Sunday, February 27, 2005

Book Review: 'Fear' Falls Flat

State of Fear by Michael Crichton
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.

There's been a ton of political discourse over Michael Crichton's "State of Fear". Much like Ronald Reagan and the Republicans misread Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA and its message, so too have present-day GOPers over this book

Crichton's novel deals with some of the same blend of campy, informative and frenetic action that fans of his books expect. I am a fan of many of his books and probably have read more of his books than any other author. It's not as good as, say, "Jurassic Park" or even "Airframe" but it should keep Crichton fans well nourished.

A group of environmental terrorist are seeking to manipulate the weather and natural disasters to further prove their theories of global warming and rising ocean levels. Typical of Crichton's other works, an ensemble of one-dimensional characters including a know-it-all scientist, a rich philanthropist, two hot chicks and an everyman lawyer seek to thwart the "terrorists".

The Republican Party, which have longed to debunk the theories of global warming, have applauded this book as proof. "State of Fear", on the surface, fiercely defends this point of view, even using numerous graphs throughout the book, but the message is actually quite different.

As the title suggests the main theme of this book is the manipulation of fear in American society to achieve and maintain political power. Michael Moore. in fact, postulated the same idea in "Fahrenheit 9/11". As a professor in the book says:

"To the requirement of every sovereign state to exert control over the behavior of its citizens, to keep them orderly and reasonably docile...and of course we know that social control is best managed through fear."

In fact, "State of Fear" is less about the agenda Republicans seek than the one they already perpretrate on society. It's about spooking the country over gay marriage or spefically, the coordinated effort just in the past few days over the overuse of salt in American diets. Lawyers, media outlets and activists all in promoting the fear of something or someone in unison.

When I read a novel I usually can't help trying to cast the characters in the book. By the way, expect to see this book in the theaters in the coming years. It almost read like a movie treatment.

John Kenner: Beefed-up Jeff Goldblum
Peter Evans: Josh Lucas
George Morton: un-dead Jerry Orbach
Ted Bradley: Christopher Plummer
Sarah: younger Nicolette Sheridan
Jennifer: Hilary Swank

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