24 July 2008
Next -- Michael Crichton
Usually this book is not a one day read, at least I don't think under normal circumstances I would have read this so fast. However, I was stuck in the Newark airport from 7pm until my flight finally took off after 3am. After rummaging through my bag and getting a muffin, I decided to pull this book out and start reading. It was quick paced, short chapters and a lot of dialogue, the only parts that slowed the reading a bit were the "news" stories interspersed throughout the book.
The problem with Crichton is that you never know what is specifically true. I know enough about chemistry and the other sciences to know that most of what was happening scientifically in this book is a little premature. But, the main point of the book was right on target. This book appeals to those that are concerned with the litigious nature of our society or those that are not but should be. It appeals to those whom are concerned with the growth of the biotech industry because of the lack of knowledge of those who make decisions and the reckless propaganda of those who actually know what is going on.
I am not saying biotech firms are evil. Quite the contrary. However, read this book and you will understand where the concerns are. There is a lot of benefits to these products and services. They should be rewarded accordingly. However, the courts make rulings where they don't understand the facts. The scientists inside these companies are willing to compromise high academic standards in trade for sensationalizing in front of a scared, misinformed public. Obviously not all are doing this, probably only a few, but the point remains. I highly recommend this book because I agree that the world most people expect to be here in 100 years is already here in many ways.
Specifically about this book, I found the stories to be somewhat jumbled and in some cases were wrapped up hastily and were found lacking. He tried to interweave many different stories and was successful in most ways, however it seemed to me that too many different plot lines were introduced in order to account for less depth and development in all of them. It was an enjoyable read however and the negative aspects in the story telling were outweighed by the skill that was shown in what was there.