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A newly discovered dinosaur species was named Crichton's ankylosaur, recently, in honor of the late author and his contributions to reinvigorate interest in paleontology. Mr. Crichton passed away this Tuesday from cancer.  (Source: Brad Zweerink / News & Observer)
Author will be remembered for his prolific literary, film, and television writing career

While some are quick to dismiss science fiction as a having little impact on reality, the truth is that these minds often envision cutting edge technology and inspire scientists to go after it.  Arthur C. Clarke, who recently passed away, popularized the idea of the space elevator.  Many other authors could stake similar, if lesser claims to various pieces of technology.  It is thus equally sad to the technology community, as it is to the literary community, when a great science fiction author passes.

Michael Crichton, age 66, passed away Tuesday unexpectedly "after a courageous and private battle against cancer".  Dr. Crichton was a powerful writer of science fiction and medical drama, controversial at times, but widely regarded as one of the foremost authors of science fiction's "new guard".

Dr. Crichton, born in 1942, was a medical doctor receiving his M.D. from Harvard Medical School.  He published his first book -- "The Andromeda Strain" -- while he was still in School at Harvard.  The book, a cautionary tale about astronauts contracting a deadly alien plague, became an instant hit and cemented Crichton place in the writing community.

He wrote and directed for many films, including "The Great Train Robbery" (adapted from his fictional work, based on a true story from the 19th century), "Westworld" (1973), "Coma" (1978), "Looker" (1981) and "Runaway" (1984).

Famous science fiction works by Dr. Crichton include "Timeline", "Sphere", and "Congo".  He is best known, though, for his wildly successful "Jurassic Park" series.  The series centered around scientists using DNA and cloning to recreate dinosaurs, only to see their experiments go awry.  This series produced two novels -- "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World" -- and a hit film in 1993, which he co-wrote with Steven Spielberg.  The film spawned two sequels of moderate success.  There was never a third book in the series, despite much speculation.

His work has inspired some scientists to try to create a "real life" Jurassic Park.  Scientist are currently working on two separate projects, one to revive the extinct Tasmanian tiger, and a second to create a park with cloned mammoths and other ice age mammals in Siberia.

He also co-wrote the screenplay for the hit movie "Twister" (1996)

Dr. Crichton also was known for the controversial nature of his cautionary tales.  His book "Prey" was seen as a mandate against genetic engineering and nanotechnology, as its story revolved around a killer swarm of artificially intelligent bacteria-based nanobots.

Also controversial was his novel "Rising Sun", which questioned whether Japanese investment in electronics business in America was possibly harmful.  And most recently, Dr. Crichton generated much controversy with his novel "State of Fear" which highlighted Dr. Crichton's skepticism of global warming, and revolved around a group of "environmentalist" terrorists plotting to incite public panic to further their plans.

Despite his controversial stands, Dr. Crichton is known for much less controversial work, including co-creating the hit television series -- "ER" -- with Steven Spielberg.  "ER" rocketed George Clooney to stardom and redefined medical drama, paving the way for later shows like "Scrubs", "House: M.D.", and "Grey's Anatomy".

For his work with the series he won an Emmy -- just one of many awards he garnered.

Crichton was married 5 times and is survived by his most recent wife Sherri Alexander and his daughter Anne-Marie Martin.

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Here Here!
By bobcpg on 11/6/2008 9:16:38 AM , Rating: 2
I toast my shaking glass of water to him.

RE: Here Here!
By Master Kenobi on 11/6/2008 9:22:18 AM , Rating: 1
I dedicate my morning coffee to him today.

RE: Here Here!
By Brandon Hill on 11/6/2008 9:25:39 AM , Rating: 2
"I prefer to be called a hacker!"

RE: Here Here!
By therealnickdanger on 11/6/2008 9:37:52 AM , Rating: 5
Geez, as cool as JP was in movie form (it WAS incredible), the book was infinitely better. I remember seeing the movie and being appalled at how much they changed such potentially awesome scenes, changed the characters, etc.

Spielberg completely PC'ed (politically corrected) the film adaptation.

RE: Here Here!
By Spivonious on 11/6/2008 9:46:19 AM , Rating: 3
Agree. I read that book so many times that the binding fell apart.

RIP Dr. Crichton!

RE: Here Here!
By HOOfan 1 on 11/6/2008 3:41:39 PM , Rating: 2
I actually like "The Lost World" even better than "Jurrasic Park" and "The Lost World Jurrasic Park"(movie) didn't even come close to how awsome that book was....again the characters were COMPLETELY changed.

RE: Here Here!
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 11/6/2008 9:36:04 AM , Rating: 3
The creatures of Jurassic Park are frozen in a moment of silence since they have lost the man who gave them life and direction.... RIP and thanks for the stories.

RE: Here Here!
By Mitch101 on 11/6/2008 2:05:00 PM , Rating: 3
Hollywood is creeping me out with people dying before their work is complete and in theaters.

Westworld 2009 - The original scared me as a kid.

Jurassic Park IV 2010 last in the series I believe

Heath Ledger had BatMan shortly after passing and still to come out The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Bernie Mac has Soul Men in the theater not long after passing away and Old Dogs coming out in 2009.

Its just creeping me.

RE: Here Here!
By FITCamaro on 11/6/2008 11:34:51 PM , Rating: 2
They're making a Jurassic Park IV? Milking a franchise for all its worth eh? Christ I hate Hollywood.

RE: Here Here!
By Silver2k7 on 11/7/2008 7:32:42 AM , Rating: 3
Im just hoping it turns out to be a great dinosaur movie, and a tv-series just to spite the above commentor lol :P

Jurassic Park (1993)
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Jurassic Park III (2001)
Jurassic Park IV (2010)

this does not really seem like they are milking the concept.. its many years in between the movies.

RE: Here Here!
By theapparition on 11/7/2008 8:42:16 AM , Rating: 3
this does not really seem like they are milking the concept.. its many years in between the movies.

Tell that to George Lucas........

RE: Here Here!
By AlexWade on 11/6/2008 10:46:15 AM , Rating: 4
Crichton is one of the best Sci-Fi authors ever. He was equal to Frank Herbert who, in his own right, was wonderful. The genius of Herbert's Dune series is how he did not go too much into the specifics of technology, so his stories are never outdated. The genius of Michael Crichton is that he can seamlessly mix science fiction and science fact and make a good story in the process. In fact, his stories are very close to science fact. Some scientists are trying to clone extinct animals. Other Sci-Fi authors can create great worlds but are bad storytellers. Jack McDevitt falls into that category. The books I've read of his are brilliant as far as the world, but execution is lacking. Crichton did not lack that.

Last week, I bought Rising Sun by Crichton. This story is going to be that much more special now.

Crichton was not afraid of taking risks either. Read State of Fear and Next, both books take on controversial subjects and *gasp* bring facts and logic into the discussion. What a rebel, I'm not joking. Although State of Fear cherry-picked global warming data (I did check some of his sources), the point of the book was to make science once again the search for truth. He even stated it at the end. Crichton wanted scientists to ask "is this the truth, lets prove it" instead of what they do now (because of money) "this is the truth, how do we prove it". For example, with global warming "is global warming real, lets try to prove it", but what many scientists say is "global warming is real, how do we prove it". When you start with the conclusion that you want, you won't find the truth. But most people's heads were about to explode because how dare he prove global warming wrong.

In Next, Crichton wanted to put more power into patients hands and take away power from those who stand to profit from patients. I now must wonder if Crichton wrote this knowing he had cancer.

I've been waiting for the next Crichton book since Next. I will now be content to read all his past works.

RE: Here Here!
By m1ldslide1 on 11/6/2008 11:46:31 AM , Rating: 3
Crichton is one of the best Sci-Fi authors ever. He was equal to Frank Herbert who, in his own right, was wonderful.

Have to disagree there. I've enjoyed reading a half-dozen of Crichtons books, and they've all been excellent novels, but to put him in the same category as a giant like Herbert is reaching quite a bit. Crichton wrote entertaining novels with easily-digestible social/political overtones, whereas with Dune Herbert created an alternate universe with astounding depth with regard to politics, religion, science, and the indomitable human spirit. Dune is a masterpiece that stands on its own; whereas Crichton is the science fiction equivalent of Stephen King and therefore will be fondly remembered but never canonized in the same sense. He was gifted at writing novels that entertain and provoke thought where perhaps there was none, but he did not transcend his personal paradigm and create something so monolithic as Dune.

RE: Here Here!
By AlexWade on 11/6/2008 12:47:59 PM , Rating: 3
No, Crichton is as good as Herbert because both did something special. Herbert created a world unlike any other. Crichton seamlessly mixed fiction and fact; I have never read another author who could do so. And Crichton is a better storyteller than Herbert.

RE: Here Here!
By FITCamaro on 11/7/2008 8:03:19 AM , Rating: 2
Tom Clancy? Not sci-fi but still. Rainbow Six is one of my favorite books.

And while Hubbard was a nut job just wanting money, Battlefield Earth was an excellent book.

RE: Here Here!
By tdawg on 11/6/2008 2:25:50 PM , Rating: 3
I'm glad you pointed out that the main theme of State of Fear was not to debunk global warming, but rather to open readers' eyes to the way different groups use fear to get society to get in line behind them. This includes, religious and political groups and social programs such as PETA and Greenpeace.

I believe what Crichton was trying to teach his readers was that we need to look at the raw information ourselves, form our own views, and develop our own understanding, rather than getting scared into believing something we don't truly understand.

I will miss Michael Crichton. I grew up on his books and to this day I always looked forward to the next one. :(

RE: Here Here!
By greenchasch on 11/8/2008 5:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
State of Fear was an incredible book I agree. I recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it yet.

RE: Here Here!
By Reclaimer77 on 11/6/2008 5:47:21 PM , Rating: 2
Whooooa WHOA ! I like Crichton too, but equal to Herbert !? I know its common to elevate dead famous people to god-like status, but I don't agree with that statement.

By FITCamaro on 11/6/2008 9:12:21 AM , Rating: 4
He was an excellent author. RIP.

RE: Sad
By KentState on 11/6/2008 9:34:48 AM , Rating: 4
One of my favorite authors. I'm not typically a big reader, but his books kept me interested and I could rarely put them down.

RE: Sad
By MrBlastman on 11/6/2008 9:45:46 AM , Rating: 2
The science fiction community loses another. :(

With all of our sci fi writers passing away, we desperately need someone to fill their shoes.

RE: Sad
By asliarun on 11/6/2008 10:27:24 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, this is a sad year indeed.

If you're looking for the newer generation of good authors, check out Neal Asher and Stephen Baxter... (among others, I hasten to say, lest I get lynched!)

RE: Sad
By JediJeb on 11/6/2008 2:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
One of my other favorites has always been Alan Dean Foster, never hear that much about him but he has written many great science fiction stories.

RE: Sad
By MamiyaOtaru on 11/6/2008 6:04:33 PM , Rating: 2
I stumbled on an unopened original copy of The Dig in a book store in West Yellowstone. I grabbed it because I'd heard the game was cool but I never had the chance to play it. I haven't found the time to read it yet but on your recommendation I'll do so.

RE: Sad
By OzoFriendly on 11/9/2008 7:38:07 PM , Rating: 1
I count Greg Bear, Iain M. Banks and Greg Egan among the greatest and most insightful contemporary sci-fi writers still tapping away today.

I'm sure I'd be skating on pretty thin ice ground making any sort of direct comparison here, but I personally rate them as highly as I would Clarke, Asimov, Bradbury or Philip K. Dick - well worth a look if you're a fan of the genre.

RE: Sad
By omnicronx on 11/6/2008 10:02:46 AM , Rating: 4
Sphere was one of the best sci-fi books ever!

RE: Sad
By on 11/6/08, Rating: -1
RE: Sad
By JasonMick on 11/6/2008 10:43:40 AM , Rating: 4
I really think you are trying to get rated down. To sum up your comments in the words of Johnny Cochrane:
"That does not make sense."

Stay on topic and try to...well... write something intelligible.

RE: Sad
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 11/6/2008 11:53:53 AM , Rating: 2
p3 has an overall rating of -.075. One has to try for that kind of score. Suggest everyone just ignore him - do not reply to his comments, do not mark him up and do not mark him down. This should ruin any twisted goal he has developed in his head.

Just a thought.... Anyone willing to write something off base and without merit on some persons type of memorial blog deserve to be outcasted...

RE: Sad
By MaulBall789 on 11/6/2008 12:06:41 PM , Rating: 2

That's what you meant.

RE: Sad
By FITCamaro on 11/6/2008 12:25:34 PM , Rating: 2
Can I feed them rat poison? Please? I'll put it in cookies.

RE: Sad
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 11/6/2008 12:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
Ahhhh, yes I see.... I thought a troll was someone who self-promoted their website for sales by dropping links all over other website and blogs....... You learn something new every day.

Is there an official dictionary on these terms? I need to review. :)

RE: Sad
By xsilver on 11/6/2008 5:17:49 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Sad
By on 11/6/08, Rating: -1
RE: Sad
By HeelyJoe on 11/6/2008 6:17:07 PM , Rating: 2
So whose mind are you controlled by?

RE: Sad
By FITCamaro on 11/7/2008 8:04:43 AM , Rating: 2
The giant chicken's from Family Guy.

Jurassic Park was the first real novel I ever read
By Bateluer on 11/6/2008 9:52:45 AM , Rating: 2
Very sad to see my first favorite author pass away. :(

By bpiermat on 11/6/2008 11:04:56 AM , Rating: 2
My favorite book of his was his little known autobiograhy titled "TRAVELS"

By Bateluer on 11/6/2008 12:28:21 PM , Rating: 2
I'm going to have buy up his novels myself, I was reading copies from the local library at the time.

By Mystery Meat on 11/6/2008 1:35:12 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. It's first-rate, and it's an amazing story.

By Omega215D on 11/6/2008 4:37:03 PM , Rating: 2
It wasn't cancer that got him, it was because of the long battle between him and a Velociraptor.

State of Fear was the last book of his I read and it was quite an interesting read. After further reading about the man himself I found out he is one smart man shame some of those folks on Slashdot thought otherwise esp. when they tagged the story (initially) andnothingofvaluewaslost.

Crichton, wish it wasn't true man...
By Beavermatic on 11/6/2008 10:05:38 AM , Rating: 3
He was my childhood hero with books like "Jurassic Park", "Congo", "Lost world" and the "Andromeda Strain", "Sphere", and "Eaters of the dead'

I swear, had some tears in my eyes reading this one... dude was one the best authors of all time, especially in the world of science and chaos.

We'll never forget you Michael, RIP my man

By Topweasel on 11/6/2008 10:32:15 AM , Rating: 2
I second your feeling. I have been reading his books since I was in 5th grade. I watched JP just shortly after reading the book. This guy was Favorite author and I am deeply saddened by his passing.

May your works of art live on for generations.

By Einy0 on 11/6/2008 8:43:33 PM , Rating: 2
I couldn't have said it better myself...

RIP Michael Crichton...

By dever on 11/6/2008 12:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
"skepticism of global warming" should read "skepticism of man-made global warming"

RE: Correction
By dever on 11/6/2008 5:15:48 PM , Rating: 2
Downrate if you wish. But, I feel it is insulting to inaccurately report on the assertions of a great man who just died. Climate change is not argued... however, anthropogenic effects are still in dispute.

Eaters of the Dead...
By brandonicus on 11/6/2008 8:51:46 PM , Rating: 2
was the first Crichton book I ever read...and it was amazing! I'll miss his work immensely. Check out the book if you haven't read it, you might recognize the later republished version The 13th Warrior

RE: Eaters of the Dead...
By elgueroloco on 11/8/2008 3:28:42 PM , Rating: 2
Funny story about how "Eaters" was written. Crichton got in a debate with some other writers about the story "Beowulf." They were saying it sucked, and he insisted it was a good story if you got passed the old prose. So he bet them that he could write a bestseller with Beowulf's story, and they took it.

He wrote "Eaters of the Dead," and the rest is history.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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