The 10 Best Michael Crichton Books
This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in April of 2020. From hit series like "Westworld" and "ER," to the blockbuster "Jurassic Park" franchise, the stories of Michael Crichton have entertained billions worldwide. But when it comes to approaching the written work of such an accomplished and prolific author, we know finding the right entry point can be daunting, so we’ve sorted the literary wheat from the chaff for your convenience. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 14, 2020:
If you’re searching for a paperback to clip a book light to and sneak under the covers with before getting a good night’s rest, you might want to look elsewhere. Crichton’s suspenseful works are more like something you place on the kitchen table and pour over for hour upon lost hour until your nose is nearly touching the page and your vision blurs. About a tenth of any one of his novels might actually induce sleep.
The criteria used to rank these novels can’t help but be somewhat biased and arbitrary, but as a bona fide literary scholar, I want to assure you I focused as much on popular opinion and informed criticism as I did on what I know and appreciate about literature from decades of study. I am particularly fond of Michael Crichton’s writing, and while I can appreciate the classics, I would take Jurassic Park over the work of authors such as Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee, whose novels I focused my master’s thesis on, any day of the week.
It should be noted that it is difficult to assess the authorial integrity of posthumously published works like Micro: A Novel and Pirate Latitudes. Since Crichton had already passed away by the time these manuscripts were found, we know he didn’t get to go back and forth on them with an editor, so they might not reflect what he would consider the greatest final product. Similarly, it is hard to know how much editing was done without his direct consent, or whether or not parts of these novels were ghostwritten, and to what extent if so. They are included because they are not only true to his style and spirit, but wildly entertaining and clever.
While it might seem like this list is influenced by film affiliation, it is better to think of it the other way around. Obviously I don’t mean that the Crichton movies optioned for Hollywood are based off of this list, only that it’s not surprising that his best books are also the ones that get picked up for adaptation. That being said, while Crichton's Congo, Timeline: A Novel, and nearly half of the list have been turned into movies, The Rising Sun, which was also adapted, isn’t on the list because it’s just a little too stiff and lacks the high-concept-science approach the author is better known for. The Rising Sun belongs in a Crichton class of writing that includes books like A Case of Need, Airframe, and State of Fear, all of which are great reads, just not as epic as his other stories.
Google Scholar Michael Crichton comes up in a few academic niches given his fame and unique background. While literary and film scholars study his various works, business and law majors examine items like the success of his franchises and his rigorous personal defense of his own intellectual property. Meanwhile, both scientists and philosophers refer to the applicability of his concepts, variously agreeing and disagreeing with his speculations. Google's Scholar search engine helps weed out all the commercial clickbait to put you in touch with some of these perspectives, many of which are usually tucked behind a paywall. scholar.google.com
The Official Site of Michael Crichton While the writer in question is undoubtedly a master entertainer, did you know he received his MD from Harvard in 1969? This and many more insights into the Crichton's life, including plenty of FAQs and blog posts, are available on his official web site. michaelcrichton.com