Monday, January 15, 2007

Michael Crichton: Stranger than Truth

I have an op-ed piece on Michael Crichton's tendency to bend the truth in his fiction in today's Ottawa Citizen, the largest circulation newspaper in Canada's capital city. You can read it online here.

(An op-ed piece is an article that appears opposite the Editorial -- that is, on the facing page; it's an opinion piece by someone other than the newspapers' editors.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site



At January 15, 2007 12:57 PM , Blogger Lou_Sytsma said...

Great article Rob and it encapsulates my belief and preference for SF that deals with ideas and uses technology as window dressing. Its why your books are so relevant and so too the original Star Trek.

Ideas and the human response/impact are the type of fiction that is timeless.

As to Crichton, never been a big fan of his. His deliberate vagueness about the reality of technology is just one of the reasons why.

At January 15, 2007 2:47 PM , Blogger Josh said...

Nice piece. You make an excellent point about the respective relevance of Wells and Verne, one that'd never occurred to me. I guess the ultimate point is that people need to read everything with a critical mind—whether it's a Robert Sawyer book, a Michael Crichton book, or even the encyclopedia. Gosh—who knew? ;-)

At January 15, 2007 4:31 PM , Anonymous Jim Shannon said...

Hi Rob, excellent article. I think when I pick up "Next", I'm going to read it as "Speculative Science Fiction."

I'm no expert in DNA or the Human Genome Project but what I do know is that despite what "we" know about our DNA there are something like 120,000 junk DNA genes in our DNA Helix that we don't know what they are used for. Who knows what they can do? For instance, the largest human chromosome is 220 million base pairs long. There's lots of room to stretch the imagination just in that alone! The possibilities of DNA seem to be as endless as there are SSF stories to be written about them, but like I said, I'm no expert.

To be fair, I'm going to read Michael Crichton's "Next" as "Speculative Science Fiction." and read the book for entertainment value then anything else. For example when I write SSF I don't want to come across as something I'm not. I write mostly to entertain with a dash of opinion sprinkled with research. If that makes sense. If I can get people to think then good but that's not the whole part of why I write SSF. I write to entertain. I like Crichton's disclaimer though even if it is a bit on the smug side. I also like attitude as well.

If I want science, I'll go to Wikapedia :-) I don't read SSF for science. I'm not a scientist. I read it for entertainment value. Escapist literature. But by the same token, if I want science I don't look to Science fiction novels.

Some good comparisons in the article though about Wells and Verne but for the most part I agree with you.


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