Technological hubris and the science fiction of Michael Crichton

Douglas N Hime, Salve Regina University


This dissertation examines Michael Crichton's criticism of the influence of technology on the human condition by an analysis of his novels that specifically question mankind's hazardous embrace of technological power. The thesis of this study is that through these examples Michael Crichton has joined an impressive group of philosophic, moral, and social critics who have discredited the illusory belief in cultural progress based on technology. From his early novels through his most recent, Crichton's critique of the dangers involved in the modern reliance on technology has effectively brought these crucial problems to the attention of the wider public. The seven novels examined in this study all demonstrate how the enormous power of technology placed in the hands of greedy, imprudent, or arrogant men can have unintended and tragic consequences. Many of the contemporary issues raised by technology—from genetic research to the exploitation of the environment—are directly confronted in this cautionary fiction. This study is further documented with a broad range of scholarly opinion on the dangers associated with the material values of a technological society. Like his science-fiction predecessors, such as H. G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, Arthur Clarke, and George Orwell, Crichton's imaginative novels complement the intellectual insights of today's formidable social critics who have trenchantly questioned the modern abuses of technology. In all this fiction, Crichton basically argues that the rash application of technology bereft of ethical principles can be a major menace facing humankind.

Subject Area

Social research|American literature

Recommended Citation

Hime, Douglas N, "Technological hubris and the science fiction of Michael Crichton" (2002). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI3042381.