The Daily Monocle

Critical book reviews from a literary skeptic.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Next by Michael Crichton & July Book Giveaway!

Posted by J. P. Wickwire

Everything I know about genetics, I've learned from science-fiction. Or, more precisely, everything I've learned about genetics has been borne of a love of science-fiction. That's why you'll find Genetics for Dummies right along side Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on my bookshelf.

I've done a lot of research on the subject of genetics, and I've found that there are a lot of disturbing things going on in the field today. For example, there are major corporations (such as Myriad Genetics) who are patenting human genes. That way, they can legally control the research—or stop the research altogether—on said gene. This practice has crippled genetic research, and left people paying thousands of dollars on genetic tests that should cost mere hundreds.

In May of this year, the US District Court of Appeals ruled Gene Patents illegal. Not long after, Myriad Genetics retaliated. And, of course, the terse battle for the rights of our bodies continues. It's estimated that 20% of genes inside your body are owned by a major corporation. Creepy, isn't it?

Next by Michael Crichton is a book that deals with many genetic issues that we hear about in the media. Basically, it highlights the inner workings of the business of genetic science; it underscores how one little slip can cause a whole world of trouble.

I have a difficult time providing a succinct synopsis for this novel because this book tells more than one story. While most authors will provide ordinary characters and thrust them into extraordinary circumstances (or vice versa), Crichton has taken ordinary characters and put them into circumstances that would ordinary in their field. This allows the reader minimal suspension of belief, and so we find ourselves more easily drawn into the story.

Crichton is a plot-driven novelist. However, as in Pirate Latitudes, he also manages to provide distinct characters. Too often plot-driven books find themselves shadowed by characters that are as lifelike as cardboard. Thankfully, Next bucks the trend, leaving the reader with characters as diverse as the book's plot(s).

Next unfolds like a movie. Tendrils of carefully-planned plot spread to the far reaching corners of every page. The first half of the book exists to show you just how messed up the world of scientific genetics is; and the second half brings all of these issues together. What you're left with is a whirlwind tale about genetic experimentation, without focusing on any one issue as a whole.

Crichton expertly blurs the line between fact and fiction. With phony news articles and strange stories that you're sure you've heard somewhere , you're never quite sure if the anomalies of the scientific community are fact, or birthed from the author's imagination. As the preface says, "This novel is fiction, except for the parts that aren't.

Michael Crichton's Next is, plain and simple, a genetic thriller. How apt that people should be reading it now while these genetic issues are so relevant in our society today.


Author's Website
But it/read an excerpt on Amazon

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Would you like to own a copy of Michael Crichton's Next?

Of course you would! That's why The Daily Monocle is hosting the first every Monthly Monocle Giveaway, featuring Next.

Every month The Daily Monocle will give away one new and/or gently used copy of one of the books we've reviewed. This book will be sent to you, free of charge—we'll even pay shipping!

The copy of Next that we'll be giving away is a very gently used paperback with a bright green cover. It looks just like the image featured above, but in green.

How to Enter
There are several ways to enter this contest. Each way you enter earns you one (1) entry. You may enter each way one time per contest.
---*Leave a comment on this post = 1 entry (this is required to enter the contest; don't forget to leave your e-mail in the comment).
---*Subscribe to this blog (if you're already a subscriber, say so in your comment) = 1 entry
---*Blog about The Daily Monocle on your blog (leave a link) = 1 entry
---*Put a link to The Daily Monocle on your blog/website sidebar. (leave a link). = 1 entry
---*Become a fan of our Facebook page (let me know in your comment) = 1 entry

By entering each of these ways, you can enter a total of 5 times per contest period. That's 5 chances to win a copy of Michael Crichton's fabulous book, Next! Every entry is assigned a number, and then I will use a random integer generator to select the winner.

Tell your friends. And don't forget to include your e-mail in your comment. If I can't contact you, I can't send you your prize, and it will go to someone else.

USA and Canada addresses only.

Happy reading!

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