Rediscover: The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (1969) concocts an extraterrestrial microorganism capable of inflicting catastrophic damage on the human body despite a lack of DNA or other structures compatible with life as we know it. When a military satellite lands near Piedmont, Ariz., all but two of the town's residents are killed by instantaneous blood clotting. Dr. Jeremy Stone, leader of a secret scientist squad called Wildfire, takes these two survivors--an alcoholic old man and an infant--to the team's laboratory under the Nevada desert. The base's high security includes a nuclear self-destruct mechanism, which can be turned off only by the team's single unmarried member, and a plethora of other protections that the titular pathogen inevitably overcomes.

The Andromeda Strain launched Crichton's career as a techno-thriller superstar. It was adapted into a film in 1971 and a miniseries in 2008. In November 2019, Daniel H. Wilson continued the Andromeda Strain universe with The Andromeda Evolution (Harper), which spreads a new version of the strain to the Amazon rain forest. In 2017, a 50th anniversary edition of The Andromeda Strain was published by Vintage ($15.95, 9781101974490). --Tobias Mutter
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