The Terminal Man – Michael Crichton

In a way I  feel sorry for Harry Benson, the main character in Terminal Man. There was a time that he was living happily, working as a computer scientist. Not anymore though. A car accident put an end to it. Following the accident he was unconscious for some time. When he was discharged from the hospital he was a healthy man, fine for six months until he began to experience “blackouts”. The blackouts became worse and Harry didn’t remember anything that happened. Harry’s diagnosis is psychomotor epilepsy. And, as if the man isn’t troubled enough, he thinks machines are taking over the world. He is arrested on charges of assault of a topless dancer.  Doctors Ellis and Morris think they can help Benson. They are going to implant a very small computer that influences his behavior. Every time the computer detects the start of a seizure it will prevent it by giving a stimulation. The computer modifies his behavior. Benson agrees and the operation is successful. Unfortunately the result is a disaster.

We must take into account that Crichton’s novel is published in 1972. Therefore the described technology is from a different time. You must get past that to find this novel an interesting read.  Overall the characters are not very interesting. Dr. Morris and Dr. Ellis are only interested in the result and not in the human factor. Dr. Janet Ross is having second thoughts about the operation and the results but nobody listens. The plot is predictable. Final conclusion, a nice thriller but no more then three stars.

The novel is one of Crichton’s early works. For those of you who like to read more of his work visit his website.

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