Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Michael Crichton, RIP

Michael Crichton died today. We lose a great author as well as a champion of common sense against scaremongerers.

Anyone who didn't enjoy Jurassic Park (the novel more than the movie) is missing something. The concept of cloning to bring back extinct species gets more real every day. In fact we are now thinking it is possible to clone an iced-in mammoth. So in that respect, Crichton was ahead of his time.

But there is a one page passage in the book that sticks in my mind. In it Malcolm (chaos theorist) explains to Hammond (park founder) that life will always survive no matter what man does to annihilate it, even if it is only bacteria deep in the Siberian ice after a nuclear wipe out. Evolution will begin all over again once it can. This is important in the context of global warming "science" in that life and the planet will survive in one form or another in spite of, or because of, what Homo sapiens does or does not do.

In this respect, Crichton has fallen foul of environmentalists who, as is too often the case, see everything from an anthropogenic point of view. He may have entertained with his writings and the movies that stem from them, but Crichton has done much more than that to those who can read between the lines!

[a geological aside: The title "Jurassic Park" has spawned a lot of inconsistencies from a geological perspective. For example, the Jurassic Coast is actually the Mesozoic Coast, while all the dinosaurs in the book were actually from the Cretaceous period!]