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 The Return of "Two in One"

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Paul
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Registration date : 2009-02-06

PostSubject: The Return of "Two in One"    Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:54 pm

"Micro" by Michael Crichton (and Robert Preston)

This is the second "discovered" Crichton novel to come out after his 2008 death (the first was "Pirate Latitudes"). Which means it was one of his unfinished projects. But, money is to be made on Crichton's name, so the publisher hired Robert Preston to "flesh it out". The end result is, surprisingly, a fairly decent book. The novel has Crighton's usual theme of science gone mad, which in this case means a machine that can miniaturize objects and humans. People get shrunk down to a half-inch in height, and they have robotic machinery and weapons that get shrunk down with them. And of course the multi-millionaire who owns this machine and the company it belongs to is a psycho megalomaniac who wants to sell this technology for military purposes to questionable regimes for big money, so he'll stop at nothing, including of course murder, to get what he wants.

The setting is the Hawaiian island of Oahu, and the company is visited by a group of tech college students, including one who is a brother of an employee who has disappeared. Long story short, the evil millionaire thinks the students find out too much and has them shrunk down to size, then they are set to fend for themselves deep in a Hawaiian forest. The students of course prove resourceful as they battle giant (for them) ants, mosquitoes, spiders, centipedes, wasps, and other assorted creepy-crawlies that come after them. Of course this is not enough, as the villain shrinks a goon squad down to hunt them when he thinks they might make it and expose him.

This is, actually, a decent escapist novel. Fans of Crichton will recognize his style, with the work of the other author blending in nicely. If you are a Crichton fan, I recommend it.


"The March" by E. L. Doctorow

This novel is set during the waning days of the American Civil War. It follows General William Tecumseh Sherman's massive army as it marches through the Southern states of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, laying waste to just about every city and town in its path. In the army's wake follow the dispossessed and freed black slaves, who have nowhere else to go and stay with the army for protection. The novel is a study of various characters as they are swept along with this unstoppable force. There is a Southern lady who is forced from her mansion and life of ease to discover her true calling as a nurse, a half white, half black slave girl who grows into the fact that she is now in charge of her own destiny and life, two young Southern soldiers who do not think twice of putting on the uniform of whichever side is winning, and many more, including General Sherman himself.

Doctorow is a great storyteller, and he does not disappoint here. About my only gripe is that he stages very few battle sequences; quite often the reader is brought in after the battle is done. Still, for human drama, this is still a very good book.

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PostSubject: Re: The Return of "Two in One"    Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:56 am

I'm glad to hear that Crichton's unfinished work is being treated with the respect and delicacy it deserves. Micro sounds very interesting, but The March really has my interest piqued. I've never been a huge fan of battle sequences anyway to be honest, so this book sounds right up my street!

Thanks for the review, Paul Very Happy
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