Jurassic Park (novel)
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (October 2015)|
First edition cover
|Cover artist||Chip Kidd|
Techno-thriller, Horror fiction
|Publisher||Alfred A. Knopf|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|LC Class||PS3553.R48 J87 1990|
|Followed by||The Lost World|
Jurassic Park is a 1990 science fiction novel written by Michael Crichton, divided into seven sections (iterations). A cautionary tale about genetic engineering, it presents the collapse of an amusement park showcasing genetically recreated dinosaurs to illustrate the mathematical concept of chaos theory and its real world implications. A sequel titled The Lost World, also written by Crichton, was published in 1995. In 1997, both novels were re-published as a single book titled Michael Crichton's Jurassic World, unrelated to the film of the same name.
In 1993, Steven Spielberg adapted the book into the blockbuster film Jurassic Park. The book's sequel, The Lost World, was also adapted by Spielberg into a film in 1997. A third film directed by Joe Johnston and released in 2001 drew several elements, themes and scenes from both books that were ultimately not utilized in either of the previous films, such as the aviary and boat scenes. A fourth entry directed by Colin Trevorrow was released on June 12, 2015.
The novel began as a screenplay Crichton wrote in 1983, about a graduate student who recreates a dinosaur. Eventually, given his reasoning that genetic research is expensive and "there is no pressing need to create a dinosaur", Crichton concluded that it would emerge from a "desire to entertain", leading to a wildlife park of extinct animals. Originally it was told from the point of view of a child, but Crichton changed it as everyone who read the draft felt it would be better if told by an adult.
In 1989, a series of strange animal attacks occur in Costa Rica and on the nearby fictional island of Isla Nublar, the story's main setting. One of the species is eventually identified as a Procompsognathus. Paleontologist Alan Grant and his paleobotanist graduate student, Ellie Sattler, are abruptly whisked away by billionaire John Hammond — founder and chief executive officer of International Genetic Technologies, or InGen — for a weekend visit to a "biological preserve" he has established on Isla Nublar.
Upon arrival, the preserve is revealed to be Jurassic Park, a theme park showcasing cloned dinosaurs. The animals have been recreated using damaged dinosaur DNA found in blood inside of gnats and ticks fossilized and preserved in amber. Gaps in the genetic code have been filled in with reptilian, avian, or amphibian DNA. To control the population, all specimens on the island are lysine-deficient females. Hammond proudly touts InGen's advances in genetic engineering and shows his guests through the island's vast array of automated systems.
Recent incidents in the park have spooked Hammond's investors. To placate them, Hammond intends that Grant and Sattler act as fresh consultants. They stand in counterbalance to a famous mathematician and chaos theorist, Ian Malcolm, and a lawyer representing the investors, Donald Gennaro. Both are pessimistic about the park's prospects. Malcolm, having been consulted before the park's creation, is especially emphatic in his prediction that the park will collapse, as it is an unsustainable simple structure bluntly forced upon a complex system.
Countering Malcolm's dire predictions with youthful energy, Hammond groups the consultants with his grandchildren, Tim and Alexis "Lex" Murphy. While touring the park, Grant finds a Velociraptor eggshell, seemingly proving Malcolm's earlier assertion that the dinosaurs have somehow been breeding against the geneticists' design. Malcolm suggests a flaw in their method of analyzing dinosaur populations. The park's controllers are reluctant to admit that the park has long been operating beyond their constraints.
Meanwhile, the corrupt chief programmer of Jurassic Park's controlling software, Dennis Nedry, attempts corporate espionage for Lewis Dodgson, a geneticist and agent of InGen's archrival, Biosyn. By activating a backdoor he wrote into the park's computer system, Nedry shuts down its security systems and steals frozen embryos for each of the park's fifteen species in an attempt to smuggle them to a contact waiting at an auxiliary dock deep in the park. However, during a sudden tropical storm, he exits his vehicle to get his bearings and is killed by a Dilophosaurus. Without Nedry to reactivate the park's security, the electrified fences remain off and dinosaurs escape. The Tyrannosaurus rex attacks the guests on tour. In the aftermath, Grant and the children become lost in the park. Malcolm is gravely injured during the incident, but is found by Gennaro and park game warden Robert Muldoon and spends the remainder of the novel slowly dying as – between lucid lectures and morphine-induced rants – he tries to help the others understand their predicament and survive.
The park's upper management — engineer and park supervisor John Arnold, biotechnologist Henry Wu, Muldoon, and Hammond — struggle to return power to the park, while the veterinarian, Dr. Harding, takes care of Malcolm. They manage to temporarily get the park largely back in order, restoring the computer system by shutting down and restarting the power and resetting the system. When trying to restore the park to working order, they fail to notice that the system has been running on auxiliary power since the restart; this power soon runs out, shutting the park down a second time. The park's intelligent and aggressive Velociraptors escape their enclosure, and kill Wu and Arnold. Meanwhile, Grant and the children slowly make their way back to the Visitor Center by rafting down the jungle river, carrying news that several young raptors, bred and raised in the island's wilds, were on board the island's supply ship when it departed for the mainland. Grant manages to reactivate the park's main power, allowing Tim to inform the supply ship of the raptors so they can be exterminated.
Gennaro orders that the island be destroyed as a dangerous asset, but Grant rejects his authority, claiming that they must first understand what happened and how many dinosaurs have already escaped to the mainland. Grant, Sattler, Muldoon, and Gennaro set out into the park to find the wild raptor nests and compare hatched eggs with the island's revised population tally. They emerge from this pursuit unharmed. Meanwhile, Hammond, taking a walk around the park and contemplating building a new park improving on his previous mistakes, hears a T. rex roar and falls down a hill, where he is eaten by a pack of Procompsognathus. With regard to the dinosaurs' breeding, it eventually transpires that using frog DNA to fill gaps in the dinosaurs' genetic code enabled a measure of dichogamy, in which some of the female animals somehow changed into males in response to the all-female environment.
The fictitious Costa Rican Air Force declares the island hazardous and destroys it with napalm. It is stated that Malcolm dies. Survivors of the incident are indefinitely detained by the United States and Costa Rican governments at a hotel. Weeks later, Grant is visited by Dr. Martin Guitierrez, an American doctor who lives in Costa Rica. Guitierrez informs Grant that an unknown pack of animals has been migrating through the Costa Rican jungle, eating lysine-rich crops and chickens. He also informs Grant that none of them, with the possible exception of Tim and Lex, are going to leave any time soon.
Prehistoric animals featured in the novel
- Apatosaurus (some versions of the novel replace this dinosaur with Camarasaurus)
- Dryosaurus (although referred to either as "hypsilophodonts" or "hypsilophodontids," the genus was identified in the chapter "The Park")
- Microceratops (some versions of the novel replace this dinosaur with Callovosaurus)
- "Coelurosaurus" (remains presumed to be a "Coelurosaurus" were awaiting DNA extraction)
- Meganeura (referred to only as giant dragonflies)
The book became a bestseller and Michael Crichton's signature novel. It also received largely favorable reviews by critics. In a review for The New York Times, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt described it as "a superior specimen of the [Frankenstein] myth" and "easily the best of Mr. Crichton's novels to date." Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Gene Lyons held that the book was "hard to beat for sheer intellectual entertainment" largely because it was "[f]illed with diverting, up-to-date information in easily digestible form." Both Lyons' Entertainment Weekly piece and Andrew Ferguson's review in the Los Angeles Times, however, criticized Crichton's characterization as heavy-handed and his characters as cliched. Ferguson further complained about Ian Malcolm's "dime-store philosophizing" and predicted that the movie adaptation of the book would be "undoubtedly trashy." He conceded that the book's "only real virtue" was "its genuinely interesting discussions of dinosaurs, DNA research, paleontology and chaos theory."
- The Cursed Earth, a Judge Dredd story line by Pat Mills in 2000 AD from 1978 that introduces the idea of a dinosaur theme park, with dinosaurs cloned from DNA
- Carnosaur, a 1984 novel with similar themes
- The Lost World, a sequel novel by Michael Crichton involving InGen, Lewis Dodgson and Ian Malcolm.
- Westworld, Crichton's earlier 1973 film that is also about a malfunctioning theme park
- Crichton, Michael (1997). Michael Crichton's Jurassic World. Knopf. ISBN 978-0375401077.
- "Michael Crichton's Jurassic world (information)". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2015-01-28.
- "Michael Crichton's Jurassic World: Jurassic Park, The Lost World". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2015-01-28.
- Crichton, Michael (2001). Michael Crichton on the Jurassic Park Phenomenon (DVD). Universal.
- "Return to Jurassic Park: Dawn of a New Era", Jurassic Park Blu-ray (2011)
- Michael Crichton's notes on Jurassic Park
- Means approximately "Clouded Island" or "Obscured Island" in Spanish.
- Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (November 15, 1990). "Books of The Times; Of Dinosaurs Returned And Fractals Fractured". New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
- Lyons, Gene (November 16, 1990). "Jurassic Park". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
- Ferguson, Andrew (November 11, 1990). "The Thing From the Tar Pits : JURASSIC PARK By Michael Crichton (Alfred A. Knopf: $19.95; 413 pp.)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
- Jurassic Park (1993). Box Office Mojo (1993-09-24). Retrieved on 2013-09-17.
- "Previous Winners of the BILBY Awards: 1990 – 96" (PDF). www.cbcaqld.org. The Children's Book Council of Australia Queensland Branch. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- DeSalle, Rob & Lindley, David (1997). The Science of Jurassic Park and The Lost World. Or How to Build a Dinosaur. New York: BasicBooks. ISBN 0-465-07379-4.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Jurassic Park (novel)|
- Isla Nublar novel map
- Official website
- Jurassic Park at the Internet Movie Database
- Jurassic Park at the official Michael Crichton website
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