The Andromeda Strain is a scientific thriller that is rooted in science while positing a terrifying “what if” scenario. First published in 1969, the book includes some scientific breakthroughs that we have not yet achieved, as well as some dated technology – the paper jam problem, the lack of mobile phones, for example.
The crux of the book is that humankind can be its own worst enemy. The danger comes from an organism brought back to earth from a downed space probe, but twice the actions recommend by the scientists (the major protagonists) almost bring about catastrophe. People’s hubris, biases, oversights, and flaws, are every bit as threatening to humanity as the immediate problems we face. Part of the problem in the novel could be that the scientists are indeed scientists and become focussed on details, where outsiders and artists would look at possibilities.
Told as if reporting on a true event, until this moment highly classified, Crichton’s thriller is still relevant today. His own background and detailed research combined with skilful story-telling, make this a science rich but accessible, enjoyable, and thought provoking read.
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The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (1995) Paperback