NeXT is a 2006 novel, Michael Crichton's final published novel. The plot intertwines several different stories. There are two main story arcs: that of a family trying to raise a transgenic Half-Human Hybrid in secret and that of a family who're being hunted down for "illegal theft" of their cancer-resistant genes. Sub-plots include an incredibly intelligent parrot, a pedophile working security for a genetics firm who is promptly framed for rape and is convinced by his lawyer to use genetics to excuse his behavior, a delusional hippie, a foul-mouthed orangutan, and the media hype surrounding it, a baby rapist with a small penis (who just happens to have the same name as Crichton's real-life critic) and a pair of bounty hunters hunting down said family.The book is entertaining and very informative, as Crichton is known for heavy amounts of research, but also basically Crichton yelling at the mainstream news for Failing Biology Forever.(This has nothing whatsoever to do with the computer company of roughly the same name. Or with humongous mecha. Or the movie of the same name. Or the clothing chain Next.)
Contains examples of the following tropes:
Contains examples of the following tropes:
- Aborted Arc - The resolution as to whether John Weller was a Chameara (someone with two sets of DNA) and therefore whether or not Lisa was actually his daughter, never occurs in favor of implying that he was poisoned by his wife and an intern's twin mixing up samples while stealing leg bones.
- Asshole Victim: Dr. Bellarmino.
- Author Tract - There's an actual appendix outlining Crichton's views on the subject of genetic engineering and the laws about it.
- Better To Die than Be Arrested - The Bounty Hunter's first target.
- Big Bad: Rick Diehl
- French Jerk - The talking orangutan swears in French, greatly annoying a French tourist who tried to speak with it.
- Half-Human Hybrid - Dave.
- Hotter and Sexier - Continuing the trend started in State of Fear, there is a sex scene (albeit undetailed) in the beginning when a High-Class Call Girl serving as a delivery woman for genes spends a night with the recipient (a fat virginal slob of a scientist) and a gratuitous sex scene featuring woman who normally does not feel pleasure having an orgasm.
- Laser-Guided Karma - Jack Watson, a venture capitalist who had a compromised BioGen lab tech sabotage their research to drive down its stock price prior to purchasing it, then sends bounty hunters to kidnap a family to procure more samples of cancer-resistant genes(which he decided the company "owned" due to Loophole Abuse) he had destroyed as part of that sabotage, dies of a cancer strain the company might have been able to treat if not for the sabotage.
- Loophole Abuse - Jack Watson is able to get a lower court to rule that BioGen owned not only the cancer-reistant genes they purchased from a university, but also the rights to the donor's entire cell line - AKA him and his children. A higher court pretty much crucifies him for attempting to re-institute slavery.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. Two of the female main characters have sons named Jamie. So when bounty hunters attempt to abduct one of them, they wind up taking the wrong Jamie, which results in them giving up on the entire bounty.
- Poor Communication Kills: Gordon, the pedophile using genes as a defense, falls victim to this. He's about to re-ride a roller coaster (so he can watch a couple young girls who are riding it) when someone comes up to him and says something about not getting many "adult repeaters". He's talking about repeating the roller coaster, but Gordon thinks he means "repeat child molesters" and shoots him. He is gunned down soon after by some police officers/security guards.
- Four Lines No Waiting - asides from minor stories focusing on politicians or random observers, the four narrative lines of Dave, the Parrot, the bounty hunter, and a pedophile using genes as a defense often intertwine.
- Take That - The politician that Alex mentions prosecuting near the third act? The one that raped his two-year-old nephew and has a "small penis"? The one that's never mentioned again and has zero relevance to the plot? He just happens to share the name and college of a reviewer who was particularly critical of Crichton's previous novel ''State of Fear'
- They Would Cut You Up - Watson has skilled enough lawyers(and current biotech laws are vague enough) that he actually gets a state court to give him legal permission for this.
- This Is a Work of Fiction - Subverted."This novel is fiction, except for the parts that aren't."
- What Measure Is a Non-Human? - Like woah. First off, Dave's subplot is really sad (he's the transgenic half-human, half-chimpanzee). Second off, a gene-engineered parrot saves a family on the run from a bounty hunter by faking shotgun noises.
- You Can Panic Now - Many of the "news report" chapters exist to criticize this kind of news reporting.