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Terminal Man, The Mass Market Paperback – April 28, 2009

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Amazon.com Review

Harry has a problem. Ever since getting in a car accident, he's suffered from "thought seizures," violent fits in which he attacks other people. He used to be an artificial intelligence researcher, which may explain why he targets anyone who either works on machines or who acts like a machine--mechanics, gas-station attendants, prostitutes, exotic dancers. But there's hope: he can become part machine himself, undergoing "Stage 3," an experimental procedure implanting 40 electrodes deep in the pleasure centers of his brain. The surgery is successful, and blissful pulses of electricity short-circuit Harry's seizures. That is, until Harry figures out how to overload himself with the satisfying jolts and escapes on a murderous rampage. One of Crichton's earliest, playing ably on '70s fears of computers and mind control. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“One of the great storytellers of our age. . . . The best Michael Crichton novels are . . . edifying reads, whose gripping plots contain real ideas.”—Newsday

“Crichton combines his knowledge of science with great talent for creating suspense.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Crichton is a master at blending edge-of-the-chair adventure and a scientific seminar, educating his readers as he entertains them.”—Chicago Sun-Times

“Crichton has so perfected the fusion thriller with science fiction that his novels define the genre.”—Los Angeles Times

“Crichton is a master at explaining complex concepts in simple terms.”—Library --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 331 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006178267X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061782671
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #787,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Hasser on January 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
First written in 1971, The Terminal Man is one of Michael Crichton's very first novels. As an avid reader of Crichton's books, I found it interesting to see how his style has changed, and it certainly has.
The different time period gives the book an awkward touch. Fans of Crichton know that he includes top of the line technology in each story he creates. The Terminal Man is no different. However, times have changed. Dime-size computer chips are no longer an oddity, and it's strange to hear them referred to as so.
To those who have read Jurassic Park or The Great Train Robbery, The Terminal Man will seem slow. Indeed, it is. The reader will be well through the first half of the novel before the story picks up and the action begins. This means that the first half of the book is generally an introduction. It's not unreadable, but it's a bit difficult to stick with.
Unlike his other works, The Terminal Man has few complexities. There are no side-stories, no backgrounds on characters, and few technological explanations- usually so common to Crichton's writing. This makes the story easier to read, but at times you'll find you really could use a little more information on some of the main characters. It's like coming into a movie 15 minutes through. You get the gist of what's going on, but you know something is missing.
It is an interesting read filled with a good deal of suspense to keep the reader going for a while. But it doesn't compare to his later works. Only purchase this as an insight to the author's early career, try not to expect another Jurassic Park.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By James Duckett VINE VOICE on June 24, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For a book written at its time, it is almost like prophecy the things it mentions about computers. It most definately makes you think (and fear) about computers and what it can do to our society.
I have a big complaint that books written about computers are often way off the mark (ie, The Net). But this one does extremely, extraordinarilly well. A fast read that is hard to put down. This book has made me a Michael Crichton fan. I'm excited to start reading his other works.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Pultrone on December 22, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I recently picked up a used copy of this book not because it was written by Michael Crichton, but because the story sounded interesting. To be honest, I've never even read a Michael Crichton book until this one. I have been a computer network engineer and database developer for more than 12 years, and have worked for 16 years in hospitals (Pharmacy, Information Systems, etc...) So, with that background, I found this book even more interesting and appealing.
One of the reviews says that this book is "Riveting." I can't find a more precise word to describe this novel. This was a real page-turner for me. I love to read but, unfortunately, do not have a lot of time to do so. I finished this entire book in one week; I couldn't put it down. If you have an interest at all in thrillers, medicine, or computers, or combination of these, definitely pick up this book and give it a read. Granted, while the technology and medical practices in the book are dated, the book focuses on neither of these. Crichton succeeds in constructing and developing two main characters (Harry Benson and Dr. Ross) whose lives are intertwined throughout the book. Crichton is definitely a master story teller and this book, again as dated as it is (1972 or so), is a perfect example of how Crichton excels at story telling (plot, character development, setting). Crichton's writing is concise yet descriptive. In one scene, he describes the operating room in which Benson gets his surgery. In only a limited number of very concisely written paragraphs, Crichton gives the reader the whole rundown of the operating room. He paints a thorough descriptive picture, but in as few words as possible. He is definitely a master storycraftsman.
I highly recommend this book -- you won't regret it!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on July 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a pretty good offering from Michael Crichton. Like all of his books, it is a page-turner, I read it in one sitting once I had the chance. It is a good story, and has some thought-provoking scenes. However, it's not Crichton's best work. Why? Well, there are some scenes that explain certain complex medical procedures in detail that many people may find self-indulgent. Also, the ending was weak.
Still, this is a Crichton book for God's sake, so it is good, just not his best. Don't make this your first read of MC (or the second or third for that matter), but do read it... eventually.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Allison (dallison@biochem.med.ufl.edu) on June 18, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel, also made into a film (in 1974), deals with the effects and morals of electronic implants being attached in the brain of a man who has a behavioral disorder. The implants are supposed to control any anti-social or violent behavior by sending an electrical impulse to the brain's "pleasure" center. But, the results are unexpected when the patient discovers that he can get the impulse on demand. There are villains in this novel not usually mentioned: the physicians who set up and performed the procedure on the main character. The neurologists and neurosurgeons clearly had not done the necessary preliminary studies before the procedure was to be attempted on a human. This is a major topic of discussion in bioethics even today.
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