Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Michael Crichton, RIP

A loss to both the film and literary communities today, with the sudden passing of author Michael Crichton after a bout with cancer. Crichton's prior experiences in the medical field lent his sci-fi pageturners a verisimillitude that helped make his name a constant presence on best seller lists and movie screens over the course of four decades. My first exposure to his work was with the '70s film adaptation of his book The Andromeda Strain, as well as the sci-fi pic Westworld, about a theme park run amok (a theme he'd revisit a few years later).

It was only later that I came to know him as an author, reading and enjoying Jurassic Park the book before watching and being disappointed by Jurassic Park the movie. In the wake of Jurassic's blockbuster success, the '90s saw a whirlwind of Crichton adaptations hit the big screen, some good and some not-so-good, including the aggressively mediocre Congo, Sphere, and The 13th Warrior. In the realm of television, although a miniseries remake of Andromeda Strain aired earlier this year, perhaps Crichton's most lasting contribution to the form was his creation of seminal hospital drama ER, which is due to leave the air next year after fifteen seasons.

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