The legal possibilities addressed in Michael Crichton’s new biotech mindstretcher called “Next” are apparently already happening even if you weren’t aware of it.
Like the bitter divorce, involving child custody…where the husband requires that his wife take a battery of DNA tests to determine if she is a fit mother….
Like the black sheep of a family who never thought her father was really her father–and when he dies in a suspicious car accident, she calls the hospital and asks that they draw samples of blood from his body for DNA testing…
Like the man who is cured of cancer and believes he is healthy when, suddenly his doctor, who doesn’t fully explain his actions, brings him back to the hospital for test after test–as well as signatures on legal documents. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens in this twisty-turny story.
And I admire the way Crichton weaves together characters who seem to not be connected but they really are. Much of the action takes place in our own high-tech state of California–and, frankly, some of the characters may sound familiar even if you don’t recognize the name.
However, “Next” is not a legal thriller about the biotech world–it’s loaded with how, what and why people are manipulating DNA for this and that– and “Next”, which could have been named “Now”– may make you feel squeemish and uncomfortable–even when you learn there’s a “comfort” gene to take care of that problem.
Best of all, Michael Crichton is a good teacher who always keeps us up-to-date.
But what I haven’t figured out is why, when, I crack open the book, it makes so much noise. It’s a noisy book–you’ll see when you flex it.