Michael Crichton excels at writing technological thrillers. He has covered many areas of science and technology – Prey delves into nanotechnology and artificial distributed intelligence.
The basic storyline is (without giving anything away) that a lab in the Nevada desert is working on nanoparticles that, when working together, can act as a camera. An application of this could be to inject them into patients to visualise parts of the body – a high-tech angiogram, for example. However, something goes wrong and a swarm of nanoparticles is unleashed into the desert. They are able to evolve – they are intelligent and can no longer be controlled by the scientists and computer programmers. The swarm is deadly and their creators are now the prey.
Enter the hero – Jack, a computer programmer with intimate knowledge of the software originally written to control the nanoparticles. He’s sent in to try and regain control of the swarm. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as he thinks it’s going to be. This is a Michael Crichton novel so of course there are a lot of blood and guts and gory deaths.
I’m an absolute sucker for this type of book – I just love the science and technology aspects. This is a good book – I think one of his better ones. The story is gripping and it’s a real page turner once you’re into it. For those not so interested in science I can see some sections may be a little tedious but that doesn’t detract from the overall story.
I give it 4 out of 5.