Michael Crichton mastered the art of writing thrilling novels that both seemed like they could happen while stretching reality in ways that gave scientists headaches. The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, Congo, these all existed in worlds that were adjacent to science in ways that pushed the thriller plots along but never let the real scientific truth get in the way.
That is one of the key lessons novelist Karen Dionne took from Crichton’s work for Writer’s Digest. Namely, do not be afraid to “play fast and loose with the facts”:
Story trumps all. Crichton’s gift was making the impossible believable. Everyone knows that dinosaurs can’t be cloned from fossilized DNA, but if they could …
That leap of imagination is where the magic lies.