The Andromeda Strain
Michael Crichton  
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Purchased On:2006-06-25
Date Added:2006-06-25
Summary: Some biologists speculate that if we ever make contact with extraterrestrials, those life forms are likely to be--like most life on Earth--one-celled creatures or less, more comparable to bacteria than little green men. And even though such organisms would not likely be able to harm humans, the possibility exists that first contact might be our last.
That's the scientific supposition that Michael Crichton formulates and follows out to its conclusion in his excellent debut novel, TheAndromeda Strain. A Nobel-winning bacteriologist, Jeremy Stone, urges the president to approve an extraterrestrial decontamination facility, to sterilise returning astronauts, satellites and spacecraft that might carry such an "unknown biologic agent." The government agrees, almost too quickly, to build the top- secret Wildfire Lab in the desert of Nevada. Shortly thereafter, unbeknownst to Stone, the US Army initiates the "Scoop" satellite program, an attempt to actively collect space pathogens for use in biological warfare. When Scoop VII crashes a couple years later in the isolated Arizona town of Piedmont, they end up getting more than they asked for.
The Andromeda Strainfollows Stone and rest of the scientific team mobilised to react to the Scoop crash, as they scramble to understand and contain a strange and deadly outbreak. Crichton's first book may well be his best, with an earnestness missing from his later, more calculated thrillers. --Paul Hughes,