State of Fear

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Michael Chriton

Action, Conspiracy, Science Fiction (light on the science - heavy on the fiction)

The fast paced plot takes a bland bureaucrat and a sexy woman on a race around the world in the company of two tough-as-nails special-secret-super-good-guys who are trying to foil a plot designed to convince the world that human mediated climate change is occurring. Thrown into the mix is a whiny, politically correct movie star, who gets eaten by cannibals in what I suspect was a very cathartic chapter for the author.

The conspirators who the main characters seek to thwart are out to catalyse environmental disasters that would shock the world into believing in climate change, the motive being to fund more research and cripple the oil industry. The special forces types spend the flights between saving the day events debunking the climate change myth their wi-fi laptop, gradually winning the trust and admiration of Bureaucrat Man and Sexy Woman.

Michael Crichton seems to have a habit of writing about his favourite current bugbear in a way that makes the things he wants us to stear clear of infinitely attractive. In trying to warn us off genetic engineering, Jurrassic Park made everyone want to have pet dinosaurs. Prey made the potential of nanonmachinery seem elegant and desirable. State of Fear, in trying to warn the population of the hidden agendas and financial gains to be made from a climate change conspiracy run by environmentalists and scientists, made such conspiracy theories sound like the fevered dreams of a hack novelist.

The catastrophic events our heroes thwart are an attempt to use explosives to push an ice shelf off the Antarctic continent, the flooding of a large picnic in a valley by the redirection and intensification of a storm, and the use of imaginary cavitation equipment to set off a tsunami that would wipe the smile of California’s face. Spot the odd one out. If you said tsunami, give yourself a prize. Tsunami are caused by geological processes. Artificially establishing one would not constitute faux evidence of human induced climate change. This was a fifth of the book wasted on a category error premise, making the book annoyingly inept. This just added to the pain already caused by one dimensional good guys, more evil than evil bad guys, and scenarios so ludicrously contrived they would make even Dan Brown wince.

This book was recommended by a climate change sceptic. I read it in good faith and was disappointed that my friend would think this would hold any sway in my opinions on the matter. I later heard that the book has been cited in serious meetings about climate change.

Conspiracies exist. Any time two or more people seek to conceal a truth, they are involved in a conspiracy. Michael Crichton, by writing such a bad novel about a conspiracy, has done much to blur the line between legitimate concerns about truth and honesty and any old thing someone wants to claim without supporting evidence.

It is a novel. It is a bad novel. It is not data. It is not to be taken internally or seriously.

This is my final Michael Chriton novel. Sadly, it wasn’t his. Another preachy attempt to sway popular feeling that shot itself in the foot.

The stupid; it burns.

Reviewed by Worldslaziestbusker

State of fear

I was "the friend" and yes there are a lot of fictional atrocities however the book references real world NASA graphs that have strangely been made 'no longer easily available to the general public lest thy be interpreted as contradictory to common beliefs'.
A great book and one that reversed my view of 'global warming'.

NASA graphs

Well, good to know NASA is influenced by Michael Crichton fans!