The most influential human abilities are imagination and emotions. History itself was shaped and perceived by imagination and emotions. Those who built their thoughts over history and facts and expressed it through various means paved the way where the world stands today. This in itself is a topic for much elaboration. Every field of science and literature has its own gardeners. Fiction, specifically Science Fiction is one field, be it from literature or science where these two elements of human ability combine to produce a profound and powerful influence as it appeals both to the intellect and to the heart.
I can easily get lost in the world of (science) fiction which I can easily relate to. I get very much affected by books and their authors who expand my horizon of thoughts. And when some events of my simple but rip-current life connect with a book, there comes an explosion of thoughts which I cannot help but channel to a paper. This article is not a review. It is just to express my appreciation to author Michael Crichton and his book Airframe. Unfortunately, I am a beginner with respect to his literary works and hence cannot comment in detail on them.
Airframe is mostly a fact based novel which employs false document literary device to help blur the line between fiction and reality in the reader’s mind. What is most substantial about this novel is how well the author brings out what happens behind the scenes of services that we see as a whole and take for granted. Even more is the views of various different people who play a role in events unfolding as part of an unexpected incident.
Any engineer, project manager or PRO who has been involved in a Root Cause Analysis can easily relate to the book like a chapter from their own life. It shows the way an engineer views his or her product, a management views their team, the public view the incident and a PRO caught in between.
On top of it is managing the range of emotions and change of interest that happens until at least some of the people understand the overall picture. It makes us wonder about the volumes of historical data and the significant efforts and causes that have made it to evolve in such a manner as it is today.
All in all, Airframe is one of those good novels which have a perfect blend of fact and fiction without losing the essence of human emotions. I would recommend it as a must read book for engineers.