In Tokyo, in Los Angeles, in Antarctica, in the Solomon Islands . . . an intelligence agent races to put all the pieces together to prevent a global catastrophe.
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State of Fear
By Michael Crichton
Chapter OnePARIS NORD SUNDAY, MAY 2, 2004 12:00 P.M.
In the darkness, he touched her arm and said, "Stay here." She did not move, just waited. The smell of salt water was strong. She heard the faint gurgle of water.
Then the lights came on, reflecting off the surface of a large open tank, perhaps fifty meters long and twenty meters wide. It might have been an indoor swimming pool, except for all the electronic equipment that surrounded it.
And the very strange device at the far end of the pool.
Jonathan Marshall came back to her, grinning like an idiot. "Qu'estce que tu penses?" he said, though he knew his pronunciation was terrible. "What do you think?"
"It is magnificent," the girl said. When she spoke English, her accent sounded exotic. In fact, everything about her was exotic, Jonathan thought. With her dark skin, high cheekbones, and black hair, she might have been a model. And she strutted like a model in her short skirt and spike heels. She was half Vietnamese, and her name was Marisa. "But no one else is here?" she said, looking around.
"No, no," he said. "It's Sunday. No one is coming."
Jonathan Marshall was twenty-four, a graduate student in physics from London, working for the summer at the ultra-modern Laboratoire Ondulatoire-the wave mechanics laboratory-of the French Marine Institute in Vissy, just north of Paris. But the suburb was mostly the residence of young families, and ithad been a lonely summer for Marshall. Which was why he could not believe his good fortune at meeting this girl. This extraordinarily beautiful and sexy girl.
"Show me what it does, this machine," Marisa said. Her eyes were shining. "Show me what it is you do."
"My pleasure," Marshall said. He moved to the large control panel and began to switch on the pumps and sensors. The thirty panels of the wave machine at the far end of the tank clicked, one after another.
He glanced back at her, and she smiled at him. "It is so complicated," she said. She came and stood beside him at the control panel. "Your research is recorded on cameras?"
"Yes, we have cameras in the ceiling, and on the sides of the tank. They make a visual record of the waves that are generated. We also have pressure sensors in the tanks that record pressure parameters of the passing wave."
"These cameras are on now?"
"No, no," he said. "We don't need them; we're not doing an experiment."
"Perhaps we are," she said, resting her hand on his shoulder. Her fingers were long and delicate. She had beautiful fingers.
She watched for a minute, then said, "This room, everything is so expensive. You must have great security, no?"
"Not really," he said. "Just cards to get in. And only one security camera." He gestured over his shoulder. "That one back in the corner."
She turned to look. "And that is turned on?" she said.
"Oh yes," he said. "That's always on." She slid her hand to caress his neck lightly. "So is someone watching us now?"
"Then we should behave."
"Probably. Anyway, what about your boyfriend?"
"Him." She gave a derisive snort. "I have had enough of him."
Earlier that day, Marshall had gone from his small apartment to the café on rue Montaigne, the café he went to every morning, taking a journal article with him to read as usual. Then this girl had sat down at the next table, with her boyfriend. The couple had promptly fallen into an argument.
In truth, Marshall felt that Marisa and the boyfriend didn't seem to belong together. He was American, a beefy, red-faced fellow built like a footballer, with longish hair and wire-frame glasses that did not suit his thick features. He looked like a pig trying to appear scholarly.
His name was Jim, and he was angry with Marisa, apparently because she had spent the previous night away from him. "I don't know why you won't tell me where you were," he kept repeating.
"It is none of your business, that's why."
"But I thought we were going to have dinner together."
"Jimmy, I told you we were not."
"No, you told me you were. And I was waiting at the hotel for you. All night."
"So? No one made you. You could go out. Enjoy yourself."
"But I was waiting for you."
"Jimmy, you do not own me." She was exasperated by him, sighing, throwing up her hands, or slapping her bare knees. Her legs were crossed, and the short skirt rode up high. "I do as I please."
"Yes," she said, and at that moment she turned to Marshall and said, "What is that you are reading? It looks very complicated."
At first Marshall was alarmed. She was clearly talking to him to taunt the boyfriend. He did not want to be drawn into the couple's dispute.
"It's physics," he said briefly, and turned slightly away. He tried to ignore her beauty.
"What kind of physics?" she persisted.
"Wave mechanics. Ocean waves."
"So, you are a student?"
"Ah. And clearly intelligent. You are English? Why are you in France?"
And before he knew it, he was talking to her, and she introduced the boyfriend, who gave Marshall a smirk and a limp handshake. It was still very uncomfortable, but the girl behaved as if it were not.
"So you work around here? What sort of work? A tank with a machine? Really, I can't imagine what you say. Will you show me?"
And now they were here, in the wave mechanics laboratory. And Jimmy, the boyfriend, was sulking in the parking lot outside, smoking a cigarette.
"What shall we do about Jimmy?" she said, standing beside Marshall while he worked at the control panel.
"He can't smoke in here."
"I will see that he does not. But I don't want to make him more angry.
Excerpted from State of Fear by Michael Crichton Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Michael Crichton (1942—2008) was the author of the groundbreaking novels The Great Train Robbery, Jurassic Park, Disclosure, Prey, State of Fear, and Next, among many others. His books have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide, have been translated into thirty-eight languages, and have provided the basis for fifteen feature films. He was the director of Westworld, Coma, The Great Train Robbery and Looker, as well as the creator of ER. Crichton remains the only writer to have a number one book, movie, and TV show in the same year.
- Los Angeles, California
- Date of Birth:
- October 23, 1942
- Date of Death:
- November 4, 2008
- Place of Birth:
- Chicago, Illinois
- Place of Death:
- Los Angeles, California
- B.A.. in Anthropology, Harvard University, 1964; M.D., Harvard Medical School, 1969
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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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.
Michael Crichton set out to write this book to confirm the popular notions about global warming. However, when he started doing the research, he was amazed to find that the data convinced him the global warming theory is a hoax. He then changed the direction of his book.
Do your homework! Once again Michael Crichton studies an issue and the science behind it and gives an explanation of his research in relatable terms and packs it into an exciting page turner. A very fair argument to the very controversial issue of global warming. As always with a Crichton novel-a great read!
Michael Crichton¿s book, State of Fear, appealed to both my intellectual and fantasy sides through his understanding of advanced technologies and his eminent knowledge of what keeps a reader hooked. He makes an effort to keep his characters such as Nick, Sarah, and George realistic by interspersing their language with many ¿colorful¿ words, which may have surpassed necessity but conveyed the point that they were regular people. He also keeps his writing fresh and unique by writing about current events, playing on the many fears we have of new technology and how it could be used for ill means. Although he had a solid story with excellent progression, I found that reading the technological information proved the most enthralling. Crichton seems to poke fun at environmentalists and those concerned with global warming in this novel, and it seems to me as though his jibes are a little over-the-top. He appears to reinforce the stereotypes that apathetic people have for the hardcore environmentalists, and portrays them as either bumbling fools or, on the other end of the spectrum, wanton criminals such as the more outstanding members of Greenpeace. Although he effectively maintains the plot throughout the novel, it occurred to me that, even though it is fiction, such a ridiculous chain of events is very improbable and thus unlikely to attract readers without an overactive imagination. Another issue I had with the plot is that one of the characters (I won¿t say who so as not to spoil the book) is randomly struck dead by lightning in the middle of the book. It¿s as if Crichton simply got bored with his story, and decided to spice it up a bit with some useless action. Even though there are certain aspects of this book that I did not particularly enjoy, I still felt as though there was a lot of time and research put into it and would recommend it to anyone with a sturdy intellect.
I liked the bit where the woman pushed the guy into the Seine in Paris.
This novel, from the creator of Jurassic Park and ER, tells the story of a struggle against terrorism. It has a swift succession of dramatic scenes across the world and lots of action. It would make a great film - let's hope that it gets made. The villains are eco-terrorists, who try to create disasters - floods, tsunamis - to publicise their cause. His characters talk a great deal about global warming and its effects. Crichton cites many authorities to back their arguments. These include the International Panel on Climate Change, which admitted in its 2001 report, "In climate research and modelling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible." His characters also point out that there is no obvious common global trend of increasing glacier melt in recent years, that El Ninos cause longer growing seasons and reduce the use of winter heating oil, that the Kyoto agreement would cut world temperature by just 0.02 degrees Celsius by 2050, and that energy sources that can support the present levels of world power consumption, without greenhouse emissions, do not exist. They note that between 1940 and 1970 the overall global temperature fell, although CO2 levels had risen. Similarly, it has not risen since 2000, although CO2 levels have kept rising. Over the long run, the best data, from the USA, show a rise of just a third of a degree Celsius from 1880 to 2000. Crichton observes out that in late 1989, at the end of the Cold War, the media hyped up climate change stories - all became 'crises' and 'catastrophe'. This was part of a ruling class strategy to control us through fear.
I loved this book! This book is so intense and edge-of-your-seat I had a really hard time putting it down. The characters in this book travel all across the globe and we, the reader, get to go along for the ride. From Los Angeles to Antarctica to the Soloman Islands and more we are on a thrill ride! This book has a lot of scientific and technical sounding words but I think Crichton does a good job making them understandable.
This book basically asks the question of how much politics and money influences the media. Crichton uses the example of global warming to hit his point home. And let me just say here that no, he's not against the environment or anything. He just shows how the media is manipulated. I guess you'll have to read the book to see what exactly I'm talking about.
This book is believable and down right exciting!
This book is fantastic. Great suspense with very visual descriptions of characters and locations. I really enjoyed reading State of Fear. Could not put it down.
My personal complacency was paraded before my eyes in a pleasant manner ( the story is a good fictional read) and only after finishing did I truly consider my own part in the group hysteria that has permeated American society. Whether liberal, conservative, right-wing, or left, this book is a critique of society where we blindly accept that which re-inforces our own tightly held views. I am going to gift it to my friends and & relatives on a must-read, will be discussed basis. Some say that M.C. wrote this book as a way to "debunk the myth of global warming" . I think that he would be very disappointed that anyone would base their beliefs on one book without questioning enough to delve into research from all viewpoints. It would behoove us all to decrease our intake of news and increase our time spent dissecting the why. We have gone from a nation of asking Who? What? Where? When? and Why? to a society of headline readers, accepting anything in print as truth. We all should remember that just because it is on the internet, does not necessarily mean it is true. Just because it is on one channel, doesn't make it so.
I read this book a few years ago & I still think about it. I really enjoyed it.
Excellent book that exposes the truth and entertains at the same time.
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!
Michael Crichton is a most talented author and in State of Fear he, again, takes some chances with science and public opinion. Like Brown's Da Vinci Code, this book has stirred up some controversy, depending on your point of view regarding environmentalism and the use of the world's resources. There's also some similarity in Crichton's mixing of fact with fiction. Reader beware! Nick Drake is the protagonist and he's out to fix things, even if it takes murder to get the world to see things his way. Drake's outrage and the lengths to which he's willing to go to payback his detractors is nothing short of stupefying! The novel is entertaining and frightening...isn't that the purpose of writing it? Crichton's scientific research shows, even if misused in some instances. As an earlier reviewer pointed out, some of this book's characters seem to be there only for FYI purposes and are not fleshed out. As I read the book, I was reminded of the TV program West Wing. The characters in this show, even the main ones, often appear to spend more time spouting facts and figures and making statements intentionally designed to impart knowledge to the audience, than becoming tangible, identifiable characters. State of Fear is a full-blown page-turner and definitely worth the reader's time. Carolyn Rowe Hill
I thought the novel got off to a good start, with millionaire philanthropist environmentalist George Morton promising $10 million to the National Environmental Resource Fund (NERF), which is fighting global warming. Morton is unaware, however, that NERF's chief, bad guy Nicholas Drake, is secretly funding bad guys in the terrorist Environmental Liberation Front (ELF). ELF is planning to engineer climatic catastrophes (rising sea level, tsunamis, hurricanes), timed to coincide with a major Climate Conference. The Front intends to terrify the world into believing that environmentalists are right about global warming, and so increase the flow of funds to NERF, enhancing its power and influence. But Morton gets suspicious when some NERF funds disappear, and asks for an audit, threatening to renege on the pledged $10 million. Meanwhile, CIA agent and MIT prof, good-guy John Kenner, who is also a climate expert, is on to ELF. Then Morton disappears, following a mysterious car crash, which is when Kenner enlists Morton's lawyer, Peter Evans, and assistant, Sarah Jones, to help him save the world from the terrorist ELF. From then on, its fast plane trips around the word, and all kinds of narrow escapes, in classic Crichton thriller fashion, as Evans and his blonde girlfriend, Sarah, engage in perilous attempts to save the world from ELF-engineered catastrophes. But unbelievably for me, all this happens without any help from U.S. Government agencies, asleep at the switch. At the end, incidentally, a bad-guy environmentalist is recycled by a friendly cannibal tribe. In 'State of Fear', the bad-guy environmentalists will do anything, including murder and mass murder, to frighten and deceive people into giving them support. I got the impression that they ultimately wanted to stop the heroic good-guy innovators behind all human progress, and stop those who would expand the industrial base that will one day propel humanity to Mars and the stars. 'State of Fear' had enough suspense to keep me reading, but didn't really measure up. I found the plot too skimpy, with far too many boring ecological-data-filled discussions and lectures, and footnotes too, and some thirty mind-numbing graphs, clearly intended to persuade me of truth of the anti-global-warming thesis. The characters were just not believable for me, since we have a complex, unfathomable issue here. Nobody can know for sure if the Earth is up to something big, or if the level of risk we are running is dangerously high. The good-guy anti-environmentalists are simply portrayed as unrealistically good, and the bad-guy environmentalists as incredibly bad. I believe the book's real merit, however, is strategic. It lies in the provocative idea of portraying polluters as good guys, and environment preservationists as bad guys, leaving conservatives gloating and liberals outraged, and the publisher and author counting the loot, but hopefully stimulating useful discussion.
He comes up with more scholarship on climate change than a typical environmentalist and makes you think... But the plot is full of holes, and so maybe he needed to think more about the plot than the apology.
Crichton has been lauded for his other books being so thoughtful and scientifically significant. This book they panned saying he had lost his focus and gone to the other side. Read it and decide for yourself.
I really enjoy reading books of Michael Crichton's and I loved this one. The characters were great, the plot was excellent, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys science fiction and Michael Crichton. This was an awesome book.
I enjoyed reading State of Fear, it was thrilling from beginning to end. I couldn't put it down, characters were easy to relate to and Crichton made a concept not popularly believed, believable. I recommend this book for any occasion, from book clubs to a casual read.
I loved it
Thought provoking and will read some of his reseach books. Story was less than realistic and characters not believable. I liked the book made me think about believing all I hear on media without researching the facts.
Apparently, the wealth of footnotes were supposed to lend some semblance of authenticity to the author's anti-science diatribe Saddly, the sources he used are as bad as the writing It is heart-breaking to see how many readers have been taken in by such a closed-minded and uneducated view masquarading as scientific expertise