Date of Publication: 1990, Alfred A. Knopf
Number of Pages: 400
Synopsis: An island off Costa Rica will soon be the world’s most ambitious theme park–a dinosaur preserve. A visionary financier’s biotechnology company has succeeded in cloning these extinct reptiles. Fifteen different species, presumably incapable of breeding, are now placidly roaming around, but Jurassic Park’s resident mathematician, an expert in chaos theory, predicts that the animals’ behavior is inherently unstable. When a rival genetics firm attempts to steal frozen dinosaur embryos, things go haywire. Two cute American kids, eight-year-old Lex and 11-year-old Tim, a safari guide from Kenya and a Denver paleontologist set things aright–almost. Crichton (The Andromeda Strain) ingeniously interweaves details of genetic engineering, computer wizardry and current scientific controversy over dinosaurs to fashion a scary, creepy, mesmerizing techno-thriller with teeth. It can be read as a thought-provoking fable about technological hubris and the hazards of bioengineering. ~Amazon.com (includes some corrections)
Review: There is almost no one in America or beyond who has not read this book or seen the movie. Although I loved the movie, the book is far superior. The story contains a lot of scientific details which may intimidate some readers, but as someone with almost no scientific aptitude, I find the story immensely engrossing. The details add an element of credibility, which makes the story more scary. You have a sense that “this could actually happen” as you read, and everything is explained in such a way as to make even the average person understand it. I don’t mean to say that it is dumbed down, because it isn’t. It’s just so interesting that it makes you want to understand.
The dinosaurs are scarier in the book than in the movie. They are also incredibly more complex. Crichton delves into the behavioral patterns and family structures of velociraptors, tyrannosaurus rexes, and other animals we can only see in our dreams. He makes them real, and that makes them terrifying. The book also tells a more intricate story. There are more subtle hints of danger and of dangers still to come.
If anyone out there saw the movie and enjoyed it, but still has not read the book, I highly recommend it. It’s very readable, and remains after 15 years at the top 5 of my favorite books. And believe me – it gets better each time you read it.
Reviewed by Sarah