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Prey Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 25, 2002
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High-tech whistle-blower Jack Forman used to specialize in programming computers to solve problems by mimicking the behavior of efficient wild animals--swarming bees or hunting hyena packs, for example. Now he's unemployed and is finally starting to enjoy his new role as stay-at-home dad. All would be domestic bliss if it were not for Jack's suspicions that his wife, who's been behaving strangely and working long hours at the top-secret research labs of Xymos Technology, is having an affair. When he's called in to help with her hush-hush project, it seems like the perfect opportunity to see what his wife's been doing, but Jack quickly finds there's a lot more going on in the lab than an illicit affair. Within hours of his arrival at the remote testing center, Jack discovers his wife's firm has created self-replicating nanotechnology--a literal swarm of microscopic machines. Originally meant to serve as a military eye in the sky, the swarm has now escaped into the environment and is seemingly intent on killing the scientists trapped in the facility. The reader realizes early, however, that Jack, his wife, and fellow scientists have more to fear from the hidden dangers within the lab than from the predators without.
The monsters may be smaller in this book, but Crichton's skill for suspense has grown, making Prey a scary read that's hard to set aside, though not without its minor flaws. The science in this novel requires more explanation than did the cloning of dinosaurs, leading to lengthy and sometimes dry academic lessons. And while the coincidence of Xymos's new technology running on the same program Jack created at his previous job keeps the plot moving, it may be more than some readers can swallow. But, thanks in part to a sobering foreword in which Crichton warns of the real dangers of technology that continues to evolve more quickly than common sense, Prey succeeds in gripping readers with a tense and frightening tale of scientific suspense. --Benjamin Reese
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I listen to it again & again, and i very often hear stuff I missed the first time. Nuances related to other things in the book. GENIUS!
I'd say my wife & I listen to this two or three times every year, whenever the mood strikes us, and the story never gets old.
Good ol' Amazon just gave me a multiple choice survey on this book.
"Which of these words best describes the mood?" Several options: "Hopeful", "Dark", "Nostalgic", "Light-Hearted", "Suspenseful", and "Thoughtful". While ALL these moods are present at one point or another - I had a tough time choosing between "Dark" and "Suspenseful".
Fast steady pace, with believable, very "true-to-life" characters. Just like real life, the characters are organic, slightly flawed; their perspectives are independent though not necessarily "unique". In short - these are very realistic people.
For parents of small children - this is a perfect example for the rating of "PG-13". In short - "all things being equal", societal standards, and yadda yadda yadda - 13 years old is a good "cut-off age" (give or take a few years, wherever your kid fits on such a scale). There's "some" violence, and mostly innocuous references to sexuality.
Also the narrator George Wilson is perfect! Even modulation, steady, and clear annunciation. Not only is this one of the best "books" but also one of the best audio books too.
Definitely get this fantastic story.
A computer programmer is out of work and keeping house while his wife, an up and coming computer specialist, works. When she starts behaving strangely, he suspects she's having an affair. Worse, he fears she's beginning to document things he says and does in preparation for an 'alienation of affection' suit that will take his children away from him during a divorce.
Then he's offered a contract job for the company she works for. It seems her company bought his program from the company that fired him. They are experiencing problems with it and want him to fix it.
He's afraid he'll be the fall guy -- again -- if the kinks can't be worked out and is hesitant. Then his wife has an accident and things go screwy. It seems the only way he can find out what's going on is to take the contract work.
From then on, it's a nail biter.
I'm not a scientific person, so I don't know about the IT part of this. But it kept me hooked till the last page.
Does Ricky really need to sound like Hermey, the dentist in Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer? Having that weirdly-juvenile nasal voice assault my ears seriously detracted from the tension in the story. I'd read the book years ago, and recently sprung for Whispersync. I don't completely regret my Audible purchase, but this is one recording I doubt I'll listen to again.
Top international reviews
Written in Crichton's inimitable style, the story blends research into the subject matter with an interpretation of how human behaviour might ultimately affect it. In an area of science where the majority of people are not really up to speed on it, it does give an albeit fictictious view of what it is capable of.
Read it and you should not be disappointed.
Prey tells the story of nanotechnology out of control where a swarm of very small manufactured nanorobots learn how to think with devastating effect. It is set over the course of 5 days in the life of Jack, a house-husband with extensive knowledge of nanotechnology whose wife's company specialises in creation of nanorobots. The creation is out of control and somehow Jack gets drawn in to help.
The story itself is highly captivating, grabbing the reader's attention from the first page to the last. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would say the only objection I had was than when reading it I couldn't decide whether it was a book which could make a film or simply a script for a film. Whether this is a good thing or not is clearly a matter of opinion, and in may view doesn't detract from the quality of the story. Either way, definitely recommended.