The Lost World
Author: Michael Crichton
Genre(s): DNA, Dinosaurs
After creating an initial hit of a sci-fi novel that explored the possibility of a return of dinosaurs to this world, Michael Crichton decided to follow up Jurassic Park with the sequel The Lost World. While many of the familiar names were missing in this book, some of the characters from the original did indeed return, including many of the deadly dinosaur types!
As with the first book, The Lost World really excels when the dinosaurs are on the pages. Crichton falls into a groove writing about these long extinct animals and knows how to use every one of them now. While no one will really ever know what the dinosaurs looked like exactly, Michael is great at painting a picture of what they should look like. And as always he does enough research on the subject to create pictures of what the leading scientists believe these animals would look like as well.
The most important thing to remember is that, as with most Crichton books, the movie is nowhere near the same as the book. There is no T-Rex rampaging through the streets of a suburb in California in the book, as there is in the movie. In addition many of the characters in the book do not appear in the movie for various reasons, and are replaced by people made specifically for the big screen.
One of the most critical parts that separates the book from the movie is the presence of the paleontologist Richard Levine. Without Levine the book would have lacked someone who could explain dinosaurs, while seeming credible, and add to the concept of the book. As Alan Grant did with the first book, Richard Levine enhances the Lost World and makes it a better book overall. The movies decision to cut out Levine enormously affected the quality of the production. Ian Malcolm, like in the movie, is also back in the book.
The action in The Lost World is just tremendous. The scene in the trailer, which is also in the movie but cut shorter, is one example of a great sequence in which the dinosaurs meet humans. All the familiar “evil” dinosaurs are back, from the tyrannosaurus rex to the raptors who hunt in packs.
All in all The Lost World is not as good of a book as Jurassic Park, but it attempts to use the same basic formula and comes up with a fairly fun read. Those who enjoyed the first book should pick up the second to see what it is about.