Following the success of Dragon Teeth (2017), which was published posthumously, HarperCollins is set to release another Michael Crichton thriller following the beloved storyteller’s death in 2008, this time a sequel to his mega-hit novel The Andromeda Strain, which was first released fifty years ago, titled The Andromeda Evolution.
The Andromeda Strain, which paved the way for Crichton, one of the most accomplished storytellers of his time, to become a household name, remains one of the author’s most notable titles in a long list of high-profile and noteworthy works. Later this year, a direct sequel to that book, written by
In a recent press release, HarperCollins Publishers says they are “thrilled to announce the publication of The Andromeda Evolution, the sequel to Michael Crichton’s groundbreaking techno-thriller, The Andromeda Strain. The novel, a collaboration between CrichtonSun LLC and bestselling sci-fi author Daniel H. Wilson, will be published on November 12, 2019 by Harper US, UK and Australia simultaneously.”
“It’s hard to believe that half a century has passed since the publication of The Andromeda Strain, particularly as the fears at the book’s core remain in the forefront of our collective consciousness; the title itself has become part of our culture – a shorthand for any global pandemic. Harper could not be more excited to publish the continuation to the book that launched Michael Crichton’s career,” said Harper President & Publisher Jonathan Burnham, according to the press release.
“Michael’s first benchmark novel, The Andromeda Strain, was ahead of its time in both subject matter and how it was presented to the reader,” said Sherri Crichton, CEO, CrichtonSun LLC. “It’s exciting to be shining a spotlight on the world that Michael so brilliantly created and to collaborate with Daniel Wilson. This novel is for Crichton fans; it’s a celebration of Michael’s universe and a way to introduce him to new generations, and to those discovering his worlds for the first time.”
“As a lifelong fan of Michael Crichton, it’s been an unbelievable honor to revisit the iconic world that he created and to continue this adventure,” said Wilson. “It’s a testament to Crichton’s genius that the originality of The Andromeda Strain is just as exciting and relatable now as it was on the day it was first published.”
While fans have every reason to be excited, there are a couple of notable differences between this book and the other three that have been published since Crichton’s death. For starters, it’s long been known that Crichton left behind an avalanche of papers and story ideas, some of which were partially completed. Micro (2011), for example, was finished by author Richard Preston after it was discovered on Crichton’s computer.
Other books, however, such as Pirate Latitudes (2009) and even Dragon Teeth, have no co-authors attributed to the work, so it’s fair to wonder how much of those manuscripts were actually written by Crichton. With ghostwriters (paid writers who receive no credit or recognition) playing a prominent role in the publishing world, coupled with the fact that none of the post-death books have really captured the magic Crichton displayed throughout his career, there’s a good chance that these stories were mostly completed by someone other than Crichton himself.
Moreover, The Andromeda Evolution is the first book commissioned by the Crichton estate that boasts no story of being discovered by the late author’s assistant (which was the case of Pirate Latitudes), or his family.
Still, that in and of itself shouldn’t necessarily be a reason for concern, though. Numerous franchises and characters have transcended authors’ deaths, often successfully—this has certainly been the case for Vince Flynn’s iconic Mitch Rapp series (published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster), which is now being helmed by fellow #1 New York Times bestseller Kyle Mills. Mills was first hired to finish Flynn’s last known work, The Survivor (2014), before continuing on to write three more Rapp books and counting (his next, Lethal Agent, comes out on September 24th) completely on his own.
Other notable estates, such as those representing Robert B. Parker, Tom Clancy, and even Robert Ludlum, have also chosen to have other authors continue publishing under their respective brand names, and it’s worked out well for all of them. So, while it seems likely that Crichton had no real hand in crafting the story for The Andromeda Evolution, it’s possible that his influence—albeit through others he may have kicked around plot ideas with, etc.—may have still found its way into the book.
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.