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Andromeda Strain, The (1971)

Rated G... But may be too intense for younger children. | guide

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Old Dec 26, 2001, 08:49 PM   #1
2 flights since Dec 2001
Location: NYC!!!!!
Re: Life Imitates Art???

Well, look at things from a broad angle.....

In 1971,when Crichton penned Andromeda Strain, we had a frightening Sci-fi about an alien virus decimating an American town...and threatens with global epidemic....

Pandemics are nothing new - Smallpox in the 18th and 19th century, Flu in the early 20th century, the Infamous Black Death of the Middle ages which wiped out 3/4 of the European populous in under 4 years

Reading AS today reads more like an acute Medical Thriller, as opposed to sci-fi, when considering the METHODS of study mentioned in the book are pretty much standard practise today - THIS was sci-fi 30 years ago, and many newly discovered viruses today mimic Andromeda behavior - Ebola literally liquefies a host's innards until the victim bleeds out and dies - a Bio Level 4 virus with an, as yet, undiscovered resevoir, and hiding for 20 year intervals......

The book is BY FAR, MUCH more detailed than the excellent movie adaption, by focusing more on the research in tremendous detail - and many of these details were, sadly, lost in the film...(and most certainly due to time constraints)

for example - the clotting blood system was only a SYMPTOM, NOT the primary effect - Andromeda would propagate rapidly in the body and attack the entire vascular system, causing almost instantaneuos and universal hemhorrage - and clotting was quite simply, the body's defense mechanism....

Elderly and diseased victims used blood thinners and anti-coagulants to prevent clotting (typical treatment for severe diabetics), and as a result, the organism would spread to the brain, and little strokes would then cause insanity......

Aside from the organism's biology, that of being a silicon based crystal, and lacking all protiens (which made it suitable for survival in space) the organism was very simple, much like earthly viruses, and it's disease nature was equally simple - so simpe in fact, as to be plausible and possibly real.....at the very least, NOT unreal.

Having a medical background, as does Crichton, made it perfectly sensible to write a superb Medical Thriller, which today can be seen more as a real life scenario than as Sci-Fi, when considering many of todays Bio-Level 4 illnesses....Hantavirus, Typhus, Hepatitis C, Ebola, Marburg....AIDS (Bio 3)

who knows if Crichton is today, the man who saw tomorrow, back then......

Rich C
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Old Mar 11, 2002, 08:28 PM   #2
floyd's Avatar
1,141 flights since Feb 2002
Location: Jesus's Heart
Re: Life Imitates Art???

definatly- chirighton is almost super-human with a typwriter. Have you read timeline? incredible book. Parts gave me chillbumps. Books never give me chillbumps. He really has a sixth sence when it comes to what the population will be interested in, and i think that is what makes a good writer. Without a medical background, this novel, would never have been made. The medical descriptions in the book were incredible, and it wasn't the fault of the film makers that it wasn't in there- time restraints were impossible.

(jurrasic park on the other hand, was turned inside-out for stupid reasons, and should have been more like the novel)
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Old Mar 14, 2002, 08:32 PM   #3
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1,044 flights since Mar 2002
Location: Sasebo, Japan
Re: Life Imitates Art???

I agree with both of you, but I have to say this. AS the book was probably slightly better than the movie, but actually seeing the decimated town and the frightening laser-chase at the end, it gave ME goosebumps.
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Old Jun 15, 2005, 07:34 PM   #4
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1,988 flights since Dec 2002
Location: Planet Earth
Re: Life Imitates Art???

I think the characterization of AS as a Medical Thriller of today and only yester-years SciFi is ...an interesting line of thought.

Science does not lose its "scientific-ness" simply because it becomes "real" to the future population---it simply ceases to be "fiction."

I DO think that AS is a medical thriller, much the same way I think the movie Sphere could be an Engineering Thriller----and we can go on, and on, and on.

But isnt that the purview, the operating realm of SciFi? Doesnt SciFi simply imagine what can, or shall be in the not-too-distant future?

ALL of it is science. Its only failing is that it is also fiction.

Which just goes to show that you could say the the tv show ER is a science "fiction" show---it is scientific, and it is a made up reality.

So how exactly SHOULD we apply fiction parameters to science?
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