The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton became a New York Times Bestseller because it was so frighteningly real and it's characters were developed in detail. From the first page of the book it appears it is a secret document about something that really happened in the 1960's. Michael Crichton opens with "This book recounts the five-day history of a major American scientific crisis..." and he weaves into the people who really helped him with writing the book. The purpose of Wildfire, a top-secret project located in Nevada, is to be a research station for any extra-terrestrial beings found. Therefore, when a satellite crashes back down to earth and then 49 inhabitants of Piedmont, Arizona drop dead, Wildfire becomes the perfect place to study the incident. The fact that the book takes place in areas that every American knows about makes the book even easier to believe. The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton is a novel that takes science fiction writing to a new degree of realism. The author uses well developed characters to tell of a possible scientific disaster. With the world at such unrest today, it is clear why the book is a New York Times Bestseller.
What still brings this intense, thrilling, and suspenseful science-fiction novel to the front is the story where scientists have to find the cause of a disease strain that came from outer space. The strain came from a meteor that crashed near a small town in the desert and it has killed everyone in the town except an old man and a newborn baby. In a secret underground government laboratory, four scientists are brought together to find a solution as fast as possible. If they don't find the cause and a solution in five days, the town, the area around the town, and the secret laboratory will have to be destroyed by nuclear explosives to prevent the spread of the deadly strain from outer space.