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Prey Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 25, 2002
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High-tech whistle-blower Jack Forman used to specialize in programming computers to solve problems by mimicking the behavior of efficient wild animals--swarming bees or hunting hyena packs, for example. Now he's unemployed and is finally starting to enjoy his new role as stay-at-home dad. All would be domestic bliss if it were not for Jack's suspicions that his wife, who's been behaving strangely and working long hours at the top-secret research labs of Xymos Technology, is having an affair. When he's called in to help with her hush-hush project, it seems like the perfect opportunity to see what his wife's been doing, but Jack quickly finds there's a lot more going on in the lab than an illicit affair. Within hours of his arrival at the remote testing center, Jack discovers his wife's firm has created self-replicating nanotechnology--a literal swarm of microscopic machines. Originally meant to serve as a military eye in the sky, the swarm has now escaped into the environment and is seemingly intent on killing the scientists trapped in the facility. The reader realizes early, however, that Jack, his wife, and fellow scientists have more to fear from the hidden dangers within the lab than from the predators without.
The monsters may be smaller in this book, but Crichton's skill for suspense has grown, making Prey a scary read that's hard to set aside, though not without its minor flaws. The science in this novel requires more explanation than did the cloning of dinosaurs, leading to lengthy and sometimes dry academic lessons. And while the coincidence of Xymos's new technology running on the same program Jack created at his previous job keeps the plot moving, it may be more than some readers can swallow. But, thanks in part to a sobering foreword in which Crichton warns of the real dangers of technology that continues to evolve more quickly than common sense, Prey succeeds in gripping readers with a tense and frightening tale of scientific suspense. --Benjamin Reese
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel begins with Jack Forman, stay at home dad, and long time, but currently unemployed software engineer, shopping for placemats. This touch of normalcy sets up an environment where Crichton can rapidly ratchet up the tension, as an all-American home life turns distinctly scary. Moreover, Crichton has written the book in the first person, so the reader really has the opportunity to roam around Jack's head. As a result, Jack may be the best character Crichton has written to date. His emotions leap off the page, and his thought processes allow Crichton to seamlessly integrate necessary expository elements into the flow of the novel.
Of course, Jack doesn't remain the house-husband for long. It turns out that there are problems at Xymos Corporation, where his wife is a vice-president. It seems that they've lost control of some of the nano-particle swarms that they were working on, and they need Jack to help bring them back into the fold. As it turns out, Jack wrote an early version of the software (which is based upon predator-prey relationships) that is being used as the brains behind the swarm.Read more ›
In terms of the science topics discussed in Prey, Crichton does a marvelous job of introducing and tying together genetics, nanotechnology, and computer science into the race against the rapid swarm evolution within the text. As always, he takes many pauses to inform a reader to the meaning and importance of many scientific terms involved in the book. For those less ignorant to the material than others, the reviews can get a little cumbersome.
Overall, I thought Prey was a strong read. Here's to an amazing writer who always does his homework. (if nothing else, his three page biliography at the end of the book clearly shows Crichton's dedication to his work)
Just because Crichton is using his 'formula' here, that doesn't mean he doesn't provide us with some great cliff-hangers and genuine surprises along the way...his writing talent is far too refined to have forgotten how to pull a few strings with the readers. 'Prey' begins with poor Jack, a reluctant house-husband with a wife who has quickly become one of the powerhouse leaders at Xymos (you guessed it, the 'big corporation' that funds experiments that go horribly wrong). Her sudden and suspiciously odd actions make Jack begin to suspect that she (Julia) just might be having an affair. He pushes this thought away every time more and more evidence begins to mount that this is no longer a theory and more likely a fact.Read more ›
Jack Forman is an unemployed programmer. His area of specialty is agent based programming. When not searching for a new job, Jack stays at home while his wife, Julia, goes to work for a company involved in nanotechnology. In a sharp departure from past novels, Chrichton tells Jack's story in the first person, which is especially efective in the first half of the book. At the opening of the book, Jack begins to notice odd behavior in his wife. She has become blunt and short tempered with him and the kids. Jack begins to suspect an affair.
The first third of the book is probably the best part. In addition to Julia's odd behavior, things start happening around the house. One night, Jack awakes to find his baby daughter screaming bloody murder while a rash breaks out across her body. After a trip to the emergency room, everything at home seems to be a little out of place. Then some minor electronics begin to fail around the house and Jack discovers a suspicious looking surge protector beneath the baby's crib. Chrichton is incredibly successful at establishing an eerie atmosphere in which the reader is just on the edge of comprehending what is going on.
The book moves into it second phase when Julia is involved in a car crash. Jack suspects, for reasons you'll find adequately laid out in the book, that her new project is somehow involved.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Its a fun read but not much more than that. It starts slow with the main character being introduced in his suburban life and it escalates into some interesting sci fi action. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Mason
I really enjoyed this book. The main characters were really good, the secondary ones not so much which made their deaths on the book not so meaningful. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Karla Hatfield
Michael Crichton is very good at combining fiction with real-life science. This book is no exception. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Sean Ireland
People should read Michael Crichton's books, they are fiction but they have truth in them too.Published 19 days ago by sally
Each time I read this book it makes me stop and think. Can you say anything better about a book.Published 1 month ago by Brenda
Really good book. It draws you and captures you from the beginning. I would highly recommend this book to everyone.Published 1 month ago by Blue555
I first read this book in seventh grade. Although I found the story itself pretty interesting, I only vaguely understood the scientific aspect of this book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Minah Kim