<B>Don't mess with Mother Nature</B> That may be a gross simplification of the cautionary message in <B>Prey</B>, Michael Crichton's latest blockbuster, but he does make it perfectly clear that the cutting edge may slice in deadly and unpredictable ways. In swift cinematic style, heightened by George Wilson's narration, we see what can happen when obstinate egotism, greed and self-delusion collide with up-to-the-minute nanotech, biotech and computer tech. The action unfolds in a remote molecular fabrication plant in the Nevada desert where a new class of self-reproducing nanoparticles evolving at an increasingly alarming and increasingly aggressive rate is being generated. We're in on the fight, hour by hair-raising hour, watching as this newly minted menace grows smarter and as the techies who recognize that these particles are a swarming, life-threatening, mechanical plague do battle with those who don't . . . or can't. Crichton, always on the mark, has done his research well and he informs as he entertains.

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