Friday, October 28, 2011

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

This month’s blog book club book is Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. It’s one of those crazy bestsellers than everyone read and loved, and they went to see the movie make of it too. I saw the movie long, long ago and don’t remember much except the brilliant scene where they’re sitting in the jeep and you can see the water vibrating with the T-rex’s footsteps before you can hear it. Ooh, I loved that bit. But anyway, this is about the book…

Jurassic Park is a sci-fi thriller about scientist who clone dinosaur DNA to open an amusement park for people to come see extinct dinosaurs. Like a living museum, essentially. When a few of the scientists’ family members go there for a sneak preview, there is a mad thunder storm. The electricity goes out, causing the dinosaurs (in particular the massive Tyranosaurus Rex) to escape from their cages. What a great plot!

Michael Crichton (1942-2008), was a bestselling author, screenwriter, producer, and director. He created the extremely popular television series ER. Jurassic Park became a series, as well as a series of pop-culturally iconic films, with Stephen Spielberg, of course. I’ve only had the pleasure of reading on other book he wrote, Congo, which I pretty much adored.

Stylistically, Jurassic Park is quite the case study. As a science fiction thriller, it is fast-paced and contains short, crisp sentences that keep the action and adventure flowing. I pretty much devoured this book in one sitting because the pacing kept me on the edge of my seat. I absolutely loved the what-happens-next vibe. However, the characters to me did not seem to be completely drawn out. This happens a lot in thriller novels, since the thrill and the plot are most coveted by the author and by readers. Characters are not so much ignored or forgotten as they are not entirely necessary. In Jurassic Park, we do not know much about the characters, but we do care, of course, and root for them when they face a carnivorous giant T-rex. Well, it may be because two of the main characters are children, and no one likes to see a little kid get hurt. There are two characters, though, the opposing forces, protagonist Alan Grant and antagonist John Hammond. These two, though we don’t get much of their background, have well-developed values and are therefore important thematically.

There is a lot going on in this novel thematically. There is too much to say about it in one blog post, so instead I’ve decided to give you a simple list:

1. Nature – let it be, dinosaurs must have gone extinct for a reason…
2. Human curiosity, paired with power and money, will probably end up going too far
3. People go through some incredible dangers just for entertainment
4. “Fail-safes” usually fail

So there you go. If you read Jurassic Park this month (or ever, really) what did you think of it?

Peace, Aimee

P.S. Monday 31 October is the last day to submit for the Dinosaur Writing Contest! If I do not receive a sufficient number of entries (I’d say at least five) then I may have to close the contest. So, please submit! It should be fun, and the prize is awesome!

8 comments:

  1. I watched the movie and I don't think that this book is in Malaysia, I'll try to find it...

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  2. I read the book when it first came out. I was young then, and I loved anything about dinosaurs. I remember thinking it weird when the movie reversed the ages of the two children.

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  3. Saw the movie, haven't read the book.

    The reason why dinosaurs went extinct is well known in geo-science: 65 million years ago a big meteor hit the Earth (most likely in present-day Mexico). This event defines the transition from the Cretaceous to the Tertiary on the geological time scale. The meteor hit changed the climate of the Earth, and led to exticntion of 75% of all living species. Similar and even more violent events have taken place earlier in the history of the Earth. At the end of the Permian, 250 million years ago, 95% of all living species were brought to extinction. The mass exticntions lead to big changes in the flora and fauna. For instance, the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous gave the mammals the chance to evolve. The Tertiary and Quarternary are the periods of the mammals. A hundred million years from now, the flora nad fauna of the Earth will again look quite different. Species extinct, but the Earth survives (until it will be "eaten" by the Sun when it becomes a red giant some billion years into the future). The science of the Earth is damn cool isn't it >:)

    Cold As Heaven

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  4. Cold as Heaven - I love Earth science! It's so interesting to think about history and outer space. There are so many things we don't know.

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