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Book Review: State of Fear - varnamvarnam
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Book Review: State of Fear

State Of Fear by Michael Crichton, HarperCollins Publishers, 603 pages.

“The United States of America is an international pariah, isolated from the rest of the world and justifiably despised because we failed to sign the Kyoto Protocol to attack a global problem”, says one of the characters in Michael Crichton’s new book State Of Fear. This is countered by one of the main characters in the book with the statement that Kyoto protocol does plan to reduce warming by 0.04 degrees Celsius in 100 years. Right now we cannot even predict weather beyond five days accurately and how do we know what’s going to happen in 100 years.

In the book the villain is Nicholas Drake, the head of National Environmental Resource Fund who thinks that people have lost interest in environmental causes and need to be shocked into action. For this he plans some eco-terrorism with a group called Environmental Liberation Front. Fighting them are George Morton, a billionaire philanthropist, Peter Evans, a junior attorney, and John Kenner an M.I.T professor who works for the National Security Intelligence Agency.

After the heroes and villains have been introduced, they embark on their well choreographed behaviors. The villains try to blow up things and the heroes reach just in time to foil it. For foiling the terrorist activities, our heroes follow the Dan Brown design pattern which says that there has to be clues to the actual locations of terrorism which the heroes will decode with their brains and Internet. The Dan Brown pattern also says that even though the villains know that the hero has decoded the location, they will still go ahead with their plans. During this dance, we are given lectures on how much we trust all these global warming advocates who themselves have no idea on how the weather changes.

Crichton’s books are mostly techno-thrillers. Prey was about nanotechnology, Timeline was about time travel and Airframe was about the airline industry. This book questions the blind faith that people have in the global warming theory and Crichton quotes several research papers in footnotes to lend authenticity to his arguments.

The book does manage to raise awareness on the global warming data and on the agenda of the NGOs who claim to work for environmental causes which is refreshing. After reading this book, you will look at global warming with skepticism. As a thriller it is predictable and the characters are two-dimensional. This book is not as good as Jurassic Park or even Prey or Timeline, but better than Airframe.


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