the complete works

Ranking All 16 Michael Crichton Novels

When Jurassic World finally roars to life on June 12, it’ll mark the latest emergence of the dinos-run-amok scenario created by Michael Crichton in his 1990 novel Jurassic Park. While that book is probably the author’s most famous work, it’s also just the tip of his high-tech, high-concept, popular-thriller iceberg.

Like his fellow superstar novelists Tom Clancy (military technology) and John Grisham (lawyers), Crichton had his own distinctive and incredibly page-turning shtick: meticulously researched settings that involve a crack team of experts combating a wild social or scientific breakthrough of some kind or another, be it a hungry T. rex or a sexually dominating female boss. (There’s a serious conservative streak running through his novels.) Crichton died at age 66 in 2008, which means we’ll never get to see what exotic adventures this intellectually curious and endlessly imaginative — if exuberantly pedantic — guy would make of, say, social media or Bitcoin mining, but he left more than enough behind.

In addition to his novels, the Harvard-trained M.D. also released four books of nonfiction, as well as a couple early efforts under pseudonyms, and his last book, Micro, was finished by Richard Preston. Those are worth investigating, but not here: We’re solely ranking the novels published under Crichton’s own name, from worst to best, which, as you’ll see, is plenty. So let’s go.