Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Tribute to Michael Crichton

When I was a teenager and was just coming into my own as far as reading long and complex novels, Jurassic Park came out.

I fell in love.  I read the book.  Seven times.  Once in French.  I watched the movie thirty some times.  In fact, I skipped out of school to ride my bike to the movie store where I had pre-ordered the VHS tape and raced back home to watch it (why did my parents allow that?).  I loved Jurassic Park so much that as a 14 year old I started my own sequel, complete with a map of a new island, and borrowing many of the same characters.  It ended up being almost 30 pages long by the time I felt like I had a good start to it.  I mailed it to Michael Crichton to show him that there was a great opportunity to put a sequel together.  Unfortunately his production company mailed it back with a letter to the effect that he could not accept unsolicited works or something like that, and I never worked any more on it.

Michael CrichtonBut my love for all things Michael Crichton could not be satiated.  I devoured each of his novels - many of them more than once - and watched all of the movies based on the novels.  I waited with great anticipation each time for the next book to come out so that I could relish the masterful way that he mixes fascinating and strong characterizations with gripping story lines and compelling scientific thought.  With enthousiasm, I read Airframe, The Great Train Robery, Prey, State of Fear, Timeline, Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, Five Patients, A Case of Need, Sphere, The Terminal Man, Congo, Disclosure, The Lost World, and Rising Sun.  I still have most of these novels sitting on my bookshelf at home, with well-worn corners and tattered covers from the many perusals.  The only book I have not read was his last, and it is on my list of must-reads.

It seemed as though everything he touched turned to gold.  Westworld remains one of my earliest memories when I think of movies.  ER (the early seasons) will always be among my favorite shows.  In fact my wife and I own the first six seasons on DVD.  I have seen Youtube videos of Michael Crichton speaking on a variety of subjects ranging from scientific to literary, and he always comes across as poised, intelligent and well-read.

It was with great distress, then, and a large amount of sadness that I read of his death yesterday at the age of 66.  Apparently he has been battling cancer for some time and has kept it a quiet and personal matter.  Class and honor, even in death.

A truly great American, and one of my personal heroes, Michael Crichton will be sorely missed.

1 comment:

*~Dani~* said...

This is the most beautiful tribute of Michael Crichton that I have heard/read.