Dissertation

During my final year at Bath Spa, studying English Literature & Creative Writing, I wrote a dissertation on the late author Michael Crichton. Michael Crichton

The American thriller writer, who wrote Jurassic Park, Sphere and The Great Train Robbery, has been a massive inspiration to me throughout my beginnings as a writer, and I wanted to research into the man to get an insight of what he was like beyond the words on the page.

I found him to be incredibly complex, contradictory and immensely intelligent and its clear to see that he had a political agenda from his first book in 1969, until his untimely death from cancer in 2008.

Below is an extract from the beginning of it to give you an idea of what direction I took with the piece. If you would like to ask me any questions about it, feel free to contact me via, email or twitter.

 

Michael Crichton: A Walking Contradiction or a Genius in Disguise? 

Considered the founder of the techno-thriller, Michael Crichton’s legacy will forever be flag-shipped by Jurassic Park (1990) which propelled him to international stardom. It was through meeting Steven Spielberg for filming ‘Jurassic Park’ that the script for the medical drama E.R. was able to jump from Crichton’s safe- where it had resided for under twenty years – to becoming the most successful and longest running medical drama in American television history.

Of the eighteen fiction novels Crichton had published, eleven of them were made into blockbuster films, with Crichton performing a mixture of directing, screenwriting and producing on all of them. So why is he relatively unknown, from a literary point of view, in contemporary culture?

From his first novel, A Case of Need (1969) to Micro (2011- posthumous), and the sixteen novels in between, Crichton tended to write on themes that either sparked a debate or offered his own opinion on a pressing issue in society. While this drew many admirers, it also caused many detractors that ultimately tarnished his career overall.

Before he died of Leukaemia in 2008 though, his novel State of Fear (2004) was perhaps the most damaging to his illustrious achievements he earned, by putting himself up against consensus science. He said that global warming effects had been over-hyped by the media and, in the process, made grave political enemies in Al Gore and Democratic voters because of this view. Journalists subsequently consigned his novels to paperback bargain-bins and never gave him the respect a writer of his innovation should have had.

This dissertation aims to explore the novels which caused the most controversy around Crichton and judge whether the criticism he and his novels received were unfair/unwarranted. Hindsight will be of great benefit throughout this process as we can see whether Crichton’s views held true over time or if he was justifiably berated.

 

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