Now obviously most people have seen the movie Jurassic Park, and it is one of my favourites. My family rented it from Blockbuster (way back in the day) when I was a kid along with Jaws. Jaws by comparison scared the shit out of me. Since I loved the movie, and since Jurassic Park and The Lost World were 2 for $15 at Indigo one day, I decided to read the book.
A billionaire has created a technique to clone dinosaurs. From the DNA that his crack team of scientists extract, he is able to grow the dinosaurs in his laboratories and lock them away on an island behind electric fences, creating a sort of theme park. He asks a group of scientists from several different fields to come and view the park, but something goes terribly wrong when a worker on the island turns traitor and shuts down the power.
The book (which is probably no surprise to anyone) is very different from the movie. The movie streamlined the plot and cut out certain parts that I will admit muddled the ending of the book. The main idea of the book is still the same obviously – a park of dinosaurs and things go to hell in a hand-basket quickly. However, Hammond, who is a very nice but rather naive elderly man in the movie who learns his lesson at the end, in the book is a total jerk with tunnel vision and no sense of responsibility or compassion. He blames his grandchildren at the end, and everyone on his “incompetent” staff for the problems and doesn’t see the danger of the dinosaurs getting loose. He doesn’t care about the people who have died, and he doesn’t care about his responsibility in making sure that these animals are dealt with. He’s ready to pack up and move on to another island to start over. He’s interested in money and a legacy.
A lot of the characters are different in the book – such as Timmy is older than Lex in the book and Lex is younger, into baseball and a huge problem for me as a character. She’s like 7 or 8 and is running for her life from dinosaurs for most of the book, but she still has the ability to not listen to Dr. Grant when he says something and thinks that she can do whatever she wants. She doesn’t seem believable to me as a character. And she’s annoying as anything.
Most of the book is about Dr. Grant and the children trying to get back to the visitor’s centre. Then once they get there they have to get access to the control room and the main power grid. All of this is in the movie. What isn’t in the movie however, and the reason why Dr. Grant and the children need to get back to the visitor’s centre is that young raptors have managed to smuggle aboard the supply ship that is heading back to Costa Rica and they need to warn everyone and get the ship turned around. The other thing that isn’t in the movie is that they start looking for the raptors nest and go to it. This last part was tacked on at the end and seemed really unnecessary to the plot of the book.
I really enjoyed the book. Because it was so different from the movie at parts it seemed like a whole new tale that I hadn’t ever heard before. That said it was about 50-100 pages too long. The thing with the raptors nests was completely unnecessary and just dragged the book out for longer than it needed to.
If you loved Jurassic Park the movie, then this is definitely a book that you should check out. I will be reading The Lost World at some point too. I want to see what happens, if it’s better than the movie (I mean it has to be, the second movie was terrible), and if anything about the raptors nests proved necessary to book two because otherwise I do not know why it’s in there.