Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain

“Perhaps the fact that we bleed to death makes us human.”

If you hadn’t noticed by now, some monster always ends up on the loose somewhere in the world of a Michael Crichton book. The Andromeda Strain is no exception. I read it recently inspired the FX TV show The Strain by Guillermo del Toro with some significant differences. The TV show is essentially about a small organism that acts like a parasite and creates vampires with hive-like characteristics and behaviors. It’s actually a show worth checking out. Although I’m not sure which part of the novel inspired del Toro, I get the sense it may be the general dark, gloom-and-doom of the plot.

“These considerations lead me to believe that the first human interaction with extraterrestrial life will consist of contract with organisms similar to, if not identical to, earth bacteria or viruses. The consequences of such contact are disturbing when one recalls that 3 percent of all earth bacteria are capable of exerting some deleterious effect upon man.”

In the book, the group of unsuspecting people find themselves facing a monster of the worst proportions: a deadly, ET microorganism. It lands in Arizona from outer space on a crashed military satellite, and it begins to evolve into something terrifyingly uncontrollable. It ends up contained in an underground lab where the protagonists attempt to bring it under control, investigate it, and eventually destroy it. By the time the reader gets to the end, the level of anxiety that Crichton has managed to build up may lead readers to want to pull their hairs out. Because, I mean, how do you destroy something you can not or can barely see at all? An illusive, invisible evil? It’s a good question that Michael Crichton poses in The Andromeda Strain.

Work Cited

Crichton, Michael. The Andromeda Strain. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 28 October 2008.

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