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Free Study Guide-The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton-Book Notes
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THEMES

The bookís prominent theme is the danger that manís intelligence poses to himself. Man is capable of inventing all sorts of ways to destroy the planet, but not rational enough to control these means. Crichton believes that manís capacity for critical thinking breaks down too easily under stress. In the book, the army succeeds in bringing an alien bacterium to earth in the hopes of supplementing its biological weapons program. But once the "Scoop" satellite lands, the army cannot control the bacteria and its wipes out an entire town.


Despite the most elaborate preparations and all the precautions imaginable, the Wildfire team almost does more harm than good by detonating a nuclear device and giving Andromeda the energy it needs to further reproduce. In the end, it is not manís ingenuity or technology that saves the country form disaster; Andromeda just happens to mutate into a form harmless to humans.

MOOD

For this book, Crichton adopts a very cold, detached, scientific approach to the material. All the description is done in a very matter-of-fact tone, including even the characters. The only superfluous material in the book is the multiple explanations of past scientific theories or discoveries intended to enhance the clinical approach that pervades the novel. In terms of character development we get only what is necessary to advance the plot.

All this gives the book a very serious mood that makes it oddly convincing. This is partly due to the gravity of the events being described, but also due to the expert way in which Crichton supports his fictional storyline with actual scientific research. There are times during the book when the combination of the elements is so convincing that the reader may wonder to himself if the Andromeda Strain incident actually occurred.

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