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Congo by Michael Crichton

Congo (1980)

by Michael Crichton

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I got through it. Crichton is problematic. Africa... ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
This was a really good book. The books that are scientific in nature are definitely his best work, and this one fits the bill. A win all around. ( )
  biggs1399 | Jan 19, 2016 |
This was a pretty difficult book for me to get through. There's a lot of dense technical jargon and flat dialogue. When there was action it was all lumped together and few and far in between.

I however did enjoy the aspects of the Grey Gorillas as having and vocal and sign language of their own. I saw this movie version some years ago and really expected it to hold up against what Hollywood portrayed, but ironically the book was not better. ( )
  Joseph_Stelmaszek | Nov 29, 2015 |
A great read. I learnt about the Congo and the gorillas. There was no part in the book where I got stuck. The story is gripping right till the end. Although I think the ending wasn't so satisfying. ( )
  MugenHere | Jul 12, 2015 |
It's been a long time since I first read this book and while Crichton's overall style didn't change much, his approach has. Boy is this novel full of awkward info dumps. That's pretty normal for him, but in this one he just threw stuff out there and didn't even attempt to disguise it as conversation or explanations to the uninitiated, say in a meeting, which is something he did later. Having also just read Jurassic Park, the difference is noticeable. It's still kind of clunky, but in books like this in which a lot of the plot hinges on things highly technical, it's important to clue the reader in. I just wish there was another way to do it.

And because technology changes and changes fast, Congo feels really, really dated. There's all kinds of emphasis placed on computing time and how fast computers can spit out scenarios and answers as opposed to our sluggish brains. Then there's how hard it is to get a satellite link, probably because at the time there was probably only 3 of them up there. Funny. These days with cell phones and a zillion satellites, the issues the Congo team had to deal with are obsolete. It was fun to compare Crichton's speculations on where personal and industrial computing would go and where it actually did go.

Another aspect that felt forced and preachy was the whole issue of animal treatment in research. I think these days both the public and the scientists who employ animals are a whole lot more attuned to the animal's awareness and suffering. In the book Crichton grinds that ax but good and also makes a point to inform us of exactly how brutal chimpanzees are, but how much more highly regarded they are than gorillas. Strange, but I've always known that gorillas are much more gentle and less aggressive than chimps. Maybe it's from books like this that the world view was implanted in my brain. Or from knowing about the research from both Fossey and Goodall with the respective animals.

The ending was benign though; no one gets the diamonds. I'm still not sure if Ross's explosions triggered the volcano that buried the mines, and the lost city, but it was convenient. ( )
  Bookmarque | Jul 8, 2015 |
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The more experience and insight I obtain into human nature, the more convinced do I become that the greater portion of a man is purely animal. --Henry Morton Stanley, 1887
The large male [gorilla] held my attention. . . . He gave an impression of dignity and restrained power, of absolute certainty in his majestic appearance. I felt a desire to communicate with him. . . . Never before had I had this feeling on meeting an animal. As we watched each other across the valley, I wondered if he recognized the kinship that bound us. --George B. Schaller, 1964
For Bob Gottlieb
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Dawn came to the Congo rain forest. The pale sun burned away the morning chill and the clinging damp mist, revealing a gigantic silent world.
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Book description
A twentieth-century adventure that will plunge you into the heart of Africa with three intrepid adventurers, in a desperate bid to find the fabulous diamonds of the Lost City of Zinj. In it you will encounter the Kigani cannibals, flaming volcanoes, ferocious gorillas, and Amy. Cuddly, fluent in sign language, and fun to be with: in a tight situation she's the smartest gorilla you're ever likely to meet.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060541830, Mass Market Paperback)

If you saw the 1995 film adaptation of this Crichton thriller, somebody owes you an apology. While you're waiting for that to happen, try reading the vastly more intelligent novel on which the movie was based. The broad lines of the plot remain the same: A research team deep in the jungle disappears after a mysterious and grisly gorilla attack. A subsequent team, including a sign-language-speaking simian named Amy, follows the original team's tracks only to be subjected to more mysterious and grisly gorilla attacks. If you can look past the breathless treatment of '80s technology, like voice-recognition software and 256K RAM modules (the book was written in 1980), you'll find the same smart use of science and edge-of-your-seat suspense shared by Crichton's other work. --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:35 -0400)

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On an expedition to return Amy, his talking gorilla, to her home in the Congo, Professor Peter Elliot is joined by others who hope to find a legendary diamond mine guarded by mutant gorillas.

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