Brad's Reviews > Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
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really liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi, adventure, cinematic, ecological, pb-and-j-dipped-in-hot-chocolate
Recommended to Brad by: James Davie
Read 11 times. Last read January 5, 2010.

I always seem to forget how good Jurassic Park is. I blast through it once every few years, throw it on my shelf and the distance slowly makes me derisive, and then something forces me to pick it up again when my brain needs a little peanut butter and jelly dipped in hot chocolate, and I am forced to admit that Jurassic Park is a damn fine novel.

Sure it's packed with Michael Crichton's usual band of screenplay-adaptation-friendly archetypes, sure it derives much of its plot and thought from Arthur Conan Doyle, HG Wells and Mary Shelley, sure it's pulpy and quick to read, but those things aren't necessarily bad, and Crichton does enough to elevate or alter these elements to make Jurassic Park a fine piece of popular Sci-Fi in its own right.

Yes, the characters are there to serve the plot. Each has an important skill or skill-set -- Muldoon is the "Great White Hunter," Malcolm is the chaos theoretician, Grant and Saddler are the paleontologists, Tim and Lex are the kids in peril, etc., etc. -- and who they are and the how their stories unfold are easily altered or even cut entirely in the shift from book to screen because they are less important than their skills, yet Crichton still manages to make them likable enough that we care about what happens to them. None of the characters are dynamic or round, but their static flatness makes them no less interesting than a character like Ian Fleming's James Bond. They may not be as memorable as Bond (although Ian Malcolm has some pretty impressive popularity for a supporting character), but they don't really have to be. We can forget them after the book is over, then enjoy them anew when we go back to the book later. They aren't Hamlet, but they work.

And yes Crichton borrows liberally, but he borrows from the stars. He uses Shelley's classic creation-gone-mad trope, and he blatantly thieves from Doyle's Lost World and Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau, but he does it with style. Granted it's a pulpy style, but that pulpiness is an asset. It takes those pieces he's combined and lets the reader catch mere glimpses of them outside the roller coaster car as he takes us into drops and curves and spins and loop-de-loops. The speed and pace nearly makes us forget from whom he's borrowing. And that is by design. Crichton's pulpiness is pacing, conscious pacing, and as literary action-oriented plotters go, Crichton is a master of speedy obfuscation.

Add to all that some memorable tirades about science and reason and the environment, some kick ass Velociraptors and T-rexes, an excellent scene with toxic eggs, and some rather insightful criticism of "great men," and Jurassic Park is a book that I predict will stand the test of time. We may not see its future today, but fifty to a hundred years from now it will be taught in schools and remembered, while other, more literary books will be forgotten.

later -- It just struck me that if I forget the quality of this book between readings, and I do, then my prophecy concerning Jurassic Park's staying power is probably flawed. I think I may be more Nostradumbass than Nostradamus.
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March 25, 2008 – Shelved
September 14, 2008 – Shelved as: sci-fi
Started Reading
January 5, 2010 – Shelved as: adventure
January 5, 2010 – Shelved as: cinematic
January 5, 2010 – Shelved as: ecological
January 5, 2010 – Shelved as: pb-and-j-dipped-in-hot-chocolate
January 5, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)

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Rose Teehee! Love your review! It may not be the best book ever written, but damn it, I like it.

Chris Ristine i think its a great book/movie

message 3: by Amber (new)

Amber Tucker pb-and-j-dipped-in-hot-chocolate?!

Robyn great review, i wish mine were like that. it is like every review i read is writen by those fansy critics who work for magazines and newspapers. well i guess some are fansy critics who work for magazines and newspapers. r u ? well put and informitive. even though i like this book i am forced to realize though it is good its not poe, or shakespear. to some it may not be a work of art as shhakespear or edgar poe are called, but to me its much more fun to read. :)

Brad Thanks, Robyn. I love the fun books too, just as much as the "literary" books, but then some of those can be an awful lot of fun as well. (And I used to be a reviewer for newspapers, but mostly a movie reviewer).

Robyn sory this has nothing to do with the book but how do you add a picture and get friends on your good reads account? do you need to go online to do this? i have it as an app.

Brad I think you probably do. Adding friends can be done on the person's profile page you want to befriend, but the picture can only be accessed in your own settings.

Robyn thanx a bunch.

message 9: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy Love this review!

message 10: by Brad (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brad Why thanks, Amy.

Sophia I loved this because I can completely relate to the first paragraph! Recently I happened to listen to the Jurassic Park theme song and it just reminded me how great the film was (my first 'proper' horror/scary film as a kid), but that the book was by far more entertaining to read with some great scenes that the film omitted. Now I'm really itching to read the book again

Loveliest Evaris I watched the movie when I was 2 and I am forever afraid of Velociraptors. Is there a phobia that extinct creatures will be cloned and come back and kill you? Cuz I have it...

I loved the book though, along with the sequel. Reading about the velociraptors trying to tear the children and everyone else apart didn't bother me, but watching it does ._.

message 13: by Brad (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brad My ex had a similar thing going on with Jaws. The movie freaked her out, but the books is no problem at all. Interesting that both were turned into films by Spielberg.

Loveliest Evaris I think everyone was afraid of even stepping into the kiddie pool when the movie came out. "Don't go in the water!! It's gonna kill us all!"

message 15: by Carl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Carl Love this one but Timeline is my fave of his!

message 16: by Ross (new)

Ross Ewww dipped in hot chocolate... Soggy.
Mabe some marshmallow fluff?

message 17: by Shaelyn (new) - added it

Shaelyn Amazing review! I hope this book is never forgotten because of its amazing literature, plot, and characters. I have read many great books like divergent, matched, hunger games but none of then have been as powerful as jurassic park. Chrichton has created a world where no one have ever imagined. He brought these dinosaurs to life and kept the story fast passed and interesting.
"The history of evolution is that life escapes all barriers. Life brakes free. Life expands to new territories, painfully, perhaps even dangerously. But life finds a way"

message 18: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan C. I really want to be able to use the. Nostradamus/Nostradumbass line in conversation some day. That's comedy gold.

message 19: by Maria (new) - added it

Maria Laura Very nice review. ;-) Question: is the genetic manipulation with animals explicit? Apart from the obvious, obviously. XD

Lauren What did they do to this app? why can't we 'like' reviews anymore? Well, I like your review.

message 21: by Brad (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brad Lauren wrote: "What did they do to this app? why can't we 'like' reviews anymore? Well, I like your review." Why thanks, Lauren. Thanks for taking the trouble to write me even though the like was dead.

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