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Michael Crichton's Prey is a terrifying page-turner that masterfully combines a heart–pounding thriller with cutting-edge technology.
Deep in the Nevada desert, the Xymos Corporation has built a state-of-the-art fabrication plant, surrounded by miles and miles of nothing but cactus and coyotes. Eight people are trapped. A self-replicating swarm of predatory molecules is rapidly evolving outside the plant. Massed together, the molecules form an intelligent organism that is anything but benign. More powerful by the hour, it has targeted the eight scientists as prey. They must stop the swarm before it is too late…
In Prey, Michael Crichton combines scientific brilliance with relentless pacing to create an electrifying, chilling techno-thriller
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
PreyBy Michael Crichton
HarperAudioCopyright © 2002 Michael Crichton
All right reserved.
Things never turn out the way you think they will.
I never intended to become a househusband. Stay-at-home husband. Full-time dad, whatever you want to call it -- there is no good term for it. But that's what I had become in the last six months. Now I was in Crate & Barrel in downtown San Jose, picking up some extra glasses, and while I was there I noticed they had a good selection of placemats. We needed more placemats; the woven oval ones that Julia had bought a year ago were getting pretty worn, and the weave was crusted with baby food. The trouble was, they were woven, so you couldn't wash them. So I stopped at the display to see if they had any placemats that might be good, and I found some pale blue ones that were nice, and I got some white napkins. And then some yellow placemats caught my eye, because they looked really bright and appealing, so I got those, too. They didn't have six on the shelf, and I thought we'd better have six, so I asked the salesgirl to look in the back and see if they had more. While she was gone I put the placemat on the table, and put a white dish on it, and then I put a yellow napkin next to it. The setting looked very cheerful, and I began to think maybe I should get eight instead of six. That was when my cell phone rang.
It was Julia. "Hi, hon."
"Hi, Julia. How's it going?" I said. I could hear machinery in the background, a steady chugging. Probably the vacuum pump for the electron microscope. They had several scanning electron microscopes at her laboratory.
She said, "What're you doing?"
"Buying placemats, actually."
"Crate and Barrel."
She laughed. "You the only guy there?"
"No ... "
"Oh, well, that's good," she said. I could tell Julia was completely uninterested in this conversation. Something else was on her mind. "Listen, I wanted to tell you, Jack, I'm really sorry, but it's going to be a late night again."
"Uh-huh ... " The salesgirl came back, carrying more yellow mats. Still holding the phone to my ear, I beckoned her over. I held up three fingers, and she put down three more mats. To Julia, I said, "Is everything all right?"
"Yeah, it's just crazy like normal. We're broadcasting a demo by satellite today to the VCs in Asia and Europe, and we're having trouble with the satellite hookup at this end because the video truck they sent -- oh, you don't want to know ... anyway, we're going to be delayed two hours, hon. Maybe more. I won't get back until eight at the earliest. Can you feed the kids and put them to bed?"
"No problem," I said. And it wasn't. I was used to it. Lately, Julia had been working very long hours. Most nights she didn't get home until the children were asleep. Xymos Technology, the company she worked for, was trying to raise another round of venture capital -- twenty million dollars -- and there was a lot of pressure. Especially since Xymos was developing technology in what the company called "molecular manufacturing," but which most people called nanotechnology. Nano wasn't popular with the VCs -- the venture capitalists -- these days. Too many VCs had been burned in the last ten years with products that were supposedly just around the corner, but then never made it out of the lab. The VCs considered nano to be all promise, no products.
Not that Julia needed to be told that; she'd worked for two VC firms herself. Originally trained as a child psychologist, she ended up as someone who specialized in "technology incubation," helping fledgling technology companies get started. (She used to joke she was still doing child psychology.) Eventually, she'd stopped advising firms and joined one of them full-time. She was now a vice president at Xymos.
Julia said Xymos had made several breakthroughs, and was far ahead of others in the field. She said they were just days away from a prototype commercial product. But I took what she said with a grain of salt.
"Listen, Jack, I want to warn you," she said, in a guilty voice, "that Eric is going to be upset."
"Well ... I told him I would come to the game."
"Julia, why? We talked about making promises like this. There's no way you can make that game. It's at three o'clock. Why'd you tell him you would?"
"I thought I could make it."
I sighed. It was, I told myself, a sign of her caring. "Okay. Don't worry, honey. I'll handle it."
"Thanks. Oh, and Jack? The placemats? Whatever you do, just don't get yellow, okay?"
And she hung up.
I made spaghetti for dinner because there was never an argument about spaghetti. By eight o'clock, the two little ones were asleep, and Nicole was finishing her homework. She was twelve, and had to be in bed by ten o'clock, though she didn't like any of her friends to know that.
The littlest one, Amanda, was just nine months. She was starting to crawl everywhere, and to stand up holding on to things. Eric was eight; he was a soccer kid, and liked to play all the time, when he wasn't dressing up as a knight and chasing his older sister around the house with his plastic sword.
Nicole was in a modest phase of her life; Eric liked nothing better than to grab her bra and go running around the house, shouting, "Nicky wears a bra-a! Nicky wears a bra-a!" while Nicole, too dignified to pursue him, gritted her teeth and yelled, "Dad? He's doing it again! Dad!" And I would have to go chase Eric and tell him not to touch his sister's things.
Excerpted from Preyby Michael Crichton Copyright © 2002 by Michael Crichton. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B000FC13E0
- Publisher : HarperCollins e-books; 1st edition (October 13, 2009)
- Publication date : October 13, 2009
- Language : English
- File size : 736 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 392 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #57,659 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2021
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Top reviews from the United States
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The thought came to me as I read another of Mr. Crichton's books (Airframe) that he had written it with the movie rights in mind. No deep character development, thank you, and evenly paced, if not contrived, action. The same happened as I read this book. Now that is not necessarily a bad thing. If you want a little more meat with your starch, maybe try Stephen King. A lot more energy could have been given to what the principals felt and though along the whole way. Narrated by a man who on the one hand is troubled by his wife's (possibly unfaithful) behavior, and on the other by the technology he spawned that threatens mankind, I would have liked a better image of what made him tick, and a little less stereotype. Being part geek by nature I didn't mind all the techno stuff, but it may be off-putting to some. These reservations aside, Prey is worth the time to read it, or as in this case, to hear while on the way to work. Keep your literary expecations in check, though, and try not to lose any sleep over the thought that there may be nanobots in your soup.
I listen to it again & again, and i very often hear stuff I missed the first time. Nuances related to other things in the book. GENIUS!
I'd say my wife & I listen to this two or three times every year, whenever the mood strikes us, and the story never gets old.
Good ol' Amazon just gave me a multiple choice survey on this book.
"Which of these words best describes the mood?" Several options: "Hopeful", "Dark", "Nostalgic", "Light-Hearted", "Suspenseful", and "Thoughtful". While ALL these moods are present at one point or another - I had a tough time choosing between "Dark" and "Suspenseful".
Anything but "slow" - the story takes its time developing characters at a pleasant, but gradually building pace.
Oh! as with many of his stories, there's a helicopter trip - because Michael Crichton so enjoyed his helicopters, God bless him.
Fast steady pace, with believable, very "true-to-life" characters. Just like the real world, these characters are organic, slightly flawed; their perspectives are independent though not necessarily "unique". In short - these are very realistic people.
For parents of small children - this is a perfect example for the rating of "PG-13". In short - "all things being equal", societal standards, and yadda yadda yadda - 13 years old is a good "cut-off age" (give or take a few years, wherever your kid fits on such a scale). There's "some" violence, and mostly innocuous references to sexuality.
I won't spoil the ending, but i will say it does actually "END" (lol / not all do) - and at the same time - in a way that allows for sequels.
Finally; the skillful narration of GEORGE WILSON gets points for his even modulation, and steady volume. the
Personable voices for the various characters - concise descriptions and explanations are flavoured with the appropriate tones of intrigue, humor, worry, affection, sarcasm, etc.
His annunciation is clear, and. Not only is this one of the best "books" but also one of the best audio books too.
Definitely experience PREY. I'm confident you'll enjoy it almost as much as much as we do. :-)
Top reviews from other countries
Written in Crichton's inimitable style, the story blends research into the subject matter with an interpretation of how human behaviour might ultimately affect it. In an area of science where the majority of people are not really up to speed on it, it does give an albeit fictictious view of what it is capable of.
Read it and you should not be disappointed.