I’ve read most of Michael Crichton’s thrillers–more than once, most of them–so I have his name on my Google Alerts to see what new comes up. Today, from the British site, Den of Geek, came this little tidbit buried in the post.
(Background, just in case not everyone remembers, CONGO was a thriller about apes, set in Africa. It was later made into a movie 15 years later, in 1995, but Crichton had elected not to be involved, for reasons that you’ll learn in the full blog post. Link is below):
What grabbed my eye was this:
“Congo was still only a title and a vague concept when he pitched it to 20th Century Fox producer Frank Yablans in 1979, and yet Crichton’s clout was such that he was handed $1.5m in exchange for its rights. That pay cheque was so huge, in fact, that the normally prolific Crichton wound up with a chronic case of writer’s block. Determined to shift it, he spent hour after hour lying in an isolation tank, gradually formulating his adventure story in the pitch darkness.”
Interesting to me for a couple of reasons. 1) Crichton was incredibly prolific, and I’d never thought that he’d get blocked. But seems he did.
2) It brought to mind that I had tried an isolation tank (also termed immersion tank or flotation tank) when I was researching my own sci-fi thriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH (which led to the character in the book getting quite a surprise, but I’ll refrain from any plot-spoilers.) I found it a mind-opening experience, and doggone, I think I want to do it again soon! Want to know more, google Dr. John Lilly, who came up with original idea.
The tank is filled with warm salt water, so you float, don’t get cold. It’s dark, and your thoughts go off in interesting ways. Here’s a picture of one. (Full disclosure: the person in this tank is not me!)
By the way, both flotation tanks and hyperbaric oxygen tanks appear in my science techno-thriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH.
For the article I referenced in Den of Geek: : http://www.denofgeek.com/uk/movies/congo/43576/the-strange-prehistory-of-1995s-congo#ixzz4K4iRkxIC