Customer Reviews for

State of Fear

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Global Warming?

Due to the extensive biblio and fast-paced story by MC, I found this book myth-busting and thought provoking. A solidly contrasting view to the pulp-fiction, believe-what-you-are-told global warming hysteria.

Don't get me wrong. I believe that we have a grav...
Due to the extensive biblio and fast-paced story by MC, I found this book myth-busting and thought provoking. A solidly contrasting view to the pulp-fiction, believe-what-you-are-told global warming hysteria.

Don't get me wrong. I believe that we have a grave responsibility to be good stewards for the planet. It is, after all, the only one in our solar system that *we* can live on. But I appreciated the reminder to do my own thinking and ask a question or two or ten.

posted by DLBaird on January 24, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

Propaganda

Crichton is a fine writer, but this effort might have been better as an essay. Not unlike the cardboard characters in Ayn Rand's 'novels,' the folks populating this thriller arrive on the scene bathed in cliche and exhibit very few realistic traits. The 'dialogue' betwe...
Crichton is a fine writer, but this effort might have been better as an essay. Not unlike the cardboard characters in Ayn Rand's 'novels,' the folks populating this thriller arrive on the scene bathed in cliche and exhibit very few realistic traits. The 'dialogue' between Kenner and the 'herd' who believe in global warming is boring (in a novel) and the environmentalists (all either arch hypocrites or ill-intentioned bureaucrats) is one-sided and obtuse. No character asks any of the questions that one wants to hear Crichton, er . . . Kenner answer. Peter Evans is particularly disappointing. And, really, eco terrorists killing scientists with poisonous octopi, lightning bolt attacks, hysterical actors eaten by cannibals - are we 13 years old? Some of the scientific information presented is interesting and I will undoubtedly follow some of the resources cited in the appendices. I would however, like to point out that Crichton neatly dismisses the environmentalists by keeping the focus only on global warming. There are lots of good reasons to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and curtail pollution that are political (say, isn't there a baseless war being fought?), physiological, and economic - these are not even addressed. He also seems to think that second-hand smoke is not a big deal. Oh well, he can certainly afford new, robotic lungs. Shoot, he can probably design them, too.

posted by Anonymous on August 1, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2006

    Propaganda

    Crichton is a fine writer, but this effort might have been better as an essay. Not unlike the cardboard characters in Ayn Rand's 'novels,' the folks populating this thriller arrive on the scene bathed in cliche and exhibit very few realistic traits. The 'dialogue' between Kenner and the 'herd' who believe in global warming is boring (in a novel) and the environmentalists (all either arch hypocrites or ill-intentioned bureaucrats) is one-sided and obtuse. No character asks any of the questions that one wants to hear Crichton, er . . . Kenner answer. Peter Evans is particularly disappointing. And, really, eco terrorists killing scientists with poisonous octopi, lightning bolt attacks, hysterical actors eaten by cannibals - are we 13 years old? Some of the scientific information presented is interesting and I will undoubtedly follow some of the resources cited in the appendices. I would however, like to point out that Crichton neatly dismisses the environmentalists by keeping the focus only on global warming. There are lots of good reasons to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and curtail pollution that are political (say, isn't there a baseless war being fought?), physiological, and economic - these are not even addressed. He also seems to think that second-hand smoke is not a big deal. Oh well, he can certainly afford new, robotic lungs. Shoot, he can probably design them, too.

    5 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2005

    Nothing more than pimping his ludicrous views on global warming

    This book dragged, especially when coupled with his reviews of science. He is probably a smart guy, but this book is so one-sided. He leaves out much of the relevant scientific evidence regarding global warming while harping on a couple of minor points and taking data out of context.

    3 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Biased?

    I found this book extremely biased. It read like a book written by an oil company's PR team. I find it hard to believe that the writer who inspired me to learn about dinosaurs could write a book for the oil companies so I have to think he was well intentioned. It may be because oil and dinosaurs are related. Lol.

    2 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2007

    Ridiculous book

    This was just a terrible book. Crichton obviously is trying to make a point, but in doing so, the characters and plot are destroyed. He makes every character who is concerned about Global Warming become either an idiot or an unethical criminal, while the anti Global warming characters are brilliant and honorable. Not only does he make the Hollywood actor dumb, at one point, he has the character try to force himself on one of the women. Be careful Mr. Crichton. You have become the Hollywood pseudo-intellectual you attempt to make fun of. An MD doesn't make you an expert in climate, any more than a math degree makes one an expert in medicine. In your next novel why don't you have a freakishly tall, pompous, fading writer fed to the cannibals?

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2004

    Ho Hum

    I'm a big fan of this author and have read all of his previous books, so I was very excited about this new work. Unfortunately I found that it lack a certain something that I was used to in the previous books. I found the story rather boring and the plot twists to be either totally far fetched or downright obvious. A major let down, stick with the earlier works.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2004

    Crichton's going downhill fast

    Writing as someone who used to eat up every word he wrote, Crichton's last two novels were a waste of the paper they were printed on. In the movie business, when they do not provide a preview of a movie to critics before it opens, it is considered a very bad sign, quality-wise -- like they have something to hide. Until we actually find out what the book is about -- and the Pearl Harbor release date is not promising -- I am assuming he continues to be a lazy writer coasting on his laurels. I hope I'm wrong! After the piece of garbage, _Prey_, came out last year, I promised myself I would not rush and buy his next book until it proves itself.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    STATE OF LAZINESS

    Michael Crichton clearly phoned this one in, perhaps from bed while half asleep. That's all I can conclude from the slapdash characters, the tired dialogue and the sketchy, paper-thin plot. Having read many of his previous, excellent stories, I know he can do better. His agenda in writing SOF is made clear in the Afterward where he slams the "green" movement and the notion of global warming with uncharacteristic venom. I imagine him reading "An Inconvenient Truth", blowing a gasket and cranking out this pile of dreck in a fit of rage. His publisher, happy to have any stack of paper from Michael's pen, was delighted to serve it up to the reading public no matter how bad it stank, while dollar signs danced in his head. The "novel of rage" phenomenon has happened before, with better results. After watching soldiers being spat upon as they returned from Vietnam, Robert Heinlein flew off the handle, set aside what he was working on (a little book called Stranger in a Strange Land) and shot out the Hugo Award winning Starship Troopers, one of the finest science fiction novels ever written. So it is not Crichton's impetus I find fault with. It is the disappointing result.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2010

    State of Fear Plays on Fear

    As a training marine biologist, it is discouraging to see how intelligent people are capable of abusing the complicated nature of science to discredit a theory they don't like by using plausible sounding misinterpretations and fictional characters to "discredit" the science. Using arguments based not in a deliberation but in an agenda, they use selective data as "evidence" agains the other theory while making emotional appeals against those who hold opposing viewpoints. When I read this book I had not yet started to read the primary literature myself and found that it raised some distressing questions about the legitimacy of the science underpinning the GW debate. Now, having been forced to closely examine (and I mean excruciatingly closely because the science literature is painful to get through) much of the actual work being done with regards to climate change and the ocean, it becomes clear how subtle misinterpretations make very cohesive arguments sound dubious to those not familiar with the process. For instance, the literature on glacier degradation abounds with reports of glacial retreat, yet faced with Dr. Crichton's coupling of a fictional glacial scientist flustered at how nobody will listen to his interpretation that warming is not occurring, the few localized studies of glaciers that have actually gotten bigger suddenly sound like a larger trend being covered up, even if the actual scientists who wrote the studies disagree. There is a common confusion that overall warming precludes localized cooling, which isn't the case. To take a somewhat clearer example, standing in the desert during a monsoon downpour and declaring that desert regions must not experience drought is, in the kindest terms, myopic. Science involves rigorous testing for the exact reason that general trends are hard to pull out of the noise. To focus on the noise and not the larger trend is, by definition, the opposite of science. One of the definitions of superstition is "a credulous belief or notion, not based on reason, knowledge, or experience." Despite his degree in medicine, which he never used, Dr. Crichton ignored the larger reasoning in the science literature and selectively edited the knowledge available according to all the experience he had in the field of environmental sciences, which was none. His book is full of boastful and condescending men of superior intellect imbued with admirable traits laughing at the suckered main character who is a stand in for the reader who is being emotionally coerced. The truth is, however, that Dr. Crichton's work could not stand were it not protected by the label of fiction. More sad still, a swaggering doctor of medicine who decided he was smarter than a whole field of environmental scientists was called to testify in congress on a subject he had no training in. One of these scientists recently commented to me that he would not deign to read the medical literature and then attempt to elbow past a brain surgeon to show her how it should be done, and yet, in congress, that is precisely what Dr. Crichton did. He was given thirty minutes to speak on GW. The two scientists called were each given five. I have met many scientists who question the causes of global warming, or precisely what GW will bring with it. Their job is to be impartial and to stay level headed. Dr. Crichton has mistaken his own opinions for fact worth condescending to others about

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2008

    Don't Believe Everthing You Read

    Starts off like a good thriller should and then half way through you realize that you are being lectured to by the author, forcing his own views AGAINST global warming down your throat. The bad guys are even eco-terroists LOL. So if you like a couple of pages of action and several hundred pages of inaccurate scientific lecture you'll love this book. But I advise all to save themselves and the planet and recycle this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2008

    Atrocious

    OK premise, BUT zero character development and ZERO caring whether anyone lives, dies, or gets banished to another dimension. Never before have I had to force myself to finish a Crichton book. Certainly no Congo, Prey, Jurassic Park here. Haven't read 'Next' yet, but hopefully it's a step somewhere nearer to quality for Mr. Crichton.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2007

    State of Delirium

    I am an English student at Seattle University and I can honestly say, amongst the plethora of books that I've read, this is by far the worst book I have read thus far. The book is filled with formal and informal fallacies. The characterization is so atrocious and over-the-top that I had to get up and walk away from it. Then, I tried reading for plot, and I couldn't even read for plot. There is nothing, nothing, in this book to motivate me to continue reading. I had to force myself through it hoping it would get better, but it didn't. I'm not high brow, but I felt compelled to write a review so others wouldn't waste their hard earned discretionary income, like I did unfortunately. In an age of post-modernism, after the ¿age of realism' (which you would think Crichton would¿ve studied in an introductory English literature course at Harvard before continuing on to medical school), an element of chance disgenuinously reputes a this type of novel which eventually undermines any credence to the thesis the author has to make. It¿s apparent that he¿s going for more than just fiction in this story, which is why I¿m so adverse to The State of Fear. 'As chance would have this'...then nothing is proven concretely because it is all chance. Here¿s an example of what I mean: When I walk out of my house tomorrow I MIGHT get hit by a comet, then because I could get hit by a comet, then I would most certainly bear the onus of telling the world of this discovery, and write a book around comets destroying the Earth, as Crichton has done with global warming in State of Fear. When you use the element of chance events to move your story along, it becomes immensely un-mimetic, and therefore could be dismissed as invalid to a majority of readers. Better yet, it opposes Coleridge¿s statement of having ¿a willing suspension of disbelief'. Aristotle¿s book, On Poetics, regards spectacle next to last when referring to the six essential components of what makes for good drama. Crichton uses spectacle first to compensate for his ineptitude of writing quality. (An excerpt from Chapter 16-Vancouver) ¿Damon leaves the office, but before he does, he noticed the lawyer left his cell phone on the counter. He looked out to see if the lawyer was coming back for it. Not yet, but surely he would realize it and come back. Damon decided to leave before he showed up. Hastefully he slipped the cell phone in his pocket, turned out the lights and locked the office. The first drops of rain were spattering the pavement as he went to his car were he parked right in front. He opened the door and was climbing into the car, and the cell phone rang. he hesitated not sure what to do. The phone rang insistently. A jagged bolt of lightning crashed down striking the mast of one of the ships in the boat yard. In the next instance, there was a burst of light by the car. A blast of furious heat that knocked him to the ground. Dazed he tried to get up. He was thinking that his car had exploded, but it hadn¿t, the car was intact, the door blackened. Then he saw that his trousers were on fire. He stared stupidly at his legs not moving. He heard the rumble of thunder and realized¿that he had been struck by lightning. ¿My God he thought, I was hit by lightning!¿ He sat up and smacked at his trousers trying to put out the fire. It wasn¿t working and his legs were beginning to feel pain. He had a fire extinguisher inside the office. Staggering to his feet he moved unsteadily to the office, he was unlocking the door, his fingers fumbling, when there was another explosion. He felt a sharp pain in his ears, reached up, touched blood, he looked at his bloody fingertips, fell over and died.¿ If I get hit by lightning, I certainly would not look at my pants and say ¿My god, I was just struck by lightning.¿ ¿because I might not say anything at all I probably would be dead. I surely wouldn¿t try to smack my trousers either after enough energy to light a small town just went through my bod

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2006

    Leave this one on the shelf

    This book is not worth the paper it is printed on. I'm a big science fiction fan, and over the years I've enjoyed a number of Michael Crichton novels, but he really got it wrong with State of Fear. The plot doesn't hold together well, he strings together so-called 'scientific facts' that are in fact dangerous misinformation in a failed effort to debunk global warming, and his lead character is poorly developed. If you enjoy his work, read Prey or Andromeda Strain. Chrichton should leave science to real scientists, just like scientists should leave fiction writing to real novelists.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2005

    Anti-science

    It is important to keep in ming that Michael Chrichton is not a science writer, he is an anti-science writer. All of his stories have the theme of portraying scientists as uncontrollable wild maniacs endangering society. When a college drop-out author disputes huge bodies of work by some of the most accomplished scientists in the world, it is time to view his work with skepticism.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2005

    Identity theft

    I forced myself to finish this, mostly because I didn't have anything else around. This is some of the worst writing I ever had the misery to read. The plot had potential, but was done in such a kindergarten fashion, I was amazed this was a Crichton book. And some of the really stupid errors -- such as I-5 being the road to Arizona (even if you aren't from California -- odd freeways go N/S even go E/W) and that the body would drift 'up to Pismo Beach from San Francisco', where Pismo Beach is well south of SF. Terribly amazing how the characters traveled the world, escaping near death at each turn. Wow. Don't waste your money on this loser.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2005

    State of Boredom!

    Michael Crichton fans, stay away from this one! I was so hoping that Mr. Crichton could recover from his latest offering - Timeline - but failed utterly with this awful tome on the global warming debate. His characters were flat, his writing in some cases was so boring I found myself skipping ahead to find some excitement. The most entertaining part of this book was the author's notes when combined with his bibliography maxed out at around 50 pages! While his research was impressive (as always), his talent as a story writer seems to be waning. Maybe he should try non-fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2005

    Pathetic Book

    I am very disappointed in Michael Crichton¿s newest novel, State of Fear for a number of reasons. First, when I picked up his book, I thought I was getting a novel, not his argument on why there is no such thing as global warming. If I had wanted to read someone¿s opinion on the subject, I would have search for an author who stated that up front, not someone who tried to sneak the subject in on unaware victims. Secondly, leaving his dishonesty aside, this book is by far his worse to date. I have read all his books, some I thought were very good, and others, not so much. However, State of Fear sets a new low for Mr. Crichton in every possible way. His characters in the book are simplistic, almost childlike, and exceedingly unbelievable. Additionally, I found myself finally not caring what happened to the characters because at no point did I find myself identifying with them in any way. The plot, if what is in this book can be called a plot, made so little sense and was so patently absurd that I found I had to make myself keep reading it. It seemed that Crichton resorted to having characters that can fly anywhere in the world (Does anyone in this book actually work for a living?), characters that kill complete strangers at the pace of about five per chapter, and an endless litany of studies that prove this or that. I could go on and on about this miserable book but I will not. It is the first of his books that I could not finish so save yourself the time and effort and leave this book on the shelf. One final comment: Mr. Crichton, shame on you for foisting this trash on your readers!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2005

    Not what I expected

    I have read every one of MC's books. I bought this book the very day it came out in stores. It was the most boring book I ever read. While the views expressed were enlighting the action and plot as well as the people in the book left a lot to be desired. It was NOT a page turner by far.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2005

    This Book Is Trash

    I haven't been able to get all the way through this ridiculous excuse for a novel. What's the point, anyway? That global warming was made up by some do-gooding liberals? Sheesh. So I guess we're not supposed to care about all the scientific data and not give a damn until the problem eventually bites us in the behind. Let's not even mention 'global warming' until we can go to the beach in December and gaze at all the dead animals, such as polar bears. Why the heck is Crichton siding with conservatives and Big Business, anyway? He hasn't made enough money already? Even if there are holes in the global warming argument, shouldn't we closely watch all the data no matter what? And who is going to make a lawsuit out of it, anyway? Sheer bosh. Save your money and find something better to spend it on. This book is trash.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2005

    Kent, Almost always finish a book I start.

    This book was terrible! It had totally unbelievable characters, a jumbled, disorganized plot, and one study after another, endlessly. I am groping for something positive to say about this book, as I generally enjoy what the author writes, but I can't. I could not make myself finish this horrible book and the last time that happened was when I read 'Shock' by Robin Cook.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2005

    Swing and a miss

    Usually I marvel at a Michael Crichton Novel. The depth of research he must go through and the boundless imagination. But boy does he miss with this novel. There is no high tech imaginative basis for this story. Virtually no suspense. I have read every other book he has written fiction or not. He was due for a miss. This novel leaves me wanting to re-read Sphere, probably his best story.

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