Congo- Michael Crichton

I will preface this review by saying that I do feel badly for Michael Crichton, his books rely heavily on technology that is now laughably outdated. This is the case for Congo, which came out in 1980. A lot of the drama and thrill is derived from technology malfunction that just no longer hold any weight, such as triangulating a position using lasers that somebody actually sets up by hand. The story is a re-tread of most hidden city story lines and I did not find many of the protagonists like-able, besides Amy the sign language speaking gorilla. Amy is sassy and at most points of the novel, she seems to be the only character thinking with their brain and not just fulfilling their character archetype. The most interesting portions of the novel are Crichton’s explanation of cannibalism on the African continent and the geographical features and he also gets into the history of exploration of the continent. You can tell that Crichton did his homework and his explanations make some high-brow concepts easy to understand, but again the capabilities of the 1980’s technology is minuscule compared to modern technology. I tried to keep this in mind when reading, but when you realize that my 3 years outdated iphone could probably do all of the “amazing” computing being described in the book it makes it hard to sit through a 3 page technical explanation. There are some very entertaining portions, particularly a jungle parachuting sequence and a hippo attack. Overall the book leads up to what I saw as the only explanation that could be drawn from the evidence given throughout the book and it is entirely underwhelming. I would say if you have a lack of books to read at the moment and you are looking for a quick read, than this is a good option. Other than that, I would read something else by Crichton or check out other options.

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