Michael Crichton's career has been peaked by darkly exploratory journeys into science gone wrong with novels like Sphere, Jurassic Park, Timeline, and Congo, and while I've always appreciated his knack for creating believable, if not plausible, sci-fi scenarios using his love with certain areas of fringe tech, some of his more entertaining books come about when he steps away from the schematics and computer print outs and goes to town in a world of complete fantasy. Such is Pirate Latitudes, the last book ever written in full by Crichton, which was discovered on the author's computer after his death in November '08.

There are no moral tales of the responsibility inherent to toying with the genome or brushing shoulders with extinct species found here. Rather, Pirate Latitudes is more in league with Eaters of the Dead and The Great Train Robbery; a pure adventure story. However, while you may be expecting a pirate book arriving after the monumental success of Pirates of the Caribbean to feature out-of-this-world plot devices and ridiculously zany, swashbuckling set pieces, rest assured that Captain Jack Sparrow has left no visible imprint on Crichton's latest. No, Pirate Latitudes is a hard-boiled, men-on-a-mission thriller that has more in common with Michael Mann's Heat or Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds; it just happens to be set in a wonderous time when anything seemed possible, a time when sea dragons and cannibal natives may not have just been tall tales.
categories Features, Sci-Fi