As the scientists continue with their study of the alien life form, they are about to be confronted by the dual danger of its having mutated along with the lab’s fail-safe nuclear self-destruct device should it manage to escape!!!
The Andromeda Strain was made into a movie in 1971 and was directed and produced by Robert Wise. The film and the book quite closely parallel each other with a few minor deviations such as the Peter Leavitt character being a female, Ruth Leavitt in the film version.
[Spoiler alert paragraph!!!!]
The ending of the movie also differs from the book. In the book, Stone speculates that the Andromeda Strain will migrate up into Earth’s upper atmosphere where the oxygen content is lower, better suiting its growth and where it will mutate into a benign form. In the movie version, the now benign mutated bacteria drifts out over the Pacific Ocean into which it falls to be destroyed by the salt water.
Crichton’s novel was written within the context of the Cold War and the resulting space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The political and military conflict between the superpower rivals forms an important part of the backdrop to the events in the story. For instance, Project Scoop is part of a U.S. government program for the development of biological weapons. Should a Scoop satellite come down in a major city in the Soviet Union, war would likely result and that is why it was decided that the Russians would not be informed about the likelihood of any deadly disease occurring. The kind of Cold War mentality that was evident would dictate a preference for a few million Russians dying of disease as opposed to many hundreds of millions of people dying as a result of nuclear war
I personally favoured the film treatment of the story. In the original book version, I felt that the story was bogged down by far too much scientific exposition, detail and explanation of processes involved. There were moments when I literally nodded off!
©Chris Christopoulos 2020