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The Andromeda Strain Paperback – 5 Oct 1995

4.0 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (5 Oct. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099319519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099319511
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.9 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Some biologists speculate that if we ever make contact with extraterrestrials, those life forms are likely to be--like most life on Earth--one-celled creatures or less, more comparable to bacteria than little green men. And even though such organisms would not likely be able to harm humans, the possibility exists that first contact might be our last.

That's the scientific supposition that Michael Crichton formulates and follows out to its conclusion in his excellent debut novel, TheAndromeda Strain. A Nobel-winning bacteriologist, Jeremy Stone, urges the president to approve an extraterrestrial decontamination facility, to sterilise returning astronauts, satellites and spacecraft that might carry such an "unknown biologic agent." The government agrees, almost too quickly, to build the top- secret Wildfire Lab in the desert of Nevada. Shortly thereafter, unbeknownst to Stone, the US Army initiates the "Scoop" satellite program, an attempt to actively collect space pathogens for use in biological warfare. When Scoop VII crashes a couple years later in the isolated Arizona town of Piedmont, they end up getting more than they asked for.

The Andromeda Strain follows Stone and rest of the scientific team mobilised to react to the Scoop crash, as they scramble to understand and contain a strange and deadly outbreak. Crichton's first book may well be his best, with an earnestness missing from his later, more calculated thrillers. --Paul Hughes, Amazon.com

Review

"He had me convinced it was all really happening" (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt New York Times)

"Science fiction, which once frightened me because it seemed so far-out, now frightens me because it seems so near. The Andromeda Strain is as matter-of-fact as the skull-and-crossbones instructions on a bottle of poison - and just as chillingly effective" (Life)

"Terrifying...One of the most important novels of the year" (Library Journal)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
One of the things I like about Michael Crichton's novels is the presentation of quite difficult and challenging issues beneath what seems to be a simple storyline. In 'The Andromeda Strain', a group of elite scientists investigate the cause of a deadly bacteriological outbreak in a tiny town in north-eastern Arizona. The scientists confine themselves to a secret underground laboratory, an environment that provides an important backdrop to the story. There is a sense of fear and claustrophobia throughout, and the underlying theme is of how weak and futile human intelligence can be against the forces of Nature. We like to think of our technology as embodying perfection and exactitude, but no matter how intelligent and advanced human culture can be, we are nothing compared to the power of a tiny micro-organism, which if duplicated would wipe out our civilisation entirely. Our natural hubris lulls us into believing otherwise. Our technology is, after all, an extension of ourselves.

In tackling the fictitious Andromeda strain, the scientists and decision-makers adopt a thoroughly technological mind-set, even down to who will take the decision of whether to detonate the laboratory with an atomic weapon in the event of contamination. What is called 'The Odd Man Hypothesis' is based on the notion that an unmarried man is best-placed to make such a decision, as he is likely to be free of emotional entanglements. This type of narrow, logical approach seems to reduce a human being to a kind of cold machine and it's a style of reasoning that overlooks the complexity of the real world and the risk of 'false positives' and 'stupid' decisions. In practice, what the scientists find out is that there are just some things that we cannot understand.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I started reading the debut novel by Michael Crichton I certainly did not expect to find myself already facing a little masterpiece. My expectations were low, however, they have been denied by a book that I feel compelled to include among my absolute favourites.
Maybe because of the matter (biology), which I know well, and therefore I was able to fully understand every passage of the work. Maybe because of the very original author's choice to present the novel as if it were a report of something really happened, including the credits at the beginning signed MC. Maybe because what is told could really have happened or could happen at any time.
In one way or another I found myself literally devouring this book in a few days and almost missing it when it was not with me.
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of Crichton's works is that in them science is not an excuse to tell a story. On the contrary, the story is an excuse to talk about science. So much that his novels are accompanied by an extensive bibliography, as if they were non-fiction books.
The real regret is that this author has died and that, although I still have to read some of his works, sooner or later they will end up.
However, he is a source of great inspiration to me and to those like me, man and woman of science, who loves fiction.

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli, author of Red Desert - Point of No Return
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Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a perfectly conceived techno-thriller/earth bound science fiction story. I have enjoyed some other Crichton, John Wyndham and Arthur C Clarke stuff and often this sort of thing requires large leaps of the imagination to follow the story but I couldn't find any holes in the plot or behaviour of the characters.
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Format: Paperback
I am already a big Michael Crichton fan and I devour one of his books every couple of months or so. This time I decided that I ought to read his first book but, as it was his first, I wasn’t expecting much and my expectations were low. I was so pleased to find that this is a great book!

The basic story is that a space probe has returned to Earth, after going astray and landing in the town of Piedmont. Unfortunately it seems to have bought back a bacteria from space and soon nearly everyone in the small town is dead, having died in a matter of seconds. There were only 2 survivors, a newborn baby and an elderly man. A small team of scientists are press ganged into Project Wildfire, their job: to investigate the incident and see if all life on Earth is at risk. They start with trying to understand why these 2 people survived and what they hold in common.

In typical Michael Crichton style, he manages to present a quite difficult and challenging issue beneath what seems to be a simple storyline. There are some areas of the book that are quite in-depth and over my head but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book or make me unable to follow the storyline. I agree with another reviewer here that said that “the most compelling aspect of Crichton's works is that in them science is not an excuse to tell a story. On the contrary, the story is an excuse to talk about science.”

This book has a high sense of drama and seems very realistic, I read it within 2 days. I loved the inventive use of possible future technologies and also that the scientists still seemed human throughout the book. In my opinion, it’s not Crichton’s best book that I have read but it’s still an excellent read if you enjoy his work.
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