Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Michael Crichton Next [book]

Although I typically like anything related to future biology, especially the "consumer biology" that I expected Crighton to highlight, this book was too meandering and too unrealistic to be interesting. It was just a lot of work for me to finish.

For the near-future science fiction that Crichton writes so well, you'd think the idea of transgenic animals -- especially when they're half-human-- could turn into a useful plot. But the Steven Pinker-inspired armchair linguist in me just had to dismiss several of the core ideas. A parrot that can carry on a real conversation? A half-ape boy who attends school? Crichton I think doesn't understand how much language is the premier identifying mark of being a human. Language isn't a symptom of intelligence, it is what we mean by intelligence. Sorry I don't have time to explain what I mean in more detail, but I need to warn you not to bother.


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