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The Andromeda Strain Mass Market Paperback – October 28, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

Some biologists speculate that if we ever make contact with extraterrestrials, those life forms are likely to be--like most life on earth--one-celled or smaller creatures, more comparable to bacteria than little green men. And even though such organisms would not likely be able to harm humans, the possibility exists that first contact might be our last.

That's the scientific supposition that Michael Crichton formulates and follows out to its conclusion in his excellent debut novel, The Andromeda Strain.

A Nobel-Prize-winning bacteriologist, Jeremy Stone, urges the president to approve an extraterrestrial decontamination facility to sterilize returning astronauts, satellites, and spacecraft that might carry an "unknown biologic agent." The government agrees, almost too quickly, to build the top-secret Wildfire Lab in the desert of Nevada. Shortly thereafter, unbeknownst to Stone, the U.S. Army initiates the "Scoop" satellite program, an attempt to actively collect space pathogens for use in biological warfare. When Scoop VII crashes a couple years later in the isolated Arizona town of Piedmont, the Army ends up getting more than it asked for.

The Andromeda Strain follows Stone and rest of the scientific team mobilized to react to the Scoop crash as they scramble to understand and contain a strange and deadly outbreak. Crichton's first book may well be his best; it has an earnestness that is missing from his later, more calculated thrillers. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"He had me convinced it was all really happening" -- Christopher Lehmann-Haupt New York Times "Science fiction, which once frightened me because it seemed so far-out, now frightens me because it seems so near. The Andromeda Strain is as matter-of-fact as the skull-and-crossbones instructions on a bottle of poison - and just as chillingly effective" Life "Terrifying...One of the most important novels of the year" Library Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; First Edition edition (October 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060541814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060541811
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (521 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,511,766 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

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By "noktaroba" on August 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
This isn't my first Michael Crichton book, but i think it's the best. I've read Jurassic Park, and the Lost World before this, and they were fairly good. But this book topped both of them. It was assigned summer reading for me this year, and i thought, "Oh great, another boring book that i have to read." But when i started reading it, I found myself reading for 2 hours just striving to complete the next chapter.(I'm a slow reader) The words that he uses are sometimes hard to read, and i pulled out a dictionary for all the ones that i couldn't figure out. I don't really like reading books, but this book has changed my mind on reading. It was so suspenseful in the end that i found i chewed my fingernails down to stubs when i finished reading. Anyone who loves suspense will be over powered by the amount of it generated by this book.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Michael Crichton must be a psychic. Thirty years before researchers discovered the effects of microorganisms, Crichton predicted a virus just as deadly. The Andromeda Strain is a classic, terrifying novel of biophysics. The way Crichton combines facts and fiction results in a masterpiece. With the exception of some intense scientific vocabulary, the descriptive language used by Crichton in this novel is brilliant.
When an unmanned satellite returns to earth lethally contaminated, four American scientists are ordered to a secret lab to work against the threat of a worldwide epidemic. There are no villains in this novel - only the microscopic organisms of earth's extinction. This is a perfect story line, written with immense detail. Crichton does a superb job of setting the scene and describing the characters. He leaves his reader not wanting to stop, having great cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. The suspense builds inevitably to a heart-stopping conclusion. It is an intelligent and tightly plotted suspense-thriller.
Many of Crichton's works masterfully combine fact and fiction. The Andromeda Strain is no exception as the scientific elements are expertly interwoven with the fictional world of underground laboratories and secret agents. Crichton's facts about bacteria and viruses are right on - he goes as far as using quotes from professors and scientists as well as diagrams to support his arguments. When he switches to fictional mode, Crichton does not lose a step. His theories about government testing grounds and secret government projects, written thirty years prior, do not seem at all unrealistic in today's high-tech world.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Primoz Peterlin on September 14, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The back cover starts: "Five prominent biophysicists give the US government an urgent warning: sterilisation procedures for returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere." Biophysicists, right? One can hardly find a more appropriate reading to read on the train, when I was travelling to the 3rd European biophysics congress in Munich earlier this month.
This novel will teach you that the life on earth was in early February 1967 close to disaster comparable to the impact of Chixculub meteorite 65 million years ago. An US space probe, Scoop VII, brought with it a highly virulent and pathogenous alien life form from the orbit, before it crashed into the Arizona desert. After wreaking havoc in a small Arizona town, the space probe is transferred into the ultra-secret high-security US government lab in Nevada, built just a couple of months before to prevent dispersion of toxic extraterrestrial agents. Here, a group of five scientists led by a Nobel prize winner, bacteriologist Jeremy Stone, starts a race with time. What exactly is this alien life form? By which mechanism does it affect human body? Under what conditions does it multiply? How can we stop it before it wipes away the human population?
The novel contains quite a bit of technical details - it's science fiction after all, right? - where Crichton will pause and explain with a patience and persistence of a good-humoured teacher. So in case you didn't know what proteins are and what they are made from; or how electron microscope operates; or what can cause blood acidity in a patient - you will learn it all here.
It would be interesting to know how many scientists today were influenced by this novel to pursue a career in science.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By CSH on March 7, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book describes a fictious encounter with microbes from beyond. The men sent to recover a sattelite from where it has landed in this small town wonder why there are no lights at all in a town at ten-oclock at night. They enter the town and within five minutes are dead.
Next we encounter a number of scientists in different locations as they are alerted to the situation and sent to the government labratory that has been prepared for this situation, and the steps that they take to analyze and isolate the organism. The lab is the perfect place to study such an organism: it is even equipped with a nuclear self-destruct in case things go wrong.....
Mr. Crichton tells a simple but logical tale in this volume and as he often does in his books, makes it hard to distinguish between the real elements of science that he uses for the basis of the premise, and the fictious facts he makes to take the premise to its conclusion. This is classic fiction, and the fact that it is over thirty years old takes nothing from it. Definitely worth the read.
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