experience, attitude, enthusiasm, and boundless optimism

Remembering Crichton

It’s late, I know, but I only just heard the news that Michael Crichton passed away Tuesday of cancer. You can read more about his life, his works, and other details here, here, or here, but I wanted to share my own memories of the man.
I had the pleasure of working on his foreign rights for almost ten years at my previous agency, and though his email messages were always short and to the point, the man himself was a towering wordsmith. I remember sitting at my cubicle one day when he came by the office, and realized that he was leaning down on the top of the cubicle wall, resting his elbows at the height of my eyeballs. The man was tall, people.
And so talented — say what you will about the movies made from some of his books, but the books themselves are the kind of smart pageturners James Patterson wishes he were writing. Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, The Great Train Robbery, Sphere, Eaters of the Dead, Congo, State of Fear — I defy you to pick up any one of them and put them down without finishing them.
I have a special memory about Timeline. At the time it came out, I was studying stage combat pretty ambitiously, and in hearing that there was a character named Kate in Crichton’s new book, AND she got to fight with a sword, I remember saying something about it to Crichton’s assistant, who I was in frequent contact with about foreign deals with my boss. The next time Crichton came to the office, I got a signed first edition of the newly released book, with a personal note: “To Kate, the only sword fighter I know.”
I’ve worked on a lot of books in my more than a dozen years in the business, but that copy of that book has always been a treasured possession. Today, it feels a little more so.
Thank you, Michael Crichton, for countless thrills.

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