For me, Michael Crichton’s works have been either phenomenal or disappointing. With this bestseller he definitely gets back into the phenomenal column. It has aspects reminiscent of Jurassic Park and most especially, The Andromeda Strain. Mr. Crichton’s knowledge and research in the fields of computer science, distributed agents, biology and genetics, as well as with the cutting edge of nanotechnology he has condensed into a novel that informs the reader in stages as he weaves a tale of harrowing danger not only to the protagonist and his family, but in theory, to us all.
This is a first-person account of Jack, a computer software engineering manager turned house-husband turned consultant, who becomes involved with microscopic molecular robots. These tiny particles are supposed to be functionally programmed for tasks to assist man, such as a composite lens camera that can operate within the bloodstream of a person. However, they are evolving by the minute toward whatever goal their self-awareness leads them — and taking over humanity has become their goal.
I think what I like most about this tale is Mr. Crichton’s dexterity in weaving the fine aspects of human attempts at evolutionary exploitation with their inevitable failure to be able to control the monster that emerges. He puts evolution in a laboratory and speeds it to the pace of microbial life cycles—with surprises aplenty and clear explanations to keep the reader abreast of the technicalities involved.
I literally found I didn’t want to put the book down. I recommend it for anyone interested in a thrilling story and as a bonus, a “soft” education in current technologies, particularly nanotechnology--which is to be in our future, and in fact, is already here.
R. Leland Waldrip