A woman with a shotgun in the back seat, accompanied by a man and his son are following a black car being driven by a goateed “professional fugitive-recovery agent" who has taken her son to obtain tissue from his body, tissues claimed to be owned by a bio-genetics engineering firm.
The only reason why they know they’re following the right car is because of a locator device that was implanted in the man’s son’s shoe – a shoe that came off when the progeny kicked the goateed man in the mouth while he was driving away in an ambulance.
I say “progeny” because it’s not really the man’s son. More specifically, it’s a half-human, half-ape child created in a lab.
The woman’s son is being taken to a spa where the tissue removal is to take place. However, the goateed man and his assistant are thwarted by a gray parrot. Not just any parrot mind you, but one that can talk and converse in any number of languages, deliver conversations it has heard in the voices of the participants, and produce incredible sound effects (e.g. telephone dial tones, sirens).
Okay, that’s enough. This pursuit starts in Chapter 87. There are 86 chapters preceding, chapters that detail some incredible details about bio-genetic engineering.
In Next, the last book to be published (2006) in Michael Crichton’s lifetime, the author presents an incredible vision of what may be looming on the horizon, and which in fact may already be happening – the control of genes and DNA by genetic engineers that want what is unique about you.
Presented in seemingly haphazard fashion, the situations and developments come crashing together full force, meshing inevitably and incredibly into conclusions that will leave your senses reeling.
Throughout the book, Crichton presents news media and Internet stories about Neanderthals, blondes, talking apes and “genetic art” – proof positive that what he surmises in Next is actually being talked about seriously in educated circles today. The compilation of articles is interesting and lends credibility to Crichton’s work of fiction.
You’ll find it gripping, and easy reading – except for the parts where Crichton explains genetic engineering, its legal aspects and procedures. Lots of that stuff went over my head, and in retrospect isn’t that critical to the enjoyment I got reading the book.
HarperCollins ($27.95 list)