Odds On by John Lange

Odds On by John LangeThough the name John Lange might not be familiar to many, rest assured that you have probably read at least one of his books. For Odds On is actually Michael Crichton‘s first EVER published novel. When Michael Crichton first started writing he was in Med School and a good portion of his grades were based on what his teachers thought of him. He was worried that if they knew he was writing books, they would think less of him and his grades would suffer, so he first wrote under pen names, one of them being John Lange. There are two things you should be aware of before reading this book. One is the price. Being that it has been out of print for awhile it is quite expensive. The cheapest you can expect to find it for is approximately $86, and even then it may not be in perfect condition. The second is the sex scenes. About a third of the book is soft core sex. Despite that this book is a decent read. While not up to snuff with his later novels, even here we see the beginnings of traits that would become classic Crichton. The introducing of new technology to readers, as well as unexpected twists in the story line can be seen. But I digress, In this book three men plan to rob a hotel on the Spain’s Costa Brava. To pull off this crime they use an computer (nothing new in this day and age but keep in mind this was published back in 1966) to help plan the crime. Even this early in his career we can see hints of scientific and philosophical depth to come later. For example, early on Steve Jencks, the main crook/character says “The computer doesn’t have any ideas. It only evaluates my own…” this shows that computers can NOT think for themselves. Which is something that early science fiction confused people about. Finally, the book shows that even in the computer age that the best laid plans of mice and men can still go awry, and Roberts Burns words have never proved so true.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

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