I've recently read Michael Crichton's controversial "State of Fear": A book where radical environmentalists stage terror attacks to promote the idea of catastrophic climate change.

I read this book as a counterbalance to a few other things I have consumed recently: Kim Stanley Robinson's excellent ecological series "40 Signs of Rain", "50 Degrees Below" and "60 Days and Counting"; as well as Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". I can also kid myself that I don't exclusively read Science Fiction (It's filed under "literature!" honest!) Given these points, I was not expecting to enjoy this book.

It's been a while since I last read a Crichton, so it might just be lack of familiarity with his style, but I found the beginning of the book to be a bit frustrating: he doesn't spend much time detailing the world and situations that his characters find themselves in. Some of the early characters are typical Star Trek-style red shirts who exist soley to be killed off.

Eventually I either meshed gears with it pacing-wise or the main characters stopped being cardboard because I started to enjoy it. Sometimes it gets a bit preachy and I can see why climate scientists and global warming activists got so wound up about it, although I think some of the reactions are very knee-jerk.

At the end of the book, Crichton has a short essay about his feelings regarding climate change, followed by some references. The message I took away from the book was not "global warming is all a farce" as many of the reviews and descriptions suggested to me, but rather, evidence-based science is crucial and don't take things for granted: including either stance on climate change, two points I strongly agree with.

There are some other points he raises which I think are really good ideas and hope to write more about soon.


Actually, Chriton's reasoning that warming is not happening was /just/ debunked last week. Here's a good article about it: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/21/antarctica-new-evidence-of-western-warming/ ---Jason Clinton

jasondclinton [livejournal.com]