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The Andromeda Strain
By Michael Crichton

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The Andromeda Strain

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The Andromeda Strain
By Michael Crichton
Charnwood Large Print Edition (1997)
ISBN: 0-7089-8937-3
Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - February 6, 2009

The Andromeda Strain is one of the first block-buster books from the pen of Michael Crichton. Since it was first published, this book has been published in a variety of languages and has been made into at least two feature length movies. The Andromeda Strain is also available in large print, allowing long time fans to reread this ground-breaking novel, while also introducing new fans to one of Crichton's best books!

Project Scoop was a military/scientific scheme devoted to using a satellite to collect extraterrestrial organisms and dust and bring it back to earth for study with the ultimate goal of creating a new biological weapon. The project succeeds in 'scooping' up the perfect organism, a virus, for the new weapon. The problem is, the satellite, on its return to earth, crashed in the town of Piedmont, Arizona. The result is an almost instantaneous death sentence for most of the town inhabitants. Now the military and a group of scientists who are mobilized to deal with this crisis, soon find themselves on a race against time to find a means of stopping this new, and virulent virus, before it starts the worse pandemic to ever menace mankind.

The scientists are whisked away to the Wildfire Lab, which was set up as a decontamination facility for 'unknown biological agents' that might be brought back to earth from outer space. There they are given the chance to get intimately involved in humankind's first, known, encounter with an alien life form. The scientists' efforts to identify and then contain this new deadly virus are mesmerizing.

From the onset, Crichton tells this thrilling story as if he was recounting a real-life crisis. His pacing is perfect and he manages to keep the tension up throughout the story. This book was first published in 1969, so some of the technologies used in the book, and some of the scientific theories are a bit outdated - but it doesn't matter. This story is gripping, and the story line presented is as relevant today as it was when it was written. If you don't harken to the science fiction angle, all you need do is to imagine a terrorist releasing a new biological weapon instead of a failed military conspiracy, and the efforts of a group of scientists to identify and contain the new disease. Basically, the 'what if' of this story still has the ability to scare the shirt right off my back just as quickly today as it did the first time I read this book so very, very long ago. This is a must read, or reread, for all of Crichton's fans, as well as anyone interested in the dangers posed by biological weapons, and research in the field of bioweapon development.

The Andromeda Strain can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of Charnwood Large Print.

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