Saturday, November 8, 2008
Mourning the passing of Michael Crichton
Lo, I see here my father and mother
Lo, now I see all my deceased relatives sitting
Lo, there is my master, who is sitting in paradise.
--From Eaters of the Dead, by Michael Crichton
In case you missed it, author Michael Crichton passed away this week at age 66 following a battle with cancer. Crichton was probably best known for his tales of science fiction, which include Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Sphere, and The Lost World, among many others.
I'll leave it to others to discuss those works. Instead, I'd like to take a moment to commemorate the man for his efforts in writing a lesser-known viking novel.
Eaters of the Dead receives little attention and most people know it better in its film adaptation, The 13th Warrior. The movie is okay but in my opinion Eaters is much better. If you're a fan of the film, or of dark ages/viking inspired fiction, you owe it to yourself to give it a read (and at only 180 pages it's not much of an investment of time).
I reviewed Eaters of the Dead not too long ago, and if you're interested in reading what I had to say (it's got a few spoilers), click here: http://thesilverkey.blogspot.com/2008/02/eaters-of-dead-review.html
Crichton died far too young but he leaves behind that which any viking would be proud to have as a legacy: Great stories that will not soon fade. In Eaters of the Dead, the vikings live by the following phrase, which lends them their fearlessness:
The deeds of dead men are sung, and also the deeds of heroes who live, but never are sung the deeds of ordinary men.
Though his body now lies beneath the mould, Crichton had the honor of living a life far more accomplished than an ordinary man. His works will continue to be read after his death and thus, he will live on.