I remember in fifth grade, watching my brother violently react when my mom interrupted his reading of Jurassic Park. "Have you ever been so into a book that when somebody rips you out of it you feel like throwing up?" I got the video game for Christmas that year and watched the movie a billion times. Then in eighth grade, I finally opened the book and read for days.
In college, I branched out and read The Andromeda Strain. I thought that I had read better books, but I also thought it had a really interesting premise. I read Rising Sun, The Terminal Man, and A Case of Need before I stumbled on one of my favorite novels of all time: Sphere. In my goodreads.com account, Sphere is one of only two books I honor with five out of five stars. Later, I gave The Great Train Robbery and Travels four stars.
I'm in the process of reading the seven novels of his I haven't read yet. They don't always rival Shakespeare, but they're always exciting and always interesting and always fun. I can't say that Mr. Crichton was a good friend of mine, but I can say that I have enjoyed the hours I've spent reading his work.
If nothing else, I hope Mr. Crichton would be honored by my saying that he's the kind of writer who makes me want to write novels.