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:

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

Spine of Book

There’s something to be said about old libraries, all the old leatherbound copies, the books all the same size. I’ve said it before, I love the aesthetics of that type of shelf.

However, I also love looking around my office and seeing all the different colors and sizes and textures. It pleases me immensely to have so many books. Most I’ve read, some I haven’t. Some…I never ever will.

The book that stands out the most is this one–Airframe by Michael Crichton.

wpid-img_20141024_093154.jpg

 

 

This picture doesn’t really do justice to just how NEON ORANGE the spine really is. It is SO BRIGHT, people, and it catches my eye, constantly. I haven’t read it yet, and I’m not sure how it’s escaped so far, since it’s always right there, jumping out at me. It’s right at eye level by the door, too. SOOOOOOON, it seems to say. SOON.

Thriller Thriller Night

I LOVE Thrillers.

They are the books that keep me up at night, not just because they are scary, but because they keep me turning the pages until I get to the end. I have to know what is next. I think, “Just one more chapter.” But at the end of every one, a cliffhanger.

The characters are always fascinating, brilliantly written, and often bat shit crazy.

These are just the few that I’ve read that I own. We have so many more Kings that I haven’t gotten through yet, and that needs to change soon. I totally plan on reading IT this month.

wpid-img_20141001_074538.jpg

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.

Rising Sun

Whoooooo boy. Rising Sun was an intense read. I was expecting something Sci-Fi, since the other two books I had read by Michael Crichton involved dinosaurs and microrobots. This was completely different from that. This was highly political and full of business deals, mixed with police drama.

7668

It was almost written from a perspective of “pre-dystopia,” in the sense that the Americans seemed to think that government and business as we know it is ending and being taken away from us. Our society is collapsing and being taken over by a stronger, but from many people’s (in the book, definitely not mine) perspective, undesirable race.

Ugh, I think dystopia is not the word I’m looking for here but my brain won’t let me have the one I want. Someone give me a better word.

The strong issues in this novel were difficult for me. I have never been very political, and I kept going back and forth between the Japanese ideals making sense, and my American patriotism. There are some very interesting theories that Crichton discusses.

The police drama is also very intriguing, and not your average detective story, either. The liaison position was a new one for me, and I liked the teacher-student angle. Connor was so mysterious.

Even though, this wasn’t what I was expecting when I picked up a Crichton novel, I did enjoy it. And there is a lot here that is interesting from a cultural standpoint. Even though it is fictionalized, you can tell that the author could not have written this without doing a ton of research first. I will say, that this could be a touchy book for some, because of it’s political nature–and there is an extremely racist and vulgar character. Proceed with caution, but definitely proceed.

 

 

 

TRIGGER WARNING–the murder is based around the girl’s preference for erotic asphyxiation and extremely violent sex. 

WWW Wednesday

www_wednesdays4

 

What are you currently reading?

Rising Sun by Michael Crichton (completely coincidental to my blog post this morning)

Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

White Apples and the Taste of Stone by Donald Hall

 

What did you just finish reading?

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

I just started both of the books in my top list, so I haven’t picked what is up next! We’ll see! I have a George Washington spy book that’s next on my library list, which would normally be what I would go to, but I just bought an awwwwwwwwwwwful lot of books lately….

Milkshakes

I’ll be real honest. This one had me absolutely stumped. MILKSHAKES? When have I read about milkshakes? Diners immediately came to mind, but for the life of me, I couldn’t think of a single book. I had a particular scene in my head, but it was absolutely vague and I have no idea what it’s from. Nope. Nada. Scanned my bookshelves. Nothing.

Well. Crapola. What am I going to do??????? I can’t just not do the challenge.

Then my eyes landed on this.

wpid-img_20140603_191759.jpg

It’s a total cop out. The little girl in the movie wanted ice cream right? And the kid traps the velociraptor in the freezer. It’s been too long since I read the book to know if ice cream is actually involved in any of that. But milkshakes are made out of ice cream, right? So….ok. I know it’s a stretch. But it’s all I’ve got.

 

UPDATE 6/14/2014:  Reading this now and I am super excited because I found out I actually DIDN’T cheat. Lex totally wishes for a milkshake. SCORE!

wpid-img_20140614_160619.jpg