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Michael Crichton's State of Alabama (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Okay, it's State of Fear, but if I had to choose the scariest state it would be Alabama.

I'm sure most have heard of this controversial new book. In it, Michael Crichton makes the bold move of actually opposing global warming! Shocking! Even more shocking that he does it very well. Unfortunately, the story itself suffers because of it. There are many subplots or hints of subplots he writes, only to never mention again. Very infuriating.

The characters are very shallow, somewhat unbelievable, and just don't make me feel happy like the characters from Jurassic Park, Prey, Sphere, or his other books do. The only change any of his characters go through have to do with their views on global warming. No realizations that you have to matue sometime (Evans), no deciding they aren't superhuman (Kenner), and no other forms of character development. Even the silly little romantic interest is poorly put together. It seemed as if it was just thrown in there because a good story has to have it (and it doesn't). What's worse is the end doesn't even resolve the unexplained conflict between Evans' two love interests.

In fact, Crichton's characters fall into one of two categories: fallible and infallible. His infallible characters always have long winded speeches on hand to debate with any person who disagrees, complete with references. They fly the crew off to all sorts of locations to counter eco-terrorist plans, and there's little explanation about why a government agent needs to utilize civilians (shouldn't the NSIA have its own agents and equipment to counter threats?).

The fallible characters are the bad guys and the main character, except when the plot needs it. Then Evans saves the day. Otherwise he's an ignorant, shallow boy of a man.

So the characters are two-dimensional and the plot ran a bit thin. Why did I keep reading?

For one, it's Michael Crichton. It was written well like his other books, although his sentences were simpler in structure than normal. It threw me off more than a couple times when he'd have three simple sentences in a row. Otherwise it was good.

Two, the book did have one major redeeming factor: it was VERY thoroughly researched. Crichton has a reputation for making sure his technology is well researched and thought out (which equates to not only believable, but also realistic), and this book tops any of his others in this respect.

I began reading with the contention that global warming was indeed happening and was indeed a threat. I finished the book and found I had reached Crichton's conclusion long before he had stated it: we don't know enough to make that judgement. Combined with his detailing of the history of theory and some other "scientific" premises we've grown to accept (like that DDT causes cancer and is harmful to people and animals—it doesn't, and it's not to non-aquatic life), he makes a VERY good case (and yes, he does have references for it all).

From a literary standpoint, I give this :1star:

From a debate standpoint, :5stars:




Senior Member
It's always dangerous to only read one side of an argument. There are a lot of book and films that, considered on their own, seem extremely convincing, but as soon as one reads a rebuttal the argument doesn't seem anywhere near as strong. This is just a general comment - I haven't read the book, and I know very little about the science of global warming in general. However, with any high profile book such as this that makes a controversial argument, you will immediately find internet sites springing up with attempts to disprove it.

My gut reaction is that I'm not going to take the word of some writer who's done a lot of background research over the expert opinions of dozens of scientists - but I realise that gut reactions are not infallible. I'm just saying that when one is presented with one side of an argument, it should never be taken at face value.