Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Well, it’s certainly been a while since I posted anything here, mostly because I had my uni entrance tests but also because I haven’t been able to finish a book. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve started many, but none of them managed to catch my interest long enough to sit through 300 pages of it. So, now that I’m officially a uni student and still have time to spend doing whatever I like before classes start in about a week and a half I’ll dedicate myself to my books once more.

Some of the books I started I intend to finish, so I won’t talk about them just now, only about the one that brought me out of my misery. I bought this book back when I first read Doyle’s The Lost World and even mentioned wanting to read it, unfortunately it’s been sitting on my shelf since then. I recently went on a trip to Florida and it seemed fitting to read a book with dinosaurs in the everglades, regardless of the whole reptiles/birds discussion involving said dinosaurs.

ImageI’m really glad I finally read this! This movie is a part of my childhood and since I don’t remember much it didn’t spoil the book. Although, I spent half of it expecting something to go horribly wrong. And of course it did. For those who don’t know Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton tells the story about dinosaurs brought back to life through cloning and genetic manipulation by a man whose goal was to make lots of money. John Hammond built a theme park/zoo with these animals, in an island off the coast of Costa Rica, and called it Jurassic Park.

“What is he talking about?” Hammond said, his voice rising. “Three hundred animals? What’s he talking about?”

After some accidents with the workman and a new species of lizard biting children in Costa Rica, his investors wanted to make sure the park was safe, so they invited specialists who had in some way participated of the project (however unknowingly) to see it. Paleontologist Alan Grant and his colleague Ellie Sattler, the mathematician Ian Malcolm, InGen’s legal counsel Donald Gennaro, and Hammond’s two grandchildren (who he took upon himself to invite).

I won’t say anything else, but I do have to say that if you’re easily grossed out this is not the book for you. It goes without saying that death by dinosaur isn’t pretty. It takes a while to get to that though, as I said, half of the book is about the how they did it. It gets very scientific at some parts, but it was pretty understandable (although I might be biased since biology is my field), it doesn’t make sense to write a book people can’t understand, right? At least from the scientific point.

The writing shifted a lot too, changing points of view all the time, which is something I don’t normally like and did bother me a bit. Especially when it was Hammond, because that man made me angry just by being in the room. He’s completely blind to all the problems Jurassic Park has and even when things start getting really ugly he still refuses to accept it. He also likes throwing blame around, as long as it doesn’t land on him of course, so it’s everyone’s fault but his. I just wanted to shake some sense into him. Which makes him a good character, much as I dislike him.

Funny thing is that in the movies my favorite character was Dr. Grant, who was the adventurer and the source of knowledge about the dinosaurs, but surprisingly Ian Malcolm was the one I liked the most in the book. He was sarcastic and quick with a reply; he had no qualms about speaking his mind and did so whenever he wanted to. A lot of what he said was a bit harsh and perhaps a tad rude, he was mostly that guy who said uncomfortable truths that people didn’t want listen to, but should. With added mathematical theories to back him up, of course, which he extrapolated on a lot.

“Don’t you think it’s human nature?” Ellie said.

“God, no,” Malcolm said. “That’s like saying that scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast is human nature. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s uniquely Western training, and much of the rest of the world is nauseated by the thought of it.” He winced in pain. “The morphine’s making me philosophical.”

Crichton also went into people’s backstory a lot, whenever he shifted povs actually, which was distracting but somewhat realistic since we are always connecting new experiences with old ones. And I loved how he mixed things, like scientists aren’t sure whether dinosaurs were more like reptiles or birds, so Crichton made them both, he mixed their characteristics, different species were more like one or the other. There was also this thing where everybody commented on the velociraptors, how smart they were, how fast, how bad, it was pretty obvious that they would end up escaping at some point to cause mayhem.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but I found it very weird that no one knew about amphibian reproductive cycles except Dr. Grant, I mean, even I know! And all I have is high school biology and an interest in it. Not even Dr. Wu, who was the geneticist who made the dinosaurs, knew anything until Grant talked about it. Regardless, it was a fun read, not a very deep one or one that challenged my view of the world, but a good distraction and something I might revisit as a guilty pleasure someday. Like my Agatha Christie books.

I’m reading two books at the moment: The Once and Future King by T. H. White and Possession by A. S. Byatt. I plan on finishing both of them, but will probably be faster with White’s, so I’ll probably post about it soon-ish. I love history and, although it’s not something I’ve ever pursued much before, the legends of King Arthur. So expect to hear more about it, since I also plan on reading The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (which my mom owns in Portuguese, but I want my own English copy) and Sir Thomas Mallory’s original Le Morte D’Arthur (which has been surprisingly difficult to find). Maybe some others later, but those are the most famous ones I believe. Perhaps Sir Gawain and the Green Knight too.