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By Siddharth Subramanain in Bookked! - On

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Michael Crichton was a unique author in more ways than one. At 6 foot 9 inches, he was unusually tall, and was always trying to find ways to fit in. From his early childhood, he decided he wanted to be a writer, and his journey in literature began at age 14, when he had a column published in the New York Times. He boasts of an undergraduate degree in literature from Harvard, and later joined Harvard Medical School, where he first began publishing his work under an assumed name.

Easily numero-uno in the techno-thriller genre, Crichton’s vast body of work includes masterpieces such as Timeline, Sphere, The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park, just to name a few. His untimely death in November 2008 came as quite a shock to the writing community, and to those who worshipped his work as some of the best works of modern fiction.

The news of his death hit me quite hard, as I was hoping to read a few more stories of his, and expected him to top the best-sellers list a few more times, as he inevitably does. I was presented with a happy little shock when I walked into a Crossword outlet, probably sometime in 2010 to find a new release in his name – Pirate Latitudes. Wow! You could have struck me down with a feather. I surmised that this was probably written before his death but never published, and I wasted no time in coughing up the cash to take it home.

Pirate Latitudes was a huge disappointment though. It was thoroughly un-Crichton to write a novel of that sort, and left me wondering if it was indeed written by Crichton himself, or just an unfinished piece of work that some random dude was picked to complete. My mind believed the latter, but a little help from Google told me that the novel was discovered on his laptop by his assistant after his death. Why do women have to poke around so much? (Before you start judging me and all, yes his assistant was a woman). Okay, maybe being his assistant and all she was allowed access to his laptop and stuff. But how the hell can anybody decide whether the novel was finished or not? And now there’s talk of adapting it into a film version.

 

More recently in 2011, I found another new Crichton novel in the bookstore - Micro, of which apparently he had completed a third before his death. The remaining was written up by some dude name Richard Preston, who I’ve never heard of before (but maybe that’s just me).

Anyway, what is the point of releasing this stuff after his death? The publishing companies are just milking the cash cow, and are ready to do anything to earn a few extra bucks. Frankly, Pirate Latitudes was such a let-down that it’s actually insulting to his memory. I’m sure Micro will be no different. Am I gonna read it? No. Should you? Probably not.
 

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