Monday, January 9, 2012

A Rip-Off ... and the Real Deal

Thought for the day:  Know why talk is so cheap? Simple. The supply always exceeds demand.

I'm a long-time Michael Crichton fan who read everything he ever wrote, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as the stuff he wrote under a pseudonym while he was still in medical school. He had a brilliant mind and keen imagination, so it was always fascinating and thought-provoking to see how he used valid scientific facts and principles to support his imaginative scenarios.

So, when I read in the newspaper that a NEW Michael Crichton book was about to be released, I was ecstatic, albeit a tad skeptical. You see, Crichton's dead.

But this NEW book, the publisher declared, was started by Crichton prior to his death.

And writer Richard Preston merely completed it. Put the icing on the cake, the ribbon on the package ... however you want to say it... but Micro is being promoted as a Crichton book. His name, as you can see, is predominant on the book, and his name is what is selling this book.

But ain't no way this is a Michael Crichton book.

Imagine taking your child to an advertised recitation of nursery rhymes, only to see Andrew Dice Clay step out onto the stage. If you aren't familiar with Clay, go check him out on Youtube. I'm sure it's filled with his perverted versions of Mother Goose. HEY! Where you going? Not NOW! Finish reading THIS, and THEN you can go check out the perv. Sheesh.

Now then, as I was saying, this isn't even close to being a true Crichton book. If you're looking for a campy book along the lines of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, filled with gory deaths, scientific fallacies, and lapses in logic, this is the book for you. But if you enjoy true scientific underpinnings and impeccable logic, you might wanta leave this one on the shelf. If I were Crichton's family, I'd want his name removed from this book.

[By the way, have you noticed how many big name writers have taken on co-writers these days? Patterson. Evanovich. Hmmm... oh, yoo hoo! I'm available, Big Name Writers, if anybody's interested ...]

Now, for the Real Deal.

I received a Kindle for Christmas, and immediately loaded it with books written by a bunch of my blogger buddies. The first book I read?

Ann Best's memoir In the Mirror. 

I read somewhere that sorrow looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks up. Although one might rightly say that a memoir definitely looks back, there isn't so much sorrow in this book as there is looking up. A weaker woman might have abandoned hope when her beloved husband, and father of her four children, confessed his sexual attraction to men, and she might have thrown in the towel when he left her for one of them. A weaker woman might have succumbed to temptation when a kind and caring boss befriended her, or collapsed in grief when her daughters were in a horrific car accident. But Ann is not a weak woman. Buoyed by her abiding faith and the love of her family, she has prevailed. And continues to prevail. Her strength and faith are an inspiration ... a reassurance that there is, indeed, light at the end of the tunnel ... and her memoir, definitely worth reading.

Way to go, Ann!

                                 Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. I still haven't had a chance to read Ann's book, but I've heard great things about it.

    And, I too am a fan of Crichton. I give this one a miss, thanks!

  2. If I were a "Big Name Writer" I would definitely want to co-write a book with you! I would be thrilled to co-write an article with you right now or even be the twit in your tweet. Nay for Micro and Yay for Mirror. Excellent review and I will add it to my list. Julie

  3. Dear Susan, I've never read Crichton as I've never had much time to read fiction, although I do love an excellent novel when I'm on vacation. Sorry your hero author is dead but as a fan, you can certainly spot it.
    Yes, I've read Ann's book and I commented on Amazon. She has the grist to be admired and I too, really enjoyed her book. This is an excellent post.

  4. A book Crichton *started*, eh? It makes a big difference whether he was 3/4 of the way through writing it, working on revisions to it, or if it was just a bunch of notes on his computer -- or something he scribbled on a napkin for his agent at lunch one day!

    Sounds like it must have been one of the former! Have fun with your Kindle. I LOVE mine!

  5. The same thing happened with Mario Puzo and the Godfather saga. Let the dead lie I say. I love that Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith look forward thingy. First time I have heard that. No wonder I so confused. I possess all three.

  6. Too bad that an awful book has to be tied to Crichton's legacy. Even sadder to think that someone in the family had to hand over the manuscript and the rights to complete this book to a hack. Who knows the motives, but money is usually the big incentive.

    I got an iPad for Christmas and have successfully (miracles of miracles) downloaded Kindle. I will try out Ann's book this month.

  7. I only ever read Jurassic Park, but I was astounded by how convincingly he talked me into believing it could really happen. It's a shame they're using his name to basically sell someone else's book after he is dead.

  8. This is so lame. Look at the big letters on the cover. What a con. But what isn't lame is your review of In the Mirror-- an amazing memoir. I loved it.

  9. You're making me want to use my kindle again... will have to finish my library books first, though. :)

  10. Hi, Y'all. Thank you so much for your comments.

    Sarah- Glad to have saved you from the disappointment of reading "Crichton's" new book. If I were expecting a cheesy sci-fi book, I might've liked it okay, but it sure wasn't up to the standards I expected.

    Julie- How sweet. As soon as you make it big, I'll be on the sidelines, waiting. The twit in my tweet, huh? Now, that's funny!

    Manzie- Thanks you, dear lady. I'm glad you also liked Ann's book. Guess I'd better add a review to Amazon, too. Good thought.

    Dianne- Yeah, it kinda looks like he might've actually written the first thirty to forty pages. The quality goes downhill after that. I understand Preston is supposed to be a well-known writer in his own right, but I suspect this wasn't indicative of his best effort. Hope not, anyway. I can't understand why he'd include false scientific info, stuff any ready could easily check and debunk. And yes, I am loving the Kindle so far. (Have YOUR book loaded in there!!!)

    Mr. C- You're not confused. Just multi-talented.

    Arleen- Yeah, I'm afraid the almighty dollar took higher precedence than artistic integrity. Too bad.

    LG- I think it's pretty crummy, too. But his family must have given the okay for it to happen.

    Karen- Thanks. (I've got YOUR book loaded up, too!)

    Carrie- Cutbacks to our library's budget have been so severe, they aren't stocking nearly the amount of new books as they used to. So, I'm quite enamored of this Kindle. (Never thought I'd see the day!)

    Alex- Indeed. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. John- Not sure which one you're gonna give the go to, but I'm all for it!

  12. Love this: "sorrow looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks up."

    It is sometimes hard for me to accept that the publishing industry is a business above all else. This first book is a pretty good example of that.

  13. Gave you a shout-out on my post today!

  14. Tina- Yeah, me, too. Although I'm sure (I think!) all of the people who are involved in the publishing business do, indeed, love books, they're also in it to make the big bucks.

    Kittie- Thank you, ma'am. Very sweet of you.

  15. I read Ann's book too and became totally engrossed in it.

    I can't believe that about Crichton. What a shame. What publishers won't do to make a buck. :(

  16. WTH is going on with real writers taking a back seat (and top billing) and ghostwriters doing the writing? And spoiling Crichton- that's a sacrilege. Shame on them.

  17. 1st-time visitor to your excellent site. Hello! Never been able to read Crichton --makes me jumpy. But am impressed you use a Kindle. My wife has one and I can't figure it out. Also impressed by "...ergo Spud" pic. Is that a Western Electric 202 model telephone? I have the 101 model but no dial, just an ivory button in the base. Oh, dear, lapsing into guy thoughts. My compliments!

  18. Yes, I noticed that trend of co-authoring a book. I guess it's a good way for a publishing company to kick-start a writer and ensure their sales.
    It's disappointing to the reader. It's nice that Indie Authors are making such a splash. Very nice presentation of the memoir. Thank goodness e-readers have made books so accessible.

  19. Got suckered into reading Crichton's "Pirate Latitudes" while on vacation last year. From what I later learned, after his passing they were going through his files and found the book.

    It wasn't a bad book just sort of boring. Like it was a second draft that he put away with the intention of coming back later to jazz it up.

  20. Then you have authors who write their stuff but are doing so mainly for a paycheck. Not sure which is worse.

    And Ann is superwoman. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  21. I have so got to read Ann's book. Last year was a bit dodgy with funds, but this year I'm definitely buying and reading it.

  22. Jennifer- You'd think the publishers got more than enough money out of Crichton's work while he was alive without stooping to something like this.

    Austan- Well, you could say that Crichton had no CHOICE but to take a "back seat" on this work ... matter of fact, you could also say HE was the "ghost" writer. Sorry. Couldn't resist.

    Geo- Welcome, dear sir. Thanks for stopping by. I returned the favor, and was very impressed by your blog(s). As for the phone, it's made by Western Electric, but I'm not sure of the model nomenclature. Only thing written on it is E1, if that means anything to you. But that puppy still works! At least it DID. We ended up disconnecting it because it drew too much juice. If I were using it, no way anyone else could pick up another extension to join in on the conversation. Too bad. My arm muscles were getting pretty buff ...

    Barb- The co-writing trend strikes me as very peculiar, and it makes me wonder what percentage of the writing is actually done by the primary (Big Name Writer) author, and how much is done by the relative Unknown. So far, I haven't been disappointed in any of the Patterson books written with a co-writer.

    Beach Bum- I read that one, too, and found it less enjoyable than his other books, but it was heads and shoulders above this newest release.

    Jules- Some writers have been pushed to produce, produce, produce. Stuart Woods was putting out two books a year, which I find incredible enough, but I read somewhere that his publisher wants him to increase his output to three a year. Holy moley! Something's gotta give.

    Anne- Go for it!

  23. It seems that publishers will stoop to anything. So sad. But my publisher was wonderful. I had awesome editors, and am so pleased that most people like my memoir. Not everyone will as I noticed from a recent review on Amazon. I think it's a two-star. However, now I feel "genuine." But reading your review here, Susan, I was overwhelmed. As someone else commented, I too love this beautiful first sentence: "I read somewhere that sorrow looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks up." And your entire review is JUST amazingly written. You are a wonderful writer, and I'm glad that you liked the memoir. I would be honored if you would post this eloquent review for me on Amazon. I'm trying to catch up on this myself this year: reviewing the books that I've read by my fellow Bloggers. There's an awfully lot of great stuff being published "out there" by this supportive community of writers, and I'm honored to be part of the group! And thanks, Susan, for letting me know that you had highlighted me. I've had to many trials with care givers and other life problems since the first of the new year that I'm way behind on posting AND blogging. I hope to get into a good rhythm now, and will be putting up a new post tomorrow 1/11.
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

  24. The thing that makes me really mad is when famous people produce books and you know full well that they haven't written a word of it themselves. The publishers, it seems, will do anything to sell books but then they are running a business I suppose.
    Re Ann, you've written a lovely tribute to a lovely lady.

  25. Ann- I'm glad you liked the review, dear lady, and I'd be happy to post it on Amazon.

    Rosalind- Oh yeah, like some of those actors and politicians who can barely speak in coherent sentences. Yeah, sure, of COURSE they wrote that eloquent book. Oh well. My grapes taste a little sour ...

  26. I know the feeling. I experienced that the first time with the "sequel" to Gone With the Wind. I made the mistake of reading GWTW just before I started Scarlet. It was obvious right away.

    HOWEVER, Brandon Sanderson has been doing a fabulous time finishing up The Wheel of Time series for Robert Jordan.

  27. Donna- I haven't read "Scarlet" yet, and I don't know that I ever will, simply because I don't want to be disappointed. Some series work well with multiple authors, but don't mess with my GWTW!

    Take care.

  28. I have noticed the co-writer trend and also a successful book series being picked up by another author after the successful one died. Thanks for the warning here, I too liked Crichton at his best. Now to Ann's book. I just finished it and if/when I write my thoughts and feelings about it, they would mirror yours. She is indeed a strong woman with an unshakable faith. And so very brave, being in a church environment, to write so honestly about things that are so often not talked about there.

  29. Hi Susan .. I have Ann's book here to read .. and must do so - she writes her blog posts and comments on the blogosphere are all so well constructed and so enthusiastic .. I'm sure her book will be full of pathos, as well as enlightenment as to what can be achieved and held together through tragedy.

    Thanks for this .. I'll steer clear of Chrichton - this version .. cheers Hilary

  30. Inger- You're absolutely right. Ann faced her problems with remarkable courage. She's one tough cookie.

    Hilary- I'm sure you'll enjoy Ann's book as much as I did. (and everybody else)