cover image Micro


Michael Crichton and Richard Preston. Harper, $28.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-087302-8

Does this sound at all familiar? A greedy capitalist exploits a technological breakthrough that could benefit humanity. His effort to show off his work to visitors on an island ends up with them fighting for their lives against savage creatures. Preston (The Hot Zone) has completed a partial manuscript by bestseller Crichton (1942%E2%80%932008) that will remind many readers of Jurassic Park, though the action takes place on a rather different scale, as the title suggests. Peter Jansen, a 23-year-old Cambridge, Mass., grad student, and his colleagues accept an invitation from his older brother, Eric, and Eric%E2%80%99s boss to join NaniGen MicroTechnologies, a Hawaii-based concern with %E2%80%9Ctools that will define the limits of discovery for the first half of the twenty-first century.%E2%80%9D Via a scientific innovation that comes across as less plausible than recovering dinosaur DNA, NaniGen can miniaturize people. Inevitably, Peter and his companions are shrunk to a size that makes them vulnerable to lower life forms. Most of the book relates their struggle for survival, including the requisite gory deaths of some members of the party. Crichton fans will miss any sense of a larger scientific moral in what amounts to a high-tech 21st-century version of The Incredible Shrinking Man. Agent: Lynn Nesbit. (Nov. 22)