On the books of Michael Crichton

The Andromeda Strain


By Sergio Pistoi, Ph.D.

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.

—Michael Crichton, foreword to The Andromeda Strain

Late 1960s. A secret military satellite, sent into deep space by the army to look for new forms of life, crashes near a small village in Arizona, spreading a mysterious and deadly extraterrestrial organism. People coming into contact with the organism die instantly, because the bug causes all their blood to clot solid. It’s something nobody has ever seen on Earth. Something that could potentially destroy humanity if it spread.

The Andromeda Strain recounts the drama of four scientists fighting against that lethal creature from space. Researchers start by exploring the village and by collecting samples of the mysterious organism, while the army isolates the area. They still have no idea of what they are facing, and they don’t know how to stop that deadly invasion. But they have found two survivors—an old, alcohol-addicted man and an always-crying newborn baby. Whatever the old man and the baby have in common, it must hold the key to understanding how the deadly organism works and how it can be stopped.

Michael Crichton published The Andromeda Strain in 1969, when he was still a graduate student at the Harvard Medical School. It was his first bestseller, making him known worldwide as an emerging  …

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