Women's Prize For Fiction. Elsewhere on the BBC. Mansa Musa Meet the richest person who ever lived. Daily news briefing direct to your inbox Sign up for our newsletter. Why you can trust BBC News. Politics Home Parliaments Brexit. The two binary chemicals are harmless by themselves, and nobody is injured by either the liquid chemicals or the explosions.
In an aftermath Graves observes that in order to prevent public panic the incident is hushed up, being only referred to as a chemical theft and that although official departmental changes are recommended to prevent any further thefts, nothing is actually mandated, and no policy changes are made. The Guardian said it had a "dotty, old-hat plot made unexpectedly credible with new gadgetry and well-engineered surprises". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Binary First edition cover. Dewey Decimal.
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Main article: Pursuit TV film. Y] 20 Aug BR Michael Crichton. Beyond Westworld ER — Westworld —present. Amazon Timeline Westworld —present Jurassic Park —present. Knopf books American novels adapted into films Novels adapted into television programs. In the scheme of things, "Binary" was Michael Crichton's 11th book 8th under the Lange pen-name and yet it has the feel of being much less developed, not just in plot and characterization, but in execution as well.
Or maybe he just couldn't work up any en In the scheme of things, "Binary" was Michael Crichton's 11th book 8th under the Lange pen-name and yet it has the feel of being much less developed, not just in plot and characterization, but in execution as well. Or maybe he just couldn't work up any enthusiasm about saving Republicans. The RNC eventually abandoned San Diego for reasons sillier than the ones that led it to choose the town in the first place--the residents themselves were mostly apathetic about the whole thing, but for decades after it was possible to buy all sorts of souvenirs commemorating the "convention that never happened" at a thrift store in nearby Otay; at the beginning of the book, the author mentions that he "preferred not to follow the convention to Miami Beach," perhaps another indication that he only wrote the book to use a binary chemical as a plot device, since all he would have had to do was change the name of the town--his depiction of San Diego was flawed with inaccuracies and mistakes.
And yet for all the problems experienced by "Binary," it is still well written, with flashes of brilliance. It is tightly plotted, and the idea at the center of the novel, that it would be comparatively easy to steal chemical weapons from the government, is strong enough to carry the weight of a novel.
The action is a bit forced at times, but the suspense is well maintained, slipping only when Crichton is preoccupied with lampooning government bureaucracy. Feb 25, Vishnu Bhaskaran rated it really liked it. A fast paced techno thriller that is best of its kind. This book was an exciting read and kept my attention the whole time.
It wasn't as good as some of Crichton's others but I still enjoyed it. Dec 27, Mike rated it did not like it. For me, "Binary," by John Lange a. I'm used to Lange novels being full of exotic locales, sexy women, and serious amounts of intrigue. Or I was, until "Binary. A rich, right-wing nutjob named Wright has a plan to wipe out the Republican National Convention of with a poison gas attack.
He's pissed at Nixon for opening relations with China. Wright found a way to hack into the Defense Department computers and targeted a shipment of nerve gas the government was shipping by train. The novel's title comes from the fact that it is a "binary" nerve gas--meaning it is composed of two gases that are harmless alone and only become deadly when mixed together. Wright hired a bunch of crooks to steal both parts of the nerve gas because shipping them together seems like SUCH a good idea and thus begins a bizarre, convoluted plan to release the gas and wipe out most of San Diego--including President Nixon and the entire leadership of the Republican party.
And I can tell the author isn't entirely unsympathetic to Wright's goals. It's almost quaint to see a rich white terrorist. And the author's thesis seems to be that the villain wants to do all these terrible things because he has bouts of impotence--as well as other mental defects. Oh, what terrors those "little blue pills" may have stopped in our modern era.
What becomes frustrating is that all of the problems in the story could have been avoided if the protagonist, Graves, simply followed orders and arrested the bad guy before he set up the ridiculously complex gas delivery system. Half the book is spent in what's supposed to be a thrilling cat and mouse game between Graves and Wright. But, in reality, it's more like cat is too dumb though he supposedly has a great IQ to stop mouse from building elaborate death machine until it's too late.
So there's no kind of romance or sex to liven this dull story. The tension of the cat and mouse game seems contrived and the characters doggedly play their scripted parts to the shrug-worthy conclusion. The author did seem to want to "zing" the reader at the very end and make us "think" a little about how realistic the scenario depicted in the book is.
If all terrorists were as wacky and strange as Wright, the world would be a lot safer. Aug 19, Alan rated it liked it. Rating between 3 and 3. Personally that does not detract from the novel for me, Rating between 3 and 3. Personally that does not detract from the novel for me, the abbreviated style of writing suits the story very well and the chapter headings being the hourly countdown to the planned 'incident' keep the book moving quickly and keep the tension in the reader so that they keep reading.
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If the television series 24 hadn't already used the single-day story line 'ad nauseum' I would have said that this novel would make a good mini series, as with the majority of Crichton's novels they are very cinematic, even visual in their construction, and all have the potential to make interesting films or series. In this case even though the book is 47 or 48 years old the plot would still work today and is still believable.
On a side note I have read several reviews questioning the cover of the Hard Case Crime edition and why it was used. Those readers obviously do not know the historical precedent of using painted covers featuring females scantily clad or otherwise , that generally have nothing to do with the story contained in the pages, on pulp style thrillers from the 's through to the early 's. Modern novels generally have very poor covers in my opinion and do nothing to attract readers to pick them up or indeed buy them.
They are usually photo shopped images, scenic photos or just writing - all very boring to me at least and if you are a casual reader then the only reason to pick a book up would be author name recognition. Hence best seller lists full of cussler, grisham, patterson etc. Hence readers do not go out side their comfort zone to pick up works by lesser known authors and HCC publish very good novels by generally unknown authors at least to the general reading public that deserve wider recognition. Anyway overall I would recommend a quick read for those who like thrillers that get straight to the point and keep the story moving and tension building and do not dilly dally with point less extended character sketches in an effort to give all the characters a personal history - which is not required.
Apr 14, Mike rated it liked it.
The characters were stock, with zero development beyond a vague, one sentence description of their physical features and their classically Anglo-sounding names. The names of the two main characters -- Graves and Phelps -- most certainly had to be a reference to the then contemporary television series Mission Impossible : Peter Graves as Jim Phelps. We get a psychological profile of Graves an important ele 2. This was meant to be a quick, breezy thriller.
Perhaps the chapters discussing computers and early techno-jargon may have been more interesting to readers in the earlys, but in it feels dated and dull. The middle section is largely predictable. Only in the final couple chapters does Lange deliver action, some surprises, and a bit of suspense, although not without some impossible-to-believe moments and twists. Aug 19, Diane rated it liked it Shelves: books.
This short novel by Michael Crichton writing as John Lange early in his career, was actually the last one of 10 he wrote under a pseudonym between and , 3 years after his first novel published under his own name, The Andromeda Strain, hit the best seller lists. Binary is a thriller about the chase to prevent an insane man about to unleash a chemical weapon on San Diego on the weekend of the Republican Primary, with the President in attendance. What the naked woman on the book cover has t This short novel by Michael Crichton writing as John Lange early in his career, was actually the last one of 10 he wrote under a pseudonym between and , 3 years after his first novel published under his own name, The Andromeda Strain, hit the best seller lists.
What the naked woman on the book cover has to do with anything other than book sales, I couldn't tell you! Very Pulp Fiction and of its time, I guess. It's a short novel, really not more than a novella in which Agent John Graves must piece together the clues to figure out what the impending attack will be, where and how and then work against a very clever villain who keeps one step ahead of him all the way.
It's real edge-of-your-seat stuff though the clues are almost painstakingly slow to come together at times because the reader knows more or less the nature of the attack and Graves does not. Still, even in his early days, it's evident Crichton can put together a page turner and it's interesting to read some early computer-related stuff like how long it took to send a few pages of information by a telephone wire to be printed on the other side of the country and how data would be hacked and stolen.
Cutting edge stuff in the early 70s but would be in a museum these days!