The Book of the Week is The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton, in honor of Mr. Crichton, who passed away last week at the age of 66.
Michael Crichton was a Harvard-educated doctor who found fame and fortune as a writer. His books have sold well over 100 million copies, and an even greater number have seen the films and television shows he wrote, directed, or produced. Crichton enjoyed success with suspense stories set in the corporate world (Rising Sun, Disclosure), historical fiction (The Great Train Robbery, Eaters of the Dead [filmed as The Thirteenth Warrior]), and medical dramas (Five Patients, TV's ER), but throughout his career science fiction has been his bread and butter. Among other SF premises, Crichton has given us a deadly disease from outer space (the BOTW), berserk robots and nanomachines (Prey, the film Westworld), an alien spaceship on the ocean floor (Sphere), cloned dinosaurs (Jurassic Park, Lost World), a time travel story (Timeline), and a politically charged thriller about global warming alarmism (State of Fear, famously denounced by Al Gore in Congressional testimony).
The Book of the Week is the first paperback printing of The Andromeda Strain (1969). The story was adapted to film in 1971, and again as a miniseries in 2004. The Andromeda Strain is often described as Crichton's first book, but in fact, Crichton had previously published a mystery novel and a series of sexy thrillers under pseudonyms. You will see one of those next week.