Friday, January 20, 2012

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (CBR-IV #2)

Cannonball Read IV: Book #2/52
Published: 1969
Pages: 327 (775 total pages this year)
Genre: Fiction/Thriller

I guess I'm on a Michael Crichton kick (I just started Congo). I've had this book for a while, but never picked it up. I love biological terror books (The Hot Zone, The Stand), but somehow never got around to reading The Andromeda Strain. I assumed it would be more like The Stand, with it being fictional and all, however, it was more scientifically driven like the non-fiction The Hot Zone.

Basically, the government has been sending satellites to outer space to bring back foreign organisms. They have a very elaborate plan in motion just in case a satellite brings back a biological disease that effects humans. It involves a small scientific team being summoned to a remote, high tech lab in the middle of a Nevada desert to figure out what they're dealing with. The plan (dubbed "Wildfire") goes into effect once a disease-carrying satellite crashes down into small Piedmont, Arizona, killing the entire 68-person population.

This is definitely not a character driven novel. It was almost purely scientifically driven with a few intense human scenes. It moved pretty quickly despite the sometimes dry scientific explanations, but I think it worked because it was on the shorter side. If this had been a brick like The Stand, there's no way anyone would get through the entire thing.

I hated the ending. HATED it. I can't even fathom why Crichton decided to end the book like that. I won't spoil it, but it was definitely a letdown and seemed to come out of nowhere. 

Overall, I'm glad I finally read it but I probably won't be keeping it in my book collection to read again. 

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