Michael Crichton's new screed.

Michael Crichton's new screed.

Dissecting the mainstream.
Dec. 8 2004 6:58 PM

Michael Crichton

Planet Earth's novelist of doom.

(Continued from Page 1)

Crichton seems to sense that he's become too much of a pedant. As State of Fear races to a close, he wedges in some swashbuckling pratfalls. The heroes are kidnapped by cannibals in the Solomon Islands, who tie them to wooden posts and poke at them with bats and knives. A woman named Sarah, fleeing from a man-made lightning storm—don't ask—crawls smack-dab into the middle of a nest of … scorpions. Why scorpions? I have no clue, but I loved it. It's like something a grade-schooler would have thought up—it has childlike, "top this" passion. Amid the pages of climate charts, it may be the only proof the novelist hasn't become a dinosaur.

Bryan Curtis is a staff writer for Grantland. Follow him on Twitter.

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