Mere days ago, Michael Crichton passed away at age 65. Upon many occasions, I’ve expressed a severe disagreement in regards to often offered commentaries on Crichton’s literary contributions, and I would like to use this opportunity to clarify these, as well as remember an entertainer and writer.
It is undeniable that Crichton’s contributions to literature have dazzled and entertained us all. From Andromeda Strain, The Terminal Man, Congo, Sphere, Jurassic Park to ER, Crichton has managed to infuse his works with facets of science that amuse, frighten and most importantly, conjure up some of the best of 20th century entertainment.
While some of his works can be classified as science fiction, I would never categorize Crichton’s works as such, because his real strength was in creating Hollywood dazzle in print, weaving techno-thriller stories that touch upon science.
While this cannot be considered works in science fiction genre, Crichton was undoubtedly a master who excelled in bringing much of it to small and big screens. Director of Westworld, screenwriter of Jurassic Park and creator and screenwriter for ER, Crichton has undoubtedly left a mark.
There have been many critiques that I have offered in the past regarding Crichton’s creations, and I firmly stand by them. Crichton has in many ways represented everything I resent from the world of entertainment, and yet his reach was so wide that it is difficult to dismiss his contributions, or easily summarize them.
Handsome, wealthy, Harvard educated, specializing in thrillers that are meant to frighten audiences with voices of new technologies, or discoveries that are barely reaching out of labs, Crichton’s novels appealed to our lizard brains, often appreciative of simplistic storytelling. Yet, I cannot in my own conscience define all Crichton’s works as such, because he delved into cinema, and techno thrillers, and fantasy, and sometimes even simplistic science fiction.
He represented all we expect to visualize from Hollywood, and ultimately, all we despise in Hollywood at the very same time. There goes an artist I didn’t love.