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Crichton's legends

Michael Crichton died last week, and the world lost another great writer. Over his long career he published over 20 books, one which will be released posthumously next year. Many of his books were brought to the big screen, including Jurassic Park, Sphere, and most recently The Andromeda Strain. Not only did his books become movies, but he helped make movies.

He co-wrote Twister, directed The First Great Train Robbery, and was the creator, executive producer, and a writer for ER. He was a talented and busy man, and the world will miss him.

Jurassic Park is probably Michael Crichton’s most famous novel. Between the book and movie, countless people now harbor fears of velociraptors. An irrational fear, maybe, but Crichton has taught us that anything might be possible.

Jurassic Park the book differs from the novel—it goes into more detail about the dinosaurs (particularly the raptors!) and different people live and die. The character of Hammond is less of an adorable old guy and more of a power-hungry old fool, and the children are equal parts more annoying and more intelligent. But in essence, the story is the same. Through the miracle of science, dinosaurs are brought back to life.

Hammond and his company create the dinosaurs for their zoo/theme park, doing their best to take every precaution with the formally extinct animals. But as mathematician Ian Malcolm warns, life will break free.

On the first weekend tour of the island when some of the consultants are brought in, havoc breaks loose on the island and Jurassic Park becomes less of a park and more of living hell for those trapped there. Thanks to an unfortunate series of events, two T-Rex’s roam the island, trying to make a meal of paleontologist Dr. Grant and Hammond’s grandchildren, among others. More than 30 raptors, the most intelligent and deadly of the dinosaurs on the island, also roam free. Dinosaurs that can fly, dinosaurs with big teeth, dinosaurs with poison, and of course dinosaurs that are big enough to crush a person without even noticing—Isla Nublar is fraught with peril, even for someone like Grant who has spent his entire career studying dinosaurs.

Despite the imminent death throughout the novel, Crichton does a good job of balancing survival and death. At no point does the reader feel depressed by the circumstances, more awed and scared than anything.

Michael Crichton was an imaginative and intelligent writer. His work fits perfectly into the genre of science fiction.