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State Of Fear

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I just finished Michael Crichton's latest work, "State of Fear", and I enthusiastically recommend it. The novel, as many of you may know, contains Crichton's critique of the global warming theory. The story is fast paced and exciting, taking you "from the glaciers of Iceland to the volcanoes of Antarctica, from the Arizona desert to the deadly jungles of the Solomon Islands, from the streets of Paris to the beaches of Los Angeles." (taken from inside flap). The book was also highly researched as footnotes appear very frequently throughout the book. In fact, the Bibliography alone was 20 pages! The book very clearly demonstrates the fanaticism of environmentalists; as the plot revolves around terrorists from ELF and their various destructive actions around the world. A quote from the book especially struck me; appearing on page 527. The hero of the novel, Dr. Kenner states:

"You just don't get it, do you? (he is talking to a supporter of global warming and a "return to Earth" movement, Ted Bradley) You think civilization is some horrible, polluting human invention that separates us from the state of nature. But civilization doesn't separate us from nature, Ted. Civilization protects us from nature. Because what you see right now, (referring to a tribe of cannibals) all around you -this is nature."

"Oh no. No, no. Humans are kind, cooperative..."

"Horseshit, Ted."

"There are genes for altruism"

"Wishful thinking, Ted"

"All cruelty springs from weakness."

"Some people like cruelty, Ted."

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  • 1 month later...

I like some of the book's message, though I'm not the biggest fan of its narrative style. The characters of State of Fear and Jurassic Park are not as well-developed as, say, a Dagny Taggart or an Ellsworth M. Toohey. In State, Crichton puts his characters through a sequence of events, but I don't think he shows the reader exactly what it is that drives the characters.

For instance, we know that the megalomaniacal leader of the environmental fund wants to convince the public that an environmental apocalypse is looming so that his organization will receive more donations, and so he creates artificial disasters and plans to finger anthropogenic global warming as their cause. But I don't think Crichton truly "gets into the head" of the character. Why does Nick Drake love his social cause and hate human beings? What is his big hang-up? We know a few concretes about him; we know he's thin and he's a reserved person, but these concretes do not tell us much about his essence. He fills a cookie-cutter villain role. That's unfortunate, since Crichton actually had the opportunity to provide some insight into the psychology of anti-capitalist nihilists.

Likewise, the protagonists fill stock "good guy" roles, much like they do in Jurassic Park. I do admit that the actor in the story is a pretty good parody of shallow Hollywood figures, but I would have liked to learned more about the root of Kenner's heroism instead.

What I do find interesting, though, is that this book's theme is actually a reversal for Crichton. From the 1970s all the way until 2002, Crichton's books usually had the "it's all the businessman's fault" message.

Crichton's movie West World had the same plot as his novel Jurassic Park: a "greedy" and irresponsible corporation employs scientists that create a group of monsters to be used for an amusement park, only the monsters break free of the corporation's control and end up killing people. It's also the corporation's fault in Prey of 2002. The anti-technology, anti-business, "Frankenstein monster" cliche is prevalent in Crichton's career, and this attitude is astonishingly like that of the environmentalists.

State of Fear, on the other hand, portrays the Luddites as the bad guys and the industrialist as the good guy. It's as if the author's explicit philosophy has changed (though I haven't seen him admit as much in TV interviews about his latest work).

Edited by Legendre
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  • 2 weeks later...

Howdy All,

I really enjoyed this book. Sure, the characters are sort of shallow, and two dimensional, but I was not expecting literature. The story is fascinating, and the message amazing.

I must say though, Kenner sure seems an awful lot like Galt to me.

When I read Rand for the first time, I thought wow here is someone whos sees life the way I do. Reading this particular piece of Crichton, makes me think wow, here is someone who sees the environment exactly the same way I do.

If you want some more of his indictment of evironmentalism, and environmentalist, just google, and you will likely come across several different speeches he had made on the subject.

If you got a bit of time for some high quality mind candy, check it out.

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  • 1 month later...

"The ban of DDT killed more people than Hitler."

My favorite quote of the whole book. Had to spend 45 min listening to my Biology teacher drone on and on about how horrible DDT was. Turns out it wasn't even a carcinogen.

This book was the highlight of my Florida vacation.

I know it's a cliche but "Everyone should read this." is not at all inappropriate.

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