Michael Crichton Leaves Legacy of Kickass Books

By Ray Stern

Few popular authors have achieved the greatness of Michael Crichton, who always made you feel like you were learning something in the middle of the awesome adventure unfolding in his novels. He was kind of like Stephen Hawking and Stephen King rolled into one.

Crichton, 66, died Wednesday in Los Angeles after a long, private battle with cancer.

Spielberg's version of Jurassic Park was a blockbuster, but seeing the dinosaurs first in Crichton's novel was even better. Crichton took on edgy, interesting issues like global warming, nanoscience and killer viruses, expanding readers' view of the world as he entertained. Though condemned in some circles for his skeptical take on global warming in his 2005 novel, State of Fear, Crichton's overall goal was to challenge his readers to examine scientific evidence in a more critical way -- even as they turned pages like they were on fire.

It's a shame to lose such a visionary writer whose books could connect with people from all walks of life.