Words like “clean” and “concise” come to mind when I think of Michael Crichton’s writing, but I’d go further and say that his prose displays almost surgical-like precision. It makes sense: He was a medical student and the creator of the television show ER.
Jurassic Park was first published when I was twelve years old, but I don’t think I read it until after the movie came out a few years later. I’ve read a few novels that feature dinosaurs since then, and it’s still one of my favorite sci-fi reads.
I’ve read most but not all of Crichton’s work (several copies sit on my bookshelf), and it’s all expertly crafted. And whereas I wouldn’t say there’s anything glamorous about his writing, there doesn’t need to be. Maybe his involvement with Hollywood was the flashy part of his work because his books seem to come from a genuine fascination with science.
Of course, he told stories and created suspense incredibly effectively. He was also known to do a great deal of research. I read that he went to his office and worked each day from 8 to 5 and sometimes longer. I might be making that up, but I like the idea of the life of a writer resembling a day job.
Writing is work.
Like a few of the other writers who’ve inspired me, I tend to go back to them if I put down a book I’m not enjoying. Or when I want to read something familiar. Maybe this comes down to tone, but I don’t know. In the end, Michael Chrichton wrote with authority just as I hope to.
photo: Aditya Vyas