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Jurassic Park Paperback – 21 May 2015
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"Crichton's most compulsive novel to date" (Sunday Telegraph)
"Breathtaking adventure... a book that is as hard to put down as it is to forget" (Time Out)
"Wonderful ... powerful" (Washington Post)
"Full of suspense" (New York Times)
About the Author
Born in Chicago in 1942, Michael Crichton first trained as a doctor before going on to become one of the most successful writers in the world. In 1994 he achieved a feat unmatched by any other writer: by having simultaneously a number one TV series, book and movie with, respectively, ER (which he created), Disclosure and Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, on its release the highest-grossing film of all time. He also directed several movies, including The Great Railway Robbery with Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland. His high-concept thrillers were international bestsellers, and in total his books have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide. He died in 2008.
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Surprisingly I feel the movie did a great justice to this novel - they pruned what was necessary and nothing was really lost. I particularly like the following adjustments (which aren't spoilers, not really I promise!):
1) They made Hammond a decent human being in the movie - in the book he's a right ruthless bastard (he doesn't care for his grandkids and it's him who wants to charge thousands for tickets to the park, not the lawyer!).
2) They gave the main female roles - Ellie and Lex - proactive, strong roles in the film - in the book they are much more secondary characters, although Ellie is still a precocious, confident individual who holds her own. However, Lex is really 8 years old - not nearly 15 - and is much more of a drag, relying heavily on her brother to bring her safely through the park (understandable but still, annoying and whiney!).
I loved the dinosaurs - they had great, individual personalities and interesting, justifiable behaviour -, the park was much more realistic and there was a lot more background information and world building than I expected. I can see they pruned a lot of the ideas for the second and third movie from this original book, which lets you know how packed it is with cracking plot lines.
I cannot wait to grab a copy of The Lost World.
First, the story is very different to the one depicted in the films - and I think I actually prefer the book's narrative. It's more believable, better paced, and less fantastic. It was a real pleasure to remind myself of the differences.
There's also much more biology and zoology, adding meat to the story, even if it is just to be torn off by a hungry Rex or Raptor!
Well worth going back to and seeing where it all started.
I won’t spoil it for anyone, but there is a lot more background to the story here than the film. The opening chapters (of which there are many) follow a few loose ends and covers the background, plot and some characters that don’t really figure in the main story, but show the overreaching effects of the park’s development. Unlike the film, this novel doesn’t really have to depend on the dinosaurs and action set pieces to intrigue. There’s hardly any dinosaur action in the opening 200 or so pages easily, it is quite the slow burner, but when it hits the fan, it hits harder than an angry T Rex! It really does go through the gears fast, so strap in!
The characters are vastly different from the the film too, Genaro is almost the total polar opposite of the cowardly, snivelling, greedy lawyer in the film and that characters’ fate is reserved for another character. Lex is a total airhead brat, Dr. Satler hardly features at all and a certain disgruntled Park employee is even somewhat of a sympathetic character...who still does a terrible thing. Dr. Malcolm’s chaos theory goodness is expanded upon greatly and Alan Grant is more macho than Sam Neill’s portrayal. Everyone’s backstory and the reasons they do the thing they do appear more logical. There are other characters that don’t get more than a background cameo in the film that are significantly more fleshed out here, oh, and don’t assume that just because someone survived the film that they’ll get through the novel...I’ll leave it at that!
The dinosaur rogues’ gallery is more or less identical, barring a slight different in species in some of the lesser characters and there is one action set piece in particular that is lifted to one of the original films’ sequels. Another watery set piece is somehow even more thrilling than seeing it ever could be.
Overall, this book is exactly what I’d hoped it would be. Similar enough to the film that I am nostalgically happy and satisfied and different enough that I’m learning something knew of the Jurassic Park lore. Michael Crichton was an excellent novelist and this book still stands as his Magnum Opus.