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Click for availability and more information Next, by Michael Crichton

What might happen if universities, bio-tech companies, and other shadowy 3rd parties could legally "own" the very building blocks of our genetic make-up? This question, as absurd as it may sound, is in fact our current reality, and Michael Crichton explores this highly controversial issue to its logical--and bizarre--extremes in his new novel, Next. Crichton tells us up front that "This is a work of fiction, except for the parts that aren't", which at first seems so obvious a point that one wonders why he felt the need to even state it in a book full of talking orangutans and glowing rabbits, but as his story unfolds, some extremely strange and far-fetched situations and creations are revealed, many of which, as it turns out, Crichton cribbed from actual events.
The tale itself is a fast-paced and intriguing romp through some of the legal and scientific quandaries being faced today, and those that are appearing on the horizon as the race for dominance in the genetic marketplace surges onward. Crichton's characters are interesting enough, even as some only blatantly serve their purposes to the narrative, but for some reason, this reader found "Dave" the transgenic ape to be among the most "human" and sympathetic of the cast; kudos to Crichton for expressing viewpoints from both sides of the great genetic divide. One hopes that society will take heed of the author's cautionary message and reconsider the restrictions and laws of genetic research and patent ownership before things really spiral out of control. This book is a must-read for everyone who doesn't want their genome owned and controlled by someone else.

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This page contains a single entry published on December 23, 2006 8:36 PM.

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