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State of Fear in a nutshell: Hippies try to flood the USA to give the US a very good reason to start spending more on anti-global warming initiatives.
In depth: The US Government, a lawyer, and several others investigate a corporation suspected of having ties to the Environmental Liberation Front. Said corporation has been claiming headway into weather control technologies, with associates and researchers mysteriously dying.
A Global Warming themed conspiracy novel by Michael Crichton, as in "global warming is a conspiracy to get power." Cue the media firestorm calling it controversial, which naturally amounted to free advertising.
Contains Examples of:
- Animal Assassin: The main murder method of the bad guys is to get a team of ninjas to burst in, and restrain the target, while someone presses a blue ringed octopus against their armpit,
just to be eco-friendly in their killingsprecisely because it's such a bizarre and unlikely means of execution. Until Kenner showed up and recognized the paralysis as a poisoning, doctors assumed the deaths were caused by strokes.
- Animal Wrongs Group: The Earth Liberation Front, or ELF. Called the Environmental Liberation Front in the book. Considering how different the real ELF (mainly individual arsonists united only by a common tactic/motive) and Crichton's ELF (a ridiculously high tech and well funded/organized group) are, one wonders why he chose the name other than as a Take That, albeit a bizarrely complimentary one all things considered.
- Asshole Victim: Bradley. The fact that he's an asshole doesn't make his murder any less horrific or reprehensible, though.
- Author Avatar: Professor John Kenner.
- Author Filibuster: Quite a few, many of which are Character Filibusters by Kenner.
- Author Tract: As expected of Crichton.
- Character Filibuster: Pretty much whenever Kenner opens his mouth. It's a Crichton mainstay.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: An intercepted list of ELF test sites are vaguely reminiscent of nuclear tests.
- Doomsday Device: The cavitators. Read: earthquake machines.
- Flame Bait: The subject matter.
- Fun with Acronyms: ELF and NERF.
- Global Warming: The subject of the book.
- Hatedom: Has quite a substantial one.
- Hotter and Sexier: This book contained noticeably more sexual themes than some of Crichton's previous works. (That's because of the world getting hotter through global warming, do you see?)
- Mister Exposition: Kenner, again.
- Noble Savage: Mockingly, painfully subverted.
- Never Found the Body: At one point, a character apparently gets drunk and drives his car off a cliff. They never find the body. Well until he inevitably comes back to save the day at any rate. He really doesn't save it, aside from helping to accompany Kenner's crack team. He has been feeding the US investigators information on the ELF camp, however.
- Reactionary Fantasy
- Shown Their Work: Perhaps anticipating a lot of "he made it all up" from environmentalists, every fact Kenner expounds upon is supported by real life references and footnotes, which appear to be completely genuine.
- Strawman Political: Replete with them, the most obvious one being the ELF-supporting celebrity that, at one point, believes a poverty-ridden third-world city is "in touch with nature". He gets eaten by cannibals, starting with getting his mouth torn out.
- Take That: Potentially the ELF, though in an odd twist Crichton portrays them as significantly higher tech and better organized and funded than the real life version in order to justify having them as the antagonists.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Again, the subject of the book. Additionally, the ELF tries to heighten awareness of Global Warming by using earthquake generators to cause a Tsunami that will damage America pretty badly.
- This Loser Is You: Peter Evans, especially concerning his initial views over global warming.
- Villain Ball: Following people near the cavitation machines which are about to set off a tsunami and are vibrating quickly enough to smash you into itty-bitty pieces is not going to bode well for your face. Especially if you're dealing with a guy who knows kung-fu.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The two assassins working for the ELF, much bandied about in the intro and first half, after trying to befriend the main character and instead paralyzing the private detective spying on them, disappear.
- Writer on Board: It's Crichton, to be sure. If you know his works, it should be obvious here.
- Ye Goode Olde Days: Subverted. A popular environmental enthusiast says "that people who live closer to the earth, in their villages, surrounded by nature, that those people have a natural ecological sense and a feeling for the fitness of it all", that "village life is best and ecologically soundest", and "everyone in the world should live that way, and certainly, we should not be encouraging village people to industrialize." However, whenever he visits those areas, he stays in hotels.
- You Can Panic Now: The titular State Of Fear.