Wednesday, June 25, 2014

the magic of Micro

hi there

it has become something of a custom of late for me to review books in groupings, or if you like sets, of three. every once in a while, however, a book strikes me as needing almost a post only to itself. such is, was, as, is the case with the book that i completed reading today; some half way through my journey home this afternoon. yes, on the bus.

the book in question would be Micro, ostensibly by Michael Crichton but completed in work, as such, by a chap called Richard Preston. Mr Crichton, alas, passed away before delivering a final draft of this novel. if i remember right, it could be that there is also one other novel he left unfinished, which may or may not be worked on by someone and may or may not be published. we shall see.

quick, spoiler free review? ok. hell yes is the answer, Michael Crichton fans. i too was, as you will be, hesitant about reading an "unfinished work". this is, i assure you, classic, absurd, wonderful and entertaining Crichton. i don't know what bits Mr Preston wrote or edited, but he did a sterling job.

so there's the spoiler free verdict, then. it is, however, worth going into much, much more detail, hence the reason for this being in a seperate post. so.



yes, you have not had all that much in the way of scrolling text of late, so there you go, i trust you enjoyed the way that i did the spoiler warning there.

where to begin?

after reading what i had assumed, perhaps accepted, as being Crichton's final novel, the magnificent Pirate Latitudes, it was and it was not a surprise to see that he was returning to the comfort zone of "future technology going bonkers" after a dip into the world of history for bonkers adventures.

a short read of the synopsis said "this will do", really - "new technology discovered....blah blah.....recruits students to work on it in secret...blah blah....government agents....blah blah....something goes wrong....blah blah". yep, all pretty standard stuff. there is about as much element of surprise in a Crichton techno-thriller as there is a chance of Dan Brown doing a book where an ancient mystery isn't solved within a couple of days by a dorky professor who can interpret symbols and codes in a way no one else on earth has ever been able to. not much, really, none, then. overall, this sounded rather like a mix of two other Crichton novels, Prey and Timeline. which, indeed, it very much, in a real sense, is.

but also it very much, in a real sense, isn't. there were some hints early in the book, but i thought no, he won't do anything that stupid. he did, though, actually go right ahead and do something that stupid. i smiled as i read, dear reader, as i had this incredible sense of Mr Crichton dying with happy feelings of humour that he was working on his most ridiculous novel to date. which is indeed saying something.

yes. what the back of the book sort of hints at but wisely does not reveal is, and you all saw the spoiler warnings, that the secret super technology in this novel is.....a shrinking ray. and not just any shrinking ray. no, not at all. this beauty shrinks equipment - and people - in a way that they still function and work perfectly fine.

let that sink in? good. i am guessing, hoping even, that what happened is that Mr Crichton sat down with a bong, a box set of all them Honey, I Shrunk The Kids films and said "hey, i can out-spaz this, no problem. it will be my homage to Rick Moranis, who was class in Ghostbusters and all them other films he did". i can live with that in a way, say, that i could not live with the idea of him saying "i think this is possible and will happen. let me tell it how it will be, except i will put an absolute maniac in charge of this technology and have lots of people running about and getting killed and that, to make it authentic".

how does this class shrinking ray thing work? magnets. that's pretty much it, really. there's some token mention to a special kind of magic magnets, creating tensor fields or some other such rubbish, but basically it is all done with magnets. nice one.

as hinted at above, the classical hallmarks of a Crichton novel are all in place. stereotypes used with gay abandon. and imaginative character names at the fore. what does this dude do? make and die in fire? i shall call him....Stokes. what about this dude? a hunter? i shall call him.....Hutter to throw people off a bit. how about this lady? she does karate and kung fu? i shall call her.....Karen. so yes, from the list of characters at the front of the book (not pictured here), you can pretty much work out which character shall do what.

what i hope has come through here is, of course, that i thoroughly enjoyed this novel. it is amazingly stupid and probably, indeed hopefully, highly preposterous, but just amazing fun, man. a particular "technical" highlight was how being subjected to class, magical magnetic shrinking affects the human body. it seems he just lifed what happens to suba divers out of a text book and decided that this will do for his purposes.

an amazing plot highlight was, and there's no way of dressing this up, just how much, in the mind of Michael Crichton (unless Mr Preston added these bits), wasps like making a sex with humans. yes, he transplants human thinking methods and narrative onto the mind of a f*****g wasp to describe how much the wasp enjoys doing rudey dudey nudies with mini-humans. twice. warned, you have been.

i seem to have hit a rather rich vein of humans having sex with non-humans of late. that's three books which has featured this, and not one single one of them selected for reading with any knowledge that this would happen in them. must be some intrinsic calling i felt, or a subconscious thing. i am hoping that the next few books i read do not feature any sort of cross-breeding stuff, but you never know.

i suspect this book i picked up today (it was in a pound shop thing for, oddly enough, a pound. and it was shiny and attracted my eye) will not feature human / non-human nookie, but i will not be reading it just yet.

it is on the pile to read, and i will get to it. this is one of them follow on / sequel things, however, so i may well try and find the first volume, The Shakespeare Secret i believe, first. i have had a look on amazon and, alas, that one is not as cheap as this one was. so i might skip it, i don't know really, it is not like i have a shortage of books at the moment.

what shall i do with Micro now that i have read it? i am not certain it is the kind of thing either my Aunt or my (considerably) better half would wish to read, but it is available to them if they so wish. i think it might well just end up donated to one of the places in the village that sell them to raise funds; helping them somewhat and allowing a fellow fan to read it on, as it were, the cheap.

yes, indeed that is that Vikingdom on that pile there, and no i have not watched it. i shall do eventually, one day, i hope, presume and suppose. i should perhaps have watched that earlier in the week instead of the rubbish i did, Beserker (The Nordic Curse) or something. awful, it was. which makes it very strange that a friend has insisted, no demanded, that i post it to them.

anyway, that will do. thank you for reading, as ever, but of higher importance, thank you, Mr Michael Crichton, for the amazing fun your reading always provided.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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