Next by Michael Crichton

Posted February 29, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 2 Comments

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Next

Next

by Michael Crichton

Publisher: HarperCollins on November 28, 2006
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller
Target Age Group: Adult
Rating: ★½

Check out this book on Goodreads

We live in a time of momentous scientific leaps, a time when it's possible to sell our eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars and to test our spouses for genetic maladies.

We live in a time when one fifth of all our genes are owned by someone else, and an unsuspecting person and his family can be pursued cross-country because they happen to have certain valuable genes within their chromosomes...

Devilishly clever, Next blends fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems and a set of new possibilities can open at every turn.

Next challenges our sense of reality and notions of morality. Balancing the comic and the bizarre with the genuinely frightening and disturbing, Next shatters our assumptions and reveals shocking new choices where we least expect.

The future is closer than you think.

 

This is, decidedly, not the book I was looking for.  Next feels like an early draft of something that could have ended up being an interesting scientific thriller, but it’s a mess.  And even saying that much is kind.

Where Next starts to dive a little into genetics, it struggles to find footing on an exact aspect of the science it wants to target.  There’s corporate policy, ownership, patents, ending, morality in extraction, morality in experimentation… that’s the tip of the iceberg.  While Crichton can be a bit preachy at some times, he’s often more balanced than he was in Next.

Every character in this book is the worst example of humanity.  Male characters consistently belittle female character.  All characters are incredibly greedy, going sideways outside the law in any way they can to get what they want.  Every character is extreme and there’s so. many. POVs.  I don’t think I saw a POV repeat until about page 100.  There’s so many dramatic character interactions.  This includes children trying to kill one another, animal testing, and a woman who was hired to frame a man for statutory rape (that whole scene… I have so many issues).  While I don’t want to belittle these things, because they happen in real life and they are tragic and terrible, Crichton just went for all the most depraved aspects of humanity as though to say “genes will destroy humanity”.  … Which is just… a little too conspiracy theory for me.

The storytelling itself almost entirely missing. There’s almost no consistent storyline, and the end of he book feels very much like a quick “oh shit” wrap up where most of the storylines come together.  Of course, some characters and storylines were abandoned in the first half of the book and there’s no closure.  Each chapter is one screenshot after another of some way gene therapy or genetic experimentation has ruined the lives of the character.

Overall I wouldn’t recommend Next to anyone.  Not only is it an unimpressive story content-wise, it’s such a hot mess as a novel.  It feels like a first draft more than a finished book and it’s a little surprising that it got all the way to publication in this state, because it’s such a mess?  But bestselling authors do tend to get some leeway on these things.  Crichton has a lot of a better books than this, and I suggest picking up one of those instead.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting:
Plot:
Characters:
Writing: ★★
Pacing: ★★★
Personal Enjoyment:

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Next Will be donated

Honestly, this book is such a mess of uselessness, that I sort of don’t even want to donate it?

But I hate to waste, and I’m sure someone out there will like it.  This book gets really good ratings on Goodreads for some reason so I’m sure others out there would like to read it an have it.  Honesty, I’m just a bit flabbergasted at its general success and existence.

While some of Crichton’s other books may have earned a place on my shelf, Next certainly has not.  Nope, no thank you.

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Are you interested in genetic research?  I’m interested, but I have to admit that I don’t know a lot about it.  What about you?  Let me know in the comments!

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2 responses to “Next by Michael Crichton

  1. I wanted to be a genetic researcher, but I’m really, really terrible at math so I didn’t end up pursuing that career path. I try to keep up with all the latest research anyway, even if I don’t understand a lot of it.

    • Amber

      Oh no, I’m so sorry your dreams didn’t work out… math is the worst, isn’t it? It’s so good that you still keep up with it, though!