Next

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Overview

Welcome to our genetic world.Fast, furious, and out of control.This is not the world of the future—it's the world right now.

Check out the wild world of Michael Crichton's Next! This video features a Bug DNA Kit, where kids can experiment with the DNA of real live insects, and learn about genetics in a fun and exciting way! (Bugs not included.)

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Overview

Welcome to our genetic world.Fast, furious, and out of control.This is not the world of the future—it's the world right now.

Check out the wild world of Michael Crichton's Next! This video features a Bug DNA Kit, where kids can experiment with the DNA of real live insects, and learn about genetics in a fun and exciting way! (Bugs not included.)

Read More Show Less
  • Michael Crichton's Next
    Michael Crichton's Next  

Editorial Reviews

People
“Under Crichton’s imaginative scrutiny, body-part theft, the extinction of blonds and transgenic experiments...all loom on the horizon.”
Mail
“[Crichton’s] latest is in genetics and his literary success is assured.”
Globe & Mail (Toronto)
"Crichton has created a series of vivid, thought-provoking morality plays, presenting key questions engendered by genetic research."
People Magazine
"Under Crichton’s imaginative scrutiny, body-part theft, the extinction of blonds and transgenic experiments...all loom on the horizon."
Time Magazine
"[Crichton] invites a mass audience irresistibly into some of the Most Important Conversations We’re Not Having."
(All Things Considered) - NPR
"Crichton creates a series of fascinating dramatic situations that hold a reader’s attention right down to the last page."
Forbes
“NEXT is populated with blood-pressure-raising villains who will keep you turning the pages.”
Dallas Morning News
“As entertaining as anything he has written since Jurassic Park.”
New York Times
“NEXT is one of Mr. Crichton’s more un-put-downable novels. Its emphasis is on excitement.”
Los Angeles Times
“[NEXT] is a tribute to Crichton’s storytelling skill...the docmentation he sprinkles throughout the narrative teases us with speculation.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
“NEXT is a romp and a potboiler...a blockbuster science thriller...an entertaining read.”
National Review
“A compulsively readable beach book about the dawn of the biotech revolution.”
USA Today
“[Crichton’s] in top form with NEXT....There’s a lot to like and to scare you.”
Newsweek
“Crichton addresses complex contemporary issues...into thrilling reads.”
People
“Under Crichton’s imaginative scrutiny, body-part theft, the extinction of blonds and transgenic experiments...all loom on the horizon.”
Houston Chronicle
“The writing is mentally sharp, with vignettes that make you wonder if you are reading satire or simply mild exagerration.”
Denver Post
“A satirical thriller that will have bookworms glued to their armchairs.”
Daily News
“(Crichton) carouses through the landscape of scientific development, presenting one frightening possibility after another. Michael Crichton isn’t for scaredybabies.”
Baton Rouge Advocate
“Read this book. It’s enough to scare the DNA out of you.”
Daily Telegraph (London)
“NEXT is a page-turner, natuarlly; deft and dashing, eminently professional. ”
Mail on Sunday
“[Crichton’s] latest is in genetics and his literary success is assured.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“You realize what [Crichton]’s fictionalizing could be happening now, not “Next.” And that’s what makes it all so terrifying.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Crichton’s latest techo-thriller raises fascinating ethical questions.”
Daily Mail (London)
“His plot, involving a score of main characters and a dozen different strands, defies summary but is completely brilliant.”
Bookreporter.com
“NEXT will frighten, worry and amuse you, and keep you thinking long after its final words are read. Highly recommended.”
Time magazine
“[Crichton] invites a mass audience irresistibly into some of the Most Important Conversations We’re Not Having.”
South China Morning Post
“A complex and credible extension of present reality into the realm of the imagination. A highly readable novel.”
Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Crichton has created a series of vivid, thought-provoking morality plays, presenting key questions engendered by genetic research.”
Adelaide Advertiser
“[Crichton] is a punchy, modern storyteller. NEXT is a popular thriller worth serious reading.”
Calgary Sun
“Provocative and entertaining.”
Sunday Telegraph (Australia)
“A cracking pace...fast-moving plot with highly detailed research.”
Sunday Express (London)
“(Crichton) is one of the most reliable purveyors of brain-engaged popular fiction at work today.”
Evening Standard (UK)
“Wonderful...NEXT’s a regular romp.”
News of the World (UK)
“Crichton sets up mind-boggling scenarios. The pace and intrigue last to the final page.”
Aberdeen Press & Journal [Scotland]
“It is devilishly clever...thoroughly enjoyable.”
Birmingham Post (UK)
“A cracking dark tale about biotechnology and transgenics. Epic in style.”
NPR (All Things Considered)
“Crichton creates a series of fascinating dramatic situations that hold a reader’s attention right down to the last page.”
Forbes
“NEXT is populated with blood-pressure-raising villains who will keep you turning the pages.”
Dallas Morning News
“As entertaining as anything he has written since Jurassic Park.”
New York Times
“NEXT is one of Mr. Crichton’s more un-put-downable novels. Its emphasis is on excitement.”
Los Angeles Times
“[NEXT] is a tribute to Crichton’s storytelling skill...the docmentation he sprinkles throughout the narrative teases us with speculation.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
“NEXT is a romp and a potboiler...a blockbuster science thriller...an entertaining read.”
National Review
“A compulsively readable beach book about the dawn of the biotech revolution.”
USA Today
“[Crichton’s] in top form with NEXT....There’s a lot to like and to scare you.”
Newsweek
“Crichton addresses complex contemporary issues...into thrilling reads.”
Houston Chronicle
“The writing is mentally sharp, with vignettes that make you wonder if you are reading satire or simply mild exagerration.”
Denver Post
“A satirical thriller that will have bookworms glued to their armchairs.”
Daily News
“(Crichton) carouses through the landscape of scientific development, presenting one frightening possibility after another. Michael Crichton isn’t for scaredybabies.”
Baton Rouge Advocate
“Read this book. It’s enough to scare the DNA out of you.”
Daily Telegraph (London)
“NEXT is a page-turner, natuarlly; deft and dashing, eminently professional. ”
Mail on Sunday
“[Crichton’s] latest is in genetics and his literary success is assured.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“You realize what [Crichton]’s fictionalizing could be happening now, not “Next.” And that’s what makes it all so terrifying.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Crichton’s latest techo-thriller raises fascinating ethical questions.”
Daily Mail (London)
“His plot, involving a score of main characters and a dozen different strands, defies summary but is completely brilliant.”
Bookreporter.com
“NEXT will frighten, worry and amuse you, and keep you thinking long after its final words are read. Highly recommended.”
Time magazine
“[Crichton] invites a mass audience irresistibly into some of the Most Important Conversations We’re Not Having.”
South China Morning Post
“A complex and credible extension of present reality into the realm of the imagination. A highly readable novel.”
Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Crichton has created a series of vivid, thought-provoking morality plays, presenting key questions engendered by genetic research.”
Adelaide Advertiser
“[Crichton] is a punchy, modern storyteller. NEXT is a popular thriller worth serious reading.”
Calgary Sun
“Provocative and entertaining.”
Sunday Telegraph (Australia)
“A cracking pace...fast-moving plot with highly detailed research.”
Sunday Express (London)
“(Crichton) is one of the most reliable purveyors of brain-engaged popular fiction at work today.”
Evening Standard (UK)
“Wonderful...NEXT’s a regular romp.”
News of the World (UK)
“Crichton sets up mind-boggling scenarios. The pace and intrigue last to the final page.”
Aberdeen Press & Journal [Scotland]
“It is devilishly clever...thoroughly enjoyable.”
Birmingham Post (UK)
“A cracking dark tale about biotechnology and transgenics. Epic in style.”
NPR (All Things Considered)
“Crichton creates a series of fascinating dramatic situations that hold a reader’s attention right down to the last page.”
Publishers Weekly

Do you own your body's cells? If a doctor develops a cure for a disease using your cells in the process, are you entitled to a share of the profits? These are some of the questions Crichton explores in his latest science-as-boogeyman polemic. Baker does all he can to give life to the characters, but they are little more than tools to convey the plot, so the author leaves him little to work with. Baker subtly shifts the tone of his voice to distinguish between characters and deftly alters the cadence of his speech to keep the narrative flowing. Despite his best efforts, though, Baker cannot turn the nonfiction interludes between chapters into anything remotely interesting. As if these weren't distracting enough, the multiple subplots make it quite difficult to keep track of what's going on, or how one plot line relates to another. Reading a book that goes in this many directions would be difficult enough, but on audio it's almost impossible to follow. Baker's performance is excellent all around, but listeners hoping Crichton would return to Jurassic Parkform will be left wanting. Simultaneous release with the S&S hardcover (reviewed online). (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Forbes Magazine
Will cool your ardor for biotechnology. Crichton graphically portrays all the hideous things that can go wrong with genetic research. Critics carp that he exploitatively mixes fiction with fact to conjure up an array of Frankenstein-like outcomes. But so what? The last century showed us what the once popular, seemingly scientific idea of eugenics--the belief that we could improve human beings the way we improve animals and plants through selective breeding, planting and culling--led to. Most Western countries, including the U.S., forced sterilization on hundreds of thousands of people because the prevailing thought was that their bad genes shouldn't be passed on to future generations. The Nazis carried that idea to its murderous conclusion. (18 Jun 2007)
—Steve Forbes
Library Journal

Crichton's books dazzle listeners with technical jargon that sends them fleeing to an encyclopedia to find answers and actual characters who rub elbows with their fictitious counterparts. The subjects here are genetic engineering, genetic tampering, cross-cultural gene experiments, and stem cell research. Crichton screeches down the genetic highway at breakneck speed, tossing out truth and fiction in equal amounts. Can an African Grey parrot be able to carry on conversations with its owners? What about experiments to place commercial advertising on animals and fish? Throughout these flights of fancy are several story lines that bring the gene question down to a human level, pitting firm believers against equally firm opponents. Lawsuits that touch on the furthest reaches of genetic research confuse the jury and irritate the judges. Actor Dylan Baker has a multitude of voices to contend with as well as some tongue-twisting medical terms, and he handles the job very well. Some of his characters whine too much or speak sarcastically when the situation doesn't really call for it, and one has to wonder why journal headlines are read in a plummy British accent. Still, don't be diverted from diving head first into one of the most important fiction books of modern time. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
—Jodi L. Israel

National Review
“A compulsively readable beach book about the dawn of the biotech revolution.”
Daily Telegraph (London)
“NEXT is a page-turner, natuarlly; deft and dashing, eminently professional. ”
Adelaide Advertiser
“[Crichton] is a punchy, modern storyteller. NEXT is a popular thriller worth serious reading.”
News of the World (UK)
“Crichton sets up mind-boggling scenarios. The pace and intrigue last to the final page.”
Time magazine
“[Crichton] invites a mass audience irresistibly into some of the Most Important Conversations We’re Not Having.”
Denver Post
“A satirical thriller that will have bookworms glued to their armchairs.”
Los Angeles Times
“[NEXT] is a tribute to Crichton’s storytelling skill...the docmentation he sprinkles throughout the narrative teases us with speculation.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Crichton’s latest techo-thriller raises fascinating ethical questions.”
Houston Chronicle
“The writing is mentally sharp, with vignettes that make you wonder if you are reading satire or simply mild exagerration.”
Baton Rouge Advocate
“Read this book. It’s enough to scare the DNA out of you.”
Forbes
“NEXT is populated with blood-pressure-raising villains who will keep you turning the pages.”
Mail on Sunday
“[Crichton’s] latest is in genetics and his literary success is assured.”
South China Morning Post
“A complex and credible extension of present reality into the realm of the imagination. A highly readable novel.”
Aberdeen Press & Journal [Scotland]
“It is devilishly clever...thoroughly enjoyable.”
Newsweek
“Crichton addresses complex contemporary issues...into thrilling reads.”
Daily Mail (London)
“His plot, involving a score of main characters and a dozen different strands, defies summary but is completely brilliant.”
Birmingham Post (UK)
“A cracking dark tale about biotechnology and transgenics. Epic in style.”
USA Today
“[Crichton’s] in top form with NEXT....There’s a lot to like and to scare you.”
Daily News
“(Crichton) carouses through the landscape of scientific development, presenting one frightening possibility after another. Michael Crichton isn’t for scaredybabies.”
Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Crichton has created a series of vivid, thought-provoking morality plays, presenting key questions engendered by genetic research.”
Calgary Sun
“Provocative and entertaining.”
New York Times
“NEXT is one of Mr. Crichton’s more un-put-downable novels. Its emphasis is on excitement.”
Dallas Morning News
“As entertaining as anything he has written since Jurassic Park.”
Bookreporter.com
“NEXT will frighten, worry and amuse you, and keep you thinking long after its final words are read. Highly recommended.”
Evening Standard (UK)
“Wonderful...NEXT’s a regular romp.”
Sunday Telegraph (Australia)
“A cracking pace...fast-moving plot with highly detailed research.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
“NEXT is a romp and a potboiler...a blockbuster science thriller...an entertaining read.”
NPR (All Things Considered)
“Crichton creates a series of fascinating dramatic situations that hold a reader’s attention right down to the last page.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“You realize what [Crichton]’s fictionalizing could be happening now, not “Next.” And that’s what makes it all so terrifying.”
Sunday Express (London)
“(Crichton) is one of the most reliable purveyors of brain-engaged popular fiction at work today.”
People
“Under Crichton’s imaginative scrutiny, body-part theft, the extinction of blonds and transgenic experiments...all loom on the horizon.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060873165
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/24/2007
  • Series: Harper Fiction Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 318,309
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 1.26 (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."

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    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

Next LP


By Michael Crichton

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Michael Crichton
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060873035

Chapter One

Division 48 of Los Angeles Superior Court was a wood-paneled room dominated by the great seal of the state of California. The room was small and had a tawdry feeling. The reddish carpet was frayed and streaked with dirt. The wood veneer on the witness stand was chipped, and one of the fluorescent lights was out, leaving the jury box darker than the rest of the room. The jurors themselves were dressed casually, in jeans and short-sleeve shirts. The judge's chair squeaked whenever the Honorable Davis Pike turned away to glance at his laptop, which he did often throughout the day. Alex Burnet suspected he was checking his e-mail or his stocks.

All in all, this courtroom seemed an odd place to litigate complex issues of biotechnology, but that was what they had been doing for the past two weeks in Frank M. Burnet v. Regents of the University of California.

Alex was thirty-two, a successful litigator, a junior partner in her law firm. She sat at the plaintiff's table with the other members of her father's legal team, and watched as her father took the witness stand. Although she smiled reassuringly, she was, in fact, worried about how he would fare.

Frank Burnet was a barrel-chested man who looked younger than his fifty-one years. He appeared healthy and confident as he was sworn in. Alex knew that her father's vigorous appearance could undermine hiscase. And, of course, the pretrial publicity had been savagely negative. Rick Diehl's PR team had worked hard to portray her dad as an ungrateful, greedy, unscrupulous man. A man who interfered with medical research. A man who wouldn't keep his word, who just wanted money.

None of that was true--in reality, it was the opposite of the truth. But not a single reporter had called her father to ask his side of the story. Not one. Behind Rick Diehl stood Jack Watson, the famous philanthropist. The media assumed that Watson was the good guy, and therefore her father was the bad guy. Once that version of the morality play appeared in the New York Times (written by the local entertainment reporter), everybody else fell into line. There was a huge "me, too" piece in the L.A. Times, trying to outdo the New York version in vilifying her father. And the local news shows kept up a daily drumbeat about the man who wanted to halt medical progress, the man who dared criticize UCLA, that renowned center of learning, the great hometown university. A half-dozen cameras followed her and her father whenever they walked up the courthouse steps.

Their own efforts to get the story out had been singularly unsuccessful. Her father's hired media advisor was competent enough, but no match for Jack Watson's well-oiled, well-financed machine.

Of course, members of the jury would have seen some of the coverage. And the impact of the coverage was to put added pressure on her father not merely to tell his story, but also to redeem himself, to contradict the damage already done to him by the press, before he ever got to the witness stand.

Her father's attorney stood and began his questions. "Mr. Burnet, let me take you back to the month of June, some eight years ago. What were you doing at that time?"

"I was working construction," her father said, in a firm voice. "Supervising all the welding on the Calgary natural gas pipeline."

"And when did you first suspect you were ill?"

"I started waking up in the night. Soaking wet, drenched."

"You had a fever?"

"I thought so."

"You consulted a doctor?"

"Not for a while," he said. "I thought I had the flu or something. But the sweats never stopped. After a month, I started to feel very weak. Then I went to the doctor."

"And what did the doctor tell you?"

"He said I had a growth in my abdomen. And he referred me to the most eminent specialist on the West Coast. A professor at UCLA Medical Center, in Los Angeles."

"Who was that specialist?"

"Dr. Michael Gross. Over there." Her father pointed to the defendant, sitting at the next table. Alex did not look over. She kept her gaze on her father.

"And were you subsequently examined by Dr. Gross?"

"Yes, I was."

"He conducted a physical exam?"

"Yes."

"Did he do any tests at that time?"

"Yes. He took blood and he did X-rays and a CAT scan of my entire body. And he took a biopsy of my bone marrow."

"How was that done, Mr. Burnet?"

"He stuck a needle in my hipbone, right here. The needle punches through the bone and into the marrow. They suck out the marrow and analyze it."

"And after these tests were concluded, did he tell you his diagnosis?"

"Yes. He said I had acute T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia."

"What did you understand that disease to be?"

"Cancer of the bone marrow."

"Did he propose treatment?"

"Yes. Surgery and then chemotherapy."

"And did he tell you your prognosis? What the outcome of this disease was likely to be?"

"He said that it wasn't good."

"Was he more specific?"

"He said, probably less than a year."

"Did you subsequently get a second opinion from another doctor?"

"Yes, I did."

"With what result?"

"My diagnosis was . . . he, uh . . . he confirmed the diagnosis." Her father paused, bit his lip, fighting emotion. Alex was surprised. He was usually tough and unemotional. She felt a twinge of concern for him, even though she knew this moment would help his case. "I was scared, really scared," her father said. "They all told me . . . I didn't have long to live." He lowered his head.

The courtroom was silent.

"Mr. Burnet, would you like some water?"

"No. I'm fine." He raised his head, passed his hand across his forehead. "Please continue when you're ready."

"I got a third opinion, too. And everybody said to me that Dr. Gross was the best doctor for this disease."



Continues...

Excerpted from Next LP by Michael Crichton Copyright © 2006 by Michael Crichton. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Interviews & Essays

Q1: As with many of your other novels, Next is a vivid dramatization of what can happen when cutting-edge science goes a little too far. Is Next a cautionary tale?

MC: Well, I think it is, in the sense that many of my books are. But for me what's different about this book is that so much of it is real - or that so much of it is very thinly-disguised versions of actual events that have occurred. Genetics, which is the subject of the book, has advanced extraordinarily rapidly in the last 15 years or so and has sometimes gone in directions that many people are troubled about, or disapprove of. It is a very interesting and hot contentious area.

Q2: What scares you the most about NEXT? And conversely, which possibilities do you find the most encouraging?

MC: I'm not really scared about anything in the genetic realm. My research actually reassured me, because I concluded that many of the things people discuss with great fear or great longing-such as designer babies, or extended longevity-are probably not going to happen.

I think that we'll have some remarkable new therapies from this area, and we will also find that the genome is vastly more complicated than we anticipated. In that sense, the genome is a bit like the human brain-much harder to understand than we once imagined.

Q3: What first sparked your interest in genetics?

MC: It's a longstanding interest of mine. I studied genetics and evolution in college, and of course as a medical student. Genetics has been one of the most exciting areas of scientific research in my lifetime. It's hard to remember that when I was born in the 1940s, people weren't really sure what a "gene" consisted of. And they thought human beings had 24 chromosomes, instead of 23! And they had no idea at all how an embryo grew and differentiated into a live birth.

Q4: You've chosen a very interesting and I think new form for this novel, which is to break down the conventional narrative into many different stories, some of which overlap, some of which are self-contained, and others which move forward and become the principle themes of the book. How did you conceive of this book, in formal terms?

MC: I had two considerations. One was that I was unable to overlook the structure of the genome as we are now starting to understand it, and how individual genes interact with other genes, or may seem to be silent, or we don't really know what they do, or sometimes there are repetitions that are not clear to us, and it struck me as an interesting idea to try to organize the novel in that way, even though it's not what one ordinarily does. The second thing driving me was the notion that there are a great many stories of interest in this area, and they're all quite different in terms of the legal and ethical problems that are raised in the field, so I wanted to do a number of different stories.

Q5: What is the latest court ruling as to what constitutes cell ownership? Are there any upcoming cases that you're keeping an eye on?

MC: Rules regarding tissues are fragmented. A recent Sixth Circuit decision regarding the tissue collection of Dr. William Catalona has set back the effots of patients to have some control over what happens to their tissues, once donated to medical research. There are good reasons why patients deserve such control. If you give your tissue for prostate research, you might not want the tissues used for other purposes you disagree with. You might have religious or other objections. You might have legal concerns, because if your genetic information was published your insurance might be cancelled. These are genuine concerns.
Federal guidelines regarding tissues are much more humane, and they don't interfere with research. We need Congress to make these guidelines the law of the land.

Q6: Many of your previous books have ignited public discussion and debate. Do you think NEXT will provoke a similar response?

MC: I am never sure how the public reaction to my books will be. I'm usually surprised.

Q7: In spite of the serious message of the book and the profound issues you're tackling, there is a lot of fun in this book. There are many jokes, there are many very amusing passages and stories, and there are a number of ideas - concepts - that perhaps are true or perhaps are fictional. Is there anything in the book that you would like to be real, that perhaps isn't real - that would improve your life?

MC: Interesting question…I don't know how to answer that…I guess what I feel is that whatever I might imagine is probably right around the corner anyway.

Q8: After the final thrilling page, what would you most like readers to take away from NEXT?

MC: The future is bright and exciting, and it will challenge us to think in fresh ways about our lives. But among our challenges today, we have some legal problems in genetics that need to be fixed. We need some laws passed, and some laws changed.
But I am optimistic about the future. Very optimistic.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 366 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(111)

4 Star

(104)

3 Star

(66)

2 Star

(49)

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(36)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 366 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome novel, I'm going to miss you Michael

    Every book I have read by Chrichton has been excellent. All the way from the first to last I have enjoyed Mr. Chrichton to the fullest extent and Next is no acception. I was locked in as soon as I started this novel. I did not want it to end. The subject matter is extremely interesting and very realistic. Michael Chrichton does do his research. I went to his website to see if he published a new novel and thats how I found out he passed. I loved his books because he is a wonderful writer and I am going to miss his stories.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Really didn't Like this book.

    I usually enjoy anything by Michael Crichton but this book was my least favorite. It was entertaining at first and then it just lost it's edge. The plot was slow and the characters were unappealing. I just did not like it and I ended up giving the book away. (The person I gave it to didn't like it either , by the way).

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    Not One of Crichton's Better Efforts

    I haven't hated a Crichton book this much since Congo. It wasn't even a novel so much as an extremely loosely connected series of vignettes whose sole seeming purpose was to allow Crichton to express his personal opinions on various ethical aspects of genetic research. Crichton has always had some soapboxing in his books, but it's never been as extensive or ham-handed as this.

    The e-book specifically was also sub-standard. Any text that appeared in small caps in the original text was completely missing from the e-book, leading to sentences like, "They passed a sign along the trail that said ." (The missing text read "BUKUT ALAM ORANGUTAN SANCTUARY" in small caps in the paper book.) There were so many instances of missing text that I was forced to check out a paper copy of the book from my local library and carry it around with me for reference, which rather defeats the purpose of having an e-reader. The same text was missing when I checked the e-book via the Nook app on my PC, which leads me to believe the issue is with the EPUB file, not the display on my 1st gen Nook.

    Also, in the bibliography of Web sites at the end of the e-book, the URLs ran completely off the page, sometimes disappearing in mid-letter.

    A major disappointment all the way around.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2008

    Different, but good

    This is a great book. Crichton's genetic page-turner is much better than expected and is one of my favorite books. The characters are a bit confusing sometimes, but not always. It's a bit different from other books of his and has a faster pace, but to me NEXT is a great book and I look forward to reading another one of Crichton's novels. Oustanding and highly recommended

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012

    Loved it!

    I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down. Devoured it in just a few sittings. He does his research and it shows in his work. I would recommend it as one of his best works. Recently read Micro as well and that was also awesome. Have been a fan for a long time and will continue to be.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    CD/unabridged/Science Fiction: Right now, I'm on a Crichton kic

    CD/unabridged/Science Fiction: Right now, I'm on a Crichton kick.
    Apparently, Crichton took a look at gene therapy and technology in the 15 years that he wrote Jurassic Park and realized there was a problem. For one, the stuff that was pseudo science in JP, was begin done. This book has several stories that intertwine, overlap, and stand alone. It's a cautionary tale of what happens when government and medical boards (not just the US) lag behind modern science. Like how much of your body do you own after you give a tissue sample. Or how much gene integration should be done to animals. I liked it because I learned a lot. I didn't know that genes or diseases are patented. I found out that SARS became a pandemic because there was uncertainty on who owned the patent. I found out Hepatitis C is patented.
    This book starts out like a spy novel, but then goes into several directions. There is an emptiness to the conclusions. I wanted to know if the evil bounty hunter.....I mean property recovery agent, went to jail for the rest of his life.
    I still liked it a lot. Did I mention the talking ape.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    High concept with no heart!

    Michael Crichton has always done a good job of intertwining science and fiction without writing science fiction. I think that makes sense. Here Crichton tackles the world of genetic engineering and while there were so many amazing ideas and concepts here, I’m not sure how much of a novel there actually is. There are literally dozens of characters introduced and as a reader you have no idea if they are connected, important, or relevant. Its strangely scattered and when connections are made they are disturbing weak or convenient. I was rather disappointed with this. There just wasn’t enough here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A bit of a let down for me.

    I have been reading Michael Crichton's books for years and I hope the publisher will soon release some of the stories he was working on prior to his most sad departure. I believe the first novel was "Andromeda Strain" (although I thought the characters in this story needed developed more thoroughly) and of course "Jurassic Park" and then there was "State of Fear" which I enjoyed and a few others.

    But, I must say that this novel, "Next" had a lot to be desired. I would even go so far as to say it was a bigggg disappointment. Sorry. It wasn't because of the splattering of foul language, which I'm not a big fan of, (I never understood why authors have to fill pages up with profanity.) Many stories will stand on its own without it or toned down to a reasonable level. Just my point of view.
    I thought that in the novel the plot never really materialized and the characters were never fully developed. I never felt I knew the character, Henry Kendall, the researcher. I would have liked Mr. Crichton to have spent more time to allow the reader know what makes this guy tick. After all, he has mixed the human and chimp DNA to produce a hybrid child. Also, on a side note, I wasn't enthralled with the talking chimp and parrot. If those characters had met a quick end, I would not have been sorry to see them go.

    On the surface when you read the synopsis one would think that this novel would be a interesting, and a exciting read. However this was no page turner and for me it was a let down.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Next, another great exciting installment of Michael Crichton's ingenious writing

    The book Next, is another amazing page-turning novel by the great Michael Crichton and another example of his unique writing style, scientifically accurate reasearch and excitment. This book is a defenite page-turner, and you would hate to set it down for a moment. This book has excitment, drama suspense and is a thrilling tale. For any Michael Crichton regular or fan this is a must-buy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    Out of the Norm for M.C.

    I really enjoyed this on audio book. I listen during a very long commute and I hated to get out of the car at the end of the jouney;could not wait to start listening again. This was a bit off the normal path for Mr. Crichton and I was hesitant about buying it at first but I now happy that I did because it is a wonderful story that will cause concern about possible abuse in the fields of medical research. The interview with the author at the end of the audio book was most interesting.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2012

    Very good.

    I liked the part where Mrs. Bond found out that her parrot was helping her son with his math homework.

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

    Posted September 18, 2012

    Awesome

    I found this book a bit confusing at first, being about twelve when i read it, but when i got the hang if it it was an incredible read. Truly spectacular.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 11, 2012

    Sadly, Crighton's last published work. All his books were great

    Sadly, Crighton's last published work. All his books were great. Well written, though provoking, characters you cared about. The consument writer for our age.

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

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Very mysterious and great

    This storyis a genetic mystery crime book. It is awesome.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    Solid research but not his best novel.

    The research put into the book is good. The story is entretaining but there are far too many of them and all have a sense of forced urgency. The end is bland as if the author made his points with each individual plot and then was in a hurry to end the book. It is not his best novel.

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

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Loved it

    The first Crighton book I have read. I was hoping for more like it.

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

    Posted January 5, 2012

    highly recomended!!!

    I absolutly loved this book. It has a lot of different subplots that come together in the end. Ts a great read especially for someone into genetics!!

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

    Posted December 19, 2011

    First novels

    (@nancy chase) the andromeda straim was his first book published under his real name. Michael Chricton previously wrote under the pseudonym John Lange. Happy reading of older stuff!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 16, 2011

    Not Impressed

    So many story lines that were all tied together and terminated suddenly.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    Where's the beef? (Read plot)

    His books are usually fast paced and gripping, but this one leaves you wondering what the plot was or if there was one. A monkey and bird eventually become part of a family. Really!!! That's the story!!! The only interesting parts were the actual science. Save your money and time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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