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:

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.


Miguel said...

Eaters of the Dead is one of my favorite tales, and I enjoyed the movie version as well. Congo, Sphere were books i read in my youth and those stories have stuck with me, even after they were made into movies. Somehow, Congo never lost its deathly suspense, even after the movie.

Thanks for the memories and I mourn Crichton's passing with you,

Miguel Guhlin
Around the

Brian Murphy said...

Thanks for stopping by Miguel. I was shocked by his passing as I had no idea Crichton was ill. Sixty-six is far too young.

Anonymous said...

I was so sad to hear about this. Michael Crichton has long been one of my favorites. I read a number of his books as a boy (Jurassic Park was always my favorite, must have read it ten times in the 5th grade alone) and equally enjoyed the work he did in television and film. One of my all-time favorite cult films is the almost completely forgotten 'Runaway' starring Tom Selleck and Gene Simmons(!!!).

I have a copy of the novel Disclosure in my bookcase as part of my haphazardly growing 'to-read' pile. I'm certainly going to bump it up and start reading as soon as I finish the current book I'm on.

Brian Murphy said...

Hey Arcona, I actually had no idea Crichton was behind 'Runaway.' I must have watched that a couple dozen times as a kid (it was one of those movies HBO played over and over again). And agreed, Jurassic Park was a heck of a fun novel.