|Peter Jackson helps to unravel the mysteries of the Andromeda Strain|
One of the first films I ever saw on this subject was an adaptation of Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain. I saw it in the late 70s. I remember watching it alone on a continuous loop in a hotel room as an impressionable child. God knows how many times I watched it that night... It scared the life out of me!
|The author Michael Crichton was 6 feet 9 inches tall. He started his|
career writing under the pen name John Lange - thought to be a reference
to be his height.
A number of years later I discovered Michael Crichton and his books. It was only a matter of time before I tracked down the book that inspired the film. The Andromeda Strain was actually the first book that Michael Crichton released under his own name. It was published in 1969 whilst Crichton was still at Harvard medical school and became an instant bestseller, paving the way for what turned into a stellar career. Other books that I’d recommend you check out by Crichton are Jurrasic Park and the much underrated Eaters of the Dead which was filmed as The 13th Warrior starring Antonio Banderas (also worth checking out).
But what’s it all about?
|Holiday snaps from Arizona|
The Andromeda Strain starts with something strange happening in the sleepy little hamlet of Piedmont, Arizona. Scientists have been despatched to recover a “scoop” that has crash-landed back on Earth having spent some time orbiting in the outer atmosphere. Only there’s something wrong with the town. Everyone is dead! Oh no! What on earth can have happened? Could it have anything to do with the wayward scoop? You betcha!
We quickly learn of a top-secret emergency programme designed to cope with just such an event. Can world disaster be averted? Oooh... you’d better read this book to find out!
|Isn't this cool! The original soundtrack from the film was|
released on an hexagonal record.
Crichton is known for writing Techno-thrillers; It became a bit of a trademark for him. So it should be no surprise that The Andromeda Strain relies heavily on a heady mixture of science fact and science fiction. Given the age of the novel, you might be worried (as I was) that the science might be showing its age. Actually, it has aged pretty well. Yeah, the world’s moved on a lot since 1969, but this story captures the topic well and glimpses a future that isn’t too far removed from what has come to pass. There are some great ideas hidden away in here.
|All the clues are here... if only you can read them...|
The writing is fairly basic and simple in its style. I think Crichton honed his skill in this regard later in his career and did go on to produce better, but this isn't bad by any stretch. With The Andromeda Strain, it works, but really it’s the topic and story that keeps you turning the pages.
There’s a lot of nostalgia in this book for me, but I’m going to try and give you a level-headed verdict. On the Triple-B, there are only 6 days left until complete disaster, but it’s okay... I’ve got a nuclear bomb!