The Andromeda Strain

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9780060541811: The Andromeda Strain

Five prominent biophysicists give the United States government an urgent warning: sterilisation procedures for returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere. Two years later, Project Scoop sends seventeen satellites into the fringes of space in order to 'collect organisms and dust for study'.

Then a probe falls to the earth, landing in a desolate area of northeastern Arizona. A little while later, in the nearby town of Piedmont, bodies are discovered heaped and flung across the ground, faces locked in frozen surprise. But the terror has only just begun, because when they try to find the cause of death, the scientists don't realise just what kind of unearthly danger they are dealing with...

Brilliantly filmed by Robert Wise in 1971, The Andromeda Strain was the first book to introduce Michael Crichton's audacious combination of believable plots and white-knuckled excitement to a wide audience.

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Review:

Some biologists speculate that if we ever make contact with extraterrestrials, those life forms are likely to be--like most life on Earth--one-celled creatures or less, more comparable to bacteria than little green men. And even though such organisms would not likely be able to harm humans, the possibility exists that first contact might be our last.

That's the scientific supposition that Michael Crichton formulates and follows out to its conclusion in his excellent debut novel, TheAndromeda Strain. A Nobel-winning bacteriologist, Jeremy Stone, urges the president to approve an extraterrestrial decontamination facility, to sterilise returning astronauts, satellites and spacecraft that might carry such an "unknown biologic agent." The government agrees, almost too quickly, to build the top- secret Wildfire Lab in the desert of Nevada. Shortly thereafter, unbeknownst to Stone, the US Army initiates the "Scoop" satellite program, an attempt to actively collect space pathogens for use in biological warfare. When Scoop VII crashes a couple years later in the isolated Arizona town of Piedmont, they end up getting more than they asked for.

The Andromeda Strain follows Stone and rest of the scientific team mobilised to react to the Scoop crash, as they scramble to understand and contain a strange and deadly outbreak. Crichton's first book may well be his best, with an earnestness missing from his later, more calculated thrillers. --Paul Hughes, Amazon.com

Review:

"He had me convinced it was all really happening" (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt New York Times)

"Science fiction, which once frightened me because it seemed so far-out, now frightens me because it seems so near. The Andromeda Strain is as matter-of-fact as the skull-and-crossbones instructions on a bottle of poison - and just as chillingly effective" (Life)

"Terrifying...One of the most important novels of the year" (Library Journal)

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