I’ve read a number of Crichton’s books, generally I like his mixture of fact and fiction and especially the research he does into complex topics. I also enjoy his bent on scientific/technological topics. I picked up Next some time ago when I saw it on offer somewhere but have only recently got around to reading it.

Overall I enjoyed the book and it raises some interesting issues about genetic research and what genetics means for us in the future, a future that holds nearly unlimited potential and almost the same possibility for exploitation. We’re still a way from the problems that feature in Next, but the way the law has fallen behind in the changes technology has introduced give us stern warning that if we don’t keep it could be people’s lives on the line.

That said, the story does really consist of a number of sub-plots and while they can instil outrage you don’t engage with them enough to care in some instances. Some even feel like they are introduced to shock and awe us (an ape-boy, a cognizant parrot and a cure for addiction) with outrageous concepts rather than because they add to the story. There are also a lot of characters and I lost track of who was whom at points and just had to plough on regardless.

Overall I enjoyed the book though, there’s a satisfaction to right winning out in the end, which is a nice way to finish, though some of the narratives simply stop, which is a bit perplexing. Not a classic but a nice easy read if you like a combination of science and thriller.

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Reviewed: 28th June 2008

Recommended: Yes