The publishing, television and film universe lost an amazing and talented writer/producer yesterday when 66-year-old Michael Crichton lost his battle to cancer.
Off all his dozen bestsellers, I was wowed by the tension and creativity he managed in his 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain, and was captivated by the emotionally engaging Amy, the signing gorilla from his novel Congo. I’ll never forget either and I still draw on his craft when I write.
Of all his books, I was personally loved Eaters of the Dead. There were two reasons for this, one: I dig anything with Vikings. Two: The fact that Crichton wrote the book on a bet.
Crichton made a bet that Beowulf, the oldest surviving epic in British literature, could be successfully turned into a modern story. The novel itself is interesting, written from the point of view of a Persian poet warrior who is sent out of Iran around 921 a.d. and ends up adventuring with Vikings. Creatively, Crichton even writes his own footnotes to try and make the novel feel like a true historical account. A great risk, but one that gives the novel a unique depth. If you haven’t read the book, below is an embedded version via Scribd.com. Enjoy.