What a joy to welcome back my friend and New York Times Bestselling author, Robin Cook. For you writers out there, this is a Master’s Class from one of the most successful of our time. He and I also talk about his fantastic new book, Pandemic. Robin also talks about his mega-hit Coma and how that idea was conceived.
Robin Cook’s literary career began with his first novel, The Year of the Intern, which he wrote underwater while on board the nuclear submarine, Kamehameha. It was written to illustrate the less than salubrious psychological impact of graduate medical education on the psyche of young physicians. It was followed 5 years later in 1977 with Coma, which had been written at night while he was a senior ophthalmology resident and which was published while Dr. Cook was a student at the Kennedy School of Government. This novel created the genre of the medical thriller, and changed the public’s perception as well as the media’s portrayal of medicine. Prior to Coma, medicine was on the proverbial pedestal (e.g. Dr. Ben Casey and Marcus Welby, M.D.); post Coma, there were questions, meaning bad doctors and bad hospitals exist and should be avoided.
To date Robin Cook has written a total of thirty-three worldwide bestsellers, which have sold over one hundred million copies. Most all of Dr. Cook’s books have been written to elucidate various medical/biotech ethical and public policy issues. From his first novel on, it had been Dr. Cook’s intention to use entertainment as a method of doing this.
The issues have included the supply of organs for transplantation (Coma), stem cells and egg donation (Shock), the collision of politics and bioscience regarding therapeutic cloning (Seizure), food poisoning (Toxin), bio-terrorism (Vector), xeno-transplantation (Chromosome 6), managed care (Fatal Cure), the impact of the decipherment of the human genome on the economics and sociology of medicine (Marker), medical nanotechnology (Nano), and the digitalization of medicine (Cell) to name a few.
There have been almost a dozen theatrical movies, television movies, and mini-series made from Robin Cook’s work. In 2009 Robin Cook created and produced with Michael Eisner the world’s first full-length V-cast movie in 50 three-minute segments as a prequel to his book, Foreign Body. Recently Dr. Cook has teamed up with several successful businessmen to form Cook-Blackwood Productions to make feature movies and TV series from his work.
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