Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

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So this is my first review just to get me started here. I haven't been reading a lot of contemporary stuff and I'm hoping a weekend trip to the library will fix that. Until then, this is what I've been up to.

Goodreads Summary:

A billionaire has created a technique to clone dinosaurs. From the DNA that his crack team of scientists extract, he is able to grow the dinosaurs in his laboratories and lock them away on an island behind electric fences, creating a sort of theme park. He asks a group of scientists from several different fields to come and view the park, but something goes terribly wrong when a worker on the island turns traitor and shuts down the power.


I feel like I grew up with the Jurassic Park movie. It wasn't until middle school that I realized it was a book first. And it wasn't until a month ago that I actually got it from the library. I couldn't help expecting a lot. Even then, I was absolutely amazed. This book was actually written a while ago (1990) so I was surprised by the technology he was talking about. It really amazed me. I'm a bit of a sucker for sci-fi and this got me. So glad I finally read it. Can't wait to read the next one.

My favorite character will always be Ian Malcolm. There's just something about him that I really like. He's a bit cynical and many of the other characters thought he was depressing and pessimistic. Maybe so, but I still love him. The way he talked about chaos theory just made me want to be a mathematician. Okay, not that far, but it was really interesting to read. Besides Ian, there's Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, Tim and Lex Murphy, John Hammond. And some other smaller characters. The most annoying of which is Dennis Nedry. Overall, it was a pretty good cast (of characters in the book.) They all felt pretty real to me. By which I mean that I stopped thinking of them as the characters in the movie. So that was another surprise.

Does a sci-fi really get much better than this? It introduced a reasonable sci-fi inquiry and let it play out. What if we could clone dinosaurs? Well, let's make an island and find out. And really, an island is perfect. For scientific reasons, you get to observe the dinosaurs in an isolated environment. (Not that there's much to compare these observations to because nobody really knows what a dinosaur was like.) For business reasons, it was a way to charge whatever you want because who's NOT going to want to go to an exotic resort island in order to see dinosaurs? And then it goes from there. Numerous issues have popped up since the beginning of this project and the ones at the beginning of the novel were bugs in the system. Foreshadowing or what?
Really the way it was written was so great. The way he built up tension and suspense was admirable. I loved how he set up the characters and plot and setting.
It kept my on the edge of my seat until the very end. OF COURSE I knew how it would end. But then I found out that I didn't know and that was absolutely the best.

Compared to the movie

The plots are very similar, but as with every adaptation, there are so many differences. I won't get into all of them, but a couple of the minor characters were taken out or merged with the slightly less minor characters. In the book, Tim is the oldest at about 11. Lex was about seven or eight. In the movie, Tim is the still 11, but Lex is the older one. Alan, in the book, loves kids. This is totally different from the movie where he can't stand them in the least. The other major (in my opinion) change is the relationship between him and Ellie. In the book, Ellie is a grad student studying under Alan, while in the movie, there was definitely a relationship of some sort going on. So don't be too surprised about that like I was. As for the plot differences, it mainly has to do with dinosaurs being more related to birds than anything else. There's also a different plot with some runaway raptors and a baby t-rex. But again, I won't get too much into that.


Rating: 5 stars


Why: I HAVE to own this books and its sequel and I want the pretty bound version from Barnes and Noble

Recommendation: I totally recommend it to anyone into the sci-fi genre or thrillers of any sort



“The planet has survived everything, in its time. It will certainly survive us.”

“Living systems are never in equilibrium. They are inherently unstable. They may seem stable, but they’re not. Everything is moving and changing. In a sense, everything is on the edge of collapse.”
(Would you like to guess who said that one?)

“Let's be clear. The planet is not in jeopardy. We are in jeopardy. We haven't got the power to destroy the planet - or to save it. But we might have the power to save ourselves.”  

“All major changes are like death. You can't see to the other side until you are there.”  

“And that's how things are. A day is like a whole life. You start out doing one thing, but end up doing something else, plan to run an errand, but never get there. . . . And at the end of your life, your whole existence has the same haphazard quality, too. Your whole life has the same shape as a single day.”  

Malcolm: A karate master does not kill people with his bare hands. He does not lose his temper and kill his wife. The person who kills is the person who has no discipline, no restraint, and who has purchased his power in the form of a Saturday night special. And that is why you think that to build a place like this is simple.
Hammond: It was simple.
Malcolm: Then why did it go wrong?

“They don't have intelligence. They have what I like to 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."

So what did you think of the movie? Did you know there was a book? Have you read any good sci-fi novels lately?
Feel free to comment. I love talking to new people (:


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