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Jurassic Park: A Novel by Michael Crichton

Jurassic Park: A Novel (original 1990; edition 2012)

by Michael Crichton

Series: Jurassic Park (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16,189257216 (3.91)242
For use in schools and libraries only. A breakthrough in genetic engineering leads to the development of a technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA, a method that brings about the creation of Jurassic Park, a tourist attraction populated by creatures extinct for eons.
Title:Jurassic Park: A Novel
Authors:Michael Crichton
Info:Ballantine Books (2012), Mass Market Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (1990)

  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. 90
    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. 51
    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. 40
    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
    King Kong by Delos W. Lovelace (Hedgepeth)
  6. 32
    Relic by Douglas Preston (VictoriaPL)
  7. 11
    Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten (Hedgepeth)
  8. 11
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (mcenroeucsb)
  9. 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.
  10. 11
    Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker (Konran, wordcauldron)
  11. 01
    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: humanity creates without knowing
  12. 13
    When the Wind Blows by James Patterson (themephi)

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» See also 242 mentions

English (239)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  Hungarian (1)  German (1)  All languages (251)
Showing 1-5 of 239 (next | show all)
Jurassic Park, the movie, debuted in June 1993 and almost everyone in the world became obsessed with dinosaurs. It remains one of my favorite movies and every time I see it on TV, I always stop and rewatch my favorite parts. I don't ever remember reading the book and was curious about the comparison between the two.

Dr. Alan Grant and grad student Ellie Sattler are paleontologists at the forefront of their field. John Hammond, an eccentric millionaire, has funded their digs for reasons of his own. Grant and Sattler are working in the field, when Hammond calls and insists they come to his nature preserve. The two reluctantly agree, and fly out to Isla Nublar with Dennis Nedry, a computer technician, and Ian Malcolm, a mathematician who is an expert in the chaos theory.

The park is a revolutionary scientific accomplishment, with high tech equipment like supercomputers to control the park with minimal staff, motion detecting data to keep track of how many dinosaurs have been created, and the most talented geneticists to recreate and breed living dinosaurs. There is another recurring theme as well, which is that a human’s curiosity can have dire consequences, especially when it comes to messing with Mother Nature and her creations. The character who reiterates this message is, of course, Dr. Malcolm. Of course, the very best parts are the dinosaurs!

The book has some familiar scenes, as well as several different ones. Crichton's writing managed to give me a feeling of dread and kept me on the edge of my seat. This book is the perfect blend of reality and imagination. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jul 2, 2020 |
This book was creepy and scary and so much fun. I really enjoyed the story, the characters, and the twists and turns. There was a little too much math/computer science jargon for me which was a little distracting, but it was still a super fun read. ( )
  bookishtexpat | May 21, 2020 |
Not sure when I read this originally. I shelved it in 2010, though I'm positive I read it before that. (Since I don't know when, though, I'll use 2010 as my first read date.) I also don't know why I gave it a 2 star rating. I want to re-read this and see what I think of it now. ( )
  ca.bookwyrm | May 18, 2020 |
Michael Crichton

Jurassic Park

Ballantine, Paperback [1991].

12mo. xii+400 pp.

First published, 1990.
First Ballantine Books Edition, December 1991.


Introduction: The InGen Incident
Prologue: The Bite of the Raptor

First Iteration
Second Iteration
Third Iteration
Fourth Iteration
Fifth Iteration
Sixth Iteration



It’s an article of faith with the general reading public that this is Michael Crichton’s finest novel. For my part, it is not even his second best. And I haven’t read all of his novels. In fact, I have read only six. Jurassic Park still makes for an exciting experience. But it’s nothing like the mind-blowing page-turner I remember from my previous reading many years ago, in a more innocent and impressionable age. Sadly or not, sooner or later we grow up (some people don’t and they may be the happiest).

It’s quite a pity that nobody today can read this novel without knowing only too well what it is about. Crichton’s setting the scene in the beginning is a brilliant piece of suspense building. He achieves, and for quite some time maintains, what is best described by the pretentious but accurate word verisimilitude. Truth to tell, however, Crichton’s originality is less impressive than it might seem at first glance. He was rather late on the cloning scene. More than ten years before him, Ira Levin was already cloning people (and what people!) in his best novel. Indeed, on the previous year (1989) an obscure Bulgarian writer (Petar Bobev) had published a novel (never translated into English) in which tyrannosaurs are cloned from fossilised eggs. So I guess the time was ripe.

It is a tribute to Crichton’s powers that many people read his novel and seriously thought dinosaurs could be cloned just like that. On the other hand, this is also a tribute to the scientific ignorance of many readers. The very first step is the most impossible one. Only people profoundly ignorant of what DNA is and without enough brains to realise what geological timescales constitute can be fooled like that. Now, DNA is a pretty stable stuff, as the molecules of life go. It has to be. It has evolved that way. It is mightily important. But in no way, under no possible conditions, can it survive even in the most fragmented form for 65 million years. You can dig all the amber in world. It will do you no good at all. (Nor will petrified eggs, of course.)

All this is not necessarily a bad thing. Plenty of excellent science fiction is partly pure fantasy. What is rather annoying is the overdose of technical detail. This was Crichton’s chief problem at least since The Andromeda Strain (1969). Though he learned some self-control in his later novels, he never really mastered his love affair with science and technology. As often as not, it got the better of him. So it did here. There are far too many tables, graphs, computer screens and the like in this novel. Some pages look like a software manual. This misguided search for authenticity I find extremely tiresome.

Worse than that, the novel simply falls apart in the last hundred pages or so. I was surprised to find them rather a chore. Dino action is cool. There is much more of it here than in the movie, and it’s much more graphic. But there is a limit to it as there is a limit to everything. No matter how inventive or exciting, an overdose of it is tedious. After the raptor twist, the novel becomes almost a parody of itself. The movie improves greatly on it by reducing the action and the carnage. The more light-hearted tone is a small price to pay.

Worst of all, in those hectic hundred pages or so in the end half-baked assumptions and fantastic coincidences are piled up in staggering profusion. Not to spoil the possible pleasure of future readers, I’ll give just one example. How can anybody design a system that will switch to auxiliary power without the most obvious indication? And switch off the electric fences in the process! Such things are tolerated in thrillers. But when new absurdities defying common sense, logic and even possibility follow every few pages, I find myself yearning for the last page. This is never a good thing. But let’s finish on a more positive note.

For a book which is by definition anything but character-driven (I apologise for mentioning something everybody is politely, but inaccurately, supposed to know), the characters are remarkably vivid and individual – and sadly diluted or all but erased in the movie. The geneticist Henry Wu, the engineer John Arnold, the hunter Robert Muldoon and even the legal shark Gennaro are hardly ever seen on the screen. You’ll see and hear a good deal of them on the page. They have some background and even some personality. Then there are the kids. Lex is hands down the most obnoxious brat ever put on paper. Timmy is a more interesting creature, but rather too mature for his age. Could an 11-year-old judge the behaviour of T-Rex with such dispassionate precision? I think not.

Ellie and Grant, perhaps surprisingly, are among the dullest and most shadowy characters, but the mastermind is a sinister creature. Hammond is a greedy and hopelessly deluded megalomaniac, very far removed from the kindly Father Christmas figure portrayed by Richard Attenborough. The legendary phrase “spared no expense” is mentioned only once in the novel, and not by Hammond. One of the novel’s mysteries is where Hammond disappears for most of the second half. He returns briefly towards the end when, in a brilliant feat of characterisation, blames everybody else for the disaster and makes busy plans for another one in the near future. But the most fascinating character is the one that Hammond dislikes most.

It is very true that Ian Malcolm talks way too much. But it’s also true that he says some disgustingly thought-provoking things: “We expected to banish paper, but we banished thought.” That was written in 1990! Prophetic is an understatement. Malcolm is also spot-on about the hysteria of professional sports, the unimportance of clothes and the propensity of life to find a way out of everything. But he is most disturbing – and, alas, has since become more relevant – about modern science. Every scientist today would do well to consider these words seriously:

“Scientists have an elaborate line of bullshit about how they are seeking to know the truth about nature. Which is true, but that’s not what drives them. Nobody is driven by abstractions like ‘seeking truth.’

“Scientists are actually preoccupied with accomplishment. So they are focused on whether they can do something. They never stop to ask if they
should do something. They conveniently define such considerations as pointless. If they don’t do it, someone else will. Discovery, they believe, is inevitable. So they just try to do it first. That’s the game in science. Even pure scientific discovery is an aggressive, penetrative act. It takes big equipment, and it literally changes the world afterward. Particle accelerators scar the land, and leave radioactive byproducts. Astronauts leave trash on the moon. There is always some proof that scientists were there, making their discoveries. Discovery is always a rape of the natural world. Always.”

On the other hand, Malcolm’s beloved Chaos Theory strikes me as a useless mental exercise. What’s the point of predicting the unpredictable if you haven’t the least idea where the problems would arise? I don’t get it. Besides, unpredictability doesn’t make science superfluous. On the contrary, this makes it even more necessary. Science may not be able to make life predictable. But it certainly can diminish its unpredictability.

Malcolm’s opinions are complex and controversial. He is apt to overstate his case and even play the devil’s advocate. But this is no reason to neglect his reflections. However laboured his rhetorical effusions may be, he certainly has a point about modern science, especially that large part of it which tampers with life on genetic level or is linked with vast commercial schemes. Malcolm’s dismissal of Wu and Arnold is not to be dismissed without reflection by any geneticist today:

They’re both technicians. They don’t have intelligence. They have what I call ‘thintelligence’. They see the immediate situation. They think narrowly and they call it ‘being focused.’ They don’t see the surround. They don’t see the consequences. That’s how you get an island like this. From thintelligent thinking. Because you cannot make an animal and not expect it to be alive. To be unpredictable. To escape. But they don’t see that.

It would not be unfair to say that science today has as much to do with the pursuit of knowledge and truth as Christianity has ever had with following in the footsteps of Christ. These are deep waters, perhaps better left undisturbed in a review. Then again, it’s not the least merit of this novel that it can provoke such discussion at the respectable age of thirty. It may be that in the long run Malcolm’s rants would prove to be the most important part of Jurassic Park. ( )
3 vote Waldstein | Apr 1, 2020 |
This book. So hard to express what I'm feeling right now. Why did I not read this sooner??

I LOVED the Jurassic Park movies as a kid. Now, having (finally) read the book, I need to purchase and rewatch said movies. It's safe to say Jurassic Park has become a new favorite of mine.

It's not often I find a book that captures my attention from start to finish. That being said, it was difficult to put this book down. I was completely engrossed from page 1. The writing was phenomenal and so very descriptive. From the dinosaurs to the creation of the park with all of it's securities it is so easy to imagine how everything looks or is supposed to work. Admittedly having seen the movie helped but the amount of detail in the book surpasses the movie tenfold.

One thing, I know it's been at least 8 or 9 years since the last time I saw the movie but I don't remember Hammond being so annoying. Seriously, he was the most irritating character in the book.

And Malcolm. How can you not love that smart man? I was quite fascinated reading all of his speeches on Chaos Theory. He predicted from day one that the re-creation of dinosaurs would be catastrophic. And boy was he right.
Maybe if Hammond had actually listened to Malcolm from the very beginning all of the resulting chaos could have been avoided. Oh well. His own creations were his downfall.

I have The Lost World but since I have to go back to work tomorrow I need to wait until Friday night to start it..just incase it's as addicting as Jurassic Park!

Everybody needs to read this at least once. Especially if you loved the movie. ( )
  maebri | Mar 10, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 239 (next | show all)
The Jurassic Park is a novel by Michael Crichton, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1990. The version I've read is the Hungarian edition, published by Maecenas Könyvkiadó in 1992. Jurassic Park is an adventure story, set in the near future on a dinosaur-based theme park, where everything goes wrong. Crichton's writing is captivating. He is able to show us a believable character in a page or two. I recommend the Jurassic Park book for anyone who would like to read a thrilling adventure story.

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Crichton, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haarala, TarmoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kanmert Sjölander, MolleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"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."
For A-M and T
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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.
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.
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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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....

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