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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Mixed Review

State of Fear

Disclaimer: I don't generally like or in any way appreciate didacticism. Especially not in novels, but generally not anywhere. I also don't appreciate being preached to most of the time. (Mainly because most of the "preachers"-both from secular and "sacred" realms are usually so bad at it that any valid points they may have are obscured by all the rubbish they lade on top.)

That said, imagine my ambivalence when I picked up Michael Crichton's State of Fear. The thing's just one long polemic against the stupidity marketed as "global warming" and "climate change". Yeh, I know I deliberately loaded that comment, but I'll stand behind it.

But about the book. After dispensing with the suspension of disbelief deal breaker in the plot (a bunch of unlikely-totally implausible-Scooby-dos save the world from eco-feak wack jobs and ecology industry conspirators. OK, the last part isn't so far-fetched, but the Scoooby-dos are), the stick-figure characterizations, sometimes wooden dialog and all the other lame plot elements, I was left with a run-of-the-mill adventure story well suited to Hollyweird (save for its perspective on global warming/whatever the latest lame catchphrase might be) and... some moderately interesting, though hardly new to me, citations of actual-GASP!-scientific research into climate change.

And frankly, for those who have been brainwashed by Hollyweird, the Mass Media Podpeople's Army, Cracked Ivory Tower Academia Nuts, and the whole melange of Loony Left Moonbats, eco-freaks, eco-nazis and their ilk about climate, this book (and hopefully others like it but better-written) may hold out some slim hope of sanity.

Yes, the novel does exaggerate some things and postulate a semi-plausible conspiracy to manipulate people by inducing a "state of fear", but the basic info about the non-scientific, UNREASONING and unreasonable nature of global warming posturers is spot on, and worth injecting into the public consciousness.

I'd suggest that those who don't particularly appreciate Crichton's fiction style (count me as one, although he seems to have his moments of good writing in every book of his I've read) nevertheless read the book's appendices and check out the bibliography. Some good reading in the biblio, much of it-or abstracts of some-available on the internet. You will have to do your own searches for the material, though, unless you have dead tree copies in your own library (like the Rachel Carson cover-to-cover lie, Silent Spring I have buried in a box) or a decent public or university library available... and there's always interlibrary loan, you know.

Frankly, most folks won't be bothered too much by the massive implausibilities in the plot and would enjoy the read... although most will also-sadly, cos they are surprisingly good; the best parts of the book, in fact-skip over the lil sermonettes on science vs. eco-voodoo.

Crichton does make the common mistake of many accolytes of materialistic positivism in believing scientific knowledge is the only real knowledge, but I can forgive him that blind spot for the service he does in describing in vernacular some of the differences between the voodoo that's presented as scientific knowledge by the media, politicians *spit* and dumbasses in academia who are either just playing pseudo-scientific politics or regularly speak with assurance about things they know nothing about.

BTW, I missed noting Rachel Carson, arguably the biggest mass murderer in history via the influence of her lies, in my roundup of "Worst Americans" and only realized my faux pas when I saw her on someone else's list. Can't get 'em all...

Review reviewed at Stuck on Stupid, TMH's Bacon Bits...