Book review: Next

When I picked this up randomly at the airport, I realized that I’ve been a fan of Mr. Chrichton’s prior works. Jurassic Park ranks among my favorites, and I’ve also liked Disclosure.

Next is about as gripping a bio-thriller(if you will) as can be. It appears to be part fact, part fiction, decidedly backed by research. It left me feeling a little disgusted by the human race, that tries to ‘control’ so much. It leaves me wondering how seemingly noble causes, brilliant research and potential cures get quickly lost in the human race’s’s selfish motives and greedy ways.

There are several stories running in parallel along the book, overlapping sufficiently to bring everything together. The content was interesting, the plot and its twists sufficiently gripping. For someone with not much background on genetics, or even science for that matter, it was a fascinating discovery of what might be happening in this world of genetics, gene patenting, lawsuits and unsafe testing.

Is there really a ‘gene’ for everything? Where do you stand when it comes to researchers and companies wanting to patent every gene combination that they find ‘responsible’ for something? What about people using this as an excuse to defend almost any and every behaviour? What about the great debate between science and religion – is the human race allowed to interfere with the so called Divine Design of God? What about all the testing on helpless animals? Some say, better than testing on humans without knowing what it can cause.

The book covers all these and more. Partly frightening, partly interesting and definitely worth reading. I highly recommend…’Next’. You find everything from a ‘thinking-talking’ bird that does Math to a half-human, half-chimp who struggles to adjust to school.