Eaters of the Dead

Right from the beginning of a Michael Crichton novel, he begins selling untruths. But the way he folds them into his introduction, they seem like an Author’s Note at the start of any other book, laying the real, historical foundation before diving into fiction. The reader can hardly separate his “facts” from reality and is immediately drawn into whatever world Crichton has masterfully created.

With his science fiction, he often creates fictitious organizations or groundbreaking legal statutes–anything that will build up his coming story and provide a plausible backbone. It is almost tempting to Google InGen and expect to find real stocktickers or company data.

6412317

When I pulled Eaters of the Dead from my shelf, two things happened:

  1. I was shocked to find it wasn’t sci-fi. It sure sounds like a book about zombies. And it’s Michael Crichton, right? He is one of our best known creature sci-fi writers. What the heck is this? “The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan, Relating His Experiences with the Northmen in AD 922.” Ooooookkkkk….
  2. I was able to GOOGLE IDN FADLAN AND FIND INFORMATION ON HIM. He was a real person. His manuscript was real, Crichton didn’t make this up.

So then I was really confused. What was this book I had in my hands? Michael Crichton did a historical translation? That didn’t seem right. But, I couldn’t put it down. The book is absolutely fascinating.

Of course it is. It’s Michael Crichton.

Ibn Fadlan is a 10th century Arab ambassador from Bagdad, who crosses paths with a group of Vikings on his way north. He travels with them for awhile, and writes about their barbaric customs–before being enlisted in their war against a cannibalistic ghost-like creature.

This “manuscript” isn’t very long, only about 180 pages, along with extremely detailed footnotes. The details about Arab and Viking culture were extremely interesting–I have 3 pages of notes from those 180 pages.

…but now I am questioning everything I wrote down…

Michael Crichton, genius that he is, took the first half of the book from the real Ibn Fadlan manuscript. That part really did happen. But after that first half, things get a little crazy, and you can tell that the supernatural is taking over and maybe things aren’t totally real anymore. It turns out he took the rest from a story in Beowulf. The footnotes, which seem like Crichton explaining Ibn Fadlan’s translated words are actually a fictitious narrator. Now, they are obviously extremely well researched, and probably factual (mostly), but with MC…, question everything.

Either way, real or not real…this book is brilliant. Some of you may know it as The 13th Warrior, as it was republished under that name when it was turned into an Antonio Banderas movie (I have feelings about that, but I’ll keep my mouth shut). I’d never heard of either, I just knew it was on my shelf with the rest of our MC books. It definitely needs to be read by any MC fan–I’m not sure it will push Prey out of line for my favorite, but it might be number #2 now.

Buy Here:

Advertisements

Ready Player One

My husband and I are both geeks in our own rights, but we don’t geek in the same way. I am books, he is movies. I grew up in the 90s, and he is all 80s. Needless to say, our references just do not match up most of the time. We do a lot of side cocked glances at each other.

Every other day there is another movie he is referencing, then despairing because I have not seen it. Not only was I not born for most of his favorites–I also grew up in an all girl house, so even the 90s movies I really didn’t watch. We watched Disney movies and chick flicks, instead of the cult/geek classics.

However, my love of all things geek pushes me to absorb as much pop culture as possible. And so, the longer we are together, the more of his movies I am taking in. I watched the Ghostbusters a few weeks ago, that was interesting. Jurassic Park happened for obvious reasons (mmmm Jeff Goldblum). Jaws is next on the list. The references are coming!

9969571

I need to get him to read Ready Player One. This is exactly the kind of book R would love. It has every single 80s reference imaginable–movies, music, games–ESPECIALLY games. The whole thing is set in a futuristic MMO world. I didn’t get most of the references made, but the way everything was set up, I just loved the geek. I understand why this book is making the rounds!

It’s a little Big Brotherish, with the IOI swooping in to take over everything. However, I really liked some of the concepts–especially the online school set up. The enthusiasm of the teachers, and the technology-based curriculum just sounded really amazing. One thing I do want to question here though–Parzival’s schooling just kind of drops off. At the beginning he’s worried about the consequences of being expelled, and then after the game starts ramping up, he just stops showing up. There are no repercussions, and no one from school seems to miss him. We just forget that he left in the middle of the school year.

This isn’t the first book I’ve read in this type of MMO situation. I read James Dashner’s The Eye of Minds and was not impressed at all. It had a similar concept–teenage boy hacking/moving around in a computer simulation and trying to beat the evil corporation. Ready Player One, published two years previous, is definitely the stronger book. Maybe it is just more fun, with the gaming concept and geek references. It’s a bit more lighthearted of a YA novel, than Dashner’s conspiracy dystopia. There is definitely a comparison to be drawn though.

Have you read them both? Do you have a preference?

The Great Zoo of China

If you didn’t know this already, I am a big Michael Crichton fan. We own several of his books, so I’ve been working my way through them, and the ones that I read are completely thrilling. Prey and Next and OF COURSE Jurassic Park. I mean, he basically wrote the book on dinosaurs, right? Fiction anyway.

21535767

So when I started reading The Great Zoo of China, and a crocodile expert gets invited to this brand new mysterious “Disneylandesque” park in China…of course my radar is going off like crazy. I’m practically screaming, “WE DID THIS ALREADY!!!!!!!”

And then the author goes and freaking references Jurassic Park. HELLO. How much more obvious can you get? We know your book is exactly like Michael Crichton’s. Please, give me something different.

Ok. So, there is something different, and awesome and fun about this book. I can’t really tell you what is different, because that will give away the surprise. And, I enjoyed the book…because it is reaaaaally similar to Michael Crichton…obviously. Any fans of his are going to enjoy this book too. You’re just going to be yelling the whole time because, well, you’ve seen this movie already.

Matthew Reilly’s book is for sure a page turner, and is full of action. The main character is a kick ass female too, which is always a plus. Even though it’s a familiar plot line, I still recommend it. It was a fun read, and I really liked the twist on an old favorite.

 

Disclaimer:  Received for free from NetGalley

Fulfills PopSugar #13: A book set in a different country

This Should Be A Movie

Microscopic evolving robots that kill humans by suffocating them from the inside out? Oh, and they were originally born by scientists who wanted to study the body and learn more about cancer and other terrible diseases, but instead, the swarming robots morphed into a self-propelled biomechanical warfare…

Why is this not already a movie? This thing would be a blockbuster! Have some Hollywood action superstar in the lead and it would sell like hotcakes.

I’d go see it for sure. I loved this book. It might have been difficult to do with the cinematography abilities back when it was written, but come on Spielberg…you can totally do this now!

Bring back Crichton! (And I’m not just talking about a fourth Jurassic Park movie.)

wpid-img_20140920_101316.jpg

Coffee

I love coffee. LOOOOVE it. I used to drink it every single day. I worked in a coffeeshop, so I had easy access, and used to down straight shots of espresso like they were water. mmmmmm

But then, my migraines started getting worse, and I ended up in the hospital. I found out caffeine is a trigger. I had to give it up cold turkey. And found out that caffeine is DEFINITELY a drug. I still crave it every day.

That was 6 years ago, and unless a barista “accidentally” gives me caffeine when I order decaf, I haven’t had any. Phew. That’s a long time! I will have a cup of decaf coffee or a latte every now and then, but I have to watch even how much of that I drink.

I was pretty excited to see today’s theme because it meant that of course I HAD to have a cup so I could take a picture, right? The book doesn’t have anything to do with coffee, really, though they offer it to each other a few times when the guys are trying to work out the computer logs that Nedry screwed up.

wpid-img_20140614_091814.jpg

WWW Wednesday

www_wednesdays4

 

What are you currently reading?

The Telling Room by Michael Paterniti

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

White Apples and the Taste of Stone by Donald Hall

 

What did you just finish reading?

Getting over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald

Rising Sun by Michael Crichton

Half-Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton–A reread, but it’s up next for book club.

I put Cinder by Marissa Meyer on hold, but I’m 11 people back, so we’ll see how long it takes to get it. I keep seeing everyone talk about that series, so I can’t resist any longer.

Popcorn

I have always been more of a book person than a movie person. My husband, on the flipside, is a HUGE movie buff. Because he is also 8 years older than I am, it is a common thing between us for him to mention a movie that came out before I was old enough to be exposed to it, and not get the reference. He gives me this horrified look like “Oh My God, you poor child. We must expose you.”

I’ve had many friends like this, who have made it their mission to expose me to movies that I JUST HAVE TO SEE. *Meh* I’d rather read the book, more often than not.

Don’t get me wrong, I love movies. But I generally don’t go out of my way to see them, especially with theater prices so completely gouged. I do agree with my husband that it is very sad to see Blockbuster and other movie “stores” go out of business, because it is much harder to rent old movies now. Netflix just doesn’t cut it most of the time.

And when it comes to watching a movie…please douse my popcorn in butter. The more the better. That bag better be greasy. That’s why God made napkins, right?

Here’s a few of the big hit movie books we had on our shelves. Interestingly enough, there seems to be a theme in the color scheme. Also…these are all Hubster’s books, no surprise there. He told me this year that I absolutely HAD to read HFRO, and while I liked it, it wasn’t totally my thing. The movie was definitely better.

wpid-2014-06-10-19.11.57.jpg.jpeg

 

 

What’s your favorite book to movie adaptation?