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Jurassic Park (novel)

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Jurassic Park
First edition cover
AuthorMichael Crichton
Cover artistChip Kidd
GenreScience fiction
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf
Publication date
November 20, 1990[1]
Publication placeUnited States
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback)
813/.54 20
LC ClassPS3553.R48 J87 1990
Followed byThe Lost World 

Jurassic Park is a 1990 science fiction novel written by Michael Crichton.[2] A cautionary tale about genetic engineering, it presents the collapse of a zoological park showcasing genetically recreated dinosaurs to illustrate the mathematical concept of chaos theory[3] and its real-world implications. A sequel titled The Lost World, also written by Crichton, was published in 1995. In 1997, both novels were republished as a single book titled Michael Crichton's Jurassic World.

Jurassic Park received a 1993 film adaptation of the same name directed by Steven Spielberg. The film was a critical and commercial success, becoming the highest-grossing film ever at the time and spawning five sequels.


In 1989, strange animal attacks occur throughout Costa Rica. One of the species behind the attacks is believed to be Procompsognathus, an extinct species of dinosaur. Paleontologist Alan Grant and his paleobotanist colleague Ellie Sattler are contacted to confirm the animal's identity, but are abruptly whisked away by billionaire John Hammond founder of bioengineering firm InGen – for a weekend visit to a "biological preserve" he has established on Isla Nublar.

The "preserve" is a cover for the construction of Jurassic Park, a theme park showcasing living dinosaurs. Construction is nearly complete; the dinosaurs have been recreated using ancient DNA found in the blood inside insects that were fossilized and preserved in amber. Gaps in the genetic code were filled in with reptilian, avian, or amphibian DNA. All dinosaurs are engineered to be female to prevent unauthorized breeding.

The recent attacks have made Hammond's investors skittish. Hammond requests that Grant and Sattler tour the park and endorse it ahead of the park's opening. They are joined by mathematician and chaos theorist Ian Malcolm, and a lawyer representing the investors, Donald Gennaro, both of whom are pessimistic about the park. Malcolm, consulted before the park's creation, is emphatic that the park will collapse. Hammond also invites his grandchildren, Tim and Alexis 'Lex' Murphy, to join the tour. The park staff present include engineer John Arnold, biotechnologist Henry Wu, game warden Robert Muldoon, PR manager Ed Regis, chief programmer Dennis Nedry, veterinarian Harding, and several laborers. While touring the park, Grant finds a Velociraptor eggshell, seemingly proving Malcolm's assertion that the dinosaurs are breeding against the geneticists' design.

Nedry, disgruntled with Hammond, commits corporate espionage for Lewis Dodgson, an employee of InGen's rival Biosyn. Activating a backdoor he wrote into the park's software, he disables the security systems and steals frozen embryos for the park's fifteen dinosaur species. Attempting to rendezvous with Dodgson's agent, he becomes lost due to a tropical storm. Without Nedry to reactivate the park's systems, the dinosaurs can roam freely due to electric fences being turned off. He is killed by a Dilophosaurus, and a Tyrannosaurus rex attacks the tour group. Grant saves the children before escaping with them into the jungle, Regis is killed by a juvenile T. rex, and Malcolm is gravely injured, but is rescued by Muldoon and Gennaro.

The park staff try rebooting the park's computers to reverse Nedry's sabotage but fail to notice that only the auxiliary power generator restarts. Its fuel supply soon runs out, shutting the park down again. The park's intelligent and aggressive Velociraptors escape their enclosure before killing Arnold and Wu. Grant and the children make their way back to the island's control complex by rafting down a jungle river, narrowly escaping multiple dinosaur attacks. Grant switches on the park's main generators and Tim reactivates the park's systems. Gennaro contacts a supply boat traveling to the mainland from the island and recalls it, acting on suspicions by Grant and the children that dinosaurs are aboard.

Hammond, walking outdoors while contemplating InGen's future, is killed by a pack of Procompsognathus after he falls down a hill and breaks his ankle. Grant deduces that using frog DNA to fill gaps in the dinosaurs' genetic code resulted in an environment that was conducive to dichogamy, causing some of the female dinosaurs to become males and establish a breeding population. The park's automated computer tally failed to include newborns, having been programmed to stop counting once the expected total number of animals was found. Grant, Sattler, Muldoon, and Gennaro find the wild raptor nests and compare hatched eggs with the island's revised population tally, before realizing that the raptors are attempting to migrate off the island.

Malcolm supposedly dies from his injuries. Everyone is evacuated by the Costa Rican Air Force, which has declared the dinosaurs hazardous and razes the island with napalm. The survivors are detained in a Costa Rican hotel. Weeks later, Grant is visited by Dr. Martin Gutierrez, an American doctor who lives in Costa Rica. Gutierrez informs Grant that an unknown pack of animals has been migrating through the Costa Rican jungle, indicating that dinosaurs have escaped the island and been reintroduced into Earth's ecosystem.


The novel began as a screenplay that Crichton wrote in 1983 about a graduate student who recreates a pterosaur.[4] 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.[5] The story was originally told from the point of view of a child, but Crichton changed it because everyone who read the draft felt it would be better if it was told by an adult.[6]

Animal species featured[edit]

The following specified prehistoric animals are featured in the novel:

Dinosaur Name Expected Population Breeding Population (After Eggshell Discovery) Chaos Population (After breakouts)
Tyrannosaurs 2 2 1
Maiasaurs 21 22 20
Stegosaurs 4 4 1
Triceratops 8 8 6
Procompsognathids 49 65 64
Othnelia 16 23 15
Velociraptors 8 37 27
Apatosaurs 17 17 12
Hadrosaurs 11 11 5
Dilophosaurs 7 7 4
Pterosaurs (Cearadactyls) 6 6 5
Hypsilophodonts 33 34 14
Euoplocephalids 16 16 9
Styracosaurs 18 18 7
Microceratops 22 22 13


Animals in which their origin, genus, and population are unspecified are the following:


1917 skeletal diagram of Tyrannosaurus published by Henry Fairfield Osborn, which was the basis of the novel's cover.

Jurassic Park critiques the dystopian potentialities of modern science. Ian Malcolm is the conscience that reminds John Hammond of the immoral and unnatural path that has been taken. The final condition of the park is epitomized by the word "hell", which highlights the nature of Hammond's sacrilegious attempt.[7]

Michael Crichton's novel is another version of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, where humanity creates something without truly knowing anything about it. Henry Wu is unable to name the things that he creates, which alludes to Victor Frankenstein not knowing what to call his flawed imitation of God's creation. The immorality of these actions lead to human destruction, echoing Frankenstein.[8]

As Dale Speirs notes at p. 18 of "Vanished Worlds: Part 6" in Opuntia 483 (Sept. 2020),[9] Jurassic Park resembles Katharine Metcalf Roof's November 1930 Weird Tales story "A Million Years After", about dinosaurs hatching from millions-of-years-old eggs.[10]

Similar to how his other novels represent science and technology as both hazardous and life-changing, Michael Crichton's novel highlights the hypocrisy and superiority complex of the scientific community that inspired John Hammond to re-create dinosaurs and treat them as commodities, which only lead to eventual catastrophe. Crichton uses the opening of the book to highlight the shift of scientific research from occurring in universities for the betterment of all mankind, to private labs where research is conducted "...in secret...in haste, and for-profit". The similar fears of atomic power from the Cold War are adapted by Michael Crichton onto the anxieties evoked by genetic manipulation.[11]


The book became a bestseller and Michael Crichton's signature novel, with 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".[12] 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".[13] 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 clichéd. Ferguson further complained about Ian Malcolm's "dime-store philosophizing" and predicted that the film 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".[14]

The novel became even more famous following the release of the 1993 film adaptation, which has grossed more than US$1 billion and spawned six sequels.[15]

In 1996, it was awarded the Secondary BILBY Award.[16]


In 1991, Steven Spielberg received the rights to the novel and adapted it into the blockbuster film Jurassic Park. Following the first film’s release in 1993, as well as its critical and commercial success, Spielberg adapted the book's sequel, The Lost World, into a film in 1997. A third film, Jurassic Park III, directed by Joe Johnston, was released in 2001. It drew several elements, themes, and scenes from both books that were not used in either of the previous films, such as the aviary and boat scenes.

Since the initial adaptation and sequels, there have been several movies added to the film franchise as a continuation of the original Jurassic Park franchise. These include Jurassic World (2015), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), and Jurassic World Dominion (2022). An animated series, Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous, was released in 2020 on Netflix and ran until 2022.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Copyright information for Jurassic Park". United States Copyright Office. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  2. ^ "JURASSIC PARK | Kirkus Reviews" – via www.kirkusreviews.com.
  3. ^ Chaos theory was a fashionable field in the 1990s
  4. ^ Crichton, Michael (2001). Michael Crichton on the Jurassic Park Phenomenon (DVD). Universal.
  5. ^ "Return to Jurassic Park: Dawn of a New Era", Jurassic Park Blu-ray (2011)
  6. ^ Website, M. C. "Jurassic Park".
  7. ^ Gallardo-Terrano, Pedro (2000). "Rediscovering the Island as Utopian Locus: Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park". Retrieved 2018-08-02 – via Gale Academic OneFile. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Miracky, James (2004). "Replicating a Dinosaur: Authenticity Run Amok in the Theme Parking in Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park and Julian Barnes's England, England". Retrieved 2018-08-02 – via Gale Academic OneFile. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ Speirs, Dale (2020). "Vanished Worlds: Part 6" (PDF). Retrieved 2022-11-06. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ Roof, Katherine (1930). "A Million Years After". Retrieved 2022-11-06. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Geraghty, Lincoln (2018). "Jurassic Park". In Grant, Barry Keith (ed.). Books to Film: Cinematic Adaptations of Literary Works. Vol. 1. Retrieved 2018-08-02 – via Gale Academic OneFile.
  12. ^ Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (November 15, 1990). "Books of The Times; Of Dinosaurs Returned And Fractals Fractured". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  13. ^ Lyons, Gene (November 16, 1990). "Jurassic Park". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Jurassic Park (1993). Box Office Mojo (1993-09-24). Retrieved on 2013-09-17.
  16. ^ "Previous Winners of the BILBY Awards: 1990 – 96" (PDF). www.cbcaqld.org. The Children's Book Council of Australia Queensland Branch. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  17. ^ Pocket-lint (2022-06-13). "Jurassic Park movies in order: The full timeline explained". www.pocket-lint.com. Retrieved 2022-09-01.


External links[edit]

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