Zing! I didn't see that one coming about the person who gets the key to the nuclear bomb.
And I'm curious about how Crichton set up this fictional study of which type of person is most likely to make the "right decision" with the key - the subjects are categorized by gender and marital status. I'd think that having a child/being a parent would have a greater impact on this kind of decision than simply having a spouse. But perhaps, in 1969, it would have just been an assumption that the parenting would be associated with marital status. Married = family & Single = no family. I suppose it just wouldn't be part of the assumption, at that time, that parenthood could be completely independent of marital status.
I can see why there are so many comparisons of this book to The Stand. It does seem to begin with a similar construction - lots of random characters of both white hat and black hat variety, religious fervor, and a supernatural creature who delights in death and destruction. That scene, btw, of him (it?) in the theater was super creepy.
This is pretty dated, but still plenty of fun so far.
This is really interesting so far, but I might have made a mistake in listening to the audio of this 1987 story of apocalypse & aftermath concurrently with reading Andromeda Strain, a 1969 story of an almost-apocalypse. Both feature federal government Cold War shenanigans, and my brain keeps mixing up the storylines.