Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (published 1990)
Because the history of evolution is that life escapes all barriers. Life breaks free. Life expands to new territories. Painfully, perhaps even dangerously. But life finds a way.
One-sentence summary: Dinosaurs are cloned for an island theme park; havoc ensues.
When read: mid-’90s (sometime after the movie came out)
Why read: I was on a Michael Crichton kick (I’ve since gotten over him) and I liked the movie, so why not?
Impressions: Although the science may stretch the bounds of believability if you know a lot about genetics, the theories themselves are interesting, fodder for further thought, and the plots are certainly suspenseful, veering off in different directions than the movies at many points. Also, the film version of Jurassic Park omitted the wonderful compys and an entire plotline involving the velociraptors’ escape from the island (although I do think that Spielberg did a better job with the children’s characters). A fun read.
Current status: I don’t own a copy of this book and I doubt I would reread it. I still enjoy the movie, though.
- Scientists have argued that much of the book’s content is impossible for various reasons, most notably the suggested means of recovering dinosaur DNA from mosquitoes trapped in fossilized tree resin. Here’s an exhaustive Wikipedia article on the subject.
About the sequel: The Lost World was published in 1995. Dr. Ian Malcolm discovers that there was a Site B to Jurassic Park, a production facility where the dinosaurs were actually grown, and mounts an expedition there to rescue another paleontologist. The Lost World‘s plot is a bit more ridiculous than its prequel, I must warn you, but if you can get past the several unbelievable plot twists, you’ll really enjoy the ride.
If you like this book, you might also like:
- The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle (inspired Jurassic Park)
- Jaws by Peter Benchley
- Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood