It did not take too many days for me to finish reading Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. It is so interesting you can read it at a stretch by even ignoring meals. Though it is a fiction, the author has done a lot of reading related to paleontology that you don’t feel like it is a fiction. The book is of full of science. And for a moment you might be convinced that the modern science actually can recreate extinct dinosaurs by using the reminiscent of their DNA.
The story starts with a scene where a small American girl is bitten by some strange animals in a beach in Costa Rica. (But this scene does not come in the movie Jurassic Park. It in fact comes in the second movie, The Lost World: Jurassic Park. The parts of a suspected scavenger animal are sent to a lab in San Jose, the United States and inconclusive results of the tests reveal that it is a strange animal and does not belong to any modern day creature. Then comes Dr. Grant, a dinosaur expert to the scene as the animal relates more to an extinct dinosaur than a living creature.
Characters of Paleontologist Alan Grant and his paleobotanist graduate student, Ellie Sattler, a well-known mathematician and chaos theorist, Ian Malcolm, and a lawyer representing the investors, Donald Gennaro are well woven. They bring the reliability to the storyline. Inclusion of young kids Tim and Alexis “Lex” Murphy brings the much needed tenderness and the excitement to the story. With the rest of the characters, the story is complete and brings in an unparalleled experience to the reader. I wonder why it did not occur to me to read the novel all this long. The curiosity of extinct giants was aroused in me only after my 5 year old son started watching dinosaur movies constantly.
The story takes place in an imaginary island called Isla Nublar, Costa Rica which is leased by billionaire John Hammond — founder and chief executive officer of International Genetic Technologies, or InGen to create his secret dinosaur amusement park. Chief geneticist Henry Wu is the expert in extracting dinosaur DNA and cloning them in the lab. Everything takes place smoothly till Hammond invites Grant, Sattler, Malcolm, Gennaro and the two kids to go for a weekend visit to a “biological preserve” he has established expecting their positive comments. This is exactly where things go out of control. A disgruntled employee of InGen, the chief programmer of Jurassic Park’s controlling software, Dennis Nedry, attempts corporate espionage for Lewis Dodgson, a geneticist and agent of InGen’s arch rival, Biosyn accepts money from Dodgson to steal and pass frozen dinosaur embryos to him for money. While doing that he messes up the security system and the power supply to Jurassic Park which creates mayhem in the park. Dinosaurs enter the buildings as the security fences are wide open as the power is out. Then they start devouring the people in the park one by one. Ultimately, Hammond, the creator of the Jurassic Park too is eaten by a pack of Procompsognathi, small chicken sized dinosaurs.
Steven Spielberg’s movie with the same name Jurassic Park is more faithful to the novel than his sequel to the second novel The Lost World. Yet there are a lot of contrasting scenes between the novel and the movie. In the novel it is the boy who is smart at computers which is more logical whereas in the movie it is the girl, Lex who is meddling with the computers and save everyone. In the book both Ian Malcolm and John Hammond die but they are very much alive in the second movie. What I cannot understand is why Spielberg had to change the storyline that is already rich with its content when making the movie. The novel itself is exciting enough. But you cannot question a director like Spielberg, can you? In the same time can you mess up with a novel written by an author like Crichton?