Michael Crichton – Scientific American
Ad for Scientific American from New Yorker magazine.
Michael Crichton was featured in an ad for Scientific American that appeared in the New Yorker magazine. Here is the text from that ad:
Meet Michael Crichton, a man whose creative landscape ranges from the ragtag intrigues of 19th century London to the threatening predictions of a future we can only imagine.
He is a Harvard Medical School graduate who chose not to pursue a medical career. Instead he “writes books and makes movies.” He is an author and film maker with a keen sense of where the human imagination is headed.
Crichton is now at work on a novel, screenplay and film exploring the darker side of communication between man and primate in Africa.
His first novel, The Andromeda Strain, published the year he finished medical school, became an international best-seller. In the ten years since, he has written six books, including The Great Train Robbery, which remained on the New York Times Best Seller List for 22 weeks. He major film credits include Westworld, Coma and The Great Train Robbery.
“I like the complexity of film. It has every element you could want to play with. It’s a symphony, a play, it’s a photograph. And the director pulls it together.”
Crichton recasts historical fact and transforms scientific data. He plumbs the depths of the plausible, leading his audience to that uncertain terrain which lies between what we know and what we can believe.
“The game to me is to convince people that something really happened. My ideal is to create what appears to be a non-fiction book.” The writer he feels closest to is Daniel Dafoe. “He took existing accounts and essentially “fixed” them creating Robinson Crusoe. He improved on the facts, really. Half of what passes for history is fiction anyhow.”
But what of these instances when actual events fulfill the prophecies of fiction?
“In the best circumstances, fiction serves as a kind of trial balloon. It allows a society to experience events before they actually take place, make decisions and prepare responses to them.”
Technological innovation and scientific discovery demand that we make choices. These choices are central to much of Crichton’s work.
“What we are seeing increasingly is that the decision to commit to certain technologies will affect us for longer and longer periods. That implies an enormous responsibility.
Responsibility include being informed. Crichton reads Scientific American.
“I keep back issues forever because my interests change. I’m always amazed at what’s there. The graphics are extraordinary and they make even the most difficult articles accessible.”
Scientific American is a working tool for Crichton. “The articles review recent developments in particular fields. I go to past issues and work my way up on a subject, getting the background by reviewing the magazine chronologically.
A growing number of newsstand buyers are subscribers and join Michael Crichton every month. Every issue of Scientific American reaches more than two million people who make the future happen.