When Raptors Attack

Jurassic Park. Dinosaurs, gene manipulations, chaos theory and screaming. Lots of screaming. I ask you, "What's not to love?"

So like the millions of people across the globe, I enjoyed the movie Jurassic Park when it hit the cinemas back in the early nineties. Back when I had to be driven to the movies by my folks or take my life in my hand and ride the city bus. I recall being impressed by how real the graphics looked and how utterly impressed I was by the whole concept. I really didn't know who Michael Crichton was and wouldn't recognize the ridiculous UNIX access screen for many years.

These many years later, I finally decided to read the book. For whatever reason, I didn't think the book would bring anything new to my idea of Jurassic Park. On a lark I brought it in tow during my training earlier this month. It was my anchor from the pointless drivel that the TV tried to throw at me.

The movie is great. There is no doubt about it, but as always it is quite different from the book. A seriously intense read and well worth the few hours it would take to complete it. The downside is this. In the movie, you're given a quick two hour glimpse of a fantastic world. It's scary, but hopeful. There is a problem, but there is also a solution. This isn't so in the book.

Give Michael Crichton 400 pages of your time and he will utterly convinced you that things you know to be impossible are coming. Dinosaurs embryos ARE being grown by a firm in Palo Alto (where I happened to be during the training). This book doesn't read like fiction. It reads like news.

Add to that the horrific deaths described within those pages and you've got yourself a full blown phobia. How many sentences does it take to explain why a corpse was found holding a steaming pile of his our intestines? Too many...

"Honey, dinner!"
"I'm not really that hungry..."
"We're having spaghetti and meat-"
"pppuuuuurrrrrhhhhhhgggg! Urrrrrgggg"
"...or we could have sandwiches..."

Add to that this newfound fear of Raptors. In the movie they were scary. I literally jumped out of my seat and screamed like a toddler (honest). My 15 year old sister was mortified by the immaturity of her baby brother but I was seriously scared!

As a 33 year old man, I felt the same panic flipping through these pages. Yelling to the book as a systems engineer tried to restore power for the computer at his place of work. I cannot seem to believe it's just a book. Crichton is a master of persuasion. He could wheedle an Eskimo to strip down to the nude and stock up on suntan lotion.

The wife isn't exactly helping.

"I just got a page from the servers. Network error."
"Do you think the velociraptors are in the Operations Center?"
"Probably. Better pack the cattle prod."

Anyway. I think I'm going to go off the deep end and pick up Lost World. Well see how my brain survives...


Mr. M said...

In my case, I grew up watching Jurassic Park. I honestly don't remember if I was old enough to have seen it in the theaters. (I guess I could Google it, but I have a chronic case of laziness.) I'm guessing that I wasn't, as I have a vague, faint memory of seeing the sequel in theaters, which would mean I was pretty young even for that.

So, I grew up watching Jurassic Park on VHS. It was a part of my childhood. It was a part of me. (Not really...) It wasn't until about two-three years ago that I decided to read the book. I was on a reading kick that year in school. I got extra credit in English for every book I read.

I will say, Michael Crichton is one of my favorite authors. There is just something about his writing style that is amazing to me. He doesn't just go out and say things. He describes them, and lets you make the final connections. I found the page or two long description of Nedry's disembowelment amazing. All in all, I just loved his writing style.

I also like the great amounts of research and scientific thought that go into his books. It's quite something when a novel you're reading shows diagrams describing something like chaos theory or theories on time travel, as with Timeline. Most writers would just make up stuff as they go, but in Michael Crichton's case, his book always had an amazing amount of actual scientific study in them.

There were many things in the book that I liked much more over the movie. After two-three years, I can't quite recall any details, but, it seems like that's the way with most books. Timeline was the same deal. Except in that case, they changed so much of the story that it actually got to be annoying, and the movie was missing out on key plot points.

And I got over my chronic laziness. Actually, I didn't. I had to find Nedry's name, and while I was at it, I saw that the movie came out in 1993. I was about a year old, so I'm guessing that I didn't see it in theaters. And if I did, I definitely wasn't paying real close attention.

Sorry for writing a book review as a comment on your blog. I just seem to be in a writing mood today.

kludge said...

"Michael Crichton is one of my favorite authors"

I'll second that. I've only had a few hum drum reads from him. He is so well researched and just plain of old entertaining! It's too bad we lost him so early!

"Sorry for writing a book review as a comment on your blog."

Why would I care. I thing it's great that the post yielded all those thoughts!

Makolyte said...

Jurassic Park! I remember my mom taking me to this when i was 4 or 5, wearing Jurassic Park shorts and hat. Oh god, what a great movie. I then watched it on VHS before church every sunday morning!

Good times, good times...

All Crichton books i've read are so awesome, and all the movies made based on them are awesome. Thanks for this nostalgia inducing post, I shall read Jurassic Park!

kludge said...


You and Mr M make me feel like an old man!! :)

Definitely give it a read. I don't know why I waited so long!

Jason Michael Parrish said...

I used to think black and white Godzilla movies were the coolest thing in the TV universe. Then when Jurassic Pork came out, I nearly wept.

The book is still better than the movie. I think it's because words force your mind into working harder to imagine the story.

Mr. M said...

And, to continue that last comment, because your mind has no limits. When something is presented to you on a screen, you have to accept it for what it is. But when you're reading a book, you can picture things however you want to, and you can make the book fit who you are, and what you like.

Maybe I'm just tired here...

kludge said...


My wife loves this comment. I have to agree. Well played sir!