Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jurassic cark

This is ostensibly to continue my habit of acknowledging the deaths of major writers - like, previously, Michael Dibdin, Kurt Vonnegut and Norman Mailer, though, ironically, having just read one of his books, I missed Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's death in August - but in reality it's just an excuse to re-use the joke I used on the occasion of Arthur C Clarke's death in March.

Anyway, be that as it may, Michael Crichton died this week. As with Norman Mailer, this puts me in the position of acknowledging the work of someone quite famous without ever actually having read any of it. I have nonetheless had quite a bit of exposure to it through having seen several films he had a hand in - The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park and Sphere were based on novels he wrote, and he also directed Westworld and Coma, as well as being one of the creators of the TV series ER. Actually I can't remember whether it's The Andromeda Strain that I've seen, or The Satan Bug, as they do seem quite similar. Could be both, of course.

All reasonably entertaining stuff - less admirable is the fact that he was a prominent global warming denialist, even going as far to write a whole novel (State Of Fear) expounding his views on the subject. The anti-science undercurrent was pretty obvious as early as Jurassic Park, though (even from the film adaptation - I suspect it was stronger in the book, though as I say I haven't read it).

Global warming "sceptics" are notoriously sensitive to criticism (as well as hanging out on the internet a bit more than is probably healthy) so it was no surprise to see this entirely reasonable (though not exactly complimentary) article attract a fair number of loons. Even my humble blog experienced a bit of a spike in comments when I happened to allude to the subject in passing a while back.

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