Synopses & Reviews
What if our civilization is more advanced than we know?
The New York Times bestselling author of Daemonthe cyberthriller against which all others will be measured” Publishers Weekly) imagines a world in which decades of technological advances have been suppressed in an effort to prevent disruptive change.
Are smart phones really humanitys most significant innovation since the moon landings? Or can something else explain why the bold visions of the 20th centuryfusion power, genetic enhancements, artificial intelligence, cures for common disease, extended human life, and a host of other world-changing advanceshave remained beyond our grasp? Why has the high-tech future that seemed imminent in the 1960s failed to arrive?
Perhaps it did arrive
but only for a select few.
Particle physicist Jon Grady is ecstatic when his team achieves what theyve been working toward for years: a device that can reflect gravity. Their research will revolutionize the field of physicsthe crowning achievement of a career. Grady expects widespread acclaim for his entire team. The Nobel. Instead, his lab is locked down by a shadowy organization whose mission is to prevent at all costs the social upheaval sudden technological advances bring. This Bureau of Technology Control uses the advanced technologies they have harvested over the decades to fulfill their mission.
They are living in our future.
Presented with the opportunity to join the BTC and improve his own technology in secret, Grady balks, and is instead thrown into a nightmarish high-tech prison built to hold rebellious geniuses like himself. With so many great intellects confined together, can Grady and his fellow prisoners conceive of a way to usher humanity out of its artificial dark age?
And when they do, is it possible to defeat an enemy that wields a technological advantage half a century in the making?
"It's tempting to stop and look up each of the genetic, legal and ethical aberrations described here in order to see how wild a strain of science fiction is afoot. Save a step. Just believe this: Oddity after oddity in Next checks out." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"If you didn't care for Crichton's last two techno-novels...it's time to kiss and make up. He's in top form." USA Today
"Next is a novel about the implications of genetic research...a subject that requires all of Crichton's ingenuity to be stuffed into 400 or so pages along with all the sex, violence and skulduggery that the genre demands." Los Angeles Times
"[T]he most unintentionally rib-tickling book Crichton has ever written....All we're left with are a few intriguing factoids and unintended comedy. Sometimes these coalesce in a gift bag of priceless bad writing. (Grade: C-)" Entertainment Weekly
"The world according to Crichton is filled with enough scheming scientists to drive a dozen horror movies....But Crichton manages to bring these diverse elements together by novel's end." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"In his latest work of fiction, Mr. Crichton has embraced the subject of genetic technology, and the results are as entertaining as anything he has written since Jurassic Park." Dallas Morning News
"The book is in effect a collection of short horror stories from the biotechnology industry....Mr. Crichton cleverly subverts some stereotypes." Wall Street Journal
Is a loved one missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why a chimp fetus resembles a human being? And should that worry us? There's a new genetic cure for drug addiction is it worse than the disease?
We live in a time of momentous scientific leaps, a time when it's possible to sell our eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars and to test our spouses for genetic maladies.
We live in a time when one fifth of all our genes are owned by someone else, and an unsuspecting person and his family can be pursued cross-country because they happen to have certain valuable genes within their chromosomes...
Devilishly clever, Next blends fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems and a set of new possibilities can open at every turn.
Next challenges our sense of reality and notions of morality. Balancing the comic and the bizarre with the genuinely frightening and disturbing, Next shatters our assumptions and reveals shocking new choices where we least expect.
The future is closer than you think.
In a near-future world where biotechnology and genetic research has become big business, the discovery of several transgenic animals leads to a legal and ethical battle over the rights to genes that can be used for commercial purposes.
The best-selling author of Jurassic Park journeys inside the world of bioengineering and genetics, in a chilling, provocative novel of near-future science run amok, in which a family finds itself in dire straits because of the genes in their bodies. 2,000,000 first printing.
In his brilliant new blockbuster, the New York Times bestselling author of Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain journeys into the realm of genetics: fast, furious and out of control. Provocative yet playful, dark and disturbing, Next is Crichton as he has never been seen before.
Welcome to our genetic world. Fast, furious, and out of control. This is not the world of the future. It's the world right now.
The New York Times bestselling author of Daemon and heir to Michael Crichton” (Publishers Weekly) imagines a world in which decades of technological advancements have been suppressedand are about to be unleashed in a massive upheaval that could destroy the planet.
Is Facebook really humankinds most significant technological advance since the moon landing? Or can something more sinister explain the lack of major breakthroughs over the last forty years?
Particle physicist John Grady is ecstatic when his team finally achieves what its been working toward for years: technology that makes antigravity possible. It is Nobel Prizecaliber work, the crowning achievement of a career. He expects celebration. Instead, his lab is locked down by a secret government group. According to the Bureau of Technology Control, his discovery imperils the very existence of the human race.
Naturally, Grady asks why. Consequences, comes the answer: The world isnt ready for disruptive technologies and the unchecked population growth that would result. When he balks, the BTC throws Grady into a highly advanced prison built to hold the worlds most intelligent scientists. With so many geniuses shackled together, can they discover a way out of their island detentionand a way to usher our world out of its artificial dark agewithout endangering the planet for generations to come?
About the Author
Michael Crichton has sold over 200 million books, which have been translated into thirty-six languages; thirteen of his books have been made into films. His novels include Next
, State of Fear
, Jurassic Park
, and The Andromeda Strain
. Also known as a filmmaker and the creator of ER
, he remains the only writer to have had the number-one book, movie, and TV show simultaneously. At the time of Crichton's death in 2008, he was well into the writing of Micro
; Richard Preston was selected to complete the novel.
Richard Preston is an internationally acclaimed best-selling author of eight books, including The Hot Zone and The Wild Trees. Many of Preston's books have first appeared in The New Yorker. He has won numerous awards, including the American Institute of Physics Award and the National Magazine Award, and he is the only person not a medical doctor to receive the Centers for Disease Control's Champion of Prevention Award for public health. He lives with his wife and three children near Princeton, New Jersey.
Have you been tracking the science of genetics for the last 15 years, watching it, seeing what's going on, and building a portfolio?
Actually, you know it's odd, I was very interested in it at the time of Jurassic Park, which now to my astonishment, was 15 years ago. But then I lost track of it a bit, so to return is to have this odd sense of coming into a world where so many things that were fictional 15 years ago are now taking place.
Next challenges the reader's sense of what is happening, what is true and what is invented. How much of what's in the book has already taken place?
It's odd but nearly everything in the book has already happened, or is about to happen. The book does look to the future a bit, particularly with regard to some transgenic animals that become important characters. But for the most part Next is not really speculative fiction at all.
In the past you've said that you usually do research to answer a question of your own that interests you. What was the origin of Next?
This novel began when I attended a genetics conference at the Salk Institute in La Jolla. I learned just how fast the field was progressing, and how inappropriate certain legal positions were. The field obviously needed some broader attention from the public.
In terms of the novel, the question I asked was: what's the current view of how the genome operates how you get from genotype to phenotype? Because such ideas have changed hugely in the last decades. Of course, this question is ultimately the old nature/nurture issue, and so it is politically charged. How much of our behavior is ruled by genes, and how much by upbringing and experience? I ultimately concluded I couldn't really address this question in the book, because it is so complex. But I arrived at answers for myself that surprised and satisfied me.
My answer is that genes are an integral part of our adaptive apparatus as organisms in an environment. So we find both heightened importance for nature and also for nurture. But the whole interaction is far more complicated than people thought fifty years ago. And it continues to change.
How do you stay informed about current and cutting-edge science? How much do you read? Are you actively involved in the scientific community?
There is no secret. I just read a lot. I don't talk to a lot of scientists. It's faster to read than talk.
In 2005, you appeared before the United States Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works to discuss the politicization of scientific research. What was your message? Why is this such a big problem and what is the solution?
Essentially I argued that what we need is a government policy that assures independently verified information in any area that is important to policy. This is the essence of the scientific method. There are well-established statistical procedures to make sure that the information you get is unbiased. It's simple enough to do, although expensive. But bad information is expensive, and bad policies are very expensive.
I argue that we live in a technological society where science matters, and it is up to the government to make sure that what we're told is accurate.
For this rather ordinary argument I was thoroughly attacked. There are many people out there who don't want their data to be checked.
What's so striking about all your books, and now Next in particular, is your ability to make complicated science comprehensible to a mass audience while also showcasing your tremendous expertise. How do you pull that off time after time?
Again, there's no secret. Making the story clear is accomplished by rewriting and rewriting until the technical passages are understandable. In any book, there are usually a few pages that I end up rewriting about twenty times.