Book – Jurassic Park
Author – Michael Crichton
Year – 1991
Genre – Biopunk Thriller
When I think of all of the massive films that have come out in my lifetime, Jurassic Park is one that I often miss out. I remember Titanic being huge, and the release of Toy Story, the first feature length computer animated film. I remember the Lord of the Rings films coming out, and I’m sure that in years to come will remember the Avatar hype as a similar thing. But Jurassic Park is one that I often forget, and that you never see on lists of films that changed the world.
But at the time it was massive! Dinosaurs were, for a summer, the most in vogue thing in the world. Everyone suddenly knew what a velociraptor was, and at the time people could even name the ones with the frilly ruffle type things round their necks. It even prompted a rare trip to the cinema for my Mum, such was the hype. And now it feels somewhat forgotten amoungst the myriad of other big budget special effects films that come out each year.
With these thoughts of injustice in mind – and a complete mind blank over any of the events in the film other that an vague awareness that there might have been some dinosaurs in it – I was pretty excited to read this novel. I am aware that Crichton’s books are held in some regard, and thought that this, as the biggest of them all, must be a great place to start.
I won’t lie, it is tough to get into the book. There is a lot of emphasis placed on pretty technical stuff at the beginning, looking at cloning techniques, genetics, chaos theory and a million other sciency things. You soon realise that it is not essential that you understand all of it though, and you start to get into the story. This is all good until about halfway through, when all of a sudden the book moves from being a pretty good story to one of the most exciting things I have ever read.
The point of view shifts every half page or so. New things happen every few seconds. A sense of real danger and tension is built beautifuly, and if it was ever possible to jump with surprise at something that happens in a book, then this would be the one to do it. I am not trying to claim that it is the single best thing I have ever read, but rarely do I ever remember being so excited about what was happening in a novel that I have been so nose down as this.
All in all, Jurassic Park is a brilliant book, and has instantly made me want to read more by Michael Crichton – handy as the book is a two novel set with Congo as well. If his other books can be has as absorbing as this then I will be massively impressed.
And as a post script, here are some interesting things about Michael Crichton. He wrote ER. You probably knew that, but I didn’t. This means that he is the only person to have simultaniously the best selling book, most watched TV show and highest grossing films ever. He was also 6’9″ tall. This is taller than me, which is odd, as I didn’t think people existed who are taller than me.