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Now that I’ve found myself walking around the house bellowing “Michael Crichton’s State of Fear!!!” in a foreboding voice for no apparent reason, I must admit that the man’s got the hustle down pat. Take one (or a few) hot and catastrophic headline items from the past year—preferably of the environmental variety—concoct an evil left-wing antagonist, chuck in a disaster here and there, and load that sucker up with so much technobabble that, well, who the hell cares if the book’s accurate or not? This time around, it’s the quack leader of an environmental group spreading fear and murder in order to further the validity of the global-warming theory—a phenomenon that, the “logic” in Crichton’s newest beach-towel accessory argues, is a conspiracy. State of Fear will be anxiously calling out to you from bookstands in airports and on cruise ships—until his next book, when Crichton tackles the snakehead infestation or something. Crichton reads at 6:30 p.m. at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW. Free. (202) 662-7129. (Andrew Earles)