Sadly, Michael Crichton has passed away after a battle with Cancer. Obit in The Times online. For me I was more a fan of his early work such as The Andromeda Strain, Congo and The Great Train Robbery. The latter became a great movie with Sean Connery and generally is an example of how Crichton's work translated so well to visual representation.
Video with Crichton on Charlie Rose from Feb 2007.
Link: (Starts Immediately)