Author Michael Crichton dies in L.A

Michael Crichton, author of  numerous hit sci-fi novels including  Jurassic Park, died yesterday of cancer.  Crichton’s popularity was largely due to his skill in blending science with good old-fashioned story-telling, and his ability to tap into the hot issues of the day.

His first best-seller  The Andromeda Strain, written while Crichton was a medical student, explored the outfall of an alien micro-organism infecting the human race.  The book was made into an excellent movie in 1971, and a further twelve of his books were turned into films.  He also created the long-running medical soap, E.R, and so we must always be grateful to him for helping to introduce the world to George Clooney.

For more information on the life and works of Michael Crichton read the obituary from The Guardian.

Political bios

Working with David
Working with David

Read any good political biographies lately?  With the election (the really important one that is) nearly upon us I was thinking about some I have read.   It usually takes a while for a polly’s (love that typically irreverent Australian term) real contribution to be assessed and it is only when seen from a distance and in their historical context that we can measure their worth or otherwise.  Thus it is that Michael Bassett’s biography of Joseph Ward is one of his best whereas I found his recent book, Working with David; inside the Lange cabinet, is still too recent and smacks of angst and disenchantment.  However the latter is really a memoir rather than a biography and political memoirs are some of the most entertaining, for example Gerald Hensley’s immensely readable Final Approaches, which manages to be both a discreet and illumuninating portrait of NZ diplomacy and public service.
There are over eighty biographies and memoirs of and by NZ politicians in the library catalogue.  Try some – it might take your mind off the antics of the current election.