State of Fear

State of Fear by Michael Crichton
Published in 2004 by Avon Books
623 pages

Maybe it’s just me, but this has to be one of the longest books I’ve read this year. Long as in tedious. It didn’t get exciting until page 500, and that’s a long time to work with something that’s touted as a thriller and acclaimed by such reliable sources as USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Chicago Tribune.

The basic issue of this book is global warming; we must examine it from all sides, political and scientific, emotional and intellectual, until we come up with the premise that it’s all subjective. No one knows how much of global warming is man-made, or how much of it is a natural phenomenon.

Perhaps the most interesting point of view that Crichton presented is that we are ruled by fear:

“…social control is best managed through fear. For fifty years, Western nations had maintained their citizens in a state of perpetual fear. Fear of the other side. Fear of nuclear war. The Communist menace. The Iron Curtain. The Evil Empire. And within the Communist countries, the same in reverse. Fear of us. Then, suddenly, in the fall of 1989, it was all finished. Gone, vanished. Over. The fall of the Berlin Wall created a vacuum of fear. Nature abhors a vacuum. Something had to fill it.

Evans frowned. “You’re saying that environmental crises took the place of the Cold War?”

“That is what the evidence shows. Of course, now we have radical fundamentalism and post-9/11 terrorism to make us afraid, and those are certainly real reasons for fear, but that is not my point. My point is, there is always a cause for fear. The cause may change over time, but the fear is always with us. Before terrorism we feared the toxic environment. Before that we had the communist menace. The point is, although the specific cause of our fear may change, we are never without the fear itself. Fear pervades society in all its aspects. Perpetually.” (p. 500).

Okay, that’s a fascinating premise. And one that’s rung true for me lately.

19 thoughts on “State of Fear”

  1. It has been years since I've read this one, but I remember really liking it! I thought the premise is fascinating and one that you can bring up among a group of people and get a fight going! I have found that I have to be in the right mood for the right book.


  2. Sandy, I bet it will lead to a great discussions: global warming is a pretty hot topic. Or, it was in 2004.Amy, phew! This one is sort of like Jurassic Park Part 2, with none of the exciting dinosaurs.


  3. Hi Bellezza. I'm trying to find the link for your review of the Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Woo. It's on my list and I'd like to read your review. I've heard both good and bad so I'm curious what you think.Thanks!


  4. Chic Geek, I didn't write a review of The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (no wonder you can't find it!). I did read it, and it resonates in my mind as a very sad book. The author depicted Oscar, his main character, so clearly. We clearly felt Oscar's grief and ostracism from society, the hopelessness he felt at being an immigrant. Not that that must be true for everyone, but Oscar seemed to embody the lost teenager with no real roots. I was moved by the book, and I remember it well, but I can't say that I loved it. Still, I think it's important to read the Pulitzers. They must have won a prize for something, right?Bookfool, you and Lesley have much less guilt at abandoning books than I do. Will you offer an online course for those of us, okay me, who must compulisvely finish every book we start?


  5. this is the book that made me give up on Crichton all together. His books get more and more foul language in them and when this one got to the cannibals, well, I just didn't need to read that.


  6. Dream Queen, just obsessive-compulsive, I guess. ;)Sara, cannibals were at the end! You must have made it as far as I did, but I didn't enjoy it any more than you. I won't be picking up another Crichton any time soon. Plus, he won't be writing any more. Didn't he die this year? Much to many readers' sorrow.


  7. I have tried reading it and didn't get past page 2…5 times! I don't know why, but I just can't get into it. And I'm an avid reader. Now that I know it doesn't get interesting for a while,I may just donate the book! 🙂


  8. I would have given up at page 100, but since it was a book club read, I'd probably try to finish it, too. I've done just that with my book club selection (Revolutionary Road). Didn't really enjoy it too much, but stuck it out to the very last page. I'm not sorry I read it, but I certainly didn't wind up lovin' it!


  9. I haven't read this book, will probably never read it but the last line of the quote really struck me. Fear pervades society in all is aspects. Only if we let it.


  10. I am waiting to read your review of THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS. I have been eying it on (the closest bookstore to me is accross the island…As you can see I wanted to give my blog a Japanese theme and lost all of my side comments, challenges etc… so I have to work on that. I think I like it


  11. Simplicity, I hate to ruin the book for you; on the other hand, maybe I've spared you tortuous hours!Les, I just bought Revolutionary Road this weekend with great anticipation. Now, I'm not so sure after reading your comment. We'll have to talk about it when I finish it. By the way, I like your new photograph icon. You change that as often as I change my blog page. Well, maybe not quite as often… :)Gavin, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment! I agree, we can't let fear control us; we must control it.Madeleine, I'll have to come over and see what you've done. A Japanese theme sounds delightful, but not if it erases all of your sidebar! I'll be sure to let you know how The book of Lost Things goes. Anticipate a great review at the end of March, as it's part of a mini-challenge theme going on behind the scenes.


  12. Thanks a lot for your review, now I won't buy it 😉 I'm always on the lookout for great stories! But I'm so broke, that I'm waiting for garage sales…and thanks a lot for that link of free book Friday, I'll try anything…lol


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