The Andromeda Strain

( 186 )

Overview

The United States government is given a warning by the pre-eminent biophysicists in the country: current sterilization procedures applied to returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere.

Two years later, seventeen satellites are sent into the outer fringes of space to "collect organisms and dust for study." One of them falls to earth, landing ina desolate area of Arizona.

Twelve miles from the ...

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Overview

The United States government is given a warning by the pre-eminent biophysicists in the country: current sterilization procedures applied to returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere.

Two years later, seventeen satellites are sent into the outer fringes of space to "collect organisms and dust for study." One of them falls to earth, landing ina desolate area of Arizona.

Twelve miles from the landing site, in the town of Piedmont, a shocking discovery is made: the streets are littered with the dead bodies of the town's inhabitants, as if they dropped dead in their tracks.

The terror has begun . . .

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061703157
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 82,522
  • Product dimensions: 4.24 (w) x 7.44 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Crichton has sold over 200 million books, which have been translated into thirty-eight languages; thirteen of his books have been made into films. Also known as a filmmaker and the creator of ER, he remains the only writer to have had the number one book, movie, and TV show simultaneously. At the time of his death in 2008, Crichton was well into the writing of Micro; Richard Preston was selected to complete the novel.

Richard Preston is the internationally bestselling author of eight books, including The Hot Zone and The Wild Trees. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker. He lives with his wife and three children near Princeton, New Jersey.

Biography

Michael Crichton's oeuvre is so vivid and varied that it hard to believe everything sprang from the mind of a single writer. There's the dino-movie franchise and merchandising behemoth Jurassic Park; the long-running, top-rated TV series ER, which Crichton created; and sci-fi tales so cinematic a few were filmed more than once. He's even had a dinosaur named after him.

Ironically, for someone who is credited with selling over 150 million books, Crichton initially avoided writing because he didn't think he would make a living at it. So he turned to medical school instead, graduating with an M.D. from Harvard in 1969. The budding doctor had already written one award-winning novel pseudonymically (1968's A Case of Need) to help pay the bills through school; but when The Andromeda Strain came out in the same year of his med school graduation, Crichton's new career path became obvious.

The Andromeda Strain brilliantly and convincingly sets out an American scientific crisis in the form of a deadly epidemic. Its tone -- both critical of and sympathetic toward the scientific community -- set a precedent for Crichton works to come. A 1970 nonfiction work, Five Patients offers the same tone in a very different form, that being an inside look at a hospital.

Crichton's works were inspired by a remarkably curious mind. His plots often explored scientific issues -- but not always. Some of his most compelling thrillers were set against the backdrop of global trade relations (Rising Sun), corporate treachery (Disclosure) and good old-fashioned Victorian-era theft (The Great Train Robbery). The author never shied away from challenging topics, but it's obvious from his phenomenal sales that he never waxed pedantic. Writing about Prey, Crichton's cautionary tale of nanotech gone awry, The New York Times Book Review put it this way: "You're entertained on one level and you learn something on another."

On the page, Crichton's storytelling was eerily nonfictional in style. His journalistic, almost professorial, and usually third-person narration lent an air of credibility to his often disturbing tales -- in The Andromeda Strain, he went so far as to provide a fake bibliography. Along the way, he revelled in flouting basic, often subconscious assumptions: Dinosaurs are long-gone; women are workplace victims, not predators; computers are, by and large, predictable machines.

The dazzling diversity of Crichton's interests and talents became ever more evident as the years progressed. In addition to penning bestselling novels, he wrote screenplays and a travel memoir, directed several movies, created Academy Award-winning movie production software, and testified before Congress about the science of global warming -- this last as a result of his controversial 2004 eco-thriller State of Fear, a novel that reflected Crichton's own skepticism about the true nature of climate change. His views on the subject were severely criticized by leading environmentalists.

On November 4, 2008, Michael Crichton died, following a long battle against cancer. Beloved by millions of readers, his techno-thrillers and science-inflected cautionary tales remain perennial bestsellers and have spawned a literary genre all its own.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our 2005 interview with Crichton:

"I'm very interested in 20th-century American art."

"I have always been interested in movies and television as well as books. I see all these as media for storytelling, and I don't discriminate among them. At some periods of my life I preferred to work on movies, and at others I preferred books."

"In the early 1990s, interviewers began calling me ‘the father of the techno-thriller.' Nobody ever had before. Finally I began asking the interviewers, ‘Why do you call me that?' They said, ‘Because Tom Clancy says you are the father of the techno-thriller.' So I called Tom up and said, ‘Listen, thank you, but I'm not the father of the techno-thriller.' He said, ‘Yes you are.' I said, ‘No, I'm not, before me there were thrillers like Failsafe and Seven Days in May and The Manchurian Candidate that were techno-thrillers.' He said, ‘No, those are all political. You're the father of the techno-thriller.' And there it ended."

"My favorite recreation is to hike in the wilderness. I am fond of Hawaii."

"I used to scuba dive a lot, but haven't lately. For a time I liked to photograph sharks but like anything else, the thrill wears off. Earlier in my life I took serious risks, but I stopped when I became a parent."

"I taught myself to cook by following Indian and Szechuan recipes. They each have about 20 ingredients. I used to grind my own spices, I was really into it. Now I don't have much time to cook anymore. When I do, I cook Italian food."

"I read almost exclusively nonfiction. Most times I am researching some topic, which may or may not lead to a book. So my reading is pretty focused, although the focus can shift quickly."

"I have always been interested in whatever is missing or excluded from conventional thought. As a result I am drawn to writers who are out of fashion, bypassed, irritating, difficult, or excessive. I also like the disreputable works of famous writers. Thus I end up reading and liking Paul Feyerabend (Against Method), G. K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy, What's Wrong with the World), John Stuart Mill, Hemingway (Garden of Eden), Nietzsche, Machiavelli, Alain Finkielkraut (Defeat of the Mind), Anton Ehrenzweig (Hidden Order of Art), Arthur Koestler (Midwife Toad, Beyond Reductionism), Ian McHarg (Design with Nature), Marguerite Duras, Jung, late James M. Cain (Serenade), Paul Campos.

"Because I get up so early to work, I tend to go to bed early, around 10 or 11. So I don't go out much. I suppose I am borderline reclusive. I don't care."

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      John Michael Crichton (full name), Jeffery Hudson, John Lange
    2. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 23, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      November 4, 2008
    2. Place of Death:
      Los Angeles, California

Read an Excerpt

The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain

Chapter One

The Country of Lost Borders

A man with binoculars. That is how it began: with a man standing by the side of the road, on a crest overlooking a small Arizona town, on a winter night.

Lieutenant Roger Shawn must have found the binoculars difficult. The metal would be cold, and he would be clumsy in his fur parka and heavy gloves. His breath, hissing out into the moonlit air, would have fogged the lenses. He would be forced to pause to wipe them frequently, using a stubby gloved finger.

He could not have known the futility of this action. Binoculars were worthless to see into that town and uncover its secrets. He would have been astonished to learn that the men who finally succeeded used instruments a million times more powerful than binoculars.

There is something sad, foolish, and human in the image of Shawn leaning against a boulder, propping his arms on it, and holding the binoculars to his eyes. Though cumbersome, the binoculars would at least feel comfortable and familiar in his hands. It would be one of the last familiar sensations before his death.

We can imagine, and try to reconstruct, what happened from that point on.

Lieutenant Shawn swept over the town slowly and methodically. He could see it was not large, just a half-dozen wooden buildings, set out along a single main street. It was very quiet: no lights, no activity, no sound carried by the gentle wind.

He shifted his attention from the town to the surrounding hills. They were low, dusty, and blunted, with scrubby vegetation and an occasional withered yucca treecrusted in snow. Beyond the hills were more hills, and then the flat expanse of the Mojave Desert, trackless and vast. The Indians called it the Country of Lost Borders.

Lieutenant Shawn found himself shivering in the wind. It was February, the coldest month, and it was after ten. He walked back up the road toward the Ford Econovan, with the large rotating antenna on top. The motor was idling softly; it was the only sound he could hear. He opened the rear doors and climbed into the back, shutting the doors behind him.

He was enveloped in deep-red light: a night light, so that he would not be blinded when he stepped outside. In the red light the banks of instruments and electronic equipment glowed greenly.

Private Lewis Crane, the electronics technician, was there, also wearing a parka. He was hunched over a map, making calculations with occasional reference to the instruments before him.

Shawn asked Crane if he were certain they had arrived at the place, and Crane confirmed that they had. Both men were tired: they had driven all day from Vandenberg in search of the latest Scoop satellite. Neither knew much about the Scoops, except that they were a series of secret capsules intended to analyze the upper atmosphere and then return. Shawn and Crane had the job of finding the capsules once they had landed.

In order to facilitate recovery, the satellites were fitted with electronic beepers that began to transmit signals when they came down to an altitude of five miles.

That was why the van had so much radio-directional equipment. In essence, it was performing its own triangulation. In Army parlance it was known as single-unit triangulation, and it was highly effective, though slow. The procedure was simple enough: the van stopped and fixed its position, recording the strength and direction of the radio beam from the satellite. Once this was done, it would be driven in the most likely direction of the satellite for a distance of twenty miles. Then it would stop and take new coordinates. In this way, a series of triangulation points could be mapped, and the van could proceed to the satellite by a zigzag path, stopping every twenty miles to correct any error. The method was slower than using two vans, but it was safer -- the Army felt that two vans in an area might arouse suspicion.

For six hours, the van had been closing on the Scoop satellite. Now they were almost there.

Crane tapped the map with a pencil in a nervous way and announced the name of the town at the foot of the hill: Piedmont, Arizona. Population forty-eight; both men laughed over that, though they were both inwardly concerned. The Vandenberg ESA, or Estimated Site of Arrival, had been twelve miles north of Piedmont. Vandenberg computed this site on the basis of radar observations and 1410 computer trajectory projections. The estimates were not usually wrong by more than a few hundred yards.

Yet there was no denying the radio-directional equipment, which located the satellite beeper directly in the center of town. Shawn suggested that someone from the town might have seen it coming down -- it would be glowing with the heat -- and might have retrieved it, bringing it into Piedmont.

This was reasonable, except that a native of Piedmont who happened upon an American satellite fresh from space would have told someone -- reporters, police, NASA, the Army, someone.

But they had heard nothing.

Shawn climbed back down from the van, with Crane scrambling after him, shivering as the cold air struck him. Together, the two men looked out over the town.

It was peaceful, but completely dark. Shawn noticed that the gas station and the motel both had their lights doused. Yet they represented the only gas station and motel for miles.

And then Shawn noticed the birds.

In the light of the full moon he could see them, big birds, gliding in slow circles over the buildings, passing like black shadows across the face of the moon. He wondered why he hadn't noticed them before, and asked Crane what he made of them.

Crane said he didn't make anything of them. As a joke, he added, "Maybe they're buzzards."

The Andromeda Strain. Copyright © by Michael Crichton. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

The Andromeda Strain

Chapter One

The Country of Lost Borders

A man with binoculars. That is how it began: with a man standing by the side of the road, on a crest overlooking a small Arizona town, on a winter night.

Lieutenant Roger Shawn must have found the binoculars difficult. The metal would be cold, and he would be clumsy in his fur parka and heavy gloves. His breath, hissing out into the moonlit air, would have fogged the lenses. He would be forced to pause to wipe them frequently, using a stubby gloved finger.

He could not have known the futility of this action. Binoculars were worthless to see into that town and uncover its secrets. He would have been astonished to learn that the men who finally succeeded used instruments a million times more powerful than binoculars.

There is something sad, foolish, and human in the image of Shawn leaning against a boulder, propping his arms on it, and holding the binoculars to his eyes. Though cumbersome, the binoculars would at least feel comfortable and familiar in his hands. It would be one of the last familiar sensations before his death.

We can imagine, and try to reconstruct, what happened from that point on.

Lieutenant Shawn swept over the town slowly and methodically. He could see it was not large, just a half-dozen wooden buildings, set out along a single main street. It was very quiet: no lights, no activity, no sound carried by the gentle wind.

He shifted his attention from the town to the surrounding hills. They were low, dusty, and blunted, with scrubby vegetation and an occasional withered yucca tree crusted in snow. Beyond the hills were more hills, and then the flat expanse of the Mojave Desert, trackless and vast. The Indians called it the Country of Lost Borders.

Lieutenant Shawn found himself shivering in the wind. It was February, the coldest month, and it was after ten. He walked back up the road toward the Ford Econovan, with the large rotating antenna on top. The motor was idling softly; it was the only sound he could hear. He opened the rear doors and climbed into the back, shutting the doors behind him.

He was enveloped in deep-red light: a night light, so that he would not be blinded when he stepped outside. In the red light the banks of instruments and electronic equipment glowed greenly.

Private Lewis Crane, the electronics technician, was there, also wearing a parka. He was hunched over a map, making calculations with occasional reference to the instruments before him.

Shawn asked Crane if he were certain they had arrived at the place, and Crane confirmed that they had. Both men were tired: they had driven all day from Vandenberg in search of the latest Scoop satellite. Neither knew much about the Scoops, except that they were a series of secret capsules intended to analyze the upper atmosphere and then return. Shawn and Crane had the job of finding the capsules once they had landed.

In order to facilitate recovery, the satellites were fitted with electronic beepers that began to transmit signals when they came down to an altitude of five miles.

That was why the van had so much radio-directional equipment. In essence, it was performing its own triangulation. In Army parlance it was known as single-unit triangulation, and it was highly effective, though slow. The procedure was simple enough: the van stopped and fixed its position, recording the strength and direction of the radio beam from the satellite. Once this was done, it would be driven in the most likely direction of the satellite for a distance of twenty miles. Then it would stop and take new coordinates. In this way, a series of triangulation points could be mapped, and the van could proceed to the satellite by a zigzag path, stopping every twenty miles to correct any error. The method was slower than using two vans, but it was safer -- the Army felt that two vans in an area might arouse suspicion.

For six hours, the van had been closing on the Scoop satellite. Now they were almost there.

Crane tapped the map with a pencil in a nervous way and announced the name of the town at the foot of the hill: Piedmont, Arizona. Population forty-eight; both men laughed over that, though they were both inwardly concerned. The Vandenberg ESA, or Estimated Site of Arrival, had been twelve miles north of Piedmont. Vandenberg computed this site on the basis of radar observations and 1410 computer trajectory projections. The estimates were not usually wrong by more than a few hundred yards.

Yet there was no denying the radio-directional equipment, which located the satellite beeper directly in the center of town. Shawn suggested that someone from the town might have seen it coming down -- it would be glowing with the heat -- and might have retrieved it, bringing it into Piedmont.

This was reasonable, except that a native of Piedmont who happened upon an American satellite fresh from space would have told someone -- reporters, police, NASA, the Army, someone.

But they had heard nothing.

Shawn climbed back down from the van, with Crane scrambling after him, shivering as the cold air struck him. Together, the two men looked out over the town.

It was peaceful, but completely dark. Shawn noticed that the gas station and the motel both had their lights doused. Yet they represented the only gas station and motel for miles.

And then Shawn noticed the birds.

In the light of the full moon he could see them, big birds, gliding in slow circles over the buildings, passing like black shadows across the face of the moon. He wondered why he hadn't noticed them before, and asked Crane what he made of them.

Crane said he didn't make anything of them. As a joke, he added, "Maybe they're buzzards."

The Andromeda Strain. Copyright © by Michael Crichton. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 186 )
Rating Distribution

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(78)

4 Star

(63)

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(32)

2 Star

(7)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 186 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2011

    Genius

    Except for very few moments in the book, you would not realize this book was written in 1969. The idea of a biological pandemic is pretty common nowadays with zombie movies, the movie "Outbreak," etc. but the way this story was presented and how the virus/bacteria comes into existence shows how brilliant and how much Crichton was ahead of his time. This was a very quick read but it is probably better suited for those who have at least a decent understanding of science and appreciate intellectual thrillers. This book makes you think, and if you can put this into perspective given the context of when this was written, you will love it.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Andromeda...

    Read it, didnt particularly like it. What happened to the townspeople? All these deaths came down to (spoiler ALERT) acid or not enough thereof in the body? And how was the deaths explained? Where were the townsfolk buried or incinerated? What became of them? Lots o' loose ends imo.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 7, 2010

    Possibly one of the greatest Sci-Fi novels

    On one fateful night,Piedmont receives a gift. Withing minutes, the town is dead, as if they dropped for no reason in the middle of the night. Now, Wildfire is activated, summoning scientists from across the country to help solve the mystery of what happened, and why 2 lonely survivors managed to avoid the catastrophe that claimed so many others. But their time is limited, as soon their quarantine breaks and people start dying. A thrilling Sci-Fi novel that will leave you questioning things you never thought to ask before. You will feel as though you are a member of the wildfire team, discovering possible cures only to find that the virus has evolved into a new, deadlier form. I first discover Micheal Crichton through the wonderful novel of Jurassic park, and thought that he would be a one hit wonder author. I was pleased to find I was wrong, and reading this book shed new light on the world of biology for me. The entire novel is not a simple 'What-if?" technology, all of it based off technology we do indeed have, if not a little more simplified and advanced, but based in reality nonetheless. Mr. Crichton, god rest him, was also a very well educated individual, sporting both his own speculations and those of other scientists who were experts on their respected subjects. I also enjoyed it because not only did I find myself thinking about the subjects I was reading about, but I was also generating my own knowledge and interest, and later found myself studying more about Biology simply so that I could read on a higher intellect level. Sci-Fi lovers would love it as well as scientists, as the book uses ideas that causes questions to be raised and answered, but only if the reader is truly paying attention to the book itself.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    So exciting!

    This book is excellent. Thrilling and very persuasive. I had seen the movie several times and was pleasantly surprised at how well the movie followed the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    page turning thriller

    page turning thriller

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2012

    Suspenseful.

    Crichton's first novel still a winner!
    Here Crichton demonstrates a very expansive and creative imagination.
    Even in this day of high technology one can still appreciate the science behind the story, and how far ahead Crichton's imagination was to the science and technology of its time.

    I love the fact that the publisher left in the author's sense of realism by the use of Top Secret labels to give the work the feel that it is straight out of declassified files released by the U.S. Government.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2014

    Great book!

    Great book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 21, 2014

    A winner

    Still good after all these years!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    I highly recommend this book. It was hard to put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 13, 2014

    Set in the 1960s in the middle of the great space race, Andromed

    Set in the 1960s in the middle of the great space race, Andromeda Strain combines conspiracy theories, scientific principles, and science fiction. Michael Crichton explains physics, biology, medicine, scientific reasoning, and ethics in a layperson-friendly way, but those who are familiar with science will be pleased with the depth of the information. I enjoyed the premise of a potential infectious organism from space, and the continually building tension made it hard for me to put the book away. I felt that the ending fell a little flat after the atmosphere the author created earlier in the book, but the ending was realistic and consistent with what might have happened if the crisis had actually occurred. I would recommend this book especially for those who enjoy scientific reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2013

    Michael Crichton¿s Andromeda Strain is a classic science fiction

    Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain is a classic science fiction novel that you won’t regret reading. It’s relatively short and engaging. It utilizes mystery and, at times, a sense of horror to grab your attention.

    The book is given as a narrative retelling of a report given after the fiasco of the Andromeda Strain: an alien micro-organism that landed on earth via a fallen manmade satellite. The effects of the organism’s presence are immediately evident when the populace of a nearby town is wasted. A team of scientist must unlock its secrets before the strain can get out of control and decimate the human race.

    The book doesn’t spend much time with suspense. The narrator says on more than one occasion that the people involved did indeed survive and that the threat was properly dealt with. That isn’t the question for the reader. Rather, the intrigue is in the “how.” How did they manage to solve the mystery of the alien micro-organism? Over the course of the storytelling the narrator will frequently point out dire mistakes made by the team. As the reader encounters one error after another, one begins to wonder how the team went from point A (going in the wrong direction) to point B (the solution).

    What makes this book really impressive is the amount of thought that went into the details. Crichton is smart and it reflects in the incredibly in-depth science that goes into explaining the Andromeda strain and the progress made by the team. Maybe you’ll understand it and maybe it’ll go way over your head, but it certainly deepens the reader’s experience of realism.

    Despite being decades old it is definitely worth the read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2013

    One of my favorite books

    I bought this paperback version in 1993 and i have read it so many times. I do find it strange that they are selling it on here for $9.99 and i bought it in '93 for $7.99.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2013

    It was good untill the middle, then they ran out of ideas

    Jjjjjjjjjjjkk

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2012

    Too many scientific terms

    I research astrophysics, not astrobiology, though let me just say that if you want a dramatic sci-fi that doesn't make you pull up the dictionary 99.9% of the time, read Life As We Knew It, by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Another boring one.

    Nithing much happened in this one, just a bunch of testing and talking.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Review

    A slowly building tale of suspense, the paranoia of the character reaches the reader and Michael Crichton masterfully makes a complicated story simple to grasp.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 16, 2011

    Good, but not as good as I thought it would be

    The Andromeda Strain is an interesting novel about a group of scientists trying to learn about a new and deadly microorganism that fell to Earth with a satellite. Having read books by Michael Crichton before, so I expected the characters to be well developed, but unfortunately I was sadly mistaken. I think the book was written mostly to entertain, and i kind of was, but at the same time it was very informative. I would definitely recommend this because it constantly kept me entertained, even though the characters weren¿t fully developed. I think anyone could enjoy this book, but the people who will get the most out of it, will be the ones who have at least a little bit of background knowledge on biology.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2011

    Great Book

    The Andromeda Strain is a great science fiction thrilller that takes place in the middle of the desert of Arizona. A mysterious disease kills almost everyone in a small town, and scientists in a secret government installation must solve the mystery and develop a cure before it is too late. It is a very suspensful "race against time" type of book with lots of scientific facts and advanced technology. It is hard to believe that such an interesting book was written in 1969

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Well Done

    A pretty good sci-fi book with an alien virus infecting a small town and the race that follows to eradicate it and produce a vaccine. Very X-Files-ish. I liked it a lot. If you did too, I also recommend reading Crichton's Jurassic Park.

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  • Posted September 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Pretty Good

    I thought this was below average for Michael Crichton. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but it is much more fact driven than a lot of his better novels. It is not very character driven at all. It is really interesting and was a fast read, just not super great.

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