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Michael Crichton's Prey is a terrifying page-turner that masterfully combines a heart–pounding thriller with cutting-edge technology.Deep in the Nevada desert, the Xymos Corporation has built a...
Michael Crichton's Prey is a terrifying page-turner that masterfully combines a heart–pounding thriller with cutting-edge technology.Deep in the Nevada desert, the Xymos Corporation has built a...
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Description-

  • Michael Crichton's Prey is a terrifying page-turner that masterfully combines a heart–pounding thriller with cutting-edge technology.

    Deep in the Nevada desert, the Xymos Corporation has built a state-of-the-art fabrication plant, surrounded by miles and miles of nothing but cactus and coyotes. Eight people are trapped. A self-replicating swarm of predatory molecules is rapidly evolving outside the plant. Massed together, the molecules form an intelligent organism that is anything but benign. More powerful by the hour, it has targeted the eight scientists as prey. They must stop the swarm before it is too late...

    In Prey, Michael Crichton combines scientific brilliance with relentless pacing to create an electrifying, chilling techno-thriller

Excerpts-

  • DAY 6
    7:12 A.M.

    With the vibration of the helicopter, I must have dozed off for a few minutes. I awoke and yawned, hearing voices in my headphones. They were all men speaking:

    "Well, what exactly is the problem?" A growling voice.

    "Apparently, the plant released some material into the environment. It was an accident. Now, several dead animals have been found out in the desert. In the vicinity of the plant." A reasonable, organized voice.

    "Who found them?" Growly.

    "Couple of nosy environmentalists. They ignored the keep -- out signs, snooped around the plant. They've complained to the company and are demanding to inspect the plant."

    "Which we can't allow."

    "No, no."

    "How do we handle this?" said a timid voice.

    "I say we minimize the amount of contamination released, and give data that show no untoward consequence is possible." Organized voice.

    "Hell, I wouldn't play it that way," said growling voice. "We're better off flatly denying it. Nothing was released. I mean, what's the evidence anything was released?"

    "Well, the dead animals. A coyote, some desert rats. Maybe a few birds."

    "Hell, animals die in nature all the time. I mean, remember the business about those slashed cows? It was supposed to be aliens from UFOs that were slashing the cows. Finally turned out the cows were dying of natural causes, and it was decomposing gas in the carcasses that split them open. Remember that?"

    "Vaguely."

    Timid voice: "I'm not sure we can just deny -- "

    "Fuck yes, deny."

    "Aren't there pictures? I think the environmentalists took pictures."

    "Well, who cares? What will the pictures show, a dead coyote? Nobody is going to get worked up about a dead coyote. Trust me. Pilot? Pilot, where the fuck are we?"

    I opened my eyes. I was sitting in the front of the helicopter, alongside the pilot. The helicopter was flying east, into the glare of low morning sun. Beneath my feet I saw mostly flat terrain, with low clumps of cactus, juniper, and the occasional scraggly Joshua tree.

    The pilot was flying alongside the power -- line towers that marched in single file across the desert, a steel army with outstretched arms. The towers cast long shadows in the morning light.

    A heavyset man leaned forward from the backseat. He was wearing a suit and tie. "Pilot? Are we there yet?"

    "We just crossed the Nevada line. Another ten minutes."

    The heavyset man grunted and sat back. I'd met him when we took off, but I couldn't remember his name now. I glanced back at the three men, all in suits and ties, who were traveling with me. They were all PR consultants hired by Xymos. I could match their appearance to their voices. A slender, nervous man, twisting his hands. Then a middle -- aged man with a briefcase on his lap. And the heavyset man, older and growly, obviously in charge.

    "Why the hell did they put it in Nevada, anyway?"

    "Fewer regulations, easier inspections. These days California is sticky about new industry. There was going to be a year's delay just for environmental -- impact statements. And a far more difficult permitting process. So they came here."

    Growly looked out the window at the desert. "What a shithole," he said. "I don't give a fuck what goes on out here, it's not a problem." He turned to me. "What do you do?"

    "I'm a computer programmer."

    "You covered by an NDA?" He meant, did I have a non -- disclosure agreement that would prevent me from discussing what I had just heard.

    "Yes," I said.

    "You coming out to work at the plant?"

    "To consult," I said. "Yes."

    "Consulting's the way to go," he said, nodding as if I were an ally. "No responsibility. No liability. Just give your opinion, and watch them not take it."

About the Author-

  • Michael Crichton (1942-2008) was the author of the bestselling novels The Terminal Man, The Great Train Robbery, Jurassic Park, Sphere, Disclosure, Prey, State of Fear, Next and Dragon Teeth, among many others. His books have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide, have been translated into thirty-eight languages, and have provided the basis for fifteen feature films. He wrote and directed Westworld, The Great Train Robbery, Runaway, Looker, Coma and created the hit television series ER. Crichton remains the only writer to have a number one book, movie, and TV show in the same year.

    Daniel H. Wilson is a Cherokee citizen and author of the New York Times bestselling Robopocalypse and its sequel Robogenesis, as well as ten other books. He recently wrote the Earth 2: Society comic book series for DC Comics. Wilson earned a PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as master's degrees in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. He has published over a dozen scientific papers and holds four patents. Wilson lives in Portland, Oregon.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 3, 2003
    The concept of nanotechnology can be traced back to a 1959 speech given by physicist Richard Feynman, in which he offered to pay $1,000 to "the first guy who makes an operating electric motor... which is only 1/64-inch cube." Today the quest is to make machines that would be about 1,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Enter Jack Forman, a recently unemployed writer of predator/prey software, whose nearly absentee wife, Julia, is a bigwig at a tech firm called Xymos. When a car accident hospitalizes Julia, Xymos hires Jack to deal with problems at their desert nanotechnology plant. The techies at this plant have developed nanomachines, smaller than dust specks, which are programmed with Jack's predator/prey software. Not only is a swarm of those nanomachines loose and multiplying, but they appear to be carnivorous. The desert swarms are the least of Jack's worries, however, as the crew inside the plant are not entirely what they seem. Like Jurassic Park, this "it could happen" morality tale is gripping from the start, and Wilson's first-person reading as Jack sets the pace. His confident, flinty voice and his no-nonsense delivery makes this a solid presentation of a high-speed techno-thriller. Crichton gives the audio an air of sobering authenticity by reading its cautionary foreword himself. Simultaneous release with the HarperCollins hardcover (Forecasts, Oct. 28, 2002).

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 28, 2002
    From the opening pages of Crichton's electrifying new thriller, his first in three years, readers will know they are in the hands of a master storyteller (Timeline, Jurassic Park, etc.). The book begins with a brief intro noting the concerns of Crichton (and others) with the nascent field of nanotechnology, "the quest to build manmade machinery of extremely small size, on the order of... a hundred billionths of a meter"—for this is a cautionary novel, one with a compelling message, as well as a first-rate entertainment.Rare for Crichton, the novel is told in the first person, by Jack Forman, a stay-at-home dad since he was fired from his job as a head programmer for a Silicon Valley firm. In the novel's first third, Crichton, shades of his Disclosure, smartly explores sexual politics as Jack struggles with self-image and his growing suspicion that his dynamic wife, Julia, a v-p for the technology firm Xymos, is having an affair. But here, via several disturbing incidents, such as Jack's infant daughter developing a mysterious and painful rash, Crichton also seeds the intense drama that follows after Julia is hospitalized for an auto accident, and Jack is hired by Xymos to deal with trouble at the company's desert plant. There, he learns that Xymos is manufacturing nanoparticles that, working together via predator/prey software developed by Jack, are intended to serve as a camera for the military. The problem, as Crichton explains in several of the myriad (and not always seamlessly integrated) science lessons that bolster the narrative, is that groups of simple agents acting on simple instructions, without a central control, will evolve unpredictable, complex behaviors (e.g., termites building a termite mound). To meet deadlines imposed by financial pressures, Xymos has taken considerable risks. One swarm of nanoparticles has escaped the lab and is now evolving quickly—adapting to desert conditions, feeding off mammalian flesh (including human), reproducing and learning mimicry—leading to the novel's shocking, downbeat ending.Crichton is at the top of his considerable game here, dealing with a host of important themes (runaway technology, the deleterious influence of money on science) in a novel that's his most gripping since Jurassic Park. In the long run, this new book won't prove as popular as that cultural touchstone (dinos, nanoparticles aren't), but it'll be a smash hit and justifiably so. Film rights sold to 20th Century Fox; simultaneous abridged and unabridged audiotape and CD editions; large-print edition.

  • New York Times Book Review "TERRIFYING...IRRESISTIBLY SUSPENSEFUL."
  • Time magazine "INTRICATE PLOTTING AND FLAWLESS PACING...you won't be able to put it down."
  • Entertainment Weekly "CRACKLING...MYSTERIOUS...."
  • Detroit Free Press "Just what his fans expect: A WILD, SCARY RIDE..."
  • Charlotte Observer "Another PAGE-TURNING TRIUMPH"
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune "INCREDIBLY SCARY and relentless"
  • Chattanooga Times "PREY WILL KEEP YOU TURNING PAGES"
  • Raleigh News & Observer "RELENTLESSLY ENTERTAINING"
  • The Oregonian (Portland) "A TERRIFYING TALE...combining technological verisimilitude with heart-pounding suspense..."
  • Washington Post Book World "Serious and scary..."
  • Detroit Free Press "This is how to write a thriller ...Crichton's latest page-turning triumph."
  • Denver Post "Crichton has proved he knows how to ratchet up the fear factor."
  • St. Petersburg Times "...so god-awful scary and relentless, it'll knock your head clear of whatever ails you."
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Once again, Crichton has proved to be uncannily timely."
  • Detroit News "Crichton is a master storyteller."
  • Columbus Dispatch "A cross between Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain...."
  • Seattle Post-Intelligencer "PREY delivers that expected Crichton charge."
  • San Francisco Chronicle "A terrific novelist...He could make most readers lose sleep all night and call in sick the next day."
  • San Antonio Express "Readers turn to Michael Crichton's novels for entertainment with relentless drive."
  • Des Moines Sunday Register "Crichton is a doctor of suspense."
  • Chicago Tribune "Crichton writes superbly...the excitment rises with each page."
  • New York Times Book Review "Crichton's books [are]...hugely entertaining."
  • Chattanooga Times "He is without peer."
  • New York Newsday "One of the great storytellers of our age...What an amazing imagination."
  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Michael Crichton has written some of America's most fantastic novels."

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