Reviewed by: Vishal Kale
Author: Michael Crichton
· Peter Janson: The born leader…
· Karen King: tough, intelligent, independent, smart
· Rick Hutter: constantly baits Karen, but is tough nonetheless
· Eric Janson: Peter ‘s elder brother- a successful Executive at Nanigen
· Vin Drake: The quintessential villain
· Alyson Bender: The “halfway” sidekick!!!!
· Dan Watanabe: Doughty Police Officer
· Danny Minot: I, Me, Myself
· Jarel Kinsky: Tricked, and trapped…
The Supportive Cast: Important nonetheless! Erika Moll, Amar Singh, Jenny Linn, Johnstone, Telius
The story starts with 7 research students getting a visit from the elder brother of one among them. Through the efforts of the brother – Eric Janson – they get invited to a state of the art research lab for a visit. This lab specializes in Nanotechnology on a level and scale that is unprecedented. On the eve of the visit, Peter (Eric’s younger brother) receives an sms from Eric: “Don’t come”. To complicate matters, Eric in untraceable. Peter learns that Eric is assumed dead in a boating accident, and suspects foul play…
Peter’s attempts to prove that his brother had been murdered leads to a stunning discovery for the unfortunate students: that the technology being developed by Nanigen involves miniaturizing machines and humans to operate on a micro scale. The unfortunate students get trapped into being miniaturized. They subsequently manage to escape – straight into the rain forest. The rest of the story focuses on how the students- on a micro scale – fight the forces of nature as well as man in order to survive, to get back to real size and to prove that the death of Eric was a murder…
The book is worth a read, no doubt about that. It is reasonably fast paced, well written with attention to detail. It is a page turner that will keep your interest right through till the end of the book. However Crichton fans will notice a discernible change in the writing style from previous books. This book was started by Michael Crichton but completed by Richard Preston after the original author’s unfortunate demise. The question is whether the book is worth a buy? Yes, it is – it is a well written book if taken on its own , fast-paced, interesting, on a science fiction base, without any glitches.
As regards character development, most characters have been reasonably well-developed. The principal characters have been decently fleshed out and outlined; the pace of the story does not leave much scope for further development. The supporting cast, while they have important functions in the story, do not merit further development in my opinion. In a story of this type, pace of the story has to take precedence. There are no obvious gaps or holes that I could spot.
The part where the inch-high students fight for survival make for enthralling reading. You are constanty wondering how on earth are these students going to get out of this one? The treck through the jungle and its awesome scenes where the students fight creatures we take for granted, like caterpillars etc are riveting. The attention to detail in this segment makes for enthralling reading. More than anything else, the way the differing responses of each individual has been represented also give you a fabulous insight into human nature. Critically, each response also gels with the overall characterization of the individual.
All in all, the book is a good one, gives you a good time – and most importantly, this is the last book from the Michael Crichton stable… so don’t miss this one. You are not going to be treated to another Crichton! Also, the scientific aspects mentioned- miniature machines et al make this book well worth a read. It transports you into a world where normally only your footwear reaches… and makes a good story out of it as well! What more could a person want from a fiction book?