Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Michael Crichton: Airframe

Today, on the day that a Tupolev 154 has crashed in Ukraine, killing all aboard, I'd ironically planned to write about Michael Crichton's aeroplane novel.

I have a soft spot for Crichton. I enjoy the technobabble, almost-science. He often crafts quite good characters. He's not bad at portraying women (as this book shows), and that is most impressive for a male author in this genre. He's uneven, but at the same time one gets the impression that he enjoys writing and gets a kick out of experimenting. Anyway, it's not like he suffers if he writes a bad one, he gets his millions anyway.

This one has no pseudo-science, but centers around an aircraft accident that kills three and injures the rest. The company that manufactures the airframe has to try and work out why the accident happened before the media slaughters them and the workers' union riots. At the centre we have Casey, whose actual job I'm a little hazy on, but she works there anyway and is in charge of the operation.

His aim seems to have been to write objectively about the aircraft industry and dispel some of the myths about aeroplane accidents, and also to kick the media in the balls for being shallow and sensationalist. It works, I quite like this one.

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