Review: The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Hey guys!

I’m pretty damn stoked about this review! I was so tired of this one festering on my TBR list for way too long – I even took a trek to the library in the middle of a Canadian snowstorm to get this one! It was pretty serious. The book I’m talking about is The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. The concept behind this book, a bacterial strain appealed to me from the very beginning. I love to read scientific thrillers and was especially excited to read one of Crichton’s earlier works. This book was published in 1969, which was an especially interesting time for American space exploration among other things. So naturally, when I saw the ‘science fiction’ category on my card in Winter Bookish Bingo, I immediately thought of this book and I was so excited to get my hot little hands on it. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about the characters or many specifics about the story, but I was totally pumped nonetheless. When I did finally get to know the characters that would be directly affected by the Andromeda Strain and the lengths that they would have to go to in order to protect humanity from Andromeda, I was really interested. Okay, before I say anything else, let’s get to the summary!

Everything starts when a random satellite falls from outer space somewhere and lands in Piedmont, Arizona. After it falls, everyone living there seems to die. There are bodies all over the place and no one knows what is going on. So, the base commander thinks it might be a good time to initiate Wildfire, a team specifically designed to combat alien bacterial shenanigans. Once the scientists from Wildfire get started working on this, they think that the microorganisms are wreaking their havoc by causing some sort of instant blood clotting all over the body. The only problem is that there are two survivors from Piedmont, a baby and an old man. The scientists have a tonne of questions about Piedmont. What does the baby have in common with the old man that helped them both to survive whatever killed so many other people in Piedmont? How exactly did this alien bacteria kill everyone so friggin quickly? How can the scientists stop the bacteria from killing everyone else on Earth?

This book was one of the first works of science fiction I’ve read in a long time, and I didn’t know what to expect when I first started to read it. I liked the fact that Crichton developed the characters as men who weren’t entirely sure what to expect either. As I explained in the summary, they had a lot of questions to work on before they could really understand what had happened in Piedmont. So, what did I not like about this book? Because the story mostly focused on scientific and anatomical aspects, and because I’m really, really not a scientist at all, I spent a good portion of this book in smile-and-nod mode. I found this lack of understanding on my part super frustrating and there were just too many details to ask Google about. Rawr. Besides my general confusion about the scientific content, I also wasn’t sure that I liked the pace of this book. I found that the climaxy interesting bits happened a bit late in the book for my taste and I was starting to wonder if the mysteries behind the alien bacteria would ever get solved. Colour me impatient, I guess. Overall, I would say I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. I expected more from the story because I did like Crichton’s later novels. *sigh*

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