Jurassic Park


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Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton is a riveting piece of science fiction. Most of the story takes place on an island off the Pacific side of Costa Rica. A deciduous rain forest inhabits most of the island. An eccentric old man named John Hammond leases the whole island to create a frightening dinosaur amusement park, using real dinosaurs. Within this jungle setting, Michael Crichton’s engrossing, believable characters bring the story to life with quick action, intense dialogue and scientific questions.
     John Hammond’s amusement park is dedicated to making live dinosaur specimens available to view to the paying public by genetically splicing prehistoric DNA. To test out his park and prove to investors it is safe and real, he invites two paleontologists, Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler, his two grandchildren, Tim and Lex, and a mathematician, Ian Malcolm. While the guests are on a tour of the dinosaurs, a greedy self, obsessed computer programmer named Dennis Nedry shuts the security and power off using a trap door he built into his computer code, in order to steal valuable embryos of the dinosaurs in the park. While trying to flee from the park to deliver the embryos to a competing genetics company, Nedry comes across a few dilophosaurs, who have escaped, because along with security, the electric fences (to harbor the animals) has been shut off. The dilophosaurs leisurely kill Nedry by first spitting him in the eye with poisonous spit to make him blind, and then devouring him. Meanwhile, the guests are attacked by an escaped tyrannosaur. Throughout the last half of the book, Hammond and his assistants try to re-establish electric power, while Grant and Hammond’s two grandchildren fight and outsmart dinosaurs to make it back to the main headquarters. In the end, Hammond dies from a dinosaur attack, along with seven other island visitors. His employees and guests are taken in to Costa Rican custody. A herd of velociraptors escapes from the island and the Costa Rican government kills the remaining dinosaurs.
     Alan Grant is a very important character for the story. He is a paleontologist that shows three strong good qualities during his journey back to the control room., which are that he is a problem solver, an intelligent person and caring individual. Grant is in his mid-forties. He is an outdoor oriented person, wearing tennis shoes and jeans, even when teaching at universities. One of his qualities is that he is a problem solver.

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This is shown in discussions about dinosaurs. In one incident, Malcolm, Grant and Harding are disputing whether the egg is a dinosaur egg’. “’This must be a bird egg’, Harding said…Grant shook his head. ‘Look at the curvature. The shell is almost flat. That’s from a very big egg. And notice the thickness of the shell’… Malcolm said, ‘Can you tell the species?’ ‘Yes…it’s a velociraptor egg.”(p.160) Another quality is that he is intelligent. “Grant was a professor of paleontology at the University of Denver, and one of the foremost researchers in his field.”(p.34) His knowledge of dinosaur behavior saves his life and the children’s. One of the cleverest incidents is when he inserts poison in laboratory eggs and rolls it to an attacking velociraptor who is a egg eater. His caring personality is shown throughout Grant’s journey through the park. Grant, “felt troubled. He didn’t like the idea of dinosaurs being used for an amusement park.”(p.131) He risks his own life over and over again to save the children.
     Jurassic Park may seem like an action book that has bits of science throughout, but it actually has underlying messages. The main message is that scientific research “should not be done in secret, and in haste and for profit.” (p. xi). The creator of the park, John Hammond invites a mathematician named Ian Malcolm. Malcolm tried to prove to Hammond and others that the misuse of science is dangerous. Malcolm tries to explain to Hammond that dinosaurs loose on the planet earth would not destroy it. “Malcolm sighed. Let me tell you about our planet…Our planet is four and a half billion years old. There has been life on this planet for nearly that long…Great dynasties of creatures arising, flourishing, dying away. All this happening against a background of continuous and violent upheaval, mountain ranges thrust up and eroded away, cometary impacts, volcanic eruptions, whole continents moving…Endless constant and violent change…The planet is not in jeopardy. We haven’t got the power to destroy the planet-or save it. But we might have the power to save ourselves.” (p.365-369)
     Ian Malcolm uses chaos theory to prove that the park is going to fail. The park’s systems engineer, John Arnold, explains, “Chaos theory describes nonlinear systems. It’s now become a very broad theory that’s been used to study everything from the stock market to heartbeats…trendy to apply it to any complex system where there might be unpredictability… Let’s say I put a drop of water on the back of my hand. The drop is going to run off my hand… I don’t know for sure where it will go…It may do many different things, depending. But it will always move along the surface of the propeller.” (p. 245-6). Malcolm uses this theory because dinosaurs are new to humans and humans do not know how to prevent the animals from doing harm or how they will behave. The author uses chaos theory as a way of organizing the book. Each section is an iteration on fractal curves.
     Jurassic Park is very intricate and descriptive. Most people that like fiction books with elements of science fiction will like this book. This book I will read a few more times, because of the involved plot and discussions about scientific research. I would give this book a 9 on a scale from 1-10 because of the memorable characters. This is a high-quality book.


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