“Micro” by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston (Harper, 2011)


Found as an incomplete manuscript on the late Michael Crichton’s computer, Micro is an example of the old style of Crichton’s work, with a great extension of cutting edge science, pushing it into the field of science fiction.  In some of Crichton’s more recent novels there has been an overbearing philosophy and biased political angle; fortunately, there is little of this in Micro, though his “corrupt” characters are thin and painfully obvious.  Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone and The Demon in the Freezer, was brought in by the publisher to complete the manuscript, and he does a good job of making the whole novel feel seamless, working off of Crichton’s outlines, notes and research.

Micro opens with the scene of three unknown bodies found in a business office in Honolulu; cause of death is uncertain at first, and then attributed to a number of micro cuts and lacerations over the whole body, including, when it is investigated, inside the body on tissues and organs.  Cut to Nanigen Technologies, an up and coming company with a number of secret projects going on.  Seven graduate students are picked from MIT to become assistants for the company located in Hawaii, but stumble onto some details they shouldn’t know anything about.  Before they know it, they find themselves shrunk down to just inches in size and abandoned in a rain forest arboretum, left to die.  The question is whether they can first keep themselves alive at this size, with everything out to get them, and then get themselves back to normal size and stop the people behind all this.

Micro definitely has its high points, and while the characters can seem predictable and shallow, overall it’s an entertaining novel that doesn’t hold up to any of Crichton’s greats, like Jurassic Park and Congo, but is nevertheless a fun last book from this bestselling author.

Originally written on December 28, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

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