- Category : Writer
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Wishes 2
John Michael Crichton, M.D. pronounced /?kra?t?n/ , (October 23, 1942 – November 4, 2008) was an American author, film producer, film director, medical doctor, and television producer.
Best known for his science fiction and techno-thriller novels, films, and television programs. His books have sold over 150 million copies worldwide. His works were usually based on the action genre and heavily feature technology.
Many of his future history novels have medical or scientific underpinnings, reflecting his medical training and science background. He was the author of The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Disclosure, Timeline, State of Fear, Prey, and Next. He was also the creator of ER, but most famous for being the author of Jurassic Park, and its sequel The Lost World, both adapted into high grossing films and leading to the very successful franchise.
Crichton was born in Chicago, Illinois, to John Henderson Crichton and Zula Miller Crichton, and raised in Roslyn, Long Island, New York. He has two sisters, Kimberly and Catherine, and a younger brother, Douglas.
He attended Harvard College as an undergraduate, graduating summa cum laude in 1964. Crichton was also initiated into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He went on to become the Henry Russell Shaw Traveling Fellow from 1964 to 1965 and Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in 1965. He graduated from Harvard Medical School, obtaining an M.D. in 1969, and did post-doctoral fellowship study at the Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, from 1969 to 1970. In 1988, he was Visiting Writer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
While in medical school, he wrote novels under the pen names John Lange and Jeffery Hudson. A Case of Need, written under the latter pseudonym, won the 1969 Edgar Award for Best Novel. He also co-authored Dealing with his younger brother Douglas under the shared pen name Michael Douglas. The back cover of that book contains a picture of Michael and Douglas at a very young age taken by their mother.
His two pen names were both created to reflect his above-average height. According to his own words, he was about 2.06 meters (6 feet 9 inches) tall in 1997. Lange is a familyname in Germany, meaning "tall one" and Sir Jeffrey Hudson was a famous 17th century dwarf in the court of Queen Consort Henrietta Maria of England.
Crichton admitted to having once, during his undergraduate study, plagiarized a work by George Orwell and submitted it as his own. According to Crichton the paper was received by his professor with a mark of "B−". Crichton claimed that the plagiarism was not intended to defraud the school, but rather as an experiment. Crichton believed that the professor in question had been intentionally giving him abnormally low marks, and so as an experiment Crichton informed another professor of his idea and submitted Orwell's paper as his own work.
Crichton was married five times and divorced four times. He was married to Suzanna Childs, Joan Radam (1965–1970), Kathy St. Johns (1978–1980) and Anne-Marie Martin, the mother of his only child, daughter Taylor Anne. At the time of his death, Crichton was married to Sherri Alexander.
Wikinews has related news:
American author Michael Crichton dies at age 66Crichton died unexpectedly on November 4, 2008 in Los Angeles at age 66 after a private battle with cancer.
Crichton's works are frequently cautionary in that his plots often portray scientific advancements going awry, commonly resulting in worst-case scenarios. A notable recurring theme in Crichton's plots is the pathological failure of complex systems and their safeguards, whether biological (Jurassic Park), military/organizational (The Andromeda Strain) or cybernetic (Westworld). This theme of the inevitable breakdown of "perfect" systems and the failure of "fail-safe measures" can be seen strongly in the poster for Westworld (slogan: "Where nothing can possibly go worng .." (sic) ) and in the discussion of chaos theory in Jurassic Park.
Contrary to certain perceptions, Crichton was not anti-technology. Although his works often portray scientists and engineers as arrogant and closed-minded to the potential threat a technology represents, there is always a well-educated author surrogate who states that failures are simply part of the scientific process and one should simply maintain a state of awareness and preparation for their inevitable occurrence.
The use of author surrogate was a feature of Crichton's writings from the beginning of his career. In A Case of Need, one of his pseudonymous whodunit stories, Crichton used first-person narrative to portray the hero, a Bostonian pathologist, who is running against the clock to clear a friend's name from medical malpractice in a girl's death from a hack-job abortion.
Some of Crichton's fiction uses a literary technique called false document. For example, Eaters of the Dead is a fabricated recreation of the Old English epic Beowulf in the form of a scholarly translation of Ahmad ibn Fadlan's 10th century manuscript. Other novels, such as The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park, incorporate fictionalized scientific documents in the form of diagrams, computer output, DNA sequences, footnotes and bibliography. However, some of his novels actually include authentic published scientific works to illustrate his point, as can be seen in The Terminal Man and the more recent State of Fear.
His last novel will be released posthumously on May 4, 2009. It was pushed back from its originally scheduled release date of December 2, 2008 . The title has not been revealed.
Apart from fiction, Crichton wrote several other books based on scientific themes, amongst which is Travels, which also contains autobiographical episodes.
As a personal friend to the artist Jasper Johns, Crichton compiled many of his works in a coffee table book also named Jasper Johns. That book has been updated once.
Crichton was also the author of Electronic Life, a book that introduces BASIC programming to its readers. In his words, being able to program a computer is liberation:
In my experience, you assert control over a computer—show it who's the boss—by making it do something unique. That means programming it....f you devote a couple of hours to programming a new machine, you'll feel better about it ever afterward.
To prove his point, Crichton included many self-written demonstrative Applesoft (for Apple II) and BASICA (for IBM PC compatibles) programs in that book. Crichton once considered updating it, but the project was canceled.
His non-fiction works were:
1970 Five Patients
1977 Jasper Johns
1983 Electronic Life
Movies and television
Crichton wrote and directed several motion pictures:
Year Title Notes
1972 Pursuit A TV movie
1979 The Great Train Robbery Directed/ wrote screenplay
1989 Physical Evidence
1993 Jurassic Park co-wrote screenplay
1994 ER Creator/Writer/Executive Producer
1996 Twister co-wrote screenplay
Pursuit is a TV movie written and directed by Crichton that is based on his novel Binary.
Westworld was the first feature film that used 2D computer-generated imagery (CGI) and the first use of 3D CGI was in its sequel, Futureworld (1976), which featured a computer-generated hand and face created by then University of Utah graduate students Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke.
Crichton directed the film Coma, adapted from a Robin Cook novel. There are other similarities in terms of genre and the fact that both Cook and Crichton were physicians, were of similar age, and wrote about similar subjects.
Many of his novels were adapted into films:
Year Title Filmmaker/Director
1971 The Andromeda Strain Robert Wise
1972 Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues Paul Williams
1972 The Carey Treatment (A Case of Need) Blake Edwards
1974 The Terminal Man Mike Hodges
1993 Rising Sun Philip Kaufman
1993 Jurassic Park Steven Spielberg
1994 Disclosure Barry Levinson
1995 Congo Frank Marshall
1997 The Lost World: Jurassic Park Steven Spielberg
1998 Sphere Barry Levinson
1999 The 13th Warrior (Eaters of the Dead) John McTiernan
2003 Timeline Richard Donner
2008 The Andromeda Strain (TV miniseries) Mikael Salomon
He wrote the screenplay for the movies Extreme Close Up (1973) and Twister (1996) (the latter co-written with Anne-Marie Martin, his wife at the time). Jurassic Park III is a sequel to The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park, both based on Crichton's novels, but Jurassic Park III isn't based on one of his novels, though he helped write the screenplay.
Crichton was also the creator and executive producer of the television drama ER. ER was originally slated to be a movie, directed by Steven Spielberg. However, during the early stages of pre-production, Spielberg asked Michael Crichton what his current project was. Crichton said he was working on a novel about dinosaurs and DNA. Spielberg subsequently dropped what he was doing to film this project. Afterwards, he returned to ER and helped develop the show, serving as a producer on season one and offering advice (he insisted on Julianna Margulies becoming a regular, for example). It was also through Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment that John Wells was contacted to be the show's executive producer. In December 1994, he achieved the unique distinction of having the #1 movie (Jurassic Park), the #1 TV show (ER), and the #1 book (Disclosure, atop the paperback list). Crichton wrote only three episodes of ER:
Episode 1-1: "24 Hours"
Episode 1-2: "Day One"
Episode 1-3: "Going Home"
Amazon is a graphical text adventure game created by Michael Crichton and produced by John Wells under Trillium Corp. Amazon was released in the United States in 1984 and it runs on Apple II, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and the DOS systems. Amazon was considered by some to be a breakthrough in the way it updated text adventure games by adding color graphics and music. It sold more than 100,000 copies, making it a significant commercial success at the time.
In 1999, Crichton founded Timeline Computer Entertainment with David Smith. Despite signing a multi-title publishing deal with Eidos Interactive, only one game was ever published, Timeline. Released on 8 December 2000 for the PC, the game received poor reviews and sold poorly.
Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel, 1969 (A Case of Need; written as Jeffery Hudson)
Association of American Medical Writers Award, 1970 (Five Patients)
Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay, 1980 (The Great Train Robbery)
The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Journalism Award, 2006 (State of Fear)
A Writers Guild of America
A dinosaur, Crichtonsaurus bohlini, was named after him in honor of Jurassic Park.
Crichton was named to the list of the "Fifty Most Beautiful People" by People magazine, 1992
"Aliens Cause Global Warming"
In 2003 he gave a lecture at Caltech entitled "Aliens Cause Global Warming" in which he expressed his views of the danger of "consensus science" — especially with regard to what he regards as popular but disputed theories such as nuclear winter, the dangers of second-hand smoke, and the global warming controversy. Crichton was critical of widespread belief in ETs and UFOs, citing the fact that there is no conclusive proof of their existence. Crichton stated that "The Drake equation cannot be tested and therefore SETI is not science. SETI is unquestionably a religion." Crichton commented that belief in purported scientific theories without a factual basis is more akin to faith than science.
Environmentalism as a religion
In a related speech given to the Commonwealth Club of California, called "Environmentalism as a religion" (see Radical environmentalism), Crichton described what he saw as similarities between the structure of various religious views (particularly Judeo-Christian beliefs) and the beliefs of many modern urban atheists who he asserted have romantic ideas about Nature and our past, who he suggested believe in the initial "paradise," the human "sins," and the "judgment day." He also articulated his belief that it is the tendency of modern environmentalists to cling stubbornly to elements of their faith in spite of evidence to the contrary. Crichton cited misconceptions about DDT, passive smoking, and global warming as examples.
Widespread speculation in the media
In a speech entitled "Why Speculate?", delivered in 2002 to the International Leadership Forum, Crichton criticized the media for engaging in what he saw as pointless speculation rather than the delivery of facts. As an example, he pointed to a front-page article of the March 6 New York Times that speculated about the possible effects of U.S. President George W. Bush's decision to impose tariffs on imported steel. Crichton also singled out Susan Faludi's book Backlash for criticism, saying that it "presented hundreds of pages of quasi-statistical assertions based on a premise that was never demonstrated and that was almost certainly false." He referred to what he calls the "Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect" to describe the public's tendency to discount one story in a newspaper they may know to be false because of their knowledge of the subject, but believe the same paper on subjects with which they are unfamiliar. Crichton used the Latin expression falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which he translated as "untruthful in one part, untruthful in all," to describe what he thought should be a more appropriate reaction. The speech also made several references to Crichton's skepticism of environmentalists' assertions about the possible future ramifications of human activity on the Earth's environment.
Role of science in environmental policy-making
In September 2005 Crichton testified at a Congressional hearing on climate change, having been called by global warming skeptic Senator James Inhofe to advise the Environment and Public Works Committee. Crichton spoke on issues such as the role of science in policy making, criticisms of climate-change researcher Michael E. Mann and what Crichton claimed was the deliberate obstruction of research into the subject by some in the scientific community.
Many of Crichton's publicly expressed views, particularly on subjects like the global warming controversy, have caused heated debate. An example is meteorologist Jeffrey Masters' review of State of Fear:
"Flawed or misleading presentations of Global Warming science exist in the book, including those on Arctic sea ice thinning, correction of land-based temperature measurements for the urban heat island effect, and satellite vs. ground-based measurements of Earth's warming. I will spare the reader additional details. On the positive side, Crichton does emphasize the little-appreciated fact that while most of the world has been warming the past few decades, most of Antarctica has seen a cooling trend. The Antarctic ice sheet is actually expected to increase in mass over the next 100 years due to increased precipitation, according to the IPCC."
Peter Doran, author of the paper in the January 2002 issue of Nature which reported the finding referred to above, that some areas of Antarctica had cooled between 1986 and 2000, wrote an opinion piece in the July 27, 2006 New York Times in which he stated "Our results have been misused as 'evidence' against global warming by Michael Crichton in his novel State of Fear." Crichton himself states in the book that though he uses a number of studies to support his stance, the authors of these studies do not necessarily agree with his interpretations. Additionally, some of the characters in the novel caution that they do not necessarily claim that global warming is not an issue, but only that more research is necessary before we make any definitive conclusions.
Al Gore said on March 21, 2007 before a US House committee: "The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor if your doctor tells you you need to intervene here, you don't say 'Well, I read a science fiction novel that tells me it's not a problem.'" This has been recognized by several commentators as a reference to State of Fear.
In his 2006 novel Next (released November 28 of that year), Crichton introduced a character named "Mick Crowley" who is a Yale graduate and a Washington D.C.-based political columnist. "Crowley" was portrayed by Crichton as a child molester with a small penis. The character is a minor one who does not appear elsewhere in the book.
A real person named Michael Crowley is also a Yale graduate, and a senior editor of The New Republic, a Washington D.C.-based political magazine. In March 2006, the real Crowley wrote an article strongly critical of Crichton for his stance on global warming in State of Fear.