Wednesday, November 5, 2008

R.I.P. Michael Crichton

As most know, author
Michael Crichton passed away at the age of 66. While I didn't follow his career much, it was because of him that my love of reading as a child was bridged into the interest in reading as an adult.
When I was a kid, I was OBSESSED with dinosaurs. Common for children, right? Of course, but mine was pretty hardcore "Dinosaurs" was the first "big" word I learned how to spell, and around the age of seven I was dead set on my future career as a paleontologist. About every weekend I'd make my parents take me to the Natural History Museum in Albuquerque, where I grew up.

As a girl scout I even spent the night in the museum twice, the second time waking up with the skeleton of a saber-toothed tiger staring me down. i also spent a few summers in a program the museum did where we'd trek into teh dessert to collect fossils for the "touch and learn" part of the museum, and we got the see all the behind-the-scenes stuff. Yes, I was committed.

In 1993-1994 I was 10-11 when the film Jurassic Park was announced and released. It was like my greatest dream come true on screen- real, live looking dinosaurs running amok on screen? To add to the excitement, paleontologists had been criticizing the film for showing velociraptor as too big at around 6 feet. At the same time, the Utanraptor was discovered, averaging about 8 feet. Wow, this movie somehow caused evolution to bow down to it! So even though it was an adult novel with big words and small print, I picked up Crichton's actual novel, and my friend Jenna and I devoured it during recess (believe it or not we were not considered dorky... then again, it was a private school.)

The book wrapped me up, and added a lot to the film I ended up seeing three separate times in the theater (still my record.) Thanks to Crichton I not only read a book I loved, but he showed me that adult books may take a little more work to read, but they were definitely worth it. He and his work will be missed. Especially Westworld.

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