(US, 1942– )
After training as a doctor, Crichton became a prolific writer of heavily researched yet thoroughly engaging science fiction thrillers. These are generally set in the near future and concentrate on single areas of technological advance. Crichton's first major success was Westworld (1974), which he himself adapted as a film starring Yul Brynner. This deals with a robot-manned theme park that simulates the dangers of the wild west without actually jeopardizing the visitors. Things go wrong when the robots start behaving like real wild west villains and the visitors have to fight for their lives. Nearly twenty years later Jurassic Park (1991) saw visitors endangered in another theme park, this time inhabited by genetically resurrected dinosaurs. Steven Spielberg's film may have broken all box-office records but the original novel is considerably more engaging for its scientific realism and closer attention to the ethical themes.
James Blish, William Gibson, Richard Condon, Dean R. Koontz RP