Feature

Remembering Michael Crichton

Critics reflect on the life of an author who wore many hats

Michael Crichton wore many hats, said Adrian Wootton in the Guardian. Crichton, who died Wednesday at 66, “was a scientist, doctor, screenwriter, the co-creator of” the “blockbusting” TV show ER, and “a sometime film director (Coma and Westworld).” But it was “his extraordinary popularity as a science fiction thriller writer that will ensure Crichton's name lives on in the public imagination.”

Crichton “eavesdropped on our nightmares,” said Julia Keller in the Chicago Tribune. How else could he “have figured out just what would haunt, awe, terrify, agitate, provoke, intrigue and royally tick us off?” From “dinosaurs to airline safety, from viruses that hail from outer space to sexual harassment”—he “had our number.”

He also had his fair share of detractors, said William Grimes in the International Herald Tribune. “Reviewers often complained that Crichton's characters were wooden, that his ear for dialogue was tin and that his science was suspect.” And “environmentalists raged against his skeptical views on climate change.” But “even his severest critics” admitted to “having been seduced by his plots and unable to resist turning the pages, rapidly.”

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