Prey by Michael Crichton

Prey is about a man named Jack Foreman, who has recently been fired from his job as software developer working in a time period in which the computer industry made a huge boom. Now a house-husband, Foreman deals with the kids and also with having a wife that works long hours. The company that Julia Foreman, Jack’s wife, works for is Xymos. This company is currently working on microscopic cameras that can be used by the military. These cameras can’t be destroyed, and they are controlled by algorithms that were written by Jack and his team at his former company. When the code goes wrong, Jack is called to Xymos on a contract to work to solve the problem. The problem seems to have no solution at first, as it seems that the company knew about the problem but never did anything to solve it. Instead, it continued to build the cameras without fixing those problems. Unfortunately, those cameras escaped, and due to the software algorithms that Jack writes for his old company, they are able to reproduce and also grow by feeding on live prey. The cameras have become an indestructible killing machine and it is up to Jack and his former team, which has actually moved to Xymos, to solve the problem in 24 hours or less…

I was able to relate to this book a lot, as I work on scripting algorithms myself. I apply some of the programming methods vaguely referenced in this book to my own code, and as a result, my programs run a lot more smoothly now. As someone who works on a team with the occasional fool in the tech world (robotics), I enjoy relating to Jack’s problems with people on his team. The thriller in this book is that of a whole new level. As a reader of many fiction books, I know that in most cases, the characters will solve the problem no matter what. The thing with this book is, though, that you never know what Xymos has hidden from us next. The problems keep on piling on, and as the situation becomes more desperate, a reader like myself truly enjoys poring over the plot and soaking in the mystery. This book has truly changed a lot for me this past month. I can write algorithms a lot smoother now, and I learn from Jack that working on a team is more than just carrying when no one does anything. It is more about trusting your teammates that the job will be done. I learn from this book that during stressful situations it is important to remain calm but it is understandable to break down at times. It is all about getting up and continuing to work harder, putting in as much steam as you can. I truly enjoy thrillers, and Michael Crichton has written several other amazing thrillers that I have read as well, including Jurassic Park, and I was truly looking forward to this experience. The book looked like it would be about aliens based on what it said on the back cover, and as a result, I was very excited, as I always am at the mention of anything unusual, including the extra terrestrial. The book contained a lot about the writing of algorithms, and as that is something I do, I wanted to see more references to that. I was in luck, as Crichton continued to include code bits and pieces here and there across the book. The thriller got to me, yes, but it was primarily the programming portion of the book I enjoyed the most. I would give this book to a person that loves technology, loves programming, or just wants to read a thriller in general. If you love seeing characters deal with problem after problem, this book is for you. People who love books about family and how it must stay together would love this book as well. Prey contains a lot about office politics and busy life in an industry, so adults can relate to this book as well. Any of the people mentioned above really would be possible people I would give this book to next.

book reviewed by Deep Sethi

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Greydreamer

I'm a daydreamer, book worm, foodie, geek, and apprentice oboeist.