Word's come down that author Michael Crichton died on Tuesday of cancer at the age of 66.
Admittedly, I wasn't much of a fan of Crichton's.
"Sphere" was okay (at least, it was when I read it as a teen), with some frightening squid sequences. Although I didn't like the cheap resolution at the end where the survivors "wished" away their powers. And the theatrical version was down-right terrible - how could they have such a top-notch cast and do such a bad job not only on the script but the performances?
"Jurassic Park" was also a fun read. It's sequel, "The Lost World" was limp, if not terrible. The first JP movie was entertaining enough, with inarguably astounding SFX, but the sequels suffered immensely.
As for his other fare, "Westworld" was fine for the kind of late-night, Sci-Fi Friday programming that local cable TV stations used to host, but I wouldn't go out and buy it. Kudos though for Yul Brenner's role as the murderous cowboy android that I figure (whether it's ever been acknowledged or not) must have provided some inspiration for "The Terminator". And "The 13th Warrior" was an alright flick to spend a couple of hours with (bonus points for being shot up in Campbell River!), although I never read the novel.
I didn't read or watch the much-applauded "The Andromeda Strain", and was never a fan of ER.
Ultimately, Crichton's talents as an author were, in my opinion, middle-of-the-road, but I will give him credit for bringing SF to mass audiences - even if they didn't know it.