Michael Crichton was one of the authors that took me out of young adult books when I was in my early teens. The combination of cutting edge science, “what ifs” and page turning action were irresistible. My favorites of his books include JURASSIC PARK, SPHERE and THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN (all way better than the movies) but I have generally enjoyed all his books. MICRO is sadly his final novel after he passed away in 2010 and was unfinished at the time of his death. Unfortunately you can tell.
I haven’t read Richard Preston before but I could definitely tell that this was not written by Michael Crichton. The book claims that “Crichton was well into the writing of Micro” at the time of his death but I suspect he was well into the outline rather than the actual writing.
Crichton’s novels and the techno thriller genre are read and enjoyed more for their story lines and high tech plots but Crichton did manage to flesh out his characters reasonably enough. The characters in MICRO are barely realized and only just one dimensional which is my biggest disappointment. The “what if” science plot is still there and the only thing that kept me going.
In MICRO, a company has developed technology to shrink objects and people to microscopic size. They are using this technology to harvest plants and insects for pharmaceutical benefits. But there are other applications for the technology and when 8 college students stumble across the wrong information they are shrunk to microscopic size and left for dead in a very dangerous new world.
There are elements here reminiscent of JURASSIC PARK (and also a little bit of HONEY, I SHRANK THE KIDS) and the facts about plants, insects and spiders are fascinating. However the characters are laughable and very poorly drawn. This is a disappointing final novel for a writer I have always enjoyed. Sometimes I think that unfinished novel or plot outline found in a bottom draw should just stay there…