Once again Michael Crichton gives us his trademark combination of page-turning suspense, cutting-edge technology, and extraordinary research. State of Fear is a superb blend of edge-of-your-seat suspense and thought provoking commentary on how information is manipulated in the modern world. From the streets of Paris, to the glaciers of Antarctica, to the exotic and dangerous Solomon Islands, State of Fear takes the reader on a rollercoaster thrill ride, all the while keeping the brain in high gear.
©2004 Michael Crichton; (P)2004 Harper Audio
"State of Fear is one of Crichton's best because it's as hard to pigeonhole as greenhouse gas but certainly heats up the room." (Entertainment Weekly)
It's tough for me to be open minded about a Michael Crichton book. I've read nearly all of them going back to the very beginning when he wrote novels under a pen name while in medical school. What I enjoy most is that he doesn't talk down to his audience. He deals with complex scientific issues, uses complex language and (usually) explains things pretty well. He's been warning about the dangers of the mis-use of science for decades, so this book should come as no surprise. I always learn something new when I read a Crichton book. That's why I read them. They stimulate ideas and I always want to read more about the issues he discusses. There's always a danger in taking fiction as fact, so if you have doubts check it out on your own. That's the point, isn't it? To get people talking, and thinking? That's why I read books. If I simply want entertainment I'll watch a mindless sitcom.
I especially found his personal comments interesting, especially the reference to eugenics (did I spell that right?).
As for the performance criticism from some of the other reviewers, I had no such problems. Maybe it's because I usually listen to audio books in the car and the traffic noise diminishes it. Maybe it's because I'm not as critical as others. There's always some dubbing. Try reading a 10,000 word book aloud and see how YOU do.
So take this audio book for what it is, a thought-provoking, non-mainstream journey through unfamiliar territory. You'll only get out of it what you put into it.
Listening since 2004. Mystery, thrillers and anything that can blend with a walk, jog, exercise, long drive or a wait at the airport.
Definitely worth reading. I had no idea there was an ulterior side of the environmentalist. In any case, it is a good thriller. Do not read too many reviews just hear it. You cannot let a controversial book like this pass?can you?
Huge fun. I bought the book with some trepidation. On the one hand, Crichton is always entertaining. On the other, I had been led to believe by the media response that the book was an attempt to discourage people from taking responsibility for their impact on the environment. I decided to read it with a sceptical mind. Nobody was going to convince *me* that global warming was a hoax, by golly.
To my surprise, I began to really enjoy the book despite the blatantly manipulative characterization of the pro-environmentalist protagonist as a credulous dupe. It helps here if you have a sense of humor about yourself.
I realized I had never *seen* any data that actually demonstrated the reality of global warming as a consequence of human actions. I had been *told*, but I had never seen the data. Kind of like high-school algebra, where even if you got the answer right, you couldn't get credit unless you showed how you *got* the answer.
I highly recommend the book as entertainment. Just bear with the dufus protagonist for the first half of the story (he gets better), and don't let your preconceptions spoil the fun.
The bad: the narrator must have eaten some bad burritos before each recording session, because digestive gurgles are heard throughout the narration - it's at times funny and at other times revolting, and at all times DISTRACTING! This recording never should have been published. It loses one star because of this.
The good: intestinal maladies aside, the narrator does an excellent job with the material and various characters, giving each a believable and easily recognizable voice. The material is EXCELLENT and VERY REFRESHING - it's a wonderful change to get to explore the OTHER side of the whole "global warming" THEORY (and, hey, let's face it, folks - GW *IS* still just a THEORY at this point, and a quite young theory at that). To the reviewers who complain about the "right-wing minority pseudo-science" they see in this book, I paraphrase William Shatner: "Would you get a life, people? I mean, for crying out, it's just a novel!" I sense the shrill whining and hyper-excitable hand-ringing of the evil "Environmental Liberation Front" (the novel's bad guys) in those reviews! ;)
This is a fairly typical Crichton book -- I'd rate it a little better than Prey or Timeline, not as good as Disclosure, JP, or Rising Sun.
I'm a little surprised to see all the hostility directed toward his subject matter (right-wing propaganda, said one of the reviewers). As always, his subject matter is well researched and well thought out. Also, as always, there are shadowy groups and people who populate the novel. The use of a wise academic from Cambridge, Mass, to initiate a novice in to the world of faith reminds me of The DaVinci Code -- yet, this is better sourced and supported.
On one hand, you could say he's demonizing environmentalists (like DaVinci Code did to the Catholic Church), but I think if you look below the surface, he's really hitting the lawyers (full disclosure: I am a lawyer) and media people who may be playing with the environment without a real understanding of what they're doing.
And this is a constant theme in Crichton books from Terminal Man to Prey.
Let's face it -- I've never known anyone to read Crichton for character development -- it's not his strong point.
Moreover, if you look back to a book like Congo, you've seen Crichton take the same stand with respect to the environment as he does in this book.
Crichton hasn't changed since he wrote Rising Sun and relied on Al Gore for his background. Those who think he is now a "right-winger" are missing what he has always done as a writer.
In any event, read it for the story and make up you own mind by reading the science elsewhere.
I sometimes find the narration of an audio distracting. This was transparent and easily understood. Well done accents added to the realism without making the narrator instrusive.
Crystalizing for me an idea that had been nagging irritatingly at my consciousness, the premise felt like a weclome resolution. With each daily news cast we get new "important information" designed to make us afraid. Why do we tune in daily for another dose? Are we addicted to bad news? I thought his premise to be valid.
The presentation of the facts about global warming and climate change, however, was a bit one sided. Not enough is realy known about climate for anyone to be sure and there is convincing evidence on both sides of that question. Seems that some error on the side of caution would be warranted.
Neverhteless, I found this an expremely enjoyable book.
If you can ignore the other reviews that seem to worried about where this book falls in the political spectrum, then you will enjoy it tremendously. I always look for one thing: a story to keep me interested and listening, something that I won't drift off and realize that I have no idea where the narrator is. Although it starts a little slow, with perhaps a little too much detail added in, all in all the story - again I emphasize that point - is a good one.
Yes, the narration isn't ideal (mouth noises and stomach grumbles are sometimes positively nauseating!). And yes, Crichton certainly has an agenda interspersed with the action. But I appreciate his willingness to be politically incorrect. As a scientist myself, I know first hand the power of politics and fashion on science. Crichton's provocative assertions should send the interested reader straight to the library (or scientific journals). Perhaps more of us should be paying attention to the environmental issues he wrestles with.
I can't believe all the negative reviews that all the narrow minded politically correct do gooder wannabees have written to trash this suspensful book. They gotta get over the fact that the protaganist is on the other side of the current liberal beliefs on global warming. When I was a kid, we didn't have wind chill factors, heat indexes etc. It was either cold or it was hot. Lets start reviewing books on their good and bad merits instead of whether they are in tune with the reviewers beliefs. I thought it was a great story and well worth the hours of listening. Never a dull moment. I listened and learned from both sides of the global warming argument. I found the book challanging, not written at a level below me. Maybe thats it, they just didnt understand the book.
I've never entered my own review before...read a lot of them before I purchase a book, though. While I enjoyed the book, I will be hesitant to purchase a book narrated by this reader in the future. I don't know whether it was a problem with where his microphone was placed or what, but I could hear every swallow, licking of lips, even heard laughing in the background on one occasion...very distracting! Very poor recording (or, as my husband pontificated, maybe too good). Where is Scott Brick when you need him...I've never heard him swallow and I've listened to almost every book he's ever narrated. People pay good money for these listens every month...clean up the narration...Shame!!!!
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