American Association: Science Fiction - Crichton hid the real horror tales

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MICHAEL CRICHTON, author of a string of bestsellers from The Andromeda Strain to Jurassic Park, said the reality of what biotechnology can be used for is far more frightening than anything he has written in his science fiction.

"When I wrote Jurassic Park the people I knew who were actually involved in biotechnology actually told me some stories that scared the Jesus out of me," he said.

"They weren't about dinosaurs. They were talking about lines of research they had decided they would not follow because they were too dangerous. If I wanted to make a scary story I can make a couple of scenarios that are much more likely than Jurassic Park and a lot more horrific. I just don't want to put that stuff out there."

Asked why he refused to include certain scientifically credible scenarios in his work, he told The Independent: "If somebody tells me they will not pursue a line of research, what business of mine is it to put it into a book that will be read by millions of people?"

Crichton, who qualified as an anthropologist and medical doctor before he "turned to a life of crime" as an author and scriptwriter, was addressing a meeting on how scientists can improve their communication with the public. He took a swipe at those who have criticised his films and books for not reflecting scientific reality.

"I think science fiction works best when there is a plausible aura, but it is a fool's errand to think that you can ever say this is the reality of my life and I want to see it either portrayed in a novel or a movie. Give it up now, because it will never happen," he said.

"The issue of plausibility is important, which is why Contact was treated the way it was. Initially it had a certain aura, as if [the heroine] might be an astronomer, even though she was Jodie Foster, and that aura carries forward as the movie gets more and more ridiculous. As a film-maker I would argue that that is a sensible thing. You establish an early plausibility that tides you through the places where it is less plausible. [I am] not interested in making sure the story is accurate."