Jurassic Park

by Michael Crichton

Billionaire John Hammond invests significant amounts of money in specific paleontology projects and the latest genetic engineering technology, and shrouds the results of these investments in secrecy on a tiny island off the coast of Costa Rica. After several years of construction, Hammond invites a few of his consultants to the island for a weekend to see what he’s been working on. At first, they are astonished to find that Hammond’s genetic engineering endeavors have recreated dinosaurs, amazed at the possibilities of technology, and thrilled to learn more about the behaviors and habits of these extinct creatures. Everyone except Ian Malcolm, a mathematician that predicted the demise of the endeavor before it even started. However, when the power systems go offline, leaving two tour cars stranded by the T-rex enclosure, the tiny flaws in the system begin to grow exponentially. As the people in the control room try to bring the park back online and under control, paleontologist Alan Grant draws on his knowledge of extinct dinosaurs to try to save himself and two kids touring the park. Although Hammond maintains the feasibility of the park and absolute control over every aspect, the escalating problems and mounting death toll suggest otherwise.

“Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton tells a fantastic and believable story about the possibilities of technology and the simultaneous limits of human ability to wield the power technology offers. Crichton has done thorough research into genetic engineering, paleontology, and chaos theory (a branch of mathematics dealing with dynamic systems), which creates a novel that supports its own premise, tries to close most of the logical loopholes, and leads the reader to believe in the possibility that Jurassic Park could actually exist in reality. In addition to building a believable storyline, the logical explanations and attention to detail also create a reading experience in which the reader feels smarter after having read the novel because they now have basic information about chaos theory, dinosaur behavior, DNA, and other elusive concepts. This is further aided by the specialized knowledge of each character, which makes them inept but acceptable for trying to fix the problems of the park that are well outside their unique areas of expertise. All of this is set in a framework of rapid action, unanswered questions, and shifting perspectives between characters, which builds suspense and urgency by giving the reader more information than what the characters have.

This was a fantastic book, and I can see why it was turned into a movie. Having seen the movie first, I was surprised at the ways in which the plot of the movie diverged from the storyline of the book. The book allows more room for explanations and details, which I appreciate because it enriches the story and increases the plausibility of Jurassic Park. And yes, I will admit that I felt smarter for having read the book because now I can casually mention chaos theory in conversation. Fast-paced and utterly enthralling, this book is hard to put down.

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