Review: Next

09:59 Cilla P 2 Comments

Title: Next
Author: Michael Crichton
Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama (my copy is an Indonesian translation)
Source: My parent's collection

Welcome to our genetic world. Fast, furious, and out of control.

This is not the world of the future --- it's the world right now.

Is a loved one missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why an adult human being resembles a chimp fetus? And should that worry us? There's a new genetic cure for drug addiction --- is it worse than the disease?

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; test our spouses for genetic maladies and even frame someone for a genetic crime. 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.

The future is closer than you think. Get used to it.

Review: ⋆⋆⋆

"Science is as corruptible a human activity as any other."

Michael Crichton is one of those authors whom my parents have been telling me to read for as long as I've been old enough to really understand science. Having read Jurassic Park, I can see the appeal, and I wanted to read more. Hence, Next.

Unfortunately I didn't love Next as much as I loved Jurassic Park. Crichton is excellent with the scientific parts. You can tell it's well-researched and I enjoy the way the information was presented. The arguments laid out in support of the idea that genes might determine not just the way we look but also our behaviour is fascinating (though I'm definitely more of a fan of the nature-nurture interaction school of thinking). At times, however, there could be four pages straight of science, and I would get bored. Also because there was so much information about the science that needed to be relayed, the actual plot is sluggish. It only picks up speed toward the end when the action began to kick in and we spend more time with the characters.

Speaking of characters, there are A LOT of them. I counted twenty-three named characters in seven different sub-plots. Not the kind of book you can two-timed; I focused on just reading this one, and I still lose track of who's having what problem. Although the characters eventually cross path and some of the stories converged, I didn't feel there was a strong enough thread to connect all of them. There was probably one or two sub-plots that the book could've done without.

It was a fascinating read, though it took some time for it to be truly compelling. The characters were downright horrible sometimes, and though there was some sort of justice for them at the end, I finished the book with a sense of foreboding. If science is as corruptible as Crichton portrayed it, we're bound to face some horrible things.


  1. Wow 23 characters is a lot to take in! I really want to get back in crichton too its one those books you want to get to but never seem to! Great review!

    1. It really was! It would have been easier if they were all better intertwined, I think. Thank you! :)


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