Crichton, Michael

About the Author:

 

Born in Chicago in 1942, Michael Crichton was educated at Harvard College and Harvard Medical School.  He directed the film version of his own novel 'The Great Train Robbery' and created the medical drama 'E.R.'.  Crichton died in 2008.

 

AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:

4.5 out of 5

(2 books)

Jurassic Park

A genetics company and its misguided managing director, John Hammond, use state of the art technology to rebuild the great dinosaurs of Earth's past and create a safari park on a Costa Rican island populated with these fantastic creatures.  When an accident bring the park's safety into question, a small group of experts are invited to spend the weekend at Jurassic Park to give it their endorsement.  However, industrial espionage and a killer storm conspire to make the weekend far from pleasurable. 

Crichton's science is impeccable, giving a very real feeling to the story and, with the current controversy over genetic dabbling, the story also serves as a morality tale in the style of the classic early science fiction. 

However, this book's greatest elements are its dinosaurs and the encounters they have with the diverse and interesting collection of characters.  There are several truly awesome sequences in the book that will stick in your imagination for years to come; notably, where the tyrannosaur is swimming after the boat crocodile-like, the aviary scene (so disappointingly brought to life in the movie 'Jurassic Park III') and the scene in which the velociraptors besiege the Visitor Centre. 

Crichton's excellent writing skills allow him to convey to the reader the full range of emotions from wonder through to abject terror.  This is one of my all-time favourite novels and is more than worth a look.  There's also a nice little twist at the end in which there are reports of strange creatures heading inland from the coast of Costa Rica.

Followed by 'The Lost World'.

5 out of 5

 

The Lost World

The sequel to the monumental 'Jurassic Park', is still good, but nowhere near as great as its predecessor.  First off, be aware that there are some rather confusing continuity issues between the two books that might throw you off a bit (they did me).  Primarily, Ian Malcolm, who died of his injuries at the end of the first book, is one of the main characters.  Secondly, the tyrannosaurs CAN see you even if you don't move.  Crichton never bothers to explain these discrepancies and they're the sort of thing that bother me. 

The story involves a small research team being sent to Isla Sorna, where the dinosaurs were bred before being sent to Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar.  Their mission is to discover how the dinosaurs, who should have died from lycene deficiency, have survived. 

The book is pretty heavy on mathematic theories and long-winded scientific lectures, that really slow the pace of the story and can be a bit brain-frazzling.  However, once again, Crichton excels in bringing the terrible lizards to life and creates a new set of memorably stunning scenes.  There's the scene in which a Jeep and a motorbike are chased by an entire pack of raptors, a bit where one of the cars is trapped by a herd of the dome-skulled pachycephalosaurs and a great scene where the tyrannosaurs attack the expedition's trailer cab (like in the film, but ten times better). 

There's also a good human element as, once again, a couple of children find themselves thrown into the mix with the prehistoric monsters and its endlessly funny reading what Ian Malcolm says whilst heavily stoked on morphine.  All in all, a good read, but lacking the awe and grandeur of it's predecessor.

4 out of 5

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