Next by Michael Crichton is, to my knowledge, the final book he had completed prior to his death, published posthumously. I first had a chance to read it over five years ago, and since Crichton has long been one of my favorite authors, I should’ve leapt at the opportunity. The idea that this would be my last new experience with the beloved author stalled my desire to devour his latest, and last, offering. Having recently, and finally, read it I can say that he never lost his touch for a gripping narrative, and that it still feels cutting edge even all these years later. In fact, the concept of using gene therapy and manipulation to treat various maladies is an even more widespread and sticky ethical issue now than when Crichton wrote of the possibilities. His was a voice that was forever at the forefront of blending fiction with the next big breakthrough in science to create stories that were partly morality plays to warn against possible dangers. He always delivered completely original and compelling ideas that stuck with reader. Crichton’s final offering, if a big uneven, still delivered his signature brand of science fiction that feels very light on fiction, and thus terrifyingly plausible.

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