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In Paris, a physicist dies after performing a laboratory experiment for a beautiful visitor.

In the jungles of Malaysia, a mysterious buyer purchases deadly cavitation technology, built to his specifications.

In Vancouver, a small research submarine is leased for use in the waters off New Guinea.

And in Tokyo, an intelligence agent tries to understand what it all means.

Thus begins Michael Crichton's exciting and provocative technothriller, State of Fear. Only Michael Crichton's unique ability to blend science fact and pulse-pounding fiction could bring such disparate elements to a heart-stopping conclusion.

This is Michael Crichton's most wide-ranging thriller. State of Fear takes the reader 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. The novel races forward, taking the reader on a rollercoaster thrill ride, all the while keeping the brain in high gear. Gripping and thought-provoking, State of Fear is Michael Crichton at his very best.

Topics: Speculative Fiction, Suspenseful, Adventurous, Climate Change, The Environment, and Politics

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061752728
List price: $5.99
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Michael Crichton would really like to let you know that there’s no such thing as global warming. Also, the media keeps you in a constant state of fear about whatever crisis or catastrophe is coming next. You’re more easily controllable that way. To that end, he has carefully crafted a science fiction thriller with handy real-life corollaries and a multitude of footnotes. He even includes a forward that seems to assert the truth of this entire tale. A more malleable mind might take him at his word and believe the work to be non-fiction. In fact, US Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who chaired the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, made State of Fear “required reading” for members of said committee. Because fiction novels should absolutely inform public policy. Crichton’s novel almost works as a thriller; a group of people race around the world trying to stop members of the EarthEnvironmental Liberation Front from creating “natural” disasters to coincide with a big Abrupt Climate Change Conference. Unfortunately, the leader of the group, John Kenner, keeps engaging people in conversations in which he points out how silly and wrong-headed their media-informed opinions are about climate change, wildlife management, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and more. He’s really quite a dick about it. Also, it’s difficult for suspense to build when every plane ride to the next disaster consists of this guy pontificating. With footnotes! Did I mention the footnotes? There are tons of them. A cursory Google search of the book will produce several different scientific organizations who have gone pretty much point-by-point through Crichton’s arguments and poked holes in all of them, but as Kenner would say, that’s because the scientists are in the pockets of the environmentalists. Which is just about as ridiculous as his denigration of the people who dismiss contradictory studies because they were funded by industry. Who even knows what the science is really saying anymore? Which scientists should one believe? That actually seems to be the conclusion drawn by the book, that science should be blind to funding. Which, theoretically, is a great idea. It’s just too bad Crichton has to bash most of the scientists on the planet in order to make that (arguably unrealistic) point.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I always enjoy a Crichton novel but this one had me fuming. The topic of global warming is treated extensively and in a very didactic way by the main character, who doesn't come across to me as believable. I totally agree with the premise that our mainstream media and politicians voice a lot of concerns about topics like the environment without really understanding all the issues. However, this topic is always going to be open to interpretation, depending on what sources one reads. Dismissing the phenomenon of climate change as merely propaganda seems dangerous to me, even if one isn't totally convinced. Rather than take the word of a broadcast journalist, one needs to explore the data itself and formulate one's own opinion.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Michael Crichton wrote some of the greatest thrillers of all time. State of Fear isn't the best, but it does something just a touch more. Amidst the race to understand and prevent a disaster from taking place it forces the reader to think. State of Fear deals with eco-terrorism and attempts to give a different perspective on global warming than one normally hears. It could be filed away as just part of the fiction, but it also asks the reader, as Evans is asked, to look beyond what others have told you and look into it yourself. This novel was never meant to force an opinion or turn things on its head. It was meant to make you think, to have you question, research, decide something for yourself and then to act on what you believe. And in the end, that is really what every good book is meant to do. Reading is a pointless exercise if at the end of it something hasn't made you stop to wonder. to question, or to think.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Michael Crichton would really like to let you know that there’s no such thing as global warming. Also, the media keeps you in a constant state of fear about whatever crisis or catastrophe is coming next. You’re more easily controllable that way. To that end, he has carefully crafted a science fiction thriller with handy real-life corollaries and a multitude of footnotes. He even includes a forward that seems to assert the truth of this entire tale. A more malleable mind might take him at his word and believe the work to be non-fiction. In fact, US Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who chaired the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, made State of Fear “required reading” for members of said committee. Because fiction novels should absolutely inform public policy. Crichton’s novel almost works as a thriller; a group of people race around the world trying to stop members of the EarthEnvironmental Liberation Front from creating “natural” disasters to coincide with a big Abrupt Climate Change Conference. Unfortunately, the leader of the group, John Kenner, keeps engaging people in conversations in which he points out how silly and wrong-headed their media-informed opinions are about climate change, wildlife management, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and more. He’s really quite a dick about it. Also, it’s difficult for suspense to build when every plane ride to the next disaster consists of this guy pontificating. With footnotes! Did I mention the footnotes? There are tons of them. A cursory Google search of the book will produce several different scientific organizations who have gone pretty much point-by-point through Crichton’s arguments and poked holes in all of them, but as Kenner would say, that’s because the scientists are in the pockets of the environmentalists. Which is just about as ridiculous as his denigration of the people who dismiss contradictory studies because they were funded by industry. Who even knows what the science is really saying anymore? Which scientists should one believe? That actually seems to be the conclusion drawn by the book, that science should be blind to funding. Which, theoretically, is a great idea. It’s just too bad Crichton has to bash most of the scientists on the planet in order to make that (arguably unrealistic) point.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I always enjoy a Crichton novel but this one had me fuming. The topic of global warming is treated extensively and in a very didactic way by the main character, who doesn't come across to me as believable. I totally agree with the premise that our mainstream media and politicians voice a lot of concerns about topics like the environment without really understanding all the issues. However, this topic is always going to be open to interpretation, depending on what sources one reads. Dismissing the phenomenon of climate change as merely propaganda seems dangerous to me, even if one isn't totally convinced. Rather than take the word of a broadcast journalist, one needs to explore the data itself and formulate one's own opinion.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Michael Crichton wrote some of the greatest thrillers of all time. State of Fear isn't the best, but it does something just a touch more. Amidst the race to understand and prevent a disaster from taking place it forces the reader to think. State of Fear deals with eco-terrorism and attempts to give a different perspective on global warming than one normally hears. It could be filed away as just part of the fiction, but it also asks the reader, as Evans is asked, to look beyond what others have told you and look into it yourself. This novel was never meant to force an opinion or turn things on its head. It was meant to make you think, to have you question, research, decide something for yourself and then to act on what you believe. And in the end, that is really what every good book is meant to do. Reading is a pointless exercise if at the end of it something hasn't made you stop to wonder. to question, or to think.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Encouraging for me as a first semester grad student to check references, assess differing views, and be very analytical. Dont skip the appendix!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Not my favorite of Crichton's... Action-packed in some parts, draggy in other parts. Young lawyer Peter Evans is swept up in a dangerous adventure when his client, the wealthy George Morton, begins to suspect that the environmental organization he funds may be committing illegal acts. This book has come under some criticism for its supposed anti-environmentalist perspective... that didn't bother me, but I felt the book was just too long and not tight enough. I felt it did make some interesting and important points about control of information and the politicization of environmental issues, but as a thriller it fell short. If it had been half the length, it would have been great.
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I really like Michael Crichton books, though you do get to know how the plot will work out.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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