Book Review – Prey: A Novel

by john on January 11, 2003

In Prey author Michael Crichton moves away from the huge dinosaurs of Jurassic Park or the large primates of Congo to take us into the relatively new science of nanotechnology, which to a layman means real, real, real small stuff. You may have heard about scientists making microscopic robots that would be at our beck and call? This novel is about what happens when they swarm together and develop a “hive mind.”

The novel is rooted in real science and Crichton starts off the book by trying to hammer that point home. I was a bit put off by what I perceived to be a little lecturing from Crichton on how we were going to destroy humanity if we weren’t careful with science, but I do think it established a strong start to the book.

Prey centers around unemployed protagonist Jack Forman and his quest to verify if his concerns are real and his wife is having an affair at her job at super-secret research facility Xymos Technology. It turns out there is a whole lot else going on. Luckily for Crichton it turns out that Xymos is using technology that Jack wrote when he was employed, and they now need his help to fix a problem. That allows Crichton to bring Jack into the secret world of nanotechnology research.

Like most Crichton books the pace is quick and the read is quicker. There isn’t much character development and everything gets tied together very neatly. In order to enjoy this book more thoroughly you will need to be able to suspend your disbelief about both the unlikelihood of some of the science and some of the plot devices Crichton has employed to make the story work.

All in all a satisfying read and I will go to the movie when there is surely one made.


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