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State of Fear audiobook cover art

A bizarre propaganda piece

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-21-12

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I wouldn't do the disservice of recommending this book to anyone.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Narrator was fine. The recording suffered from excessive microphone noise in the background.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

This book is a work of pure propaganda with a thin glazing of crime thriller story line laid over it. Crichton's bizarre premise is that non-profit environmental organizations are colluding in a massive public hoax to promote the idea of global warming. Why are they doing this? Crichton maintains that these groups need public donations to stay in operation, so they have to secretly manipulate scientific data, assassinate public officials, create flash floods and lightning storms using amazing technologies, and blow up huge chunks of Antarctica in order to keep the public donating to their spurious cause - the fight against global climate change. What a pantload! Crichton paints the environmental movement as an evil empire of under-educated Eco-terrorists who are skilled mercenaries and demolitions experts intent on harming innocent school children.

Even more weirdly, the hero of the story is an authoritarian Lone Ranger figure, a scientist-turned domestic intelligence operative who works for a secretive national security agency. Dr. "Kennerer" spies on American citizens, instructs his compatriots to lie openly, surveils domestic communications, conducts searches without warrant and though he is a law enforcement officer, he murders his opponents with impunity instead of attempting to take them into custody - all in the name of keeping the world safe from environmentalists. Kennerer's sidekick is an east Indian mercenary and computer expert, completing the Lone Ranger/Tonto symbolism, however this dynamic duo's antics are entirely sanctioned by the state.

Crichton uses age old propaganda techniques in this novel to stereotype those he disagrees with and paint them as super-humanly evil and bent on the destruction of civilization. We've seen these techniques used to horrible effect throughout the 20th century by racists, bigots, anti-semites and religious fundamentalists to degrade those they disagree with. The book is also full of lengthy passages where Crichton attempts to debunk climate change theory using mind-numbingly complex arguments, however his central rationale for why all of this environmental subterfuge is in the news is shockingly lame - climate change is a popular fad and environmentalists don't have anything better to do than scheme for ways to get your money. Even if you don't accept the climate change argument, Crichton must have thought his readers were stupid to swallow that line of guff.

The reason I'm so disappointed with this book is that I grew up with Crichton's early works which actually sparked my interests in both science and technology. Andromeda Strain, Westworld, and Jurassic Park are all works of a great writer with a genius for making science accessible. I can only speculate that as Crichton aged, he began to obsess on the right-wing reactionary view of the climate change issue in the same way that Charlton Heston became obsessed with racism, guns and the NRA in his later years - even though Heston had been a maverick in Hollywood promoting racial equality during the 50s and 60s. At any rate this work is a very poor coda to end Crichton's brilliant career.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Dracula audiobook cover art

Nicely done, great price.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-20-12

I really enjoyed this audio edition - the narrator was not the most dramatic reader, but he did a fine job. Can't beat the price, either.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful