(Jurassic Park #1)
Science Fiction, Suspense

A billionaire has created a technique to clone dinosaurs. From the DNA that his crack team of scientists extract, he is able to grow the dinosaurs in his laboratories and lock them away on an island behind electric fences, creating a sort of theme park. He asks a group of scientists from several different fields to come and view the park, but something goes terribly wrong when a worker on the island turns traitor and shuts down the power.

 “God creates dinosaurs, God kills dinosaurs, God creates man, man kills God, man brings back dinosaurs.”

Here it is - the infamous Jurassic Park. I still remember how amazingly huge this was in theater when I was growing up. The thing I remember most was the truck's glass shaking in cue with the T-Rex's footsteps. Deliciously suspenseful. Does the book hold up?

As plots go, let's face it - this one's simply awesome. Who doesn't dig dinosaurs to some degree? It brings out the wonder and child in all of us. And man is always itching for yet another story to slap his hand and warn him about playing God in the black dangers of SCIENCE. Du-du-dum! So besides dinos, mad scientists, we get cool smart people who make funny comments, children who get on the nerves, a huge island, convenient storms, and fried state of the art security. Rock on!

While the entire novel is good, the beginning is where it's really all at. Such fun creepiness and buildup sets the mood. Being of mediocre wit myself, my patience DID lag with some of the many, many technical eplorations/jargon whey they first come to the island to flaunt their expertise, but I still give props to Crichton for holding the pacing level, even if the expected climax climb is from slightly predictable circumstances.

Characters are an intriguing ensemble. First, the little girl irritated me to no end, and I ended up loathing the devilish girl-child almost immediately. Sadly my hatred didn't fade as the pages turned. Her whining was atrocious. Oddly, in the movie she is the older and more secure one, but in the book the younger. She consistently makes dangers worse, doesn't listen, puts others in precarious situations, and made me want to shake her. Ian Malcolm's dry wit is likeable enough but in the novel he's barely around. The mad scientist is unpleasant and stands as a different sort from his film version. The dinosaur scientists are just average. And yes, as before, Crichton does tend to invent characters for the sake of story.

Crichton's writing is nifty, although I did find an occasional error and think he relies a little too heavily on the "comma just in case" method. Still, he charmed my inner reader with wording that's plausible and easy to take in. He comes across as having a beef with science. Not just because this is a precautionary tale (that doesn't always mean anything beyond good story telling), but he also puts in a foreward and injection of thoughts on the irresponsibility of the scientific establishment in general.

“Let's be clear. The planet is not in jeopardy. We are in jeopardy. We haven't got the power to destroy the planet - or to save it. But we might have the power to save ourselves.” 

The T-Rex is focused on more in the book than the film. While the raptors stole the cinema-light there, T-Rex ruled the roost here. There was an especially creepy water scene while he is giving chase.

Overall this book is certainly worth the hype and I'm pleased they chose to make it into a blockbuster film. They had plenty of excellent source material to draw from, even if they changed a good amount. Genuine chills, tension, fascinating subject material which works with new twists. Chilling more than suspenseful - especially the two opening scenes with the bitten man carried to the isolated medic and the little girl getting a nasty surprise on the beach. If you're a fan of the movie (or, if you're not), still check out the book.

   Book Quotes:

 “The planet has survived everything, in its time. It will certainly survive us.”- Ian

“In the information society, nobody thinks. We expected to banish paper, but we actually banished thought.” 


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