State Of Fear, by Michael Crichton (Hardcover, 2004). Also available in paperback.|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)
Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
This thriller is both entertaining and informative. It's well-researched and heavily footnoted, but it's also well-written and fast-paced. In State of Fear, we enter a fictional conspiracy that takes our heroes and heroines from one exotic location to another in a race to beat the bad guys. The characters defy death in such places as Paris, Los Angeles, Iceland, Antarctica, the Arizona desert, and the Solomon Islands. Some don't quite make it....
The characters are intriguing and the action is often intense. Twists, turns, and surprises keep the story moving at a fast and gripping pace. You keep wondering what will happen next. This was Chrichton's last book, and he was at the peak of his craft when he wrote it. It's his best novel ever.
At just under 600 pages (hardback version), State of Fear may initially be intimidating to some people. But once you start reading it, you don't really notice the length. You'll finish it, the same way you finish any good book. As a thriller, it's outstanding. So, read it if you like that kind of book. Especially if you like a page-turner.
Unlike many books on the American book market today, this one is in Standard Written English. I think this is important, because books written in substandard English show the author doesn't respect the reader enough to communicate clearly. And such books are a pain to read. They are now the norm, which is disgraceful.
In this book, we don't have that issue. Chrichton spares the reader the kind of torture inflicted on readers by such English-challenged authors as John Grisham. Chrichton doesn't force us to do mental gymnastics or jump over language potholes. Just read and enjoy!
This book has a story within the story, and it's told by facts just speaking for themselves. Some characters in the book agree with these facts, some don't. But the facts are verifiable and mostly from first-order sources. The bibliography stretches for 19 pages. Two additional pages list the sources used for graphs. The facts aren't just inserted via talking heads, as is done by lesser authors. They are part of the story and help move it along.
This book came to market during a time of hysteria in 2004, and as I am writing this review (in 2009), that hysteria has not yet abated. There's too much money being made by duping the gullible and intellectually lazy. If you can get government backing in perpetrating fraud, so much the better.
You can control people when you keep them scared. That is what permitted the senseless Cold War, which lasted half a century. That debacle cost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives. President Eisenhower, in his farewell address, equated specific military expenses to things like building 30,000 homes (or whatever number). The waste and fraud were permitted because people were controlled by fear into letting it happen.
Similarly, we are today immersed in a large scale fraud based on fear. It's killing and impoverishing millions of people. I'm not talking here about the Iraq War, but about the "global warming" fraud perpetrated by people like Al "I like to massively generate carbon" Gore. The "lead me to slaughter" folks who accept Gore's ocean level predictions conveniently ignore the fact that there's not enough water on the planet for that to happen. Not even close. Do the math.
- Al Gore wrote a wildly fictional work and called it non-fiction. He
duped a huge number of people, spewing nonsense and blatant
falsehoods while claiming they were true. Doing this made him a
millionaire several times over.
- Michael Crichton wrote a factual work cloaked
in fiction. He was already a highly successful author of both
fiction and non-fiction works. Unlike Gore, he did not feel a need
to engage in predatory behavior to support his lifestyle.
Unfortunately, Gore's fraud is drawing attention way from real problems that we can actually do something about. Some of those are environmental (e.g., reduce waste), but there are other issues his terror-mongering has managed to deep six in the public mind. Chricton never mentions Gore, and this book isn't an attack on that particular charlatan.
The storyline is based on the fear-mongering, manipulation, lying, and other tactics predatory people use to obtain and maintain power. The book uses the "global warming" fraud, for which Gore made himself a poster child, as the medium of the story (thus, my mention of Gore). State of Fear kicks it up a notch by having villains engineer some "natural" disasters while our heroes and heroines try to stop them.
I may get flamed by the passionately disinformed for suggesting the cult of "global warming" conflicts with reality, but it does. Blind devotion to false dogma does not make the dogma correct. The facts are what they are. Here's a fact I'll leave you with: this is one heck of a good book.