We live in a time of momentous scientific leaps; a time when it's possible to sell our eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars or test our spouses for genetic maladies. We live in a time when one fifth of all our genes are owned by someone else, and an unsuspecting person and his family can be pursued cross-country because they happen to have certain valuable genes within their chromosomes.
Devilishly clever, Next blends fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems, and a set of new possibilities can open at every turn. Next challenges our sense of reality and notions of morality. Balancing the comic and bizarre with the genuinely frightening and disturbing, Next shatters our assumptions and reveals shocking new choices where we least expect.
The future is closer than you think. Get used to it.
Take your pick.
©2006 Michael Crichton; (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers
I normally like Michael Crichton's work. But this is not really a novel. It's a series of interspersed short stories on the topic of the science of gene therapy and research. Not one of the individual stories was interesting, but what's worse, the sheer number of them and the frequency of alternating among them, left me constantly wondering for several minutes which storyline we were back to.
Again, the subject matter was interesting. But the execution was dull and often struck me as if it were written for a much younger audience, like readers 10 – 14 years old.
This isn’t helped by the reader. Usually, the readers I don't like sound like they are half asleep. This reader is the only one I've come across that is actually overly animated, to the point of being distracting, annoying, and again, as if aimed at young teenagers. Many of his voices just sound winy.
This is just not worth the money. But it’s an even bigger waste of time. I regret finishing it.
I read, I write; I listen
Next is a books about the world of genetics, and what a world it is. Michael Crighton is as meticulous as always in his research of the subject matter, maybe too much so. The book has so many story lines, from a man sueing over the question if his genes still belong to him after a doctor uses cutting edge research to cure him of cancer to splicing human genes with certain animals. How the narrator was able to keep up with all the different characters in this book is still amazing. He did an incredible job considering. Still, knowing this is a Michel Crighton book, a little truth mixed in with fiction, "Next" is entertaining and somewhat eye opening.
If you like thrilling, fast paced action ‘Next’ might not suit your tastes. It is very slow to introduce the characters (half of the book!) and then, they never did anything – and I mean nothing! It was a struggle for me to focus and pay attention because it seemed there was little to pay attention to. I have to confess that about half way through I just stopped listening to ‘Next” and went to another book in my library. Perhaps the second half of the book was exciting and attention grabbing. Perhaps I’ve cheated myself out of a very satisfying listen by stopping too soon. I have never been one to ‘give up’ on a book, but in all honesty, it was a relief to stop this one.
What others reviewers of this audiobook failed to recognize is that the plot is not the point of this book. If you read it to the end, including the author's comments and the interview with him, you would find out that the point of the book is to raise awareness of the frightening state of affairs in this country regarding genetic research and engineering. The individual stories presented are mere examples of the atrocities occuring all over the country, and the rights individuals are being denied when it comes to their own bodies.
If only 1% of the people who read this book encourage their legislators to do something about these issues, I think the book can be considered a huge success.
In addition to the message, however, the book is witty and interesting, even without having much of a plot. Some of the stories come together at the end and I was quite wrapped up in several of the characters.
The biggest downside in my opinion was the reader. As others have commented, many of his characters' voices were whiney and obnoxious. I almost stopped listening about half way through part one because of this, but persevered and enjoyed the book despite the reader.
I'm very glad I read "Next" and intend to press my congressional representatives to do something to help alleviate the current problems brought out by Crichton's research.
I expected more from this title based on the premise. I usually wait until more feedback comes in on a book before I buy, but the premise seemed pretty intriging. Unfortunately, it did not deliver. I dont think I listened to it past the 2nd chapter. The characters were one-dimensional, the plot seemed to be missing (maybe it materialized later?) and the story line was boring. Top it all off with bland dialogue and you have a monumental waste of a book credit.
I'm a huge fan of Crichton, but this was unbearable. The total lack of any plot development until half way through the book is compounded by the annoying voice of the reader.
I am going to prepare a statement which I will require my doctor to sign when I give blood, urine or any tissue. It will say that I am the sole owner of anything that comes from my body, blood, biopsies, urine, cervical samples, moles, warts, even callouses. Of Michael Criton's books this is the most disturbing and least science fiction book that he has written. My acclaim of the author is spotty, but this book raises issues that each of us must consider in respect to the well being of ourselves, family members, our privacy, and our ability to protect our physical bodies from abuse while we are alive. It involves our individual rights and much more personally than our right to vote or publically express our opinion.
While Crichton may have dumbed down genetics, I found this book to be a thoroughly enjoyable listen. The narrator was excellent, and the animal characters were very well done and even believable. My guess is that most of the negative reviews here are either pro-stem cell research or global warming fanatics upset that Chrichton dares to challenge the pet theories of liberal scientists and politicians. "Next" and "State of Fear" are not only entertaining...I"m afraid both are prophetic.
Maybe I listened to a different book than those who hated "Next", or maybe I was looking for something different than they were. Personally one of the things I most enjoyed about the book was the multiple related plots. To me it was like watching a "Seinfeld" episode. I also like the fact that in this novel Crichton injected alot more humor than is typical for him. I thought the tone of the novel was like that of many of John Grisham's where you we see the thinly disguised vanity and greed that get the characters involved in all kinds of trouble. I thought the characters were accurately portrayed.
If you are looking for an entertaining read and are not afraid of trying a different story approach give this book a look.
Oh, and I also thought the narration was well done.
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