Michael Crichton died of cancer last week. He was 66. It has been a long time since I’ve read a Crichton novel, but that has little or no bearing on how much his novels affected me over my life.

I think I was in 6th grade when I read Jurassic Park (incidentally, the same version as the picture to the left). It was the first, and I think may be the only novel that I read cover to cover in one day. I remember that Saturday. I had gotten the book from the library on friday and started reading on a rainy Saturday morning. I finished the book that night. Wow what a ride!

His books were always a wonderful blend of imagination, suspense and science. A doctor by training, as a kid I always felt like his books were within the realms of possibility and thus stretched your imagination to further ask questions about what could be scientifically possible. His books were fantasy in the real world so that rather than escaping to another world, he brought the fantastic to you in a way that you could almost believe was possible.

I don’t care what anyone says about the quality of his writing or his views of environmentalism, I will always remember him as a writer who was able to keep a twelve year old boy enthralled in a book for an entire saturday. After reading Jurassic Park, I proceeded to read most of his most well known novels, Andromeda Strain, The Lost World, Sphere, Congo, etc. And while none of his works quite captured me like Jurassic Park I never read a Crichton book that failed to entertain.

As someone who considers himself a life-long habitutal reader, I know that I owe a lot of that to the thrilling novels I read as a sixth grader. For that reason I will always think warmly of Michael Crichton, for that reason I will always be in his debt. RIP Michael Chrichton.

(for a great little article on his life see the NY Times article)