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Publisher's Summary

The United States government is given a warning by the preeminent biophysicists in the country: current sterilization procedures applied to returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere.

Two years later, seventeen satellites are sent into the outer fringes of space to "collect organisms and dust for study." One of them falls to earth, landing in a desolate area of Arizona.

Twelve miles from the landing site, in the town of Piedmont, a shocking discovery is made: the streets are littered with the dead bodies of the town's inhabitants, as if they dropped dead in their tracks.

The terror has begun....

©1969 Constant c Productions, Inc.; Copyright renewed 1996 by CrichtonSun LLC (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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Clarkenesque

Horton Hears a Who
Based on thinking out of the box (not cliché in 1969), Crichton was a genius. His theories on possible aliens is not the expected. After he explains them you will be a believer. He is to biology, what Clarke was to rockets. I have always had a great interest in biology and the diversity it can have. I have a certain awe and wonder on the many different places life takes hold, on the many different strategies life comes up with. Life is everywhere, bottom of the ocean, deserts, and in the air, so why not in space?

I'M SURE IT'S A FLUKE
This book is not for everyone. I would not call it hard science, which is what I call books that have so much complex science they are hard for the average person to understand. The science is understandable, it is just the plethora of facts that are included. At times, I felt, surely he could have just gave us a summary of the facts instead of laboriously going over each and every detail. In the hardback some of these are in graphs and drawings. In the audible version they are monotonous. In one part we are read a TRANSCRIPT OF VOICE COMMUINICATIONS SCOOP MISSION CONTROL, in which we hear the hours, minutes and seconds before each verbal communication. These communications are often 2 or three seconds apart, yet we still get 0097, 03, 31, etc... There are some other faults, such as it is dated and the amount of times the geniuses miss obvious clues. The reader gets them immediately and we find ourselves screaming at the radio, it's the acid stupid, the acid. Also the statement is made that we have never had a biological crisis. I would think the Black Plague or the Influenza in 1918, would be consider biological crises.

WILDFIRE
Besides coming up with a great alien invasion, Crichton comes up with a great underground facility. The emergency secret group of scientists and doctors, who must answer the call immediately when something happens is also pretty cool. He used this again in Sphere.

The narrator is sufficient, not great. He has a gravely voice that he uses for a number of characters. This book is not about character development, so that lack of distinction does not play that heavily as it would in some other books.

If you are a fan of Arthur C. Clarke you will enjoy this book. If books with too much data, turns you off, then read one of Crichton's later books. When this was written, data, was important to Science Fiction books. The concepts and imagination of Crichton over ride some of the flaws in the writing style. Don't get me wrong, there are some very exciting action parts to the book, it is not all about the numbers. I give the book a B+.

40 of 43 people found this review helpful

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Best science + biology fiction book I have read

The author leaves just enough out of the plot to make this a follow along detective novel for biochemists and science fiction enthusiasts alike. Get ready to day dream all types of alien biological attacks for the next few days, because when microorganisms come from space, your mind can make anything believable. I wish this book was 2 times longer, I feel the author finished it in a rush!

35 of 39 people found this review helpful

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45 years old..

...and still my favorite Crichton. It holds up very well because it's simply a great story. Excellently narrated as well.

46 of 52 people found this review helpful

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Very good medical /scientific thriller!!!

The story was good, but the performance made it that much better. I would recommend this book to those who share the love for a good sci-fi book. Enjoy!

29 of 33 people found this review helpful

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Rush to finish

The book just seem like its in a hurry to finish. You get to the good parts of the book and there's only 20 minutes left.

23 of 28 people found this review helpful

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A great listen

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed listening to this book from beginning to end. I would recommend this to other Sci Fi fans

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Great performance

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Story is really dated now with the advances in technology

If you’ve listened to books by Michael Crichton before, how does this one compare?

There's too much technical information -- especially for an audio book where you're hearing someone read reports rather than seeing them.

What does David Morse bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Really, really good performance by David Morse. He kept the characters separate by using different voices, and kudos for the pronunciation of some of the difficult medical and scientific terms.

Any additional comments?

In this one case, I can honestly say that the movie was better than the book because the tension stays higher in the film.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Omg this book

Read this goddam book. Holy shit that was intense. I need a beer and some sleep.

53 of 73 people found this review helpful

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Outdated

This book is just too old and outdated. It does not match up with today’s technology. It’s also very laborious to listen to all the facts and figures they want to throw out. It would’ve been more interesting if they had zeroed in on an interesting storyline. However, it does not. I think it’s time this book is laid to rest. Unless, of course,You enjoy and get a kick out of seeing how people back in the 60s thought the future would look like and how technology would look like. I guess that is kind of funny how they thought.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I loved the whole thing

it's slow start but a good listen. I love stories about special facilities like this and sphere

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 10-18-15

An Opportunity Missed?

There's no doubt in my mind that the Andromeda Strain is a clever idea, particularly when it's date of origin is considered. The book sets up this idea very well with David Morse's almost dispassionate narration setting bleak opening scenes and hinting at tension that surely had to follow. The description of the Strain's impact on one small American town is a genuinely powerful scene.

At this point though the author seems to almost switch modes. As he introduces the team being set up to investigate the strain he detours into detailed bios of each of the men's achievements listing scientific papers they have written and how their careers have developed. This unfortunately then set the tone for the rest of the book where I feel Crichton seemed anxious to demonstrate his research or knowledge to the detriment of his story. To be fair I now feel I have a better grip on the pros and cons of optical versus electron microscopes than before but that's not what I read fiction for and with Morse's rather dry delivery it was hard going in parts.

To be fair to Morse there were a number of aspects of the book that would have worked very well in print at the time but were not at all suited to the audio format. An example of this would be the lengthy rendition of the communications between the mission control teams where each short sentence was preceded by a timestamp like "Sixteen hours, forty-six minutes and twenty three seconds". I imagine this worked well in print, the reader could skim-read the timestamps, but in audio poor David had to churn them out in seemingly endless monotone. Other examples included computer communications with long serial numbers and control statements. Possibly this is on occasion where a version edited for audio would be better than the original. It's something I'd rarely suggest but here I think it would make sense.

That said, it is a clever story, albeit with what I felt was a less than satisfactory ending. It does require patience and the lengthy scientific tangents means that the story never develops at a genuinely entertaining pace.

Well that's my opinion. On the other hand this was of course the novel that established Crichton and the rest as they say is history. I do think that it's probably better consumed as a novel rather than an audiobook but I also wonder if Crichton was ever tempted to revisit the Andromeda Strain as I think the story could have developed so much further.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Cindy
  • 06-16-15

Monotonous voice, good story

I've read this story before and rally enjoyed it. But I'm afraid I did not get on with the narrators still, spoilt it for me. Far too monotonous.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Adrian
  • 07-09-15

Imaginative and clever

I have read this as a paperback and watched the movie numerous times and still love it. The audio book is tread well with great character.

Most sci-fi is just space cowboys and Indians with lumpy foreheads. Andromeda strain is the antidote: original and thoughtful. The first time I read it, I found parts a little far-fetched and the ending a bit of a cop-out. On each subsequent reading, I have taken in more subtleties and appreciated Crichton's writing even more. Simply put, this is the very finest sci fi I know.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • londonbikerider
  • 01-13-16

Not for me

A classic I guess but took long to get going for me. I switched to double speed and enjoyed the last third of the book where it picks up with the analysis of the virus. Thought the narration was done well

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Todd Magers
  • 05-22-16

Wonderful narration and story!!

At first I was a bit uncertain as to how David Morse's voice fit the work, but by the second chapter I was was completely enthralled! Excellent overall work and brilliant work on the dialogue for the character Mr. Jackson. And of course, a very engaging story....hard to believe this was copyrighted 1969!!! Could easily be today.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Rvt Derenzy-channer
  • 10-06-15

Dull as dishwater

What would have made The Andromeda Strain better?

A more eventful storyline would have made this better. I kept waiting for something to happen - it was very very descriptive about technical details and at times it felt like a technical handbook was being read out.

Has The Andromeda Strain put you off other books in this genre?

I haven't been put off the genre - but I am not sure I will listen to another Michael Crichton for a while.

What three words best describe David Morse’s voice?

Monotone

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

I was disappointed - the premise of the book enticed me to buy it - but with 2 hours and 5 minutes left to go - I just couldn't persevere any longer - I have abandoned it.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • 10-17-16

*Comic book guy voice* Worst. Ending. Ever.

By far the most anti-climactic book I've ever heard. Excellent story up to the last chapter, but a complete flop in the end. David morse reads the book excellently.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Ross
  • 11-24-15

Had potential but writing style doesn't suit

What disappointed you about The Andromeda Strain?

The writing style is designed to suit the story, very militant and document/report style of writing, regularly braking into quoted short hand. I can see this working on paper but as an audio book it becomes annoying, disjointed and hard to follow.

Would you ever listen to anything by Michael Crichton again?

Yes

What aspect of David Morse’s performance might you have changed?

Vocal tone - to nasal in sound (probably down to the mic used)

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Andromeda Strain?

All short hand sections - however this would leave large plot holes

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • G
  • 10-08-16

Fizzled out

This book starts off with a great idea and lots of interesting threads but for me the ending was a bit disappointing. I've found this is a common problem with apocalyptic sci-fi. There was enough material to make a book about twice as long and a more rounded story but unfortunately the author seemed in a rush to finish it and get it over with.
I thought the performance was ok but there are several sections in the book where a list or stilted dialogue has to be read and there's really nothing much a narrator can do to enliven these

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin K.
  • 12-08-17

Too many numbers!!!

This book is far to heavy with numbers and procedural codes. They don’t really add anything to the story, but they do make it harder to enjoy it.

The story itself felt like it petered out with a whimper. The climax just never came.

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  • Mel M
  • 11-15-16

ripper

what a ripper of a story, panic attack ensured with the spooky way of dying the defeating the bug.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • 07-30-17

Meh

And had plenty of potential and it was well written, and David Morse did a good job with the audio, but the story went nowhere. Pretty much nothing the main characters did had anything to do with the story. I may have missed the point and it may have all been about the odd man, but even then