It stands to reason that someone with as many pursuits as Michael Crichton (novelist, nonfiction writer, screenwriter, director, software engineer, M.D.) might achieve only modest success in any of them. But Crichton somehow excelled at them all. His books, suffused with his scientific research and knowledge, never failed to present imaginative, chilling scenarios that jumped from historical capers to futuristic sci-fi. He died on November 4, 2008, after a long battle against cancer.