Prey by Michael Crichton

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Book Information  
AuthorMichael Crichton
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Karen Burnham 
(Feb 04, 2006)

Over time I have read many Michael Crichton books, and this is very much like all of them. I feel that in this book he is simply replicating a formula that has brought him fame and fortune. My basic recommendation is that if you have already read "Jurassic Park" and/or "Sphere," skip this one because you have already read it.

Many of the plot elements and structure are standard Crichton: single male protagonist, woman problems, dedicated father, misuse of science by irresponsible scientists and corporations, isolated facility under seige from the menace, cut off from all communications with the outside, ultimate victory. Predictable from page 1 to the end, the only fun game is to see how far ahead of the text you can predict the next "plot twist."

I loved Michael Crichton books when I was first starting in science fiction, between the ages of 13-15. But once you've been exposed to the better quality SF out there, it is hard to go back. After awhile, his anti-science stand gets to be a bit grating, and the overly simplistic writing style, so easy in youth, simply becomes childish. This book would be fine for your average teenager, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone over the age of 18.

Submitted by Sterling Hardaway 
(Mar 08, 2004)

Michael Crichton, the well-known author of Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain continues his long list of precautionary tales in his most recent novel, Prey.

If you are familiar with Crichton's work, you no doubt know that he loves to mix in plenty of technological explanation and theory in all his novels. In typical Crichton fashion, Prey, a techno thriller, delves deep into the subjects of distributed and nanoparticle technology. His diatribes can be long-winded at times but he always manages to supply enough peril and intrigue to keep you reading.

The story is about a computer programmer turned house dad, named Jack. Jack is an expert in distributed technology but after blowing the whistle on his shady boss, he winds of fired and blacklisted throughout Silicon Valley. Julia, Jack's wife becomes the main breadwinner of the family and heads up a top-secret project for a conglomerate named Xymos.

Most of the intrigue begins and ends with Julia. Julia is so wrapped up in her work that this sends up several red flags to Jack as he notices that she is less and less around for him and the kids. Her behavior has become very erratic and even her appearance has changed.

Eventually Jack is offered a job as a consultant for Xymos. He's told that he is being brought in to fix a bug in some code for a computer program that he had help create in the past. Upon arriving on the job, he discovers that the situation is much worse than advertised.

A renegade cloud of nanoparticles have "escaped" from the manufacturing plant and evolved into a predatory menace. Jack immediately recognizes the threat and makes plans to eliminate them but curiously, he meets a lot of resistance from the main plant supervisor. The threat continues to rise as Jack finally realizes how far in over his head he's gotten himself.

Prey is the type of story that hooks you in a page at a time. The sub-plot of Jack and Julia's deteriorating marriage and its affect on Jack's emotional outlook was very well portrayed. I quickly found myself tearing through the pages as I tried to figure out the mystery behind the runaway swarm of nanoparticles and its connection to Julia.

As a warning, I should mention that there is a great amount of foul language in the book. Crichton must've used the "F" word in all its renditions over 100 times. It was a bit distracting at times.

Overall, Prey is an insightful look into technology and the damage it can cause when pushed to the limit by greedy corporations.

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