Title: Jurassic Park
Author: Michael Crichton
Alfred A. Knopf
Read for: 2011 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge
An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Creatures once extinct now roam Jurassic Park, soon-to-be opened as a theme park. Until something goes wrong…and science proves a dangerous toy…. (goodreads.com)
Almost everyone’s seen the 1993 movie Jurassic Park, infamous for its T-Rex scene in which the Rex terrorizes people in a couple of Land Rovers. The novel is so much better, in that it’s gorier and definitely creepier.
There are technical aspects, such as the constant discussion of DNA replication, along with incomplete strands and filling in the voids with amphibious DNA, as well as Ian Malcolm’s constant discussion of chaos theory, not to mention the technical aspects, where lines of code are tossed on the page like word vomit.
But it’s all explained in layman’s terms, and it’s easily glossed over in favor of the better part of the novel (and the main characters): dinosaurs. There’s something you get in novels that you don’t get in movies, and that’s smell. In Jurassic Park, characters are constantly commenting on the smell; carnivores smell like rotted flesh, mostly because of their messy way of eating. Blood and bits of flesh stick to their exposed teeth, their face, their forelimbs, and eventually the material rots. It’s an experience we can’t get watching the movie, and it makes the novel a little creepier because there is a comment on a rotting-flesh smell, and it gives the scene an ominous feeling.
The Velociraptors, although incorrect, are probably the worst in the whole bunch. Definitely the T-Rex is scary, mostly because of its size, but the Velociraptors put a whole new level on terror with their calculating hunting techniques. It’s too bad the Velociraptors were nothing like what’s in the novel. Had the book been written today, they wouldn’t have been Velociraptors, which were about the size of a turkey; they would have been Deinonychus, which were definitely bigger and had the big, scary claw that gave me nightmares as a child.
Despite all this, I loved the book. Really, I love dinosaurs, and I’m most definitely looking forward to reading the next novel, The Lost World.
Originally posted 26 January 2011.