From watching Jurassic Park it seems plausible that Michael Crichton thought, “Hey, what if dinosaurs and people had been around at the same time? People are so helpless. We are small, with no claws and teensy teeth. We’d just get eaten!” Which made an exciting (albeit gory) story. I am guessing that the idea for Micro started in a similar way. Michael Crichton thought, “What if people were as small as insects? We’re just soft and squishy. No exoskeleton and only two legs. We’d just get eaten!”
And sadly for the characters, that is exactly what happens in Micro. Not for the faint hearted or the weak stomached, Micro is extremely violent and extremely gross. Have you ever seen a nature documentary where the parasitic wasps lay their eggs in the caterpillars, then the larvae hatch and eat the caterpillar from the inside out? Yuk! You can’t get much grosser than that. But imagine the victim isn’t a caterpillar, but a person? My stomach is uneasy just typing this. But it doesn’t stop there, the many other nasty ways that insects have of killing and eating each other are explored in exciting, but grisly, detail in Micro.
Michael Crichton died in 2008 before Micro was finished. To complete the book they selected Richard Preston, whose best books are non-fiction books about diseases and science, try The Hot Zone or Wild Trees. I think this was an inspired combination. The book has Michael Crichton’s thrilling pace and Richard Preston’s eye for plausible biological detail.
Micro was an exciting, escapist read that I consumed in one weekend. Perhaps it is not great literature, and it didn’t receive very good reviews, but when you add an evil corporation, a mad scientist, an exotic tropical location, and a budding love affair, it kept me reading.
Check the WRL catalog for Micro.