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Michael Crichton: A Background

The late author Michael Crichton was famous for his thought-provoking and sometimes controversial novels dealing with the possible affects of medicine and science.

He originally chose to study medicine at Harvard College, and graduate summa cum laude in 1964. His knowledge of medicine and science often became an important factor in his novels.


His first bestselling novel, ‘The Andromeda Strain’ was written and published in 1969 while he was still at university, though he wrote it under the pen name John Lange.

He went on to have 25 bestselling novels from 1969 until 2006, with 13 of them being made into films: the most successful of which was the 1993 blockbuster ‘Jurassic Park’.

Strange Habits

Crichton was noted for the strange habits he picked up while writing. For his first six years as an author, he tended to write under a psydoneum: either John Lange or Jeffrey Hudson.

  • Both were a comment on his height of 6 feet 9 inches – Lange meaning tall in German and Sir Jeffrey Hudson being a famous dwarf.
  • It is rumoured that at times he could write up to 10,000 words per day – although Crichton himself said that doing so was excruciating and often left him with writers block.
  • During the process of writing, he tended to eat the same meal every day, and would start writing earlier each day towards the end of the book.

He believed that it was important to make sure the information in his books was accurate, and so throughout his life he has reseached in depth topics such as Nordic myths, genetic engineering, medieval European history and airline deregulation.

Books into Film

Many of Crichton’s bestselling books have been turned into movies, beginning with ‘The Andromeda Strain’  and including ‘The Terminal Man’ in 1974, ‘Rising Sun’ in 1993 and ‘Disclosure’ in 1994.

Jurassic Park in 1993 is the most noted adaption, and grossed $914 million: currently the 11th highest grossing feature film.

It was also thought to be a landmark film, with the use of computer generated imagery. Since the film’s release, there have been two sequels, and a third is currently being developed.

Writing Passion

Crichton has said on his website that he started writing when he was very young, after he saw his father, a journalist, typing. “I was the weird kid who wrote extra assignments the teacher didn’t ask for. i just did it because I liked writing so much”.

Although he had wanted to be a writer from an early age, he “didn’t think it was likely [he] could make a living at it, so [he] went to medical school”. He continued to write while studying however, and after graduation decided to pursue it as a career.

Michael’s family have said that he “challenged our preconcieved notions about the world around us – and entertained us all while doing so…he will be profoundly missed”.

For an article on Michael Crichton’s influence on sci-fi, Click Here

Kirstie Nicols


November 8, 2008 Posted by | Kirstie - Lifestyle | , , | 1 Comment

Sci-Fi Dies With Michael Crichton

The Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton passed away this week after a long battle with cancer, aged just 66.

He was famous for his futuristic novels, many of which have been made into films, as well as creating the hospital drama series ER.

Considered by some to be the leading authority in writing futuristic novels, his death is being seen as a severe loss to the sci-fi community.

His family have issued a statement saying that he “served as an inspiration to students of all ages, challenged scientists in many fields, and illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way we could all understand”.

Jurassic Park

One of his most famous achievements surrounds his bestselling novel ‘Jurassic Park’, published in 1990 and telling the story of genetically grown dinosoars on a secret island.

The book was made into a blockbuster hit in 1993, and was quickly followed by it’s sequel ‘The Lost World’ in 1995.

Director Stephen Spielburg said of his death “Michael’s talent outscaled even his own dinosoars…there is no one in the wings that will ever take his place”.

End Of An Era For Sci-Fi

Crichton has sold over 150 million books worldwide, many of which deal with the possible affects science and medicine could have on the world.

His agent, Lynn Nesbitt said “he had a ferocious, brilliant intellect and the ability to write entertaining narratives…I can’t think of many writers who can match that”.

Comments on The Times website following the news suggested that his works were considered both thought-provoking and entertaining. John Gibbs from Manchester said “he was the only sci fi writer for me. I wonder how many others will lose their love of sci fi with his death”.

ER Drama

The author also drew on his own history as a medical student to write stories that were set in the present. In 1994 he created the medical drama ‘ER‘ , and it is now one of NBC’s longest running dramas.

Over the years it has won five Emmy awards, one Golden Globe and three Screen Actor Guild awards. It has recently been announced that it will end its run after 15 seasons in February 2009.

The executive producer of the show John Wells, has called him “an extrordinary man. Brilliant, funny, erodite, gracious, exceptionally inquisitive and always thoughtful”.

Climate Change Scandal

In 2004, Crichton’s book ‘State of Fear’ was released. It soon recieved severe critisism for its denial of the effects the human race may have on global warming.

In an interview with the BBC he defended his suggestions, saying that “they do computer simulations and conclude that this is of human origin. The difficulty that I have with that is that I simply don’t believe computer simulations”.

The book reignited the debate between human driven global warming followers, and natural global warming followers showing the influence that Crichton had by this time.

It was awarded the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Journalism Award in 2006, and Communication Director Larry Nation told the New York Times “it is fiction, but it has the absolute ring of truth”.

The author’s newest novel, which was due for release next month and published by Harper Collins, has been postponed indefinitely.

For background information on Michael Crichton, Click Here

Kirstie Nicols

November 8, 2008 Posted by | Kirstie - Lifestyle | , , , | 1 Comment