Author Michael Crichton

While most of the United States celebrates in the aftermath of a historic election night last night, today brings a bit of sadness to the entertainment — and more notably the sci-fi community as outlets across the country are reporting that “Jurassic Park” author and ER creator Michael Crichton has passed away.

Crichton died unexpectedly Tuesday “after a courageous and private battle against cancer,” a statement said. He was 66.

Crichton may be best known, at least by this writer, as the man behind best-sellers such as “Jurassic Park,” “Sphere,” and “The Andromeda Strain.” But his work will also live on with fans of TV, as he helped create one of television’s longest running dramas ER, which is currently in its final season. In addition, he wrote a story about a 19th-century train robbery, called “The Great Train Robbery,” and then directed the 1979 film version.

He also directed several other films, including Westworld (1973), Coma (1978), Looker (1981) and Runaway (1984).

Crichton will be remembered not only for his most popular works, but also for his ability to ruffle feathers, taking on social issues in books such as “Rising Sun” and “Disclosure.” On a personal level, Crichton has long been among my favorite authors — in fact, it was in reading “Jurassic Park” at age 10 that I first began to believe in that old addage, “The book is always better than the movie.” Never was the case more evident than with my favorite Crichton book of all-time, “Sphere.”

Crichton can best be described as he was in the news release announcing his passing:

“Through his books, Michael Crichton served as an inspiration to students of all ages, challenged scientists in many fields, and illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way we could all understand.”

He will be missed.

Did you have a favorite Michael Crichton book?

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