Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton


Jurassic Park is an exciting scientific thriller that is full of action but just isn't quite as good as the movie.

By now, I think that most of you know the story. Mr Hammond, a wealthy individual, uses his money and power to genetically re-create dinosaurs and open what he intends to be a theme park on an island off the coast of Costa Rica. He hopes that people from around the world will come to see Jurassic Park. His investors, however, are becoming nervous given the time it has taken to open the park, especially given a series of nasty deaths on the island. So Hammond, his investor's lawyer and some paleontologists travel to Jurassic Park together to witness it's splendour.

What is intended to be a fun tour of the park soon turns into a nightmare. The dinosaurs have been breeding and are loose in the park and everyone has to rely on their wits and instincts to survive.

I enjoyed the book for what it was; an exciting, action packed and suspenseful thriller. The story and the characters are solid, if a little one-dimensional and boring. It definitely isn't a literary masterpiece, the language is simple and to the point. The novel is very different to the movie. It's story is a lot more complex. There are more dinosaurs and more action.

I didn't enjoy the detailed technical explanations that Crichton provided about mathematics, biology and computer technology. The book is also littered with tables and diagrams and images of computer screens. I can't see that these would hold much meaning or interest for most readers (including myself) and only distracted from the story.

The clever thing about the book is that it uses real scientific facts and theories, business theories and human ambitions and applies them to an otherwise fanciful event (the creation of dinosaurs) in a way that lends the story authenticity.

If you were looking for some deeper meaning, you could argue that the book is an interesting discussion about the use to we put human technologies such as genetic engineering. It could be considered a warning against the irresponsible use of such technologies. At one stage one of the characters comments that the Jurassic Park scientists have been so caught up in whether or not they can create dinosaurs, they haven't stopped to ask themselves whether they should.

The fast pace of the story serves to emphasise the dangers of the misuse of these types of human knowledge. The characters are so concerned with how long long it is taking to get Jurassic Park ready for visitors, and how long it will take to breed more and how long it will take to make money. It is all about time for the business men. They think about how long it will take to achieve their dreams without thinking about the more practical consequences of what they are hoping to achieve. Then once the story gets started, it moves more and more quickly as the characters have less control over their surroundings. It all serves to show just how quickly we can lose control of our own knowledge and technologies if they are not used responsibly.

This was a thrilling read and I had dreams about dinosaurs for days after I finished it. Having said that, I am still a bigger fan of the movie than the book. The movie successfully brings the dinosaurs alive and gives the human characters and bit more depth and interest.

Summary

What kind of read is this?
A quick read of the trashy thriller variety.

Do I recommend this book?
I recommend it as something to read when you need a break from good fiction and need something non-taxing but exciting.

Do I recommend that you buy this book?
I think that it could be a valuable addition to a personal library as a book that is on your shelf for when you need something to read that meets the above criteria. It is a book that will stand up well to re-reading.

Star Rating

5.5 / 8

Really enjoyable. I would recommend it.



I would love to know what you think of the book if you have read it. Do you think you can read or should a deeper meaning to a book like this or just enjoy it as an exciting thriller that inspired a great movie?

8 comments

  1. I think it's just a thriller - nothing deeper. Jolly good but I agree, not as good as the movie. I think some of his others are better, in particular AIRFRAME & TIMELINE

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  2. I had to laugh. Most say the book is better. I've read books where I said the same thing. The movie was better.

    I didn't read this one, but watched the movie...all three of them, I believe it was.

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  3. I kick myself for not having read this years ago before the movie. Maybe I will now? I still haven't really seen the movie, either...!

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  4. I did like that movie, so I've wondered how good the book would be. Doesn't sound like more than a fun read, but I like that there's more dinosaurs!

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  5. My reading experience with J.P was pretty much like yours - too many technical descriptions. I prefer the movie as well.

    I saw over at Desert Book Chick that you've read A Study and Scarlet and The Sign of the Four... I loved A Study in Scarlet! I'm slowly working through The Adventures. Isn't Watson a great narator?

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  6. I understand what you mean when you say "detailed technical explanations". LOL. I read this thriller once where the author would describe in detail every piece of machinery that appeared in the book e.g. if the main character took a flight, the author would describe the plane down to its nuts and bolts. Bored me to tears. I've never picked up a book by the same author again. :-)

    Glad you still managed to enjoy it though.

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  7. i thought this was a pretty good read but like you i thought the movie was better - i saw it as a young teenager and squealed my way through the whole thing - probably one of my most favourite movie experiences!

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  8. It's been years since I read this book, and I broke my rule and read it AFTER the movie.

    I have to say that I enjoyed the book more than the movie... though the movie was still one of the greats of the time period it was prouduced.

    If I were to do it over, I would have had the theme music playing in the background as I read! ;)

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