“They didn’t understand what they were doing.”
Classic Michael Crichton, right?
If you’ve read a lot of his books, you know that Michael Crichton is known for fast-paced environments, high stress, and phenomenal scientific possibilities—or probabilities.
Prey is about nanotechnology—I mean, of course, what could go very, very wrong with nanotechnology. Similar to what goes very wrong with the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, except for this novel takes place focused at the molecular level.
Why—how—could nanoparticles be terrifying? Let me tell you: they can and are.
Our narrator, Jack (yep, totally strange to have a Crichton book written in first person, but it works!) is, at the time, a stay-at-home dad who was semi-recently fired from this crazy tech job—and, well, it all spirals from there. Don’t want to give out any spoilers!
Crichton begins this novel with a couple epigraphs, the second being, “There are many people, including myself, who are quite queasy about the consequences of this technology for the future,” by K. Eric Drexler.
What a great way to set the stage.
In some of his later books, as this one does, Crichton also adds an introduction, kind of a way to tie in emerging technology with consequences in the future. So as the curtain rises, just as the story begins, we’re left with these phrases echoing in our minds,
We may hope that by the time they emerge, we will have settled upon international controls for self-reproducing technologies…..We’ve learned to put hackers in jail. Errant biotechnologists will soon join them….But of course, it is always possible that we will not establish controls. Or that someone will manage to create artificial, self-reproducing organisms far sooner than anyone expected. If so, it is difficult to anticipate what the consequences might be.
And so, we get to experience the consequences of reproducing nanoparticles.
One of my favorite things about Crichton is how seamlessly and believably he interweaves modern technology and biology to project a terrifying future.
I simply love it.
Make sure you check out his references in the back of the book.
Warnings: Language and some very small non-graphic adult features in a thematically high-stress environment.
Genre: Science Fiction
Next up on the Crichton line: Micro. I’ve heard fantastic things about it, and I can’t wait to read it.
However, my next book review will be about The End of the Spear, which I am reading now.
Author bio: Bethany Swoboda is a freelance editor for Wordbender Books. She has always loved reading, reading, reading, and enjoys helping authors polish and develop their manuscripts. Some of her many hobbies are horseback riding, bouldering, helping work her family’s farm, playing piano, crocheting, and volunteering at her church. She has a BA in creative writing and a minor in professional writing from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.