Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain is my dad’s favorite book, so when given the chance to review its authorized sequel just in time for Father’s Day, I jumped on it like a velociraptor on a cow (ha, see what I did there? I’ll see myself out).
I read a lot of continuations and adaptations of classic literature, but I’m usually apprehensive about doing so with subjects that require such attention to detail like science fiction. However, knowing that Crichton’s family is protective of the integrity of his work and Wilson’s The Andromeda Evolution is the only sequel to be authorized by Crichton’s estate made me confident in what I was about to read. I was not disappointed.
Wilson, who has a background in science – specifically artificial intelligence and robotics – managed to take Crichton’s “techno-thriller” and bring it into the 21st century. Not only does he modernize the technology itself, he also acknowledges public technology and how social media plays into government operations, specifically with things like “viral” videos. As an all-around book nerd, this made me giddy about the title choice of Evolution because of the way the contagion has evolved as well as the story and how it’s told. When the whole package fits together like that I do a little happy dance.
As for its sequel status, I applaud Wilson’s ability to include enough specific references to the original story (seriously, he includes a whole reference section at the end) that it can be read on its own, but also not referring back so much that you feel like you’re reading both books in one. Nothing makes me want to put down a sequel quicker than feeling like it’s just a retelling of the first with the details they had to edit out, and this one didn’t do that. Wilson simply reminded me of the pertinent details from the first so that I wouldn’t be lost in the details here. Wilson also pays homage in a way that I believe will make readers who are new to the story want to go back and read its predecessor even though they won’t need to to keep up with the story. The character felt true to the those we come across in The Andromeda Strain without feeling like copy cats. The story telling, as though you have been given classified access to secure government files, is true to Crichton’s style.
I think Michael Crichton would be proud of The Andromeda Evolution.
The Andromeda Evolution is now available.