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State of Fear Mass Market Paperback – Print, October 25, 2005


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (October 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061015733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061015731
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,493 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon.com Exclusive Content

A Michael Crichton Timeline
Amazon.com reveals a few facts about the "father of the techno-thriller."

1942: John Michael Crichton is born in Chicago, Illinois on Oct. 23.

1960: Crichton graduates from Roslyn High School on Long Island, New York, with high marks and a reputation as a star basketball player. He decides to attend Harvard University to study English. During his studies, he rankles under his writing professors' criticism. As an act of rebellion, Crichton submits an essay by George Orwell as his own. The professor doesn’t catch the plagiarism and gives Orwell a B-. This experience convinces Crichton to change his field of study to anthropology.

1964: Crichton graduates summa cum laude from Harvard University in anthropology. After studying further as a visiting lecturer at Cambridge University and receiving the Henry Russell Shaw Travelling Fellowship, which allowed him to travel in Europe and North Africa, Crichton begins coursework at the Harvard School of Medicine. To help fund his medical endeavors, he writes spy thrillers under several pen names. One of these works, A Case of Need, wins the 1968 Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allan Poe Award.

1969: Crichton graduates from Harvard Medical school and is accepted as a post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Science in La Jolla, Calif. However, his career in medicine is waylaid by the publication of the first novel under his own name, The Andromeda Strain. The novel, about an apocalyptic plague, climbs high on bestseller lists and is later made into a popular film. Crichton said of his decision to pursue writing full time: "To quit medicine to become a writer struck most people like quitting the Supreme Court to become a bail bondsman."

1972: Crichton's second novel under his own name The Terminal Man, is published. Also, two of Crichton's previous works under his pen names, Dealing and A Case of Need are made into movies. After watching the filming, Crichton decides to try his hand at directing. He will eventually direct seven films including the 1973 science-fiction hit Westworld, which was the first film ever to use computer-generated effects.

1980: Crichton draws on his anthropology background and fascination with new technology to create Congo, a best-selling novel about a search for industrial diamonds and a new race of gorillas. The novel, patterned after the adventure writings of H. Ryder Haggard, updates the genre with the inclusion of high-tech gadgets that, although may seem quaint 20 years later, serve to set Crichton's work apart and he begins to cement his reputation as "the father of the techno-thriller."

1990: After the 1980s, which saw the publication of the underwater adventure Sphere (1987) and an invitation to become a visiting writer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1988), Crichton begins the new decade with a bang via the publication of his most popular novel, Jurassic Park. The book is a powerful example of Crichton's use of science and technology as the bedrock for his work. Heady discussion of genetic engineering, chaos theory, and paleontology run throughout the tightly-wound thriller that strands a crew of scientists on an island populated by cloned dinosaurs run amok. The novel inspires the 1993 Steven Spielberg film, and together book and film will re-ignite the world’s fascination with dinosaurs.

1995: Crichton resurrects an idea from his medical school days to create the Emmy-Award Winning television series ER. In this year, ER won eight Emmys and Crichton received an award from the Producers Guild of America in the category of outstanding multi-episodic series. Set in an insanely busy an often dangerous Chicago emergency room, the fast-paced drama is defined by Crichton's now trademark use of technical expertise and insider jargon. The year also saw the publication of The Lost World returning readers to the dinosaur-infested island.

2000: In recognition for Crichton's contribution in popularizing paleontology, a dinosaur discovered in southern China is named after him. "Crichton's ankylosaur" is a small, armored plant-eating dinosaur that dates to the early Jurassic Period, about 180 million years ago. "For a person like me, this is much better than an Academy Award," Crichton said of the honor.

2004: Crichton’s newest thriller State of Fear is published.


Amazon.com's Significant Seven
Michael Crichton kindly agreed to take the life quiz we like to give to all our authors: the Amazon.com Significant Seven.

Q: What book has had the most significant impact on your life?
A: Prisoners of Childhood by Alice Miller

Q: You are stranded on a desert island with only one book, one CD, and one DVD--what are they?
A: Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (Witter Bynner version)
Symphony #2 in D Major by Johannes Brahms (Georg Solti)
Ikiru by Akira Kurosawa

Q: What is the worst lie you've ever told?
A: Surely you're joking.

Q: Describe the perfect writing environment.
A: Small room. Shades down. No daylight. No disturbances. Macintosh with a big screen. Plenty of coffee. Quiet.

Q: If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?
A: I don't want an epitaph. If forced, I would say "Why Are You Here? Go Live Your Life."

Q: Who is the one person living or dead that you would like to have dinner with?
A: Benjamin Franklin

Q: If you could have one superpower what would it be?
A: Invisibility

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

For his latest foray, Crichton alters his usual formula--three parts thrills and spills to one part hard science--to a less appetizing concoction that is half anti-global warming screed and half adventure yarn. This adds a mission impossible element to Wilson's narration: how to make pages of research interesting enough to hold the listener's attention until hero and heroine face their next peril. Unfortunately, Wilson approaches the statistical information like a newscaster communicating via Teleprompter. This earns him an A-plus for elocution and timbre, but a more average grade when it comes to dramatic interpretation. Consequently, the scientific material that Crichton spent three years researching seems even more copious in audio format than in print. And it's certainly much harder to flip past. Wilson is more successful in handling conversational passages, employing accents and adding subtle touches to various voices--a cynical tone for the hero, who's a mildly hedonistic corporate lawyer, and an edgier, less patient attitude for the beautiful, ready-for-anything heroine. As they hot-foot it around the globe, assisting an Indiana Jones-like MIT professor in thwarting evils perpetrated by a mass-murdering environmentalist, Wilson stirs up a little suspense by speaking faster and more energetically. But the book's abundance of statistics would slow any narrator's momentum, and Wilson is no exception.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

Crichton does a really good job of explaining the science of global warming, as well as some other environmental issues.
Gregg Eldred
This book reads too much like a textbook or a lecture, and I found myself skipping more than half of the pages, which left very little story behind to enjoy.
Rory Morty
I recommend reading this book if you are a fan of Michael Crichton; even if you have never read any of his works, this would be a great book to start on!
Richard Gibson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

324 of 370 people found the following review helpful By CLBManning on April 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
First of all, this book is fiction, just like the Da Vinci Code. Yes, there are factual nuggets. However, the nuggets are conveyed in a manner that is very much like the propaganda that some of the characters rail against.

Second, having been trained in the Earth Science; a member of local, national, and global environmental groups; and an Environmental Science teacher I LOVED THIS BOOK! Why? Because it makes you think about what you know, why you know it, and where the information comes from. Nobody should take information published second-hand and not think about how data can be misconstrued (including the data published in this book).

Third, State of Fear makes you think about the hypocrisy of American Environmentalism: living in enormous houses in the middle of forest-fire prone landscapes, driving everywhere, wasting water, and then paying money to large environmental groups who overstate scientific findings (just like the energy companies do). Assuaging our guilt isn't going to make the world a better place.

Finally, Crichton encourages us to not be sheep. Think for yourself. Read the primary sources of data with an open-mind. Live the way you wish everyone else lived. Judgement without compassion is worthless.
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275 of 323 people found the following review helpful By Rwc on January 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Crichton has written a surprisingly serious and well researched indictment of the favorite sacred cow of the environmental movement -- global warming -- embedded within a typically action charged Crichton novel. The author uses Socratic dialogue and other devices to educate the reader as to what the data are showing in this complex, politically charged issue. The principal characters come well armed with graphs and data selected to back up their points, often lecturing the less informed, though environmentally concerned, characters (and the reader) on the true state of the art of the science. At the same time, the author indicts the environmental NGOs, the media, the research funding agencies, and political leaders for promoting their agenda with slanted, inaccurate portrayals of what the science is saying. He paints a jaundiced view of the motivations and methods of radical environmentalist organizations and their supporters. At a higher level, the book's title derives from a semiconspiratorial view, espoused by an eccentric, not quite credible character, that the climate warming issue is actually part of a complex social dynamic aimed a creating and maintaining a continual sense of anxiety and fear among the population at large. These literary devices call to mind Ayn Rand's influential novels, in which for example Howard Rourke is used to lecture us on the virtues of individualism and integrity.

As a scientist familiar with the climate warming issue, having managed research in the area, I believe Crichton's book makes an important statement to the many who believe that the issue is settled, that human-induced warming is real and that catastrophe will follow.
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1,126 of 1,358 people found the following review helpful By David J. Gannon on December 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Michael Crichton has always used the latent but, in his view, underappreciated dangers associated with scientific advancement as a theme in his books (microbiology in The Andromeda Strain, genetic engineering in Jurassic park, and so on).

In State of Fear he reverses field and uses the incorrectly perceived threats of environmental disaster as the underlying impetus for a novel. In Crichton's view, the whole global warming argument is false. His view is that environmentalism has degenerated into a quasi religious system devoid of scientific veracity. Thus, the proponents of the global warming hysteria are pushing faith over fact, many of them have lost their moorings and the inevitable result is a grand conspiracy.

At the heart of this conspiracy is Nick Drake, head of a radical environmentalist group. Outraged that a significant source of funding has been closed by the donors getting Drakes science debunked by a MIT professor, drakes sets out on a murderous course that is designed to both do away with his detractors and enemies while concomitantly creating a profound state of fear about global warming among the public.

As is generally the case with Crichton, an avalanche of scientific data is imparted in Crichton's usual informative yet entertaining manner. Many will debate the validity of Crichton's "science" as regards the issue of global warming. As Crichton so deftly displays in this novel, this issue has become more political than scientific in many ways and there's no reason this novel won't be analyzed in that light.

The story has all the traditional strengths and weaknesses of a Crichton novel. Crichton is an accomplished technician and that comes through in this novel. It can justifiably be called a page turner.
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135 of 167 people found the following review helpful By Mosquito man on January 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a scientist, this was a joy to read!

I am a specialist in mosquito-borne diseases. I worked for the CDC in the US for 22 years. Now I work for the Pasteur Institute in France.

For more than 12 years I have been battling the mis-information on my speciality that is doled out by global warming alarmists. I believe I am winning: predictions of the "spread" of malaria, dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases were once top of the list of dangers predicted by these ignorant, uninformed people.

Sadly, the alarmists have now switched to sea-level rise and other dangers, despite the protests of professional scientists. Crighton's book reveals the disgraceful way that this mis-information is peddled. Let me summarize in my own words:

More than a million articles are published in peer-reviewed scientific journals every year. The lay-public is unaware of this colossal output; popular information on research findings is limited to "newsworthy" articles, selected, described and interpreted by the media.

Professional scientists rarely draw firm conclusions from a single article, but consider its contribution in the context of other publications and their own experience, knowledge, and speculations. The complexity of this process, and the uncertainties involved, are a major obstacle to meaningful understanding of scientific issues by non-scientists.

In the age of information, popular knowledge of scientific issues-particularly on issues of health and the environment-is awash in a tide of misinformation, much of it presented in the 'big talk' of professional scientists. Alarmist activists operating in well-funded advocacy groups have a lead role in creating and promoting this misinformation.
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