Rising Sun

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Last summer I was bored so I picked up a random book from our bookshelf. The book was "Rising Sun" by Michael Crichton. I started to read the book but didn't finish it that summer because I was interrupted by what I felt were more interesting things. Having this assignment this year, gave me a reason to pick the book back up and start where I left off, but I had forgotten most of it and had to read it over. "Rising Sun," was a very interesting book; by reading it I learned many things about Japanese business strategies, and culture. I was surprised by the amount of information found in the book because at no point in the book was I bored. So I decided to continue reading Crichton's books hoping all his books would have the same writing style. My three books were very differentiated.

The books include murder mystery, the other an action packed story of dinosaurs brought back to life, and the last an alien contact. Finding a similar theme was difficult, but they all had to do with attaining something, whether it is knowledge, money, or fame. In "Rising Sun," things to be attained were wealth by the Japanese corporations, and to find the murderer of the young woman. In "Jurassic Park," the creator of the park, wanted to become famous and wealthy by opening his prehistoric park, and marketing the untamed animals he held there. And in "Sphere," the government was going to find if alien life exists in the mysterious object found in the bottom of the Pacific. After reading the books, I noticed, "Sphere," was pretty different from the others, so with most comparisons, it did not have many similarities with the other two books. In "Jurassic Park," and "Rising Sun," first a problem was presented, and some characters were there to fix it. There was always an antagonist and a protagonist. In "Jurassic Park," the protagonist was Grant, the smart paleontologist who always knew what to do when the dinosaurs came, and got everyone he was with, safely off the island. They made the antagonist tricky. The antagonist can be either Nedry, the man who turned traitor and shut down the security systems in the park, the dinosaurs who hunt down and kill most the people, or Hammond the person who started the park. In my opinion though the antagonist is the Nedry, because he caused the havoc, the dinosaurs were just acting like they naturally do. In "Rising Sun," the antagonist is the Japanese corporation that tries to hide the murder that was committed in their new building, and the protagonist is the detective, Peter Smith who is assigned to find the murderer. "Sphere" was different though. The characters were both the antagonists and protagonists at the same time. It was very interesting, and I loved reading it because of this. All the characters were sent down together to find out what the mysterious object was in the bottom of the Pacific. They found a giant metallic ball that they eventually walked into and came out not remembering going in. After this they started encountering problems like giant squid attacking their underwater habitat various other life threatening situations. Later they discovered these attacks were manifestations of their own imaginations fed by their fears. This book was one of the only I have read with a plot which was not a cliché, so it was very fun to read.

Michael Crichton makes his characters very distinctive but they don't grow on you very much. If one of the characters were to die in a given novel, it won't make me feel sad, or like I have lost something. Crichton likes to provide a lot of scientific information in his books, and he does this best through his main characters, they are his tools for providing information. The characters are never stupid, they are all intellectuals with what seems like a great wealth of information on any topic they are related to. You start to expect them to have answers for everything, and they usually do, which helps narrate the story, or skip a lot of hard work. For example, if in "Sphere," they did not have the mathematician with them, they would have probably never decoded the keyboard set up the ship was using to communicate with them. What I also like about his characters, is if you pick up a book about cloning like in "Jurassic Park," just by the story being told, his characters will indirectly teach you about it. They provide information, but they don't just sit there and list it for you.

Time periods play important roles in Crichton's books, because most of them are very scientific, and up to date. All the books I read were set at about the current time, and situations in the world. Settings are pretty well detailed in his books. When reading, "Sphere," I could feel myself being under more than a mile of water, it was interesting. In "Rising Sun," when they would describe certain places in Los Angeles, I could relate because I have been there and I felt like I had a nice view of what was going on in the story because everywhere they went, I have seen and can imagine these situations in those areas, and now whenever I drive by I remember the book.

I have probably mentioned already, I love Michael Crichton's novels because they supply so much information, and provide a lot of interesting facts and usually you come off learning something from what you have read. If I could go back and write down every fact that was mentioned in these books I can easily list off three pages of facts. It's not just about providing these facts; it's how he does it. Michael Crichton is very good at cramming a lot of information into his books without making it boring. Although they have so much information, it never gets tiring, you start becoming dependent on this information, it helps you understand things and it creates a new feeling of interesting on the subject for you. Crichton's books are pretty easy to read, there aren't many difficult words to look up, and usually if it's a really big word he'll tell you what it means. Symbolism was found a lot in "Rising Sun." With the Japanese he used the symbolism to show how the culture was very well developed and dependent on respect and trust. There is a lot of narration in his books but it's hardly ever third person. He keeps most the narration for the main character so he seems like the character is talking to you, and the story isn't being described for you. Instead it feels like your there because the characters usually talk to themselves. Except for "Sphere," though, it had quite a bit of third person, but this was necessary because there was no real main character, it was a group of equally important characters so he probably did this so the story wouldn't be one sided.

I was pleased to find out that in all three books, plot lines were pretty similar and his writing style didn't change much. I liked how every one of the books kept me on the edge of my chair and hardly ever gave me a chance to put it down. After reading "Rising Sun," I still wanted to know more about the Japanese culture and business strategies and I felt like I knew quite a bit. As anyone, I like to learn but, but don't like to work hard for it, so the books were very enjoyable. With every book, I knew I could look forward to it being packed with various facts and information and I expected to learn a thing or two also. I went and researched about the author, and I found that most his books even earlier in his career, were science related, but I don't know if their plot structures are similar to the one's I have read because well I haven't read them. Crichton also likes to put moral values in his stories. Almost always his characters learn from their experiences, and the antagonists never prosper. He tries to express how certain things are wrong and will end up causing problems in your life. In "Jurassic Park," he shoes how greed can cause a failure, and that messing with natural life can prove disastrous. In "Sphere," the scientists see that these new powers the received from the giant ball in the ocean were too much for them. Since they started destroying one another, they realized they weren't strong enough mentally to handle such a power so they decided to forget about it. In "Rising Sun," he makes the Japanese corporation who hides a murder that was committed in their building and it comes off as the "bad guy." The whole book almost revolves around the corporation and their sneaky tactics rather than the actual murderer. Unlike some movies or books I have read, where I probably came off dumber after I read the book, I felt that in Crichton's books, I learned something and I felt very satisfied and happy that I chose to read the book.

I am glad I chose Crichton for a few reasons. Now I actually know an author who I can talk to other people to about his writing style and the pros and cons. I also know that whenever I pick up a book by him I can expect the same qualities in it that I found interesting in the other books. I like endings that don't leave you hanging or make you make up your own. These books had great endings that made me happy because they happen the way they did, and didn't let me down with something really stupid that didn't make sense. Over all, I loved "Sphere" the most because it made me imagine now nice it would be to be able to manifest things from my imagination. I will probably never forget it and I look forward to exploring another author so I can compare and contrast them and explore new ideas and writing styles.