is fast-paced and the characters flick like in a caleidoscope, some being introduced only for the sake of presenting another problem connected with biotechnology (for example, the whole story of the MD who donated sperm as a resident is very loosely connected to the main plot, only by the implied involvement of Watson).

Initially, I could not stand this book, but after about 200 pages I reflected and realized several things:
1.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Sally Forth on April 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished listening to the audio tape of Next and LOVED it (and chuckled a lot). I also just read the Amazon reviews and was amazed that people didn't get the joke. This was satire! I was a scientist and my husband is a biotech patent attorney and Crichten is right on concerning the foibles of science, genetic engineering, technology transfer, etc. What I like about this book (and all of Crichten's books) is that he writes terrific 'what if' plots based on man's innate stupidity. To take one scene from Next, a group of American's are in Borneo looking for orangutans in a research park. They are a noisy and whiny crowd and the leader is afraid that the orangs will not show--but one does and makes some gutteral sounds, although orangs don't make sounds. Someone in the group realizes that the creature is making fun of them in Swedish (it speaks French too!). The news sweeps around the world with Crichten creating wonderful headlines and the reader (audio CD) speaking BBC English. It's true the plot skips around but the main characters are memorable and there IS a plot. Don't forget Crichten has a lot of ground to cover and a lot of material to make fun of. Get the CD. It brings the book to life.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Chris Van Deelen on May 17, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Just how far corporations, institutes or even individuals should be allowed to go when it comes to holding patents?

Where should the line be drawn when it comes to patents, copy writes, intellectual property?

What if these patents and the like involve the very building blocks of all life as we know it, the very genome?

While we're at it, how far should various companies, corporations and even research institutes be allowed to go when it comes to mixing genomes.

When does playing god go too far?

These are just a few of the questions that are not only raised, but speculated upon and answered in Michael Crichton's latest thriller, Next.

The novel delves into the world of genetic engineering, transgenics, chimera's patents on genes and everything that is involved.

The human side, how people react and are affected by all these factors.

I'll come out and state it. Because of various genetic defects that are prevalent in my bloodline, I've always had a keen interest in biogenetics and the entire field. Not enough to go into it as a career, but still, more than a passing interest.

This novel was right up my alley. It took me three days to read it, and it wasn't a small book by any stretch of the imagination, it was a massive five hundred pages long.

People who pick up the book and read it, I should warn you right now, without giving away any spoilers, that it can be quite confusing.

There is a massive cast of characters. Each character has a role to play in the novel, and at first, all these different roles, stories if you will, don't seem to be connected.
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51 of 62 people found the following review helpful By L. Alfaro on December 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Michael Crichton is my favorite author, and I've been eagerly awaiting this book for months. Wow, was I ever disappointed. The author jumps back and forth between eight or nine parallel stories (all tied to genetic engineering). The result is a confusing mess. There are too many characters to keep track of - I felt like I needed a program to tell one player from another. And a number of subplots never reached a resolution, leaving me to wonder why Michael even bothered to include them in the first place.

NEXT does pose some interesting moral and ethical dilemmas about genetic engineering; unfortunately the impact of this message gets diluted by multiple convoluted subplots. I'd come to expect so much more from the author of such masterpieces as "The Andromeda Strain," "Jurassic Park," and "Eaters of the Dead."
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