Thursday, January 7, 2010

Book 9: Prey by Michael Crichton

Well, coming off that last book, this one was a friggin' breath of fresh air. Michael Crichton knew how to tell a story. This novel was a quick, interesting read that I couldn't put down 'til I'd finished it.

Jack Forman is a stay-at-home dad in Silicon Valley. A former programmer who specialized in writing agent-based programs that mimic "biological processes" (computer agents are programmed to think like animals - swarm behavior, or predator behavior), he's been dealing with his recent firing by taking over household duties. His wife, Julia, is a bigwig with Xymos Technology, a company working on developing "molecular manufacturing" aka nanotechnology. Lately, she's been distant and argumentative, and Jack fears she's having an affair with a coworker out in the Nevada desert at the company's fabrication building.

One night, after displaying some odd behavior, Julia is injured in a car accident and rushed to the hospital. The same night, Jack receives a call from his old company, looking to rehire him. It turns out they've contracted Jack's PREDPREY program to Xymos, but they're having trouble with it and need his expert help. This program basically commands a computer agent (or other agents) to mimic the behavior of a predator in order to accomplish its objective or goal. He flies out to the desert the next day and there discovers the truth - the company has succeeded in its goal to create nanotechnology, but their creation has gotten away from them. And thanks to Jack's program, it's acting like a predator, and Jack and his coworkers have become the prey.

I love books like this. Take an interesting scientific/technological topic, add some intrigue and danger, and mix well. I could easily see this being adapted for the big screen one day.


  1. ex roomie,i didn't know u had a blog. btw, ur photo's a little creepie. lol. i'll have to start reading it when i'm supposed to be "working"

  2. Ha, that photo isn't supposed to be creepy, I'm a fierce Nittany Lion! lol

    I started this blog for this reading marathon I'm doing - 52 books in a year - but occasionally I'll blog about other stuff.