Book Shelf: Micro and Mile 81

While I mostly talk/write about games and movies, I like to read, mostly fiction but sometimes non-fiction. I figured now is as good a time as ever to talk about what I’ve been reading.

Micro by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

I was first introduced to Michael Crichton about 20 years ago, with a little book called Jurassic Park. I read it my freshman year of high school and the summer after the movie came out. Since then, Crichton has been one of my favorite authors.

Crichton died in 2008 but like many authors he had work that he had yet to finish and Micro is one of those books. Supposedly Crichton was about a third of the way into Micro when he died and Richard Preston, an author I am not very familiar with, was tasked with completing the novel. In a sense, Micro is a return to form for Crichton, whom seemed to get off track with the last couple books he wrote before he died. His novels had become less about writing a good story and more about getting his scientific-political message heard. Micro forgoes much of the preaching though, instead offering an adventure tale that harkens back to Jurassic Park.

There is no secret island filled with dinosaurs in Micro, in fact everything takes place in Hawaii, but the core concepts of the two are very much the same. Micro places its protagonists in the deadly micro world, think Honey I Shrunk the Kids but more horrific. The first act of the book plays out as expected for anyone who has read Jurassic Park but after that it throws a number of curve balls, including one very nasty one I was not expecting. If you enjoy Crichton in any way, shape, or form, you should be giving Micro a go.

4* out of 5

Mile 81 by Stephen King

I decided the time was right for me to move my reading into the digital world and one of my Christmas presents was a Nook Simple Touch. The first book I bought on it was an e-book by my favorite author, Stephen King. My experience with books published solely as e-books is that they seem to be shorter than a novella but longer than a short story and Mile 81 fits that description perfectly.

As much as I love Stephen King, a lot of his post-“retirement” work has left a lot to be desired. I enjoyed Cell and Under the Dome but outside of that he has been packaging some rather mediocre stuff to his fans. One thing King has continued to do very well though is write fantastic short stories and while I’m not sure how to classify Mile 81, it follows his trend with short form fiction of being very good.

The premise is outlandish, and it is so short (40 some pages), that I don’t really want to spoil it. But let’s just say it involves a killer car and is one of King’s more terrifyingly fun stories in a long, long time.

4* out of 5

You can check out what else I’ve been reading at Goodreads.


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