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Congo (1980)

by Michael Crichton

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8,083941,096 (3.29)95
Deep in the African rain forest, near the ruins of the Lost City of Zinj, members of a field expedition are brutally killed. At the Houston-based Earth Resources Technology Services, a horrified supervisor watches a gruesome video transmission of that ill-fated group and sees a haunting, grainy, man-like blur moving amongst the bodies. In San Francisco, an extraordinary gorilla named Amy, who has a 620-sign vocabulary, may hold the secret to that fierce carnage. Immediately, a new expedition is sent to the Congo with Amy in tow, descending into a secret, forbidden world where the only escape may be through the grisliest death.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
this book is good but i did not love it as much as i hoped. the concept is cool and the way how crichton writes science stuff is always interesting but i feel like the first 100 pages or so was pretty slow and the only character i liked was elliot and amy the gorilla where the relationship they had was nice and i really cared about them. the other 2 main characters were ok. not bad but not memorable to me. the later half of the book was fun and exciting so that was my favorite part of this book. the rest was decent but i feel like the adventure aspect could have been more interesting. im sure many others will love it more then me and thats ok. i dont dislike it but i am not sure if i would consider this a huge favorite as i continue reading more of his work. ( )
  XanaduCastle | Nov 23, 2023 |
I feel a little biased about my reception of the Crichton novels I've finished so far because I've experienced them all via Audible. I was going to say that the stories felt rather flat in tone but I would be willing to accept that this is due to the narrators and not the story content. I also have that experience paired with then watching the films that were adapted for the novels I've read and those are almost always more "exciting" and fast-paced. When people make movies of Crichton's novels they tend to amp of the adventure and remove a fair bit of informative text.

That aside, I still rather enjoyed Congo in spite of some things that I'm growing to understand about Crichton's writing style. I am not a fan of how he writes females if I'm being honest, and I will also say that I liked the changes they made to Karen in the movie- taking her from someone who is perceived to be cold and calculating to someone who is determined and capable without the added tones of being 'difficult' because she's not smiling all of the time or warmly sociable. There is more, but I'll leave it at that.

In Congo, we get some more science fiction in terms of a new cross-species of Gorilla, and that was a fun subject to explore (being vague to avoid spoilers here) and I loved how it tied into the history of the location in which these gorillas were a part of. If you like a lot of informational/scientific exposition (or, other writings by Crichton, really) this is a must-read. (Also, if you like this kind of stuff, check out The Martian by Andy Weir. Lots of scientific exposition.)

I liked it better than The Andromeda Strain, but I still think it comes second to Jurassic Park. I am still going down my reading list of Crichton books and I am not giving up on him yet. Without giving spoilers, I do wish it had a more satisfying ending, but that is something I think I'm beginning to understand about Crichton's style- I am not a fan of any of his endings (so far).

On a final note, as you can see by this review in particular- I have enjoyed the comparisons and contrasts between his novels and their movie adaptions. It is a fun extra layer to explore and see what liberties directors/screenwriters take to Crichton's stories and characters. And with these contrasts, I am able to see even more aspects of the story that I like/don't like. For example, the characters and how they're treated/perceived, the positive vs negative outcomes of events, and the way any parts of the story containing horror/gore elements are handled.

In conclusion, give it a go. And then watch the movie and talk about it with someone. Enjoy! ( )
  Velvet-Moonlight | May 1, 2023 |
Enjoyed book immensely: however, the theatrical release was a horrible movie. ( )
  Huba.Library | Jul 23, 2022 |
A fun adventure story featuring a group of people making their way through the dangerous jungles of the Congo with varied purposes and goals. Animal researcher Peter has brought his gorilla companion, Amy, to locate her 'family' and place of origin. Karen is trying to find some rare diamonds. Their guide, Munro, also seems to have an agenda.
The group battles the elements and races against others on the hunt for the diamonds as well as a fabled Lost City.
The best part of this is the gorilla, Amy. I was most invested in her and her journey. ( )
  EmScape | Mar 10, 2022 |
The story was interesting enough and there were some good moments of tension. But the constant backstory and historical tie-ins were so boring. They pulled you out of the story instead of pushing you further into understanding. Most of them even wore on for a page or more. Pointless to the plot. ( )
  ilkjen | Jan 21, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
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
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Deep in the African rain forest, near the ruins of the Lost City of Zinj, members of a field expedition are brutally killed. At the Houston-based Earth Resources Technology Services, a horrified supervisor watches a gruesome video transmission of that ill-fated group and sees a haunting, grainy, man-like blur moving amongst the bodies. In San Francisco, an extraordinary gorilla named Amy, who has a 620-sign vocabulary, may hold the secret to that fierce carnage. Immediately, a new expedition is sent to the Congo with Amy in tow, descending into a secret, forbidden world where the only escape may be through the grisliest death.

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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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