Sunday, 27 February, 2005

State of Fear

I read Michael Crichton's new novel State of Fear over the weekend.  Boy, does that give you a bit to think about.  In some ways it's a pretty typical techno-thriller, with car chases, gun fights, intrigue, murder, and the requisite technobabble thrown in.  The short version:  eco terrorists are planning a series of catastrophic events that will demonstrate the dangers of global warming.  The events are scheduled to coincide with a conference on abrubt climate change.  The Good Guys trip to the plan and race around the globe trying to avert disaster.  It's fun ride.

Crichton always gives a little more than a thrill ride, though.  In this case he weaves in a whole bunch of stuff about the theory of global warming, and the footnotes he provides are real.  At the end of the book he gives us a short piece on his beliefs and also a good essay on why politicized science is a bad thing.  He finishes with a detailed and annotated bibliography so you can go check out the material for yourself.

I find it somewhat funny that the best treatment I've seen anywhere on the subject of global warming is to be found in a popular novel.  Everything else seems to be partisan cries of "yes it is" and "no it's not."  State of Fear presents a more rational and probably more realistic view, although I'm sure that the global warming fundamentalists have already decided that Crichton was paid off by big polluters or some such.

It really is a good techno-thriller, up to the standards you've come to expect from Crichton.  I recommend it both as a novel and as food for thought.