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Paperback State of Fear [Large Print] Book

ISBN: 006055438X

ISBN13: 9780060554385

State of Fear [Large Print]

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Book Overview

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...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

This book may be a watershed

Most of the reviews so far have separated the book into two parts: an action-romance-adventure thriller, and an exposition on a political subject. I will keep with the pattern. The fiction part of the book is a little improbable, to say the least. Crighton has some pretty unlikely characters - a civil litigator, an executive assistant, an actor - chasing around the globe in roles better suited for highly trained commandos. Yet Crighton may be excused for this because clearly the novel was written with an eye on the movie to follow. And rather than allow a screenwriter to heavily edit the story, Crighton provides up front the necessary elements for a Hollywood box-office hit. And so all the women are beautiful, and the prospect for sex is ever-present, the action scenes are exciting, the special effects guys are given clear guidelines to do their wizardry; and the chapters are short, each representing a nice bite-sized scene. Like Jurassic Park, it should be a thriller. Unlike Jurassic Park, the underlying premise - the political story - is not so improbable. Indeed, it is Crighton's purpose to expose the popular and currently prevailing view on global warming as the improbable scenario. By citing a wealth of scientific data, available to any and all from peer-reviewed prestigious sources, Crighton shows us just some of the many flaws in the global warming theory, especially as it is popularly understood. Crighton attributes this to a global conspiracy. I would disagree on this, his ultimate thesis. The more likely and mundane reason the science has strayed so far from what the facts truly are can be found in the nature of science research funding. That is, no researcher ever gets a grant proposal funded by saying, "we hypothesize there is no significant problem (and are ready to study the non-problem over the next 2 years for a cost of several million dollars)." Nevertheless, I would predict this book could do to the global warming activists' movement what Reagan did to the Soviet Empire: make its continued existence untenable. Whether they are for or against Crighton's political views, the book is a must-read for those who want to participate as the debate goes forward.

Fear of Politically Correct Science

Michael Crichton's latest novel depicts a cadre of environmentalists preparing a legal case to sue the US on behalf of a Pacific island which will be swamped when "global warming" causes the sea levels to rise. They've put together a think tank of lawyers and climatologists to prepare the case for court. But the more they study the data, and present the data to simulated juries, the more they realize their case is very, very weak. Their only hope to continue to obtain funding is to cause spectacular global climate disasters during well-publicized environmental conferences and hope people demand "something be done about it." The hero of the book discovers their plots and tries to prevent or thwart them to save innocent life. Although global warming is the main example, the real topic is the "state of fear" we are in due to the media's easy acceptance of pseudo-science. Think of recent examples: Alar on apples, brain cancer from cell phones or power lines, silicon breast implants, coffee, eggs, and of course, global cooling and warming. This is not to say these problems are not worth investigating, rather Crichton's point is these things become scary by media infusion before the evidence has been fully assimilated. And the universities and laboratories doing the research have financial and political biases to arrive at predetermined conclusions. He makes a strong case for double-blind testing, as is done for pharmaceutical research, to be the only way to remove prejudice from testing. I don't believe this book will ever be made into a movie. It attacks and ridicules Hollywood (stars and others) as "limosine liberals" who fly around the world in gas-guzzling jets and justify their luxurious mansions while pining for a return to nature a la natives in thatched huts. I thought the action story was good, the data was presented effectively and the bibliography of references was impressive. I have the feeling Michael Crichton felt he had to overstate his case to combat the onslaught of media bias that presents these crises in only one way ... doom and gloom, putting us all in a "state of fear".

State of Fear - A Thriller That Stimulates Critical Thinking

Michael Crichton did it again, only this time it was in the field of environmental protection. Crichton brought forward yet another set of very intriguing facts that make the readers ponder after putting down this book. The most obvious thing about the book is that Crichton has done a huge amount of research for the facts supporting the book. One of the reasons that I like about Crichton is his dedication to his research. I think he deserves a lot of credit for the work he's done for this book. The story is very interesting and can grab readers' attention immediately. However, comparing to his previous stories, this story somehow lacks climax. How the story ended was a bit disappointing. The entire book was building up a climax that leads to a disaster, but in the end it was played off quite casually, as if it wasn't a big deal. I especially noticed that Crichton hastily finished book without a visible conclusion, leaving out several points unexplained. Maybe it was his intention. However, I think what you should get out of this book is not how well the story is written, but the important facts brought forth by Crichton. I will not spoil it for you here, so go read it!! Purple_Garden

A Scientist's View of "State of Fear"

Crichton has written a surprisingly serious and well researched indictment of the favorite sacred cow of the environmental movement -- global warming -- embedded within a typically action charged Crichton novel. The author uses Socratic dialogue and other devices to educate the reader as to what the data are showing in this complex, politically charged issue. The principal characters come well armed with graphs and data selected to back up their points, often lecturing the less informed, though environmentally concerned, characters (and the reader) on the true state of the art of the science. At the same time, the author indicts the environmental NGOs, the media, the research funding agencies, and political leaders for promoting their agenda with slanted, inaccurate portrayals of what the science is saying. He paints a jaundiced view of the motivations and methods of radical environmentalist organizations and their supporters. At a higher level, the book's title derives from a semiconspiratorial view, espoused by an eccentric, not quite credible character, that the climate warming issue is actually part of a complex social dynamic aimed a creating and maintaining a continual sense of anxiety and fear among the population at large. These literary devices call to mind Ayn Rand's influential novels, in which for example Howard Rourke is used to lecture us on the virtues of individualism and integrity. As a scientist familiar with the climate warming issue, having managed research in the area, I believe Crichton's book makes an important statement to the many who believe that the issue is settled, that human-induced warming is real and that catastrophe will follow. He is absolutely correct in casting significant doubt on the definitiveness of the science and in indicting the politicization of the science surrounding it. He rightfully warns us to be skeptical about what we are told from the variety of mainstream sources we are exposed to. I suspect that it will be difficult for anyone whose mind is not closed on the global warming issue to read this book without gaining a different perspective. However, it would also be wrong for the reader to conclude that the opposite is true -- that the issue is a complete fabrication. The fact is that we understand little about the nature and extent of any effects of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and that much more research is needed, including work on new technology to provide humanity with the ability to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. This research needs to be conducted on a level playing field, in which funders and researchers seek only the best answers we can get.
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