How much was Michael Crichton worth?

Net Worth:$175 Million
Profession:Professional Author
Date of Birth:October 23, 1942
Country:United States of America
Height:
2.06 m

Who Is Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton was born in Chicago on October 23, 1942. Crichton was raised in Long Island and had two sisters and one younger brother. Crichton was married five times and divorced four times. He had one daughter.

Crichton attended Harvard College and graduated summa cum laude in 1964. He was the Henry Russell Shaw Traveling Fellow from 1964 to 1965 and Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in 1965. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1969.

Many of Crichton’s books, including Jurassic Park, were adapted into movies. Crichton also wrote or co-wrote several screenplays, including Twister.

Crichton published 25 novels and four nonfiction books, and was best known for The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park. His books were often cautionary tales about complex systems breaking down. The last novel he published before his death was Next.

He died of cancer on November 4, 2008 at the age of 66.

This American author and filmmaker has books sales well over 200 million copies worldwide, many of which have been adapted into films. Michael Crichton had a net worth of $175 million dollars at the time of his death, in 2008.

Pirate Latitudes

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton was found as a manuscript among his belongings after his untimely death. It is a pirate yarn in the tradition of Treasure Island. While not “typical Crichton,” it is a good story that shows his skills as a writer.

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Pirate Latitudes is a fast paced pirate romp in the 17th century Caribbean. An English privateer ship sets off on a seemingly impossible attempt to steal a Spanish treasure galleon that is anchored in a superbly defended Spanish isle. Many common elements of pirate stories are included such as gold, death, action, treachery, deceit, torture, cannibals, sea monsters, lust, and lawlessness. It stands above most of the genre though. Characters are memorable and generally don’t fall into a simplistic good guy/bad guy narrative. The naval imagery and terminology are detailed and feel real. Unfortunately the book feels incomplete. It is far shorter than the typical Crichton novel and some sections end rather suddenly. Crichton did not bring the book to a publisher during his lifetime so we can only speculate on what might have been added and changed.

Recent Crichton novels have often had overt political messages. Even his less politically controversial novels generally involve extensive research and are full of technical language. This novel is far less technical and certainly less political than his recent books. So to some it may not feel a fitting end to Crichton’s career. Remember, though, we don’t read Crichton for science or politics, we mainly read Crichton for his storytelling. Pirate Latitudes is a fine yarn and a fitting end for the ultimate storyteller.

Next by Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park took the world by storm in the 90s and Crichton became the master of mixing the possibilities of modern research with page-turning suspense. Next deals with genetic engineering on a more human level. In Next, Crichton brings up some provocative dilemmas dealing with the subversive topic of genetic testing and ownership. But when numerous sadly sketched characters and tangential storylines don’t resonate or connect, examining those dilemmas falls flat and Next leaves readers wanting.

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Pros

  • Crichton still knows how to write a page-turner, no matter how vapid the characters and sloppy the plot(s)
  • Next’s critique that scientific research is becoming increasingly like a corrupt business is intriguing
  • The faux science journal articles mixed throughout the novel are biting and fun

Cons

  • The most memorable characters are a talking parrot and a chimpanzee mixed with a human
  • The plot development is practically non-existent and the people or animals involved merely “exist” to serve a topic
  • Crichton would have been better off forming a journal of his findings or writing a novella that dealt solely with Alex and her son being pursued cross-country because of their valuable genes

Description

  • Do you wish you could blame all your bad behavior on your genes? If you could, how much would a corporation be willing to do to find a “cure?” How much would you be willing to pay for it?
  • Would you let your genes be owned by someone else for a price? If so, what if the price allowed the company that owned them to come after your family?
  • Is a monkey-boy a chimpanzee or a human? Does his genetic father have the responsibility to raise him?
  • What if a talking parrot really knew what he was saying? Would you want him to be able to talk about everything he heard and saw in your house?
  • All these questions and more are addressed in Next, a haphazard mix of bizarrely intriguing, yet sadly laughable and empty science fiction.

Book Review

Like Stephen King and John Grisham, Michael Crichton has become the master of his genre. But unlike King’s and Grisham’s works of 2006, Next is a disappointing addition to the library.

Next has plenty of ideas and discussions on the moral and financial implications of human genetic engineering, but none of them add up to a cohesive and involving story. The chapters are short and crisp, some moments even thrilling, but it’s hard to care where the story is going when there are so many thinly thought-out plots and characters.

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With a more straightforward and focused approach, Crichton could have created a sharp literary science fiction thriller. One of the most intriguing ideas in Next involves the dilemma of humans stubbornly declaring their right to free will while desiring to blame their mistakes on genes (which ironically disregards free will if we merely act a certain way simple because it’s in our genetic makeup). This idea could have then been shaped around the story involving Alex and her son fleeing cross-country because a court system has ordered that a biotech firm has a right to their genes (regardless of Alex’s choice) so they can manufacture a potentially million dollar cure for cancer.

With his previous works and a few tidbits in Next, Crichton has proven he has the ability to write compelling science fiction with intelligent hypotheses and authentically human characters. Next is just proof he wasn’t born with those genes – he still has to choose to write that way.

Additional Facts

  • Crichton created a graphical text adventure game called Amazon that was released in 1984. In 1999, Crichton founded Timeline Computer Entertainment with David Smith. The company only ever published one game, Timeline.
  • Michael Crichton was the creator and executive producer of the hit TV show, ER.
  • Crichton generated a lot of controversy with his views on science and technology. In particular, his skepticism about global warming was highly criticized by the scientific community.
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