Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain, is dead after a private battle with cancer. He was only 66.
Crichton inspired me when I was a young writer. I loved his ability to take unique topics and use the "what if" factor to create amazing plots. I believe he is the one who taught me to do that with my own writing.
Though I snubbed him in recent years because of my own issues against bestseller lists, I've never been disappointed after reading one of his books. I may not have liked the characters or even completely believed in them, but his plotting and sneaky manipulation left me thinking, "What if?"
I hope he saves me a spot in writers' heaven because I'd love to chat.