The novel, ‘The Andromeda Strain’, written by Michael Crichton, was written as a warning for the dangers of introducing foreign bacteria to the earth. ‘The Andromeda Strain’ outlines the multitude of possibilities that may arise from human exposure to extraterrestrial life, eventually focusing singularly on one of the most damaging outcomes. Crichton leads us through the complexities of how such harmful organisms can be a menace to the human population, yet also how alien bacteria can be put to use through painstakingly long experiments and careful examination of what could possibly be, mankind’s greatest weapon.
In ‘The Andromeda Strain’, Crichton established the danger of the alien bacteria by giving a small, but thorough example of what the organism does to people. When a space probe, crashes 12 miles from a small town in Arizona, it infects the people with a deadly disease…one that kills in a peculiar way. Some people died within seconds, their blood having clotted instantly from the chest outwards, while others were driven to the point of madness, eerie notes left behind then followed by grim suicides. But they all had one thing in common; they all died except for 2 people: an old ‘addict’ and a newborn child. Crichton establishes a thrilling plot to emphasize the danger of foreign life on earth and the race to neutralize it.
Another example of Crichton’s warnings is when he discusses the possible use of this devastatingly bizarre bacterial strain as a potential biological weapon. “The true aims of ‘Scoop’ were to find new life forms that might benefit the Fort Detrick program. In essence, it was a study to discover new biological weapons of war” (Crichton, 1969, page 44). Using biological weapons is thought to be a depraved or dishonest act, deemed illegal by the ‘international community.’ However, the United States government still endeavored to create a formidable bioweapon from alien origins, resulting in the death of an entire town’s population.
Finally, Crichton involves very detailed explanations of the processes needed to examine and experiment with the alien organisms. Seeing as these organisms are harmful to most animals, one could infer that the experiments would be gruesome and wasteful with unnecessary ending of life, both animal and human. Crichton delves deeply into the experimentation on animals and the effects of testing on them along with humans. Although nothing goes wrong with the analysis of the humans, in a real-life environment, there are too many uncontrollable factors that could lead to death, or worse, a contamination on a global scale.
In conclusion, Michael Crichton effectively described one of the worst catastrophes that could take place as a result of the human need to harm and wage war. Already, governments around the world have heeded Crichton’s warning, consequently, the use of biological weapons has become illegal. ‘The Andromeda Strain’ was an insightful read and a strong warning at a time when we are in such a dire need of one. In a thriller and an informational novel, Crichton has succeeded in raising awareness for a rising threat in our modern world that could have deadly consequences.