Book Review: Jurassic Park

Photo courtesy of michaelcrichton.com

Photo courtesy of michaelcrichton.com

Melissa Rojas

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Most people know the movie “Jurassic Park,” which was directed by Steven Spielberg and was released on June 11, 1993. Its box office gross was recorded at $357 million in the U.S. However, not many people know that the first movie of the series is actually based on a book that was written by Michael Crichton in 1990.

Crichton then wrote “The Lost World” in 1995, which continued the series. According to a Mental Floss article, Spielberg bought the film rights to the second novel before it was even finished.

“Jurassic Park” is a science fiction novel which takes place on a fictional and remote island called Isla Nublar located by Costa Rica. The company InGen is at work creating a park where real-life dinosaurs can roam the earth once again for human entertainment.

It would be considered a new type of amusement park. The creator, Dr. Hammond, invites multiple guests to test out the park before the grand opening.

He invites Dr. Grant, a paleontologist, Dr. Sattler, a paleobotanist, Dr. Malcolm, a mathematician, Donald Gennaro, a lawyer for InGen, and he also invites his own grandchildren, Tim and Alexis.

The park is marveled as a revolutionary scientific accomplishment, with high tech equipment like supercomputers — called Cray XMPs — 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.

Although it seems like the park is deemed as a success, things begin to go wrong, starting with small incidents that are ignored which then snowball into a dangerous disaster.

Interestingly, while Crichton was in the process of writing the first drafts of “Jurassic Park,” he received negative reviews of the book because of the point of view he first wrote it in, which was from the perspective of a young boy. It was actually first written as a screenplay but then evolved into a novel soon after due to the criticism he received.

This book is filled with suspense and tension. It includes a lot of history and science, obviously, but not to the point where the reader will become bored with all the scientific jargon. It’s enough so the reader can feel knowledgeable about the science that is taking place.

It also contains mathematics, which was at first surprising but then again, you obviously need it to create DNA strands. You can actually learn quite a bit from this book, which is great.

The plot where everything seems to be going according to plan but then suddenly goes horribly wrong is always interesting. Crichton takes this plot through the many levels of a snowball effect where people’s lives are at stake, not to mention animal lives which is even more terrible.

There is also a hint of betrayal within the company, which helps set off the unfortunate events. It is truly a wonderful combination of misfortune.

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. Even her past creations can stir up a lot up trouble.

Dr. Malcolm, the mathematician, warns the passionate creator of the park, Dr. Hammond, over and over again, which becomes his biggest mistake. Hammond refuses to listen and sees the dinosaurs as an extraordinary discovery that also will provide big bucks to everyone involved. After all, what could possibly go wrong on a tiny island filled with different species of dinosaurs?

This theme is seen throughout the whole series as well, and the character who reiterates this message is, of course, Dr. Malcolm. He knew that if the man was behind this advancement in science in reality it isn’t really an advancement at all, it is just the ignorance of acknowledging what Mother Nature is capable of and also that humans should never interfere with her.

This belief is not really acknowledged throughout the story and is instead ignored by the scientists who create the park, which is a grave mistake.

Knowledge is truly powerful, but if used incorrectly or even extensively, it can become very dangerous. It’s as if humans never can learn from past mistakes.