Skew Review: State of Fear: So what are the cold, hard facts?
By Damian Hospital
When I first heard about State of Fear, I was under the impression we’d get an inside look about terrorism from Michael Crichton- perhaps he’d break it open for us in a very realistic way.
Then I saw some news reports than Crichton was actively campaigning that global warming was a myth.
Well, I finally finished all 570+ pages, and I can see where Michael Crichton jumped the shark in 2004. Coming off the heels of a true sci-fi thriller like Prey, Crichton allegedly spent years researching global warming and framed a conspiracy story around his research. As you know, I read Next first, and he used the same method: his creative writing and literary tools take a back seat (they are full of cliches) to his manifesto, which is riddled with debatable facts and a questionable distortion of reality and fantasy. After reading State of Fear, the reader is left 100% uncertain about science in general, and one can only become frustrated by actually researching some of Crichton’s footnotes and references to realize that there is compelling evidence supporting and disproving if global warming exists and if it is due to pollution.
I enjoyed the education I got from State of Fear. Although the reader must be warned that Crichton’s “facts” are disputed heavily in real life (and many times from the very scientists he quotes), you will still feel motivated to check out the statistics and research yourself. You will become more aware of both sides of the global warming debate. The message and moral of the story is very noble: open your mind. Governments around the world should not be alarmed and spend billions on global warming; humankind does more harm then good when trying to preserve nature.
In terms of Crichton’s usual “the inside scoop about [insert industry]“, here we get the inside scoop about how environmental organizations are run. They, like every other corporation Crichton covers, are corrupt and just are concerned about profits.
There are a few chapters dedicated to one of my favorite continents: Antarctica, although every nature program I ever watched (and I watch as many as I can) never had a “if your skin is exposed to the cold for 30 seconds, you will lose it” scenario.
Perhaps the best part of the book (we have to wait until page 455!) occurs when an outcast professor tells the main character about what “State of Fear” means. Crichton payed it safe and used an old, crazy, and ostracized professor to tell The Truth. In fact, it’s a shame the entire book wasn’t dedicated to the True State of Fear. Crichton came THIS close to combining and mentioning the theories of Damian Hospital and Tony Vahl: Snapshot Joe, MEDIA, The Realtor (or as Tony likes to say “The Realtre”), and LME. The professor states that since we live in a society where the MEDIA, politics, and science go hand-in-hand, the Powers That Be control what ideas are accepted from one time frame to the next, and previous ideas become archaic and no longer in use (history gets rewritten). The State of Fear was created post-Cold War, since the U.S. had no enemy anymore. Like I said, it can’t be proven, but makes great fiction, nonetheless.
Characters in the book are walking encyclopedias who spit “facts” out a mile a minute. These characters are simply tools for Crichton’s anti-alarmist agenda. Many characters are from L.A., so Crichton focuses on the shallower side of things. All and all, there is not one truly likable character in the novel- you have your lawyers who can survive falling under the Antarctic ice sheet and survive, an old CEO who knows how to get around in the deepest, darkest jungles of New Guinea, and office workers know how to use a gun and are skilled in hand-to-hand combat.
The graphs, footnotes, and case studies are cherry picked and spun, something which Crichton accuses “the other side” of doing. The novel is intellectual dishonest because he can take whatever liberties he wants under the guise of “fiction”.
The “bad guys”- funded by a not-for-profit environmental organization, want to cause tsunamis and melt glaciers, I think, so everyone can believe in global warming and the CEO would get more donations and a bonus. I think. You see, the motivations and grand conspiracies just didn’t fit into the “Who benefits?” question, regardless of how much Crichton tried to show how these organizations benefit.
Crichton’s depiction of truly concerned citizens, celebrities who donate their time and money, and environmental and animal rights groups is very depressing indeed. Crichton seems to be pitching that we should just let things be, and has the “stats” to prove it- such as how the U.S. destroyed Yellowstone National Park by trying to “preserve” land.
His characters continue to be arrogant, as from all of his novels, and from the literary perspective there are simply too many monologues that Crichton uses to get on his Bob Costas-like soapbox.
There are many “Oh, you didn’t know?” moments which Crichton loves to throw upon us, and make the readers feel like gullible idiots, such as:
- Banning DDT was a bad thing for the world.
- Average temperates in New York City have not increased substantially as far as data goes back. In fact, in some major cities, the average temperature has went down!
- Many charities whom we donate to- like International Wildlife Fund- are simply fronts; the money eventually gets channeled to the main corporation (like Greenpeace) and in turn eco-terrorist groups such as ELF.
- Global cooling was supported by the scientific community in the 1950′s to 1970′s.
- President Teddy Roosevelt supported eugenics, the killing of inferior humans so only the strong survive. It happened in the U.S. We had gas chambers set up. At one point, U.S. history books and press releases were rewritten a la Orwell’s 1984 after World War II (and the revelation that Hitler did the same thing), so the U.S. never supported eugenics.
- Global Warming was embraced in 1989 after the Berlin Wall came down.
- As I noticed in Next, George Bush gets a Free Pass ™. It seems like Bush was right in not signing the Kyoto Protocol Treaty (a New World Order for eco-socialism). Big Oil and Big Coal get Free Passes ™.
- Native Americans burned forests down and hunted animals to exinction, yet managed nature better than we ever can.
- Cannibalism is still rampart in 3rd world countries.
- Eco-terrorists use baby octopuses to poison and paralyze people.
- Lawyers, scientists, and board members are 10000000% smarter than we are. It’s just a shame they use their powers for to make a profit.
- Beverly Hills policemen and detectives are dumb.
- Eco-terrorists have everything planned and are 100% efficient until the end. (No terrorist attack was made in this book- let down.)
- Eco-terrorists can control weather, but one of the main characters tells us it’s impossible and arrogant to believe man can ever control nature at the end of the book.
- All research studies are funded by corrupt organizations and governments. There is no such thing as an objective scientist because his research must support his grant’s belief system. It’s like when nobleman hired artists to paint self-portraits.
- Eco-terrorists and major corporations can put bugs in your cell phone.
- Your cell phone can be also set so to attract bolts of lightning, and you can get struck multiple times. But if a lawyer is with you, he can perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and you will live again.
- Everything you know about climate change, global warming, and the environment is WRONG. Glaciers are NOT melting. CO2 emissions do NOT increase temperature. NO ONE knows how many species of animals exist on the planet anyway, so how do we really know if they are becoming extinct at a greater rate than normal? It’s all a MEDIA driven conspiracy so we continue to live in fear, and allow our governments to fund scientific research and laws to protect us from something that doesn’t exist! Mulder and Scully must be smiling now! Chris Carter’s X-Files was right!!!!!!
Ultimately, the readers are left confused, but it is easy to believe everything Crichton says. It is easy to believe his anti-Al Gore theories, and to believe that anyone who speaks out against global warming is blacklisted now (although there are thousands of web pages showing that it is a myth.) It is easy to believe a few anti-global warming scientists who have been kicked out of their communities, and to sympathize with them because of this “global conspiracy” and MEDIA’s desire to sell fear.
Do I believe in global warming is man-made? No, I don’t. But I also know pollution is harmful, and we have a responsibility to make laws to limit pollution. In the grand scheme of things (which is Critchon’s point) climate change is natural, over tens of thousands of years. The State of Fear we currently have (thanks to the MEDIA and billion dollar organizations) is an illusion.
The irony is that I agree with Crichton’s points. But as a work of entertaining or innovative fiction State of Fear can lead to a State of Apathy about the environment (after all, nothing matters anyway, right?). He briefly touches topics Tony and I would have a field day with (Perspective(tm) and Acceptance ™). He should have presented his “three years of research” as a work of non-fiction instead of this cliched mess.
You can safely pass on this, and check out the various pro- and con- arguments about global warning on the Internet. That’s all State of Fear is.