Paperback - 2003
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Deep in the Nevada desert, eight scientists are trapped in their lab. Outside, waiting for them - and growing bigger - is a predatory swarm of invisible microparticles that they themselves created. How do you stop something you can't see.
Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : HarperCollins Publishers, 2003, c2002.
Edition: First mass market edition
ISBN: 9780006392972
Characteristics: xvii, 507 pages ;,18 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Nov 29, 2017

Crichton is a go-to for captivating "what if" technological thrillers, and he can embed his strong and well-researched messages of technology ethics in the plot without seeming overly preachy.

Nov 12, 2017

The novel is written as a cautionary tale on the risks involved in nanotechnology and programming machines based on predator-prey algorithms and distributed intelligence. However it isn’t a dry read by any means. It really is one of those books that once you start reading it you can’t put it down. It hasn’t been made into a movie yet as far as I know but it read almost like a novel written with an eye to selling the movie rights. Apparently 20th Century Fox bought them. There are the ethnic characters in the mix that conform to ethnic stereotypes, Rosie the hot Latina, Mae the shy cerebral Oriental woman. SPOILERS AHEAD! The hero (and heroine) destroy the menacing swarms against all odds, but in real life faced by such a menace any rational person would have brought in the authorities. This might not have made for such a page-turner of a novel, but it certainly would have made for a more believable one. Although Crichton keeps repeating how rapidly self-reproducing swarms may evolve and advance the developments he shows defy belief. The chapter at the end that is supposed to wrap up all the loose ends doesn’t really do so. We never find out why Jack’s wife Julia had her car accident; it seems it was just a device thrown in to keep her away from the Nevada fabrication plant until the climax of the book.
Nevertheless, I would recommend the book. Crichton has a delightful sense of humour. I particularly liked Julia’s reference to a pair of high heels as her f—k me shoes.

Apr 17, 2017

This book was a really great read. The techno-jargon wasn't too heavy, and was always translated into something more easily understood. I feel it is a good book for early sci-fi readers.

Jan 11, 2014

I'm not usually into books where the storyline is based on tech, and at first was going to put this one down. I'm glad I read through it. It held my interest throughout, even though it was predictable by the last third or so. Shades of Aliens in one particular section...

May 04, 2013

I think this is one of Crichton's best. His ability to translate boring scientific language into something understandable to all readers, and even more, something exciting, never ceases to amaze me

Jul 16, 2012

Readable work, yet not one of Crichton's best. A good portion of the story is tecnho-jargon, and it is pretty easy to figure out what is going to happen well before the end of the book. I kept waiting for a little bit more excitement, anything more "crichton" but it never quite materialized. I wouldn't tell someone to skip it, but I'd remind them that this book isn't his best.

Nov 26, 2011

The story has a considerable amount of technical jargon, whether it is true, or part of the fiction, there simply is too much of it. Also some of the characters reactions, particularly to the death of friends and relatives, is surreal..the author doesn't include real life emotion to such tragedy...just an OK novel in my opinion.

Exo Aug 26, 2011

Pretty good. It was interesting enough, and it made me want to read more of his books. Not outstanding, but definitely readable.

Jan 03, 2011

I would say this has to be his worst. I have most of his books and he is one of my favourite authors, but when I read this I was thoroughly disappointed. Skip this one.

Dec 27, 2009

A good science fiction thriller. Hard to put down. Could this happen? Scary.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Related Authors


Subject Headings


Find it at my library

To Top