Jurassic Park is a classic novel that should be on everybody's "to do" list. Of course the reason for this is that the movie was also an instant classic--yet, it does not compare to the greatness that is the book. And how can it do this despite the stunning realism of the motion picture? Let's see what the novel has to offer.
Ironically, the opening chapter of the story is identical to the opening scene of the second Jurassic movie The Lost World. For whatever reason, they decided not to put this chapter in the actual movie Jurassic Park, but apparently had a change of heart later on? It appears so. A little girl is on the beach playing with--what she thinks to be--a lizard. This lizard becomes a little too curious and a little too playful. And as Dr. Ian Malcolm would say, "Then the screaming starts...."
This tragedy is followed by several unrelated events and minor situations--all omitted from the movie--until the story shifts over to our heroes around page 50, Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Elie Sattler. They are digging for dinosaur fossils somewhere in the mountainous regions in the central U.S. when multi-millionaire John Hammond arrives to the site and invites them to a mysterious island. He does not reveal why they should come with him and he leaves them in suspense. After their curiosity gets the best of them, Grant and Sattler follow Hammond to this Island--but first, they soon meet up with mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm, who is also kept in suspense and a lawyer, Donald Generro. Together, with Hammond, the five travel to the tiny island off of the coast of Costa Rica called Isla Nubla. There they go to Hammond's planned theme park, called, Jurassic Park.
Once they arrive, they are absolutely stunned by Hammonds ability to find a way to clone animals and plants--let alone dinosaurs. So Hammond takes the group and gives them an educational tour of the process. Everything is seemingly secure and going well, until the combination of a storm and a traitorous employee of Hammond's--computer hacker Dennis Nedry, foul things up. Soon the electric fences that keep the dinosaurs--including father and son Tyrannosaurus Rex--separated from the humans become, well, not so electrified. Some of the dinosaurs are now loose.
All the while Dr. Malcolm has been exposing many of Hammond's computer and scientific errors, and insisting that chaos will always find a way to take over. It seems Malcolm is about to eat his own words when things appear to calm down. Just when they think they get the fences up and running and the dinosaurs contained--there are some miscalculations. All of hell now breaks loose. The dinosaurs are on the move, people start dying, and so on. Grant, Sattler, Malcolm, the Lawyer, Hammond and his nephew and niece have to restore this sudden eruption of "chaos". After almost being killed by the Tyrannosaurus Rex--and then later on a pack of Raptors--things are finally contained.
I do not really need to get into to much more detail about the plot, because most have seen the movie. And although the movie changes many aspects of it, it still is the same basic storyline. Just condensed.
One of the fundamental reasons why this book is memorable is because the character are all well developed. The highlight in this area is easily Dr. Ian Malcolm! This man is not only brilliant, but incredibly funny--and so sarcastic! I can easily say, he is by far Michael Crichton's most developed character in any novel of his that I have read. Sattler and Grant make for likeable leads and team up well with Malcolm. Hammond is far more sinister here than in the film.
The story line is also fantastic. While the plot starts off only decent, when things get going about half-way through--there is no stopping it. Yes, it was not a very complex story--a rather basic plot formula here--it was written in a page-turning fashion. What really helps is that all of the technical reading in this story discussing chaos, computers, and dinosaurs--mainly spoken from Dr. Ian Malcolm--is surprisingly easy to understand and completely fascinating. In fact, as farfetched as the plot is, it reads in a very believable way.
You feel you are a part of the action in this novel. For a while there, after the Dinosaurs are set loose, and then seemingly contained, you feel everything is back to normal. Then it all goes away and you begin to tense up as you read - and a dark cloud settles over the main characters. And of course, not to be forgotten, the screaming started... Crichton did a masterful job of writing the suspense and the action.
Read Jurassic Park because its great. If not for that, read it to be like everyone else!