The Andromeda Strain Author:Michael Crichton "This book recounts the five-day history of a major American scientific crisis. As in most crises, the events surrounding the Andromeda Strain were a compound of foresight and foolishness, innocence and ignorance. Nearly everyone involved had moments of great brilliance, and moments of unaccountable stupidity...." — Thus begins this extraordinary... more » novel of the world's first space-age biological emergency.
The Andromeda Strain sets forth with almost documentary verisimilitude the unfolding story of "Project Wildfire" -- the crash mobilization of the nation's highest scientific and medical resources when an unmanned research satellite returns to earth mysteriously and lethally contaminated.
Four American scientists, chosen in advance for their experimental achievements in the fields of clinical microbiology, epidemiology, pathology, and electrolyte chemistry, are summoned under conditions of total news blackout and utmost urgency to Wildfire's secret laboratory five stories beneath the Nevada desert. There -- surrounded by banks of the most sophisticated computer-assisted equipment, and sealed off from the outside world except for a telecommunications link with the national security apparatus -- they work against the threat of a worldwide epidemic to find an antidote to the unknown microorganism that has inexplicably killed all but two inhabitants (an elderly derelict and an infant) of the tiny Arizona town where the satellite was retrieved. Step by step they begin to unravel the puzzle of the Andromeda Strain, until, terrifyingly, their microbacterial "adversary" ruptures the hypersterile seal of the laboratory and their already desperate search for a biomedical answer becomes a split-second race against an atomic deadline.
With its narrative force, its scientific detail, its suspense -- as four brilliant individualists work together under ultimate pressure -- this novel makes real for the reader the real world of today's science and medicine at the top-secret levels of the Science-Space-Military high command.
The author is a trained scientist. Newspaper stories from NASA that have appeared since the completion of the manuscript read like details from The Andromeda Strain...
I've never been one for the Sci-Fi or science type stuff but I had to read this for a class in college and WOW!.. I had to keep checking and double checking because it was so good I thought it was a true story. All the extra documentation and "printouts" were an added bonus that helped with the believabilty. If you read only one Sci-Fi book, make it this one. (It's *much* better than the movie which I had to watch for the same class.)
Andromeda Strain is classic, really on the same level as Jurassic Park (yes, I know the movie JP was much better than the movie of this, but the books are equally great!).
Highly recommended, you won't regret the time spent reading it.
Saw this movie when I was a kid and the book is great. The techincal stuff adds to the realism without killing the story. Those interested can pour over it, those not can skip over and not lose their way. Great suspense and style. A good start for those getting into Crichton.
It was probably cutting edge technology when it was first released in 1969 - heck, it was probably quite futuristic in many ways considering the first PCs didn't appear on the market until the 80's. He goes into a remarkable amount of technical detail which is pretty interesting and some of the speculative theories concerning alien life forms were new to me. All in all it is still a pretty good page turner.
I read this book because I saw it listed on SurvivalBlog's suggested reading. It gives you an idea of how a biological threat would be handled by the government.
It is written as an "expose" of the government's handling of an extraterrestrial bacteria that has returned to earth with a satellite and is causing bizarre deaths. Sort of anticlimactic at the end, in my opinion, but very enjoyable read.
And my streak of reviewing thrillers continues with the second epidemiological thriller in a row! The Andromeda Strain is another reread. I picked it up because (a) I had the book sitting on the shelf doing nothing, and (b) I had already reread Carriers so I figured, "Why not?"
It is the story of a bunch of scientists doing their scientific thing in trying to find the cure to a plague that originates in outer space. Well, not really foreign outer space so much as simply really, really, really high up in Earth's atmosphere outer space. As it so happens, we do have such archaebacteria that can live in these totally inhospitable environments on Earth, so the premise isn't that far fetched. Yes, I know the culprit in this case is a virus and not a bacterium, but still ...
This novel is chock full of government (in)efficiencies, (pseudo?)epidemiological jargon, computer read outs, and time pressure to cause the suspense. The climax and problem that beset the novel aren't what originally appear to be the case. Many reviewers are incredibly upset that the initial problem resolves itself, while completely missing the point that the race-against-time to save the lab from certain destruction is the actual climax.
This novel reminded me a lot of Mount Dragon , or perhaps Mount Dragon reminded me a lot of The Andromeda Strain as they both greatly detail the procedures in place to keep the contagion from spreading out of the lab and becoming an epidemic, and in both cases and explosive is the ultimate failsafe.