Michael Crichton was only 66 when he succumbed to cancer this week.
Not to be insensitive, but considering how good he was at spinning yarns about the dangers of biotechnology, you’d think he could have written a better ending for himself than: destroyed by a group of rogue cells.
Or maybe that is exactly the ending he would write. His books – like Jurassic Park, Prey, Next, and The Andromeda Strain – were thrillers meant to scare. People lost control of their own destinies because the forces of nature, including human greed, were too powerful. And what’s scarier than cancer, a disease we have known about for centuries but which still kills more than 7 million people per year. (On websites like fark.com and elsewhere, it’s a sardonic joke to add, at the end of the description for any given new scientific advance, that there’s "Still no cure for cancer.")
On the other hand, many scientists felt that Crichton’s portrayal of science and scientists harmed the research enterprise by emphasizing the warts and ignoring some of its strengths. Others also felt he used his popularity and status to promote a misguided agenda.
What do you think Crichton’s legacy is – science popularizer, moral technologist, or science villain?Share Post: | Stumble | Share on Facebook | Tweet This |