The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

The Andromeda Strain

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton is about how people react in unusual and challenging circumstances. This sci-fi thriller presents humanity facing the risk of extinction by the hand of a minute alien bacterium.

As the author says in the book, humanity has encountered many types of crisis, but so far, a biological one was not amongst them. So, Michael Crichton confronts humanity with the prospect of a biological crisis.

It all starts with a military satellite crashing near a small town called Piedmont. Two military employees are sent to recover the object. But things take a sinister turn. Just before losing radio communication with the base, the two men describe a town full of corpses and a solitary man walking amongst them. The military base is now faced with an unprecedented situation: they have a crashed satellite, two missing men and possibly an entire town killed. Officials decide that this would be a good time to activate project Wildfire. They consider the possibility of a foreign organism transported to Earth by the satellite as being responsible for the Piedmont disaster. So, a team of four experts, all men, are tasked with finding out what is the cause and nature of the deaths from Piedmont; understanding the possible infection, containing it and finding a cure. Also, they had to find out the identity and role of the only man seen alive at the site. This man proved to be one of two survivors. Together, they held the key to deciphering the puzzle. But the scientists were baffled by how little they have in common.

This novel underlines the basic human need to understand and also the important implications of this. After all, humanity itself could only be saved by understanding the threat it faced. Unlike many other sci-fi stories, the danger lurking in the pages of The Andromeda Strain is almost invisible, and so it is even more terrifying. The fear and suspense is not born only from a physical threat, but also from not knowing, from feeling powerless.
Michael Crichton creates a bubble of suspense which burst only at the last page of The Andromeda Strain. I believe that anyone who likes sci-fi, thrillers, or suspense novels will surely enjoy this well written and constructed book.

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