Friday, July 09, 2004

State of Fear - Book Review

I will start my lambasting of this book from where I left out the last time I reviewed a Crichton book. I had mentioned after reading Prey, that MC should probably once again start writing books like Eaters of the Dead and Jurassic Park and stop trying to blind us with his purported scientific refulgence. He, in plain and simple words, is NOT qualified to write such ’scientific’ books. It is not possible to consider him as a serious science fiction or fantasy writer either.

State of Fear only reinforces my opinion of MC. See? this is his MO. He reads way too many scientific journals? and writes a research paper with pseudo-sensational discoveries that he sends to The International Scientific Journal of Burundi and Neighbouring Villages. His journal paper gets turned down even there, and so he publishes it as a book with equally boring and predictable characters for us to read. The book sells a few million copies just for the curiosity value and he makes a wad out of it. MC is a big time sham.

The story in short:
> Radical Environmentalists (REs henceforth) want to keep spreading fear.
> REs are disappointed that Global Warming is not as fearsome as had previously sounded since quite a lot of statistics contradict it.
> So REs go about starting seemingly natural calamities that would once again start frightening people. They have in their agenda,
  • Earthquakes
  • Tornados
  • Storms
  • Tsunamis
Did I leave anything out?
The REs find ways to cause all those at the drop of the hat.

For eg, they seem to have found out a way to cause an earthquake with the help of earth vibrating machines producing standing waves? I don?t know what to say. I got a lot of flak when I theorized the tsunami as an American conspiracy? and that they had used something called the HAARP to start the earthquake. Probably I should start writing conspiracy theory under the name of MC. It will get a million hits then.

> Going on, an all knowing philanthropist, a cynical lawyer who is yet good at heart, two women, and a multi-purpose computer guy (I don?t know what he does except tap on his keyboard and come up with statistics all the time) try to thwart the radicals.
> They are successful otherwise all of us would be dead by now. Duh!

Taking him seriously - where is MC wrong
He wants us to assume that global warming is cased by the green house gases alone. So if there is no one-to-one correlation between the temperature rise and the increase in green house gases (there could be a million other reasons that have been maintaining the earth's atmospheric and surface temperatures), it is no proof to say green house effect is bogus. If we don't assume that, 90% of the logic in the book is repudiated.

He gives us statistics from selected cities and does not show us the collective global trend. After-all this is Global warming not Local warming? he comfortably shows us only the date collected from specific locations that have shown trends that contradict the global warming phenomenon. That is pretty biased I would say.

When I started feeling that way, I did not waste any more time with this book? it is just too long and boring.

To sum up?
This book can be gauged neither as a science fiction novel nor as a scientific journal. It has neither entertainment value nor sound scientific reasoning. It is replete with boring graphs and equally boring characters who can be dismissed with contempt pretty much like Sehwag dismisses a half volley with contempt to the cover boundary Ball ka ghar hai boundary types. This book belongs to the trash can. Send it there.

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