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Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
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Jurassic Park (1990)

by Michael Crichton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Jurassic Park (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,110203173 (3.91)191
  1. 121
    The Lost World by Michael Crichton (DeDeNoel)
    DeDeNoel: Kind of an obvious choice, The Lost World is a sequel to Jurassic Park. I think it's just as good, if not better.
  2. 100
    The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: An obvious rec, I admit. Doyle's story is the original "modern men interact with dinos" tale and Crichton's is the best one since.
  3. 41
    Carnosaur by Harry Adam Knight (caimanjosh, tottman)
    caimanjosh: There's been some speculation that Crichton actually got the idea for Jurassic Park from this book, which was written well before. This one's gorier.
    tottman: Both are stories about trying to bring back dinosaurs, and the ultimately destructive outcome of such an attempt. Carnosaur leans more to the horror side of the equation and Jurassic Park more to the thriller side.
  4. 30
    The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Mad doctor's breeding program on a remote island. What could go wrong?
  5. 20
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (mcenroeucsb)
  6. 10
    King Kong by Edgar Wallace (Hedgepeth)
  7. 32
    Relic by Douglas Preston (VictoriaPL)
  8. 11
    The Cartesian Machine by Dr. Nick E. Tran (NickETran)
    NickETran: The Cartesian Machine by Nick E. Tran and Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton are both based on the newly discovered sciences and the terrible disasters that ensued.
  9. 11
    Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker (Konran)
  10. 12
    Meg: A Novel Of Deep Terror by Steve Alten (Hedgepeth)
  11. 13
    When The Wind Blows by James Patterson (themephi)
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I would've given this four stars, but the sense of repulsion I felt every time Lex spoke (or made a mess of things for no reason) was enough to make me drop a star. ( )
  HenryJOlsen | May 21, 2016 |
My first exposure to Jurassic Park was the first movie. After seeing that a bunch of times, I read the book. I remember liking both the movie and the book about the same, but for different reasons – the movie had great action scenes and amazing on-screen dinos (the part of me that wanted to be a paleontologist when I grew up was thrilled), while the book had a lot more science-y details and a greater variety of dinos.

I spotted this during an Audible sale. I loved Scott Brick's narration in the excerpt, so I decided to take a trip down memory lane and find out how well the book held up. The answer is...not so well.

Although I remembered the book and the movie being very different, the first half of the book was a lot like the movie (which I re-watched right after listening to this audiobook). There were a few differences here and there, but the bones of the story were basically the same, up to a certain point. Hammond invited a bunch of people to his not-yet-open-to-the-public park, hoping to convince everyone that it was great, the real deal, and worth all the money that had been sunk into it. Hammond was less a kindly grandfather and more a slick salesman (with a side of Martin Shkreli), Grant and Ellie weren't a couple but rather professor and grad student (and she supposedly had a fiance somewhere, not that she ever thought about him), and Tim and Lex were older brother and younger sister rather than the other way around. Initially, the biggest difference between the book and the movie was that Book Jurassic Park was doomed right from the start, whereas movie Jurassic Park didn't seem to be doing too badly until Nedry messed everything up.

Book Jurassic Park was an absolute mess. Even before anyone visited Hammond's island, there were dinosaur sightings and attacks in nearby towns and villages. The park's computer system had horrific flaws, more than just the backdoor Nedry left himself. Dr. Wu, the scientist who was primarily responsible for filling in the blanks in the dinosaur DNA so that functional animals could be created, rarely seemed to put much thought into his work. I'm still not sure why he inserted amphibian DNA into some of the dinosaurs' DNA when it was repeatedly stated that dinosaurs were like both birds and reptiles - why not stick to just reptile and bird DNA? Also, his supposed safeguards against the dinosaurs escaping and breeding had enormous holes. Even if you took out the “breeding” part (which I thought was a pretty big stretch on Crichton's part, anyway), the lysine contingency Dr. Wu kept bringing up was dumb. The dinosaurs were designed so that they couldn't produce the amino acid lysine and would go into a coma if they weren't given lysine supplements by the park staff. Except a couple seconds worth of googling gave me a large list of lysine-rich foods that the dinosaurs could have found and eaten, making the lysine contingency useless.

Although Scott Brick's narration was excellent, I'd probably have been better off reading my paper copy, because the first half was so. Incredibly. Boring. All that science-y stuff that fascinated me back when I first read the book 15 or so years ago was a dated slog this time around, and I'd loved to have skimmed most of it. I'd find myself wondering why Crichton hadn't mentioned Dolly the sheep, only to realize that Dolly wasn't cloned until 6 years after this book came out. Then there was the Human Genome Project, which Crichton mentioned as a thing that scientists were still just talking about doing.

I got the impression that Crichton didn't have a whole lot of respect for science or scientists. Malcolm, a mathematician and one of Hammond's biggest detractors, seemed to be acting as Crichton's author surrogate whenever he launched into one of his lectures on the dangers of genetic engineering or pretty much any scientific advancement. I was a little confused about some of his arguments, but he seemed to believe humanity was better off back in the Stone Age, when humans (according to him) only spent 20 hours a week working to feed themselves and had the rest of their time free to do as their pleased. Never mind high infant mortality rates, predators, disease, and more. I wish Malcolm's injury had had the power to shut him up, because he was often insufferable.

Which brings me to Lex, the other character I could barely stand. The only thing she had going for her was that she was a kid, which isn't saying much. I probably wouldn't have minded if Crichton had broken the “don't kill the kids” rule and had her get eaten, except then I'd have had to deal with other characters moping about her death. Lex literally did nothing except make certain parts of the story more difficult than they needed to be. I didn't like Tim much more than I liked her, but at least Tim had useful knowledge and skills.

All in all, this wasn't as good as I remembered it being – the movie held up much better. The first half of the book was ridiculously boring. The second half had more action and dinosaurs but everything still occasionally stopped for one of Crichton's infodumps, like the lengthy explanation of “paradigm shift” near the end. I enjoyed getting to note the differences between the book and the movie, but the book had too many problems for me to truly enjoy it. The park was a mess held together by duct tape and marketing, the ending was kind of ridiculous, and I'm still upset that Crichton had the Velociraptors messily kill a baby Velociraptor on-page (Crichton was so close to getting through the whole book without killing a baby dino on-page, so close!).

I'm tempted to keep my paper copy of this book for a future re-read, just to see if it works better when I'm able to skim the slow bits and can see all of Crichton's various charts, graphs, and computer screen info, but I need the shelf space and I doubt it'd work that much better in paper form than it did in audio.

Rating Note:

I had problems figuring out how to rate this. On the one hand, the first half was a slog, and certain characters grated on my nerves until the very end. On the other hand, the second half was better, and Scott Brick's narration was pretty good. I considered giving it 3 stars but then took off half a star when I realized that I hated the first half enough that I'd probably skip it entirely if I ever decided to relisten to this. I will forever be thankful that this book resulted in the movie, though.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | May 8, 2016 |
The narrative begins by slowly tying together a series of incidents involving strange animal attacks in Costa Rica and on Isla Nublar, the main setting for the story. One of the species, a strange small lizard-like creature with three toes is identified later as a Procompsognathus, a dinosaur. Paleontologist Alan Grant and his paleobotanist graduate student Ellie Sattler are abruptly whisked away by billionaire John Hammond (founder and chief executive officer of International Genetic Technologies, or InGen) for a weekend visit to a "biological preserve" he has established on an island 120 miles west off the coast of Costa Rica.

Recent events have spooked Hammond's considerable investors, so, to placate them, he means for Grant and Sattler to act as fresh consultants. They stand in counterbalance to a well-known mathematician and chaos theorist, Ian Malcolm, and a lawyer representing the investors, Donald Gennaro. Both are pessimistic, but Malcolm, having been consulted before the park's creation, is emphatic in his prediction that the park will collapse, as it is an unsustainably simple structure bluntly forced upon a complex system.


A mosquito in Baltic amber.Upon arrival the park is revealed to contain cloned dinosaurs, which have been recreated using damaged dinosaur DNA (found in mosquitoes that sucked Saurian blood and were then trapped and preserved in amber). Gaps in the genetic code have been filled in with reptilian, avian, or amphibian DNA. To control the population, all specimens on the island are bred to be female as well as lysine-deficient. Hammond proudly showcases InGen's advances in genetic engineering and shows his guests through the island's vast array of automated systems.

Countering Malcolm's dire predictions with youthful energy, Hammond groups the consultants with his grandchildren, Tim and Alexis "Lex" Murphy. While touring the park with the children, Grant finds a velociraptor eggshell, which seems to prove Malcolm's earlier assertion that the dinosaurs have been breeding against the geneticists' design (the population graphs proudly introduced earlier were naturally distributed, reflecting a breeding population, rather than displaying the distinct pattern that a population reared in batches ought to display).

Malcolm suggests a flaw in their method of analyzing dinosaur populations, in that motion detectors were set to search only for the expected number of creatures in the park and not for any higher number. The park's controllers are reluctant to admit that the park has long been operating beyond their constraints. Malcolm also points out the height distribution of the Procompsognathus forms a Gaussian distribution, the curve of a breeding population.

In the midst of this, the chief programmer of Jurassic Park's controlling software, Dennis Nedry, attempts corporate espionage for Lewis Dodgson, a geneticist and agent of InGen's archrival, Biosyn. By activating a backdoor he wrote into the system, Nedry manages to shut down the park's security systems and quickly steal 30 frozen embryos, two of each of the park's fifteen species. He then attempts to smuggle them out to a contact waiting at the auxiliary dock deep in the park. But his plan goes awry: during a sudden tropical storm Nedry becomes lost and stops his stolen Jeep at a dead end. He exits the Jeep to determine his location. A Dilophosaurus approaches him from afar, blinds him with its poisonous saliva, and then kills him. Nedry's plan called for him to secretly deliver the embryos and return to the park's control room within fifteen minutes, but without him to quietly patch the system, the park's security is left off, leaving the electrified fences deactivated. Without the barriers to contain them, dinosaurs begin to escape. The adult and juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex attack the guests on tour, destroying the vehicles, killing InGen public relations manager Ed Regis, and leaving Grant and the children lost in the park.

Ian Malcolm is gravely injured during the incident but is soon found by Gennaro and park game warden Robert Muldoon and spends the remainder of the novel slowly dying as, in between lucid lectures and morphine-induced rants, he tries to help those in the main compound understand their predicament and survive.

The park's upper management — engineer and park supervisor John Arnold, chief geneticist Henry Wu, Muldoon, and Hammond — struggle to return power to the park, while the veterinarian, Dr. Harding, takes care of the injured Malcolm. For a time they manage to get the park largely back in order, restoring the computer system by shutting down and restarting the power, resetting the system. Unfortunately, a series of errors on their part soon plunge the park into greater disarray. During their time trying to restore the park to working order, they fail to notice that the system has been running on auxiliary power since the restart, which soon runs out, shutting the park down a second time. The viciously intelligent Velociraptors, referred to by characters as "raptors", finally escape. They soon kill Wu and Arnold, and injure Muldoon, Gennaro, and Harding. Finally, Grant and the children slowly make their way back to the central compound, carrying news that several young raptors, bred and raised in the island's wilds, were on board the Anne B, the island's supply ship, when it departed for the mainland.

Grant is able to turn the main power back on, while Ellie distracts the raptors so that they won't get to him. After escaping from several raptors, Grant, Gennaro, Tim, and Lex are able to make it to the control room, where Tim is able to contact the Anne B and tell them to return. The survivors are then able to organize themselves and eventually secure their own lives. Word soon reaches them that the crew of the Anne B has discovered and killed the raptor stowaways.

Gennaro tries to order the island destroyed as a dangerous asset, but Grant rejects his authority, claiming that even though they cannot control the island, they have a responsibility to understand just what happened and how many dinosaurs have already escaped to the mainland. Finally Grant, Ellie, Muldoon, and Gennaro set out into the park to find the wild raptor nests and compare hatched eggs with the island's revised population tally. Cautious in this pursuit, they emerge unharmed. Meanwhile, Hammond, while taking a walk around the park, decides to salvage and restore the park to its original state, but gets injured, then killed and eaten by a pack of compys. Concerning the dinosaurs' breeding, it is eventually revealed that the frog DNA used to fill gaps in certain strands enabled some of the dinosaurs to change sex, as some species of frogs can do.

In the end the island is suddenly and violently demolished by the fictional Costa Rican Air Force (in reality, Costa Rica has no air force, nor any armed forces). It is stated that Malcolm dies and his burial is not permitted (although he is retconned to have survived in the sequel The Lost World). Survivors of the incident are indefinitely detained by the United States and Costa Rican governments. Weeks later, Grant is visited by Dr. Martin Guitierrez, an American doctor, who lives in Costa Rica and has found a Procompsognathus corpse. Guitierrez informs Grant that an unknown pack of animals has been eating crops rich in lysine (the molecule in which the animals were designed to be deficient) and killing livestock as they migrate toward the Costa Rican jungle. He also informs Grant that none of them, with the possible exception of Tim and Lex, is going to be leaving any time soon.

( )
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Quite a a bit different from the book--as usual, the people are more deeply flawed and less likable. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Feb 17, 2016 |
According to my records, I've read this book twice before but with the exception of one scene, not a word was familiar. That said, it's a great book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Crichton, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kanmert Sjölander, MolleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Reptiles are abhorrent because of their cold body, pale color, cartilaginous skeleton, filthy skin, fierce aspect, calculating eye, offensive smell, harsh voice, squalid habitation, and terrible venom; wherefore their Creator has not exerted his powers to make many of them."

~ LINNAEUS, 1797
"You cannot recall a new form of life."
~ ERWIN CHARGAFF, 1972
Dedication
For A-M and T
First words
Prologue
The tropical rain fell in drenching sheets, hammering the corrugated roof of the clinic building, roaring down the metal gutters, splashing on the ground in a torrent.
Introduction
The late twentieth century has witnessed a scientific gold rush of astonishing proportions: the headlong and furious haste to commercialize genetic engineering.
Mike Bowman whistled cheerfully as he drove the Land Rover through the Cabo Blanco Biological Reserve, on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Quotations
Reptielen zijn weerzinwekkend vanwege hun koude lichaam, hun bleke kleur, hun kraakbeenskelet, hun vuile huid, hun wrede uitdrukking, hun berekenende blik, hun afstotelijke geur, hun scherpe stemgeluid, hun smerig nest en hun vreselijk vergif; daarom heeft hun schepper zijn macht niet gebruikt om er vele te maken. (Linnaeus, 1797) Een nieuwe levensvorm kun je niet ongedaan maken. (Erwin Chargaff, 1972)
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now, one of mankind's most thrilling fantasies has come true. Creatures extinct for eons now roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them--for a price.

Until something goes wrong....

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345370775, Mass Market Paperback)

Unless your species evolved sometime after 1993 when Jurassic Park hit theaters, you're no doubt familiar with this dinosaur-bites-man disaster tale set on an island theme park gone terribly wrong. But if Speilberg's amped-up CGI creation left you longing for more scientific background and ... well, character development, check out the original Michael Crichton novel. Although not his best book (get ahold of sci-fi classic The Andromeda Strain for that), Jurassic Park fills out the film version's kinetic story line with additional scenes, dialogue, and explanations while still maintaining Crichton's trademark thrills-'n'-chills pacing. As ever, the book really is better than the movie. --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:32 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A wealthy entrepreneur secretly creates a theme park featuring living dinosaurs drawn from prehistoric DNA. Before opening the attraction to the public, he invites some scientists to experience the park and help calm anxious investors; but, during the visit, the security system breaks down and prehistoric creatures break out.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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