Crichton's Books Written as 'John Lange' See New Life

Blackstone acquires rights to 8 early novels in 7-figure deal, will publish new editions
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2023 11:40 AM CST
Crichton Novels Written Under Alias to Get Reissue
In this Dec. 7, 2004, file photo, author Michael Crichton is seen in New York.   (AP Photo/Jim Cooper, File)

The early writings of Michael Crichton look destined for the big screen following a seven-figure deal announced Tuesday. The late Jurassic Park author's estate sold the worldwide print, e-book, and audiobook rights to Crichton's first eight novels—unconnected pieces of fiction across various genres, written under the pseudonym John Lange—to Blackstone Publishing, which will publish new editions and pursue film and TV adaptations, Deadline reports. Crichton was at Harvard Medical School when he wrote the first three—Odds On (1966), Scratch One (1967), and Easy Go (1968)—followed by Zero Cool (1969), The Venom Business (1969), Drug of Choice (1970), Grave Descend (1970), and Binary (1972).

The novels were out of print for decades before Grave Descend was reissued in 2006, followed by Zero Cool in 2008, the same year Crichton died. However, the pseudonym remained. Only in 2013 did Hard Case Crime reissue all eight novels, this time exposing Crichton as the man behind the moniker, per USA Today. "It is such an honor and pleasure to see the John Lange books freshly and newly published by Blackstone, to reintroduce these books to fans and also present them to a whole new generation of readers," says his widow, Sherri Crichton, in a release. "In these eight early adventure books, Michael was honing his skills and themes that would later make him one of the most successful authors of all time."

The novels, set in the late 1960s and '70s, cover "secret treasures to heists, archaeology, unlikely heroes, classic villains, and seductive and at times treacherous lovers," per Deadline. "I can't wait for both new and existing loyal fans to dive into these timeless adventures," says Blackstone CEO Josh Stanton, per the release. The Andromeda Strain (1971), Crichton's breakout novel and the first written under his true name, was published toward the end of his John Lange phase. In a deal announced in December, author James Patterson will complete an unfinished manuscript from Crichton, centering on an "imminent eruption of Hawaii's Mauna Loa volcano, which threatens a secret cache of deadly chemical weapons," per the Guardian. (More Michael Crichton stories.)

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