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Next Mass Market Paperback – October 28, 2008

3.0 out of 5 stars 644 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Is a loved one missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why a chimp fetus resembles a human being? And should that worry us? There's a new genetic cure for drug addiction--is it worse than the disease?

What's coming Next? Get a hint of what Michael Crichton sees on the horizon in this short video clip: high bandwidth or low bandwidth

We live in a time of momentous scientific leaps, a time when it's possible to sell our eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars and to test our spouses for genetic maladies.

We live in a time when one fifth of all our genes are owned by someone else, and an unsuspecting person and his family can be pursued cross-country because they happen to have certain valuable genes within their chromosomes...

Devilishly clever, Next blends fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems and a set of new possibilities can open at every turn.

Next challenges our sense of reality and notions of morality. Balancing the comic and the bizarre with the genuinely frightening and disturbing, Next shatters our assumptions and reveals shocking new choices where we least expect.

The future is closer than you think. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Do you own your body's cells? If a doctor develops a cure for a disease using your cells in the process, are you entitled to a share of the profits? These are some of the questions Crichton explores in his latest science-as-boogeyman polemic. Baker does all he can to give life to the characters, but they are little more than tools to convey the plot, so the author leaves him little to work with. Baker subtly shifts the tone of his voice to distinguish between characters and deftly alters the cadence of his speech to keep the narrative flowing. Despite his best efforts, though, Baker cannot turn the nonfiction interludes between chapters into anything remotely interesting. As if these weren't distracting enough, the multiple subplots make it quite difficult to keep track of what's going on, or how one plot line relates to another. Reading a book that goes in this many directions would be difficult enough, but on audio it's almost impossible to follow. Baker's performance is excellent all around, but listeners hoping Crichton would return to Jurassic Park form will be left wanting.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (November 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060873167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060873165
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (644 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Aleksandra Nita-Lazar on October 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have very mixed feelings about "Next" and I will try to describe them accurately here, although there are hundreds of reviews already and mine will not add much to the discussion probably - but maybe some points will be reinforced by my adding to the subject.

The novel's central theme is genetic manipulations and the ethical issues surrounding them. There are many subplots, all revolving around the famous philanthropist, Jack Watson (is the name a pure coincidence?), who advocates scientific progress and donates money to biotech companies. The plethora of characters includes bounty hunters, lawyers, drug addicts, physicians, teachers, secretaries, security guards, and, of course, scientists of all levels, both from academia and biotech (the difference between the two becoming less and less clear). The animal-human hybrids are made in secret; the genes are patented, the genetic screens are used to the advantage of insurance companies and in numerous trials as a tool to extort money; the scientists are depicted as vicious breed. The only two families who seem honest are the Burnets, who because of Frank Burnet's precious cancer cell line become involved in a massive scheme, and the Kendalls, who decide to adopt Henry Kendalls genetic son Dave, a hybrid between human and chimpanzee.

The novel is fast-paced and the characters flick like in a caleidoscope, some being introduced only for the sake of presenting another problem connected with biotechnology (for example, the whole story of the MD who donated sperm as a resident is very loosely connected to the main plot, only by the implied involvement of Watson).

Initially, I could not stand this book, but after about 200 pages I reflected and realized several things:
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished listening to the audio tape of Next and LOVED it (and chuckled a lot). I also just read the Amazon reviews and was amazed that people didn't get the joke. This was satire! I was a scientist and my husband is a biotech patent attorney and Crichten is right on concerning the foibles of science, genetic engineering, technology transfer, etc. What I like about this book (and all of Crichten's books) is that he writes terrific 'what if' plots based on man's innate stupidity. To take one scene from Next, a group of American's are in Borneo looking for orangutans in a research park. They are a noisy and whiny crowd and the leader is afraid that the orangs will not show--but one does and makes some gutteral sounds, although orangs don't make sounds. Someone in the group realizes that the creature is making fun of them in Swedish (it speaks French too!). The news sweeps around the world with Crichten creating wonderful headlines and the reader (audio CD) speaking BBC English. It's true the plot skips around but the main characters are memorable and there IS a plot. Don't forget Crichten has a lot of ground to cover and a lot of material to make fun of. Get the CD. It brings the book to life.
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This book was great. Frankly I'm a little confused at some of the negative reviews. The story is not diffuse if you are willing to stick with the stories. There are a lot of characters in the beginning and what seems to be a lot of different stories but he weaves them together effectively. Some have said that the chapters are too short. They are short, they are concise and none are superfluous (MTV fans may need to look that word up) but you do have to keep up and immerse yourself in the story.

If you geniunley enjoy Crichton's writing (whether or not you agree with any or all of his conclusions), if you are willing to be taken into a complicated story that mirrors the world about which he is writing and if you are willing to enjoy the way he weaves all the stories together (sometimes humorously) then I think you will enjoy this book. And this post is only about what I think.

I agree that if you are either (1) too politically blinded by ideology to enjoy anything out of line with your ideology (don't read State of Fear either), (2) unable keep up with complicated, intelligent story telling or (3) unwilling to devote time and brain power to reading, this is not the book for you. If any or all of the above are your case I reccomend you go watch MTV, you'll enjoy it more, you won't have to hurt yourself by reading and you can use your brian cells for more important things, like the latest bands in the top 40.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Just how far corporations, institutes or even individuals should be allowed to go when it comes to holding patents?

Where should the line be drawn when it comes to patents, copy writes, intellectual property?

What if these patents and the like involve the very building blocks of all life as we know it, the very genome?

While we're at it, how far should various companies, corporations and even research institutes be allowed to go when it comes to mixing genomes.

When does playing god go too far?

These are just a few of the questions that are not only raised, but speculated upon and answered in Michael Crichton's latest thriller, Next.

The novel delves into the world of genetic engineering, transgenics, chimera's patents on genes and everything that is involved.

The human side, how people react and are affected by all these factors.

I'll come out and state it. Because of various genetic defects that are prevalent in my bloodline, I've always had a keen interest in biogenetics and the entire field. Not enough to go into it as a career, but still, more than a passing interest.

This novel was right up my alley. It took me three days to read it, and it wasn't a small book by any stretch of the imagination, it was a massive five hundred pages long.

People who pick up the book and read it, I should warn you right now, without giving away any spoilers, that it can be quite confusing.

There is a massive cast of characters. Each character has a role to play in the novel, and at first, all these different roles, stories if you will, don't seem to be connected.
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