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Micro: A Novel Kindle Edition
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Amazon Exclusive: “Micro is Anything But Small” by James Rollins
An avid spelunker and scuba enthusiast, James Rollins holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine and is the author of the New York Times best-selling Sigma Force series, the most recent of which is The Devil Colony.
First I have to admit, Michael Crichton is why I write. In fact, if not for his books, I’d probably still be a practicing veterinarian in Northern California, dealing with flea allergies, ear infections, and all manner of medical maladies. It was Crichton’s stories of wild adventures, his explorations into the strange frontiers of science, and his truly ripped-from-the-headlines plotting that inspired me to set down my own scalpel and stethoscope and pick up pen and paper.
But his influence went beyond mere heady inspiration. His books also served as a tutorial into the practicalities of storytelling. When I tackled my first novel (a deep-earth adventure titled Subterranean), I continually kept a copy of Jurassic Park on the shelf above my desk. That book became my roadmap on how to build a story’s structure: who dies first and when, at what point do we see the first dinosaur, how do you fold science into a novel without stagnating the flow? That old copy of Jurassic Park remains dog-eared and heavily highlighted, and it still holds a cherished place on my bookshelf.
So I dove into Crichton’s latest novel, Micro, with some trepidation, fearing how a collaborative effort might tarnish his great body of work. Now, to be fair, I’d also read Richard Preston’s nonfiction masterpiece of scientific horror and intrigue, The Hot Zone. That book was as brilliant as it was terrifying. But still I wondered, could Preston take Crichton’s story and truly do it justice?
In a word: YES.
In two words, HELL YES.
Micro is pure Crichton. Dare I say, vintage Crichton, harkening back to the scientific intrigue of Andromeda Strain, to the exploration of the natural world covered in Congo, and to the adventure and thrills of The Lost World. As only Crichton can, he has taken a scientific concept as wild as the one he tackled in Timeline and exceeded in making it chillingly real. It took a clever quirk of genetics and cloning to give rise to the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. Likewise, a twist of science in Micro calls forth a new horror out of the natural world—but not just one line of threat. In this book, the entire biosphere becomes a vast and deadly playground. Its depiction is both darkly beautiful and stunningly dreadful. It is a terrain as foreign as any hostile planet, yet as close as our own backyard. To tell more would ruin a great adventure that will have you looking out your window with new eyes.
Similarly, this lethal and toxic terrain must be traversed by a band of gutsy heroes. But in typical Crichton style, these are not elite commandos or a highly trained black ops team. They’re simply a group of graduate students—each uniquely talented and flawed—gathered from various scientific disciplines: entomology, toxicology, botany, biochemistry. They must learn to combine resources and ingenuities to survive and ultimately thwart a danger threatening to break free into the world at large, all the while pursued by a sociopath as cunning as he is sadistic.
In the end, Micro has everything you’d expect in a Crichton novel—and so much more. But the greatest achievement here is a simple and profound one: with this novel, the legacy of a true master continues to shine forth in all its multifaceted glory. And someone somewhere will read this novel, turn the last page, and in a great aura of awe and inspiration, come to a realization: I want to try to write stories like that.
And they will.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B0053JJLLC
- Publisher : Harper; Reprint edition (November 22, 2011)
- Publication date : November 22, 2011
- Language : English
- File size : 1906 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 563 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0007350007
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #115,135 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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A group of graduate students is lured to Hawaii to work with a tech company, with a natural purpose. Nanigen is looking for the next big find in pharmaceuticals in plants, insects, etc, at the molecular level. The easiest way to find that is to shrink people to 1/2" in size, by means of a large magnetic field. Really?
I have been a fan of Crichton's work since The Andromeda Strain, but this was a difficult book to get through. The action was there, but putting reality on hold for 400+ pages is a little difficult, based on his previous solid performances. The characters are very stereotypical, and they bored me to tears. If you want a futuristic sci-fi book to read, this one isn't too bad, but this does nothing but lessen the legacy Michael Crichton left behind.
My Rating: 2.5/5 stars
— STORY —
The story of Micro is high-concept: a Rated-R version of 'Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.' What would happen if you took that old movie, kept the adventure, but had very serious consequences? That's Micro. After a mysterious introduction to hook you in, Micro follows the story of seven scientists with various specialties relating to the fields of biology. They are recruited as potential job candidates by a big corporation when something happens, and they are stuck as shrunken people. Using their brains, they have to work together with their specialized knowledge to escape the harrowing real world of Mother Nature.
The concept of shrunken people is a big stretch but go with it. This book explores that concept as realistically as possible, with Michael Crichton bringing some real world science to help sell it.
— DRAFT —
Knowing that this was still in draft mode, I'm sure Crichton still had a lot of research to do to explain and convince us of certain plot elements. Because of this, the story is not as fully detailed as a typical Crichton book. I think Richard Preston did his best to translate and get across what I can only assume were ideas that were still in development.
The writing and dialogue seemed... simplistic. I think I'm not the only one with this opinion. It reads very high school. I'm not sure if this was because it was rushed, or because they wanted the writing at a level that would reach a larger audience. In any case, I'm just glad that we got one more Michael Crichton book.
— SUMMARY —
If you want a fun adventure story, Micro is for you. The book reads almost like a screenplay, and I could already imagine the soon-to-be-released DreamWorks film. Recommended.
2 short stories came out in the 40s about people shrinking that are MUCH better than this dreck; "He Who Shrank" by Henry Hasse & "A Matter of Size" by Harry Bates. Not that they're easy to find...
Having a mean guy try to kill everyone as a resolution is illogical especially when he could have easily solved the problem otherwise. Furthermore it’s illogical that he releases his captives to kill them, it’s illogical that he then sends people after the captives he believes to be dead. It’s illogical that he throws a person in HIS Bentley off a cliff to erase traces. It’s illogical that no one notices that all the people in his immediate surrounding suddenly all disappear and die. It’s illogical for a company to specialize in miniature electronic engineering, in bio engineering, in AI and robot engineering, in pharmaceutical manufacture, etc. This book is one volume filled of Deus Ex Machina flaws. I can only contribute this to Michael Crichton having passed prior to the completion of this book and the continuing author not having bothered too much to clean up an early draft. Usually Crichton’s does a rather good job making the reader buy into an absurd story, but this one just keeps getting worse and less believable as it goes. Sorry but after a couple hundred pages I’m no longer willing to waste time on this. I’m grabbing another book.
Top reviews from other countries
What I dislike is that, while his storytelling is highly imaginative and exciting, his actual prose is rather clumsy. Perhaps inelegant is a better word, his repeated use of the same word within a couple of sentences is boring, and it happens frequently. I found one word repeated three times in a phrase consisting of just nine words.
I think he should credit his readers with sufficient intelligence to accept that by the end of a couple of chapters we can generally remember the names of the main characters, so it is not necessary to continually use their full names.
Apart from that slight nit picking, definitely a book I would recommend to anyone who likes to curl up with a page turner! As long as you aren’t too squeamish about life in the natural world…..
So it saddens me to say I was disappointed by 'Micro'. The story never really seemed to to gain momentum. The principal conceit of the story, a science facility set on the beautiful island of Oahu, experimenting with nano technology and being able to shrink everything from planes to humans to pin size, was fascinating and held promise. However, once the main protagonists the students from Harvard who are invite to visit the facility are shrunk and lost in the flora and fauna of Oahu, it is just man versus bugs, and it got a bit like and then there were none. It was the island itself that kept me going, I have visited the city of Honolulu, and found myself as a result of the books descriptions of the area reliving the Waikiki beach experience, and the stunning view of Diamond Head.
Although once I had reached about halfway through the novel I had became very bored of the gratuitous descriptions of each character being disembowelled. I also felt a little like I was being given mini studies on each insect that the group encountered, it felt as if I had stepped out of daylight and paperback reading, into a college lecture, mistaken for a cinema auditorium. Anyway, I skipped to the end just to see who survived, ultimately.
In fairness to Mr Crichton, this book wasn't completed by him, and although the flow of the story was seamless, each writer has their own style of storytelling.
Anyway I am still glad I read this book, and would recommend it to anyone interested in the author, and science fiction.
Add to that, it carries all the Crichton hallmarks of engaging science with the sense that you're reading science faction rather than fiction; "is this really possible?" One asks oneself. It is at the very least engaging and thought provoking.
On the downside it follows a typical Crichton script: bright young students, some at war with each other, on an adventure against an evil demagogue who is also a wealthy entrepreneur with ground-breaking technology. I worked out the end result half way through because I had already read "Timeline" and "Nano" (for me, "Timeline" isn't just Crichton's best book, it's one of my all-time favourite books). Those two follow the same script.
But in the final analysis, it's a good read, ideal holiday fare and a cut above Dan Brown on that score; at least Crichton adds a note of feasibility and leading edge science.