Saturday, August 23, 2014

Jurassic Park

Title: Jurassic Park
Author: Michael Crichton
Series:  Jurassic Park, Book 1
Number of Pages: 403
Date Read: 8/23/14
Genre: Science Fiction, Dinosaurs, Adventure

Synopsis (Found on

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.

My Review:

I love this book. I had read it before when I was in my early 20's and wasn't into it. However, now that I've re-read it, I love it. It is very different from the movie (which is one of my favorite movies) in regards to the action sequences with the dinosaurs, the personality of the characters and which characters were part of the main cast. It's definitely a book worth reading. The movie and the book are two different worlds and anyone can enjoy both.

First I have to say I'm am a dinosaur freak. I love everything about them and I was going to be a paleontologist when I decided to change careers. So this and any other dinosaur book really, is up my alley.

The premise for the book is the same: John Hammond has created a park with living dinosaurs and he wants some important people to go visit the park to see if it it safe. Once there the park seems safe but of course someone messes up the computer which shuts down all the power and all hell breaks loose. The people out in the park are scrambling to survive and dodge predatory dinosaurs so they can get back to the larger group. There is also the matter of everyone trying to get the power back on. 

I love Dr. Alan Grant in this book. His personality is very different from the Dr. Grant in the movie. He is in his 40's and is one of the top paleontologists in the world. When he's not digging for dinosaurs, he's teaching paleontology at a university. He is a friendly guy and he loves kids. I loved the way he genuinely enjoyed seeing the dinosaurs and re-thinking the current theories on dinosaurs (the theories that were around during the publication of this book) even as they were trying to eat him. As in the movie, Grant gets stranded in the park with the two children, Lex and Tim. Grant was very resourceful in getting the three of them back to safety and he genuinely cared about the kids and protecting them. Grant is the main paleontologist of the group visiting the island, so through him we get to hear all the facts about dinosaurs and his knowledge on them, which personally, I find fascinating. 

Dr. Ellie Sattler is a paleobotanist and she is Dr. Grant's student. In the book she is 24 and not involved romantically with Dr. Grant. Much of Ellie's storyline in the book and movie match. She stays with Dr. Harding after finding a sick Stegosaurus and they go back to the main visitor center where she looks after Dr. Malcolm later on. She is very knowledgeable about dinosaurs as well as prehistoric plants as well, so we get to hear her input as well. While one of the main character she does not have much storyline aside from interaction with the Velociraptors (my favorite dinosaur).

Dr. Ian Malcolm is basically the same character personality wise in both the movie and the book. Very outgoing, says what's on his mind and doesn't care who gets offended. Again his storyline is basically the same as the movies and he becomes incapacitated in the first third of the book. However, he still is one of the main characters who even while ill, gives great monologues about his feelings on the park, his own theory (Chaos Theory) and about the world in general. Most of the time he is arguing with Hammond. I must say that some of his dialogue is difficult to understand and I had to read those paragraphs over to fully understand but he makes a good case for his theory about the park. 

In this book John Hammond is not the nice, gently grandpa everyone sees in the movie. He is quite an asshole. He is rich and he thinks he can order everybody around about everything, even the things he doesn't understand. He believes that his park is truly safe even when it is proven that it isn't. He is very ignorant of the situation that occurs and thinks that everything can be salvaged no matter how bad it gets or how many people die. When the dinosaurs are loose from their paddocks, all he cares about is getting back in the right place no matter how many people said dinosaur has killed. He believes that since he created it and paid for it that he owns the dinosaurs and the dinosaurs will do what he wants. He doesn't treat or see them like the dangerous animals they are. Even as the dinosaurs are running amok, he is constantly saying that the problems that arise can be fixed for when people visit the island next time. He is just clueless and rude. He is one of those people who just push ahead to their goal without seeing the consequences or taking responsibility for said consequences. He even says it to himself, that the people he hired weren't the best or didn't have the vision he had and that the downfall of the park was their fault. Not his. Theirs. And to top it off, near the end he still plans to try to make the park again on a different island with different hired help. What a loon. I just didn't like him at all. 

Lex and Tim were good characters too. I liked Tim more than Lex. Tim is older than Lex in the book; he is 11 and she is 7 or 8. Lex is all about sports and Tim loves computers and dinosaurs. He and Dr. Grant really hit it off when they first meet and are often talking about dinosaurs when they are not running for their lives. Tim is a good big brother and protects Lex the best he can. He is extremely smart and can think fast on his feet. Lex is into sports and while I did like her I found her to be very annoying and bossy, especially at times when she should be listening. 

There are other characters in the book that take on a more involved role than they did in the movie.
Gennaro, the lawyer, is one of them. He goes to the island to represent the investors of the park and he has the power to shut the park down if he deems it unsafe. He goes from being a lawyer to helping in capturing the dinosaurs when they are roaming the island. Muldoon, the game warden, also has a more pivotal role in the book. He is the person Gennaro is helping to re-capture the dinos. He is very knowledgeable about the dinosaurs in the park and through him we see how they have been behaving all the time they were on the island. Dr. Harding is the dino vet and through him we see and learn about the different disease of the dinosaurs and the medicines that are administered to them. I loved reading his parts because some of the dino diseases he was talking about are ones that I would never think of dinosaurs having: diarrhea, flaky skin and sunburns to name a few.

Dr. Wu is the geneticist who created the dinosaur DNA and through him we learn all the scientific stuff about DNA and how the dinosaurs were made. His parts were difficult to understand because of all the science terms used. His part is where it really gets technical. Mr. Arnold's parts in the chapters are technical as well but it about computers instead of DNA which confuses me as well. There are a few more important characters as well: Nedry who causes the collapse of the computer systems in Jurassic Park and his story line is essentially the same as the movie. The other character is Ed Regis, who was completely cut from the movie. He is the park's publicist and is the one who takes the group on the tour of the island. 

The world building of the actual park is fascinating. The dinosaurs are vividly described and I could clearly see them in my mind. Their size, shape, color, defenses, claws, horns and so on. Their actions and movements were also detailed so that the reader can get a complete picture of how the dinosaur moved, looked and behaved. As a dino freak I was impressed. The action scenes were awesome with just enough thrill to keep the pages turning and enough gore to gross the reader out. Of course during these parts especially, I kept comparing them to the movie. Some scenes were written differently and some were left out. I felt that the book had a good dose of dialogue, scientific information and action scenes. I also have to say that after reading this book I am very impressed with all the research that Crichton had to have done to write this book. 

I do recommend everyone to read this book. Its a winner in my eyes. 


No comments:

Post a Comment