Jurassic Park

A book that knows it is both a sci-fi thriller and sociotechnological commentary.

Assumed audience: Readers of sci-fi or thrillers or both—including folks who have read this before (it deserves a good re-read!).

cover for Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton (1991)
Crichton’s novel is a great thriller with solid sci-fi concepts, a great plot, and just okay characters, but it really shines in its willingness to actually say things.

I finished reading Michael Crighton’s Jurassic Park a few hours ago. As is usually the case in the Crichton books I’ve read, the characters are fine but not especially interesting, and they don’t grow a lot. The conceit and the thrills are where he invests his efforts, and he does a great job with both of those… even if the idea that we were on the verge of cloning dinosuars in the late 1980s now seems rather laughable. Biology has proven fiendishly difficult to control” and not only in the ways the novel anticipated — and more than that, has proven a far deeper well to plumb than the genetic optimism of the late 80s and early 90s supposed.

The novel did anticipate that biology specifically and nature generally is simply not subject to human control the way we so readily believe in our late modern culture — our technological society. I’m glad we’re reading this for the May episodes of Winning Slowly; it rewarded the reading.