Michael Crichton Takes on Global Warming in Latest Work

ByABC News
December 9, 2004, 7:19 PM

Dec. 10, 2004 — -- So often what you think you know may not be so. And it's a reason I love the book just out from America's top-selling thriller writer, Michael Crichton. He's the man who created the popular TV medical drama "ER," wrote "Jurassic Park," which ranks among the top 10 grossing films of all time, and much more.

Crichton's books and movies have grossed more than $4 billion. Now, he's tackling global warming in his latest techno-thriller, "State of Fear."

Crichton is an extraordinarily bright man. He paid his way through Harvard Medical School writing his thrillers. He told "20/20" he based "E.R." on what he witnessed as a med student at Harvard. "It was just experiences that I had had in the emergency room," Crichton said.

He says Anthony Edwards' and Noah Wiley's characters on "E.R." are based on him, describing them as "a little fumbling, not sure of themselves -- nice people."

When he wrote "The Andromeda Strain," the story of an organism from outer space that threatens to wipe out mankind, Hollywood came calling, and his medical career was over.

Thirty-five years later he is still meticulously melding fiction with cutting-edge science, which continues to open him up to criticism.

He was called anti-science when he wrote about the perils of manipulating DNA for cloning in "Jurassic Park." After writing "Disclosure," the story of a man who is sexually harassed by his female boss, he was labeled a sexist. But he was also prescient. At the time of "Jurassic Park," few people talked about cloning. Now it's often in the headlines. And sexual harassment of both women and men has been featured in newsmagazines.

Will he be similarly ahead of his time with his new book? "State of Fear" expresses skepticism of the claim that global warming is real and imminent.

The controversy the book is bound to stir up almost kept Crichton from writing the book. "I'm 62 years old. I've had a good life. I'm happy and I'm enjoying myself," he said. "I don't need any of the flak that would come from doing a book like this."