Reviews of Prey (2002)
Review by alanhunt (2005-07-01)
This book seemed written with the express intent of having it made into a summer blockbuster. Quick timeframe (two days?) mysterious science, big explosions, hot chicks. Mike really seems to have sold out in comparison to his earlier work, which was solid science fiction. The shallow characters, accelerated timeline, and implied special effects make this book the literary equivalent of a summer blockbuster: fast paced, exciting, but leave your brain at the door.
Review by ayk1987 (2005-06-14)
On it's own this book is good, but coming from Michael Crichton, it's dissapointing. That's not to say it isn't worth picking up to read, but given the exciting topic of nanotechnology, it has greater potential. The book does pick up speed quickly, but that's do to the fact that the particles can evolve very quickly. Yes, the novel is about self replicating particles that can adapt to the enviroment. Somehow after you finish reading you'll feel that it could have been better. Oh well.
Review by Non (2004-09-12)
Very fast paced book; I read it in one sitting. The characters are pretty shallow and have no real emotional connection with the reader. Crichton could have delved more deeply into the subject matter but that isn't the direction of this book. Its not a text book on nanotechnology but is a quick thriller with a SF twist.
I have been a Crichton fan for years and have read all his other works and this one seems to have been written quickly and without much interest in making a truly great book.
Review by TravelingDude (2003-07-10)
If there was one gripe I really have about this book, it's that it moves far too fast. I don't mean fast in the sense that the book was really, really good, but in the sense that the seriousness of the subject matter isn't treated with the gravity it deserves.
Several computer scientists have created the world's first viable nanites, microscopic machines with almost limitless applications for medicine, industry, and entertainment. Imagine if any disease could be cured by a simple injection of nanoparticles; useful everyday objects and even structures could be created by building them atom by atom, with every aspect of the process under control. This is the ultimate goal of those working in nanotechnology.
Without delving into too much technical depth, the scientists have imbued the tiny machines with a set of programs that allow them to work together as a single organism. Unfortunately, a small group escapes into the desert and begins to reproduce, violently attacking and killing anything that moves. Now they have very little time to act before the problem gets out of control, but personal and corporate interests are interfering with efforts to stop the 'experiment' and time is almost out.
Prey moves along at a fast pace. Too fast. The release of highly intellgent microscopic machines into the environment would herald a new era in the history of mankind. If the machines were truly violent, it would likely end human civilization as we know it, as the microscopic nature of the machines makes them nearly impossible to eradicate completely. Crichton, no doubt aware of this fact, seems to ignore it as his characters fight, mainly with explosives, to stop the spread of the machines. Fire would certainly destroy them, but no doubt many thousands would escape, only to regroup and reproduce once again. Eventually there would be so many that all the bombs in the world would not be enough.
There is more to the story than this -- the plot involves the machines' attempt to imitate their creators in a particularly interesting way, and this aspect of the plot keeps the book fairly interesting until the end. It's a fine story, and one that deserves to be read -- in paperback form.
When reading this book, I couldn't help thinking about Stephen King's 'The Stand'. A plague with the potential to wipe out human civilization, whether biological or mechanical in nature deserves a huge number of pages, so that the important facets of such an event can be fully explored in all of their horrible glory. Crichton is satisfied simply leaving the reader to make the conclusion that the major threat has been taken care of by the end of the story, right when things start to get interesting.
Review by nzilla (2003-03-10)
Prey is Michael Crichton's latest novel. The writing and the characters are piss poor--I think the movie will be better in this respect--but the science and the premise is very interesting. Definitely not his best work, but still a fun, short read. Probably not the best introduction to Michael Crichton's work. 6/10