From Michael Crichton, the #1 bestselling author of Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain , comes an astounding, eye-opening look at the world of genetics: Next. Is a loved one missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why a chimp fetus resembles a human being? And should that worry us? There's a new genetic cure for drug addiction-is it worse than the disease? Devilishly clever, Next blends fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems, and genetic ownership shatters our assumptions.
Bestseller Crichton (Jurassic Park) once again focuses on genetic engineering in his cerebral new thriller, though the science involved is a lot less far-fetched than creating dinosaurs from DNA. In an ambitious effort to show what's wrong with the U.S.'s current handling of gene patents and with the laws governing human tissues, the author interweaves many plot strands, one involving a California researcher, Henry Kendall, who has mixed human and chimp DNA while working at NIH. Kendall produces an intelligent hybrid whom he rescues from the government and tries to pass off as a fully human child. Some readers may be disappointed by the relative lack of action, the lame attempts to lighten the mood with humor (especially centering on an unusually bright parrot named Gerard), and the contrived convergence of the main characters toward the end. Still, few can match Crichton in crafting page-turners with intellectual substance, and his opinions this time are less likely to create a firestorm than his controversial take on global warming in 2004's State of Fear. Copyright 1997-2005 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-3 of the 3 most recent reviews
1 . Good read
Posted May 12, 2010 by Mark , Toronto, ONThough I'm not very well versed in genetics at all, the plot and the concepts of genetics were very understandable for the lay person. I found each of the sub-plots quite interesting and the climax quite good. A good read if you're into thrillers. Could hardly put it down it was so interesting.
2 . Worth reading
Posted April 19, 2010 by Brandy , HuntsvilleFrom reading the overview of the book, I expected it to be about something else entirely, but it was still a great book and worth reading...it gets you really thinking about things.
3 . Pretty fast read.
Posted March 14, 2010 by Hudd , CaliI liked it. The characters were engaging and the way they all tied in together was pretty clever. It was a quick read and I enjoyed it.
November 30, 2006
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Excerpt from Next by Michael Crichton
Division 48 of Los Angeles Superior Court was a wood-paneled room dominated by the great seal of the state of California. The room was small and had a tawdry feeling. The reddish carpet was frayed and streaked with dirt. The wood veneer on the witness stand was chipped, and one of the fluorescent lights was out, leaving the jury box darker than the rest of the room. The jurors themselves were dressed casually, in jeans and short-sleeve shirts. The judge's chair squeaked whenever the Honorable Davis Pike turned away to glance at his laptop, which he did often throughout the day. Alex Burnet suspected he was checking his e-mail or his stocks.
All in all, this courtroom seemed an odd place to litigate complex issues of biotechnology, but that was what they had been doing for the past two weeks in Frank M. Burnet v. Regents of the University of California.
Alex was thirty-two, a successful litigator, a junior partner in her law firm. She sat at the plaintiff's table with the other members of her father's legal team, and watched as her father took the witness stand. Although she smiled reassuringly, she was, in fact, worried about how he would fare.
Frank Burnet was a barrel-chested man who looked younger than his fifty-one years. He appeared healthy and confident as he was sworn in. Alex knew that her father's vigorous appearance could undermine his case. And, of course, the pretrial publicity had been savagely negative. Rick Diehl's PR team had worked hard to portray her dad as an ungrateful, greedy, unscrupulous man. A man who interfered with medical research. A man who wouldn't keep his word, who just wanted money.
None of that was true - in reality, it was the opposite of the truth. But not a single reporter had called her father to ask his side of the story. Not one. Behind Rick Diehl stood Jack Watson, the famous philanthropist. The media assumed that Watson was the good guy, and therefore her father was the bad guy. Once that version of the morality play appeared in the New York Times (written by the local entertainment reporter), everybody else fell into line. There was a huge "me, too" piece in the L.A. Times, trying to outdo the New York version in vilifying her father. And the local news shows kept up a daily drumbeat about the man who wanted to halt medical progress, the man who dared criticize UCLA, that renowned center of learning, the great hometown university. A half-dozen cameras followed her and her father whenever they walked up the courthouse steps.
Their own efforts to get the story out had been singularly unsuccessful. Her father's hired media advisor was competent enough, but no match for Jack Watson's well-oiled, well-financed machine.
Of course, members of the jury would have seen some of the coverage. And the impact of the coverage was to put added pressure on her father not merely to tell his story, but also to redeem himself, to contradict the damage already done to him by the press, before he ever got to the witness stand.