I'm a big fan of Michael Crichton, so I was thrilled to receive his current book, Next, as a Christmas gift.
The book was pretty classic for a Crichton novel. Lots of technology, speculation on how that technology may be used (or abused) in the future, lots of characters, a few chase scenes, industry espionage, political soapboxing, legal and moral issues, the role of the venture capitalists, a hint of sex, and a story line that tries to tie it all together.
For this book, though, I didn't think that the "novel" parts of the book were particularly interesting. I liked that there were multiple story lines happening all over the world and they (mostly) all came together at the end, but the "coming together" parts seemed pretty forced to me.
The technology side of the book is quite good, as usual. Crichton provides some great discussion on the Biotech industry, gene therapy, transgenic species, gene patenting, the use and ownership of human tissues in research and development, legal issues galore, and the commercialization of the University research programs. All great stuff. Crichton is no dummy.
Bottom line: This is way better than Airframe, but not as good as Jurassic Park. In about the same league as Disclosure. Worth a read if you are interested in the technology, but don't buy it for the story.
Tags: Michael Crichton, Next, Biotech, Genetics, Books, Reviews, Brian Berliner, brianberliner