Book Review: "The Lost World"
Despite my not enjoying "Timeline" or "Jurassic Park", I decided to give Crichton another chance, mainly because I was curious to see what happened after the original dinosaur story. Less than fifty pages in, I already felt like I was in a constant state of eye rolling. (To Crichton's credit, this usually happens to me later in his books.)

So it turned out that Dr. Ian Malcolm actually survived. Should I be happy that my favorite character is back again? I should have been, but I wasn't. It was pretty clear that in "Jurassic Park", Malcolm died. Here are a couple of passages from that book:

*** (After talking about Hammond's death)

"What about Malcolm?" Grant said.

Muldoon shook his head.

Grant was too tired to feel much of anything.

*** (When they were under detainment by the Costa Rican government)

Under the circumstances, the government was not disposed to release survivors in a hurry. They did not even permit the burial of Hammond or Ian Malcolm.


You may be thinking, "Michael Crichton wrote both books, he must have known what was going on all along." Stephanie Meyer wrote all of the Twilight Saga. "Twilight" was not originally meant to be a series - it was meant to imply that at the end, Edward turned her into a vampire. Yes, I have no shame in comparing Crichton and Meyer with each other. My least favorite thing in fiction, whether it's movies, books, or television shows, is when the writers introduce a conflicting idea later in the story, or stray from their original intent. Especially with good actors or well-written characters, these spur-of-the-moment changes stand out to me like a puppy in a lion enclosure.

I was expecting a sequel from Crichton, but not just because I knew one existed. Because we got to get inside of John Hammond's head, we knew that dinosaurs escaped to and thrived on the mainland, and that the dinosaurs were breeding, it was obvious that the story itself (whether or not Crichton wrote it) hadn't ended. On the back of the book I'm reading, part of the summary includes, "There are rumors that something has survived..." Well, no shit, Sherlock. 

I hypothesize the reason Crichton decided to let Malcolm live is because not only was he popular in the book, but Jeff Goldblum immortalized the character in the movie. (The original book came out in 1990, the movie in 1993, and the sequel in 1995.) Malcolm became his cash cow.

Any enjoyment that could have come from the pre-island adventures in the book were pushed back because I couldn't get out of my head how forced it all was. The emphasis of "The Lost World" on Ian Malcolm reminded me of when sidekick characters become the headliners in movie sequels. The beginning wasn't necessarily bad, but it came off as fan service to Ian Malcolm fans. (As for how Ian Malcolm and Dr. Richard Levine became associates, it's not entirely clear, especially since it seemed like Malcolm wanted to push that man away.)

As for the dinosaur adventures on the island, I liked that better than the original book's. The storyline with Dodgson and his "cronies" had potential - it offered an interesting collision between opposing groups, rather than another version of, "RUN FROM THE DINOSAURS!" However, even if Crichton had gone that route, it would have still annoyed me because of his writing of his villians. As I said in my review of "Jurassic Park," I tried imagining Dodgson with a top hat, monocle, and twirly mustache, but it didn't work. It seemed like Crichton offered enough character voice and/or description so I could put together a realistic image. Even that was a white, pudgy, middle-aged man, still a popular image for an evil corporatist. 

Dodgson and his cronies didn't have much of a purpose. I think Crichton just wanted to fulfill his strange bad guy morbid death fetish. And what a morbid death for Dodgson...

I have come to realize that Crichton's characters in books are practically the same. Just because he gave them somewhat of a background story and a few objectives doesn't mean that they were fleshed out. It's like there are "Crichton stock characters". Not only are the characters the same spanning his different books, whether they live or not is relatively easy to determine.

Crichton took another page out of the movie by making the two children in this book more useful. I agree with my roommate (although not quite to the extent that she does) that the children in the original movie were too convenient for the plot: "Yes, I'm a hacker!" "Yes, I know a lot about dinosaurs!" The children in "The Lost World" didn't bother me too much - better than another Lexi. However, I came to realize just how ridiculous most action movies with children are. Of course, the children would find some way to cause trouble, which I saw coming a mile away.

I was interested to see how the group would get rescued, and was disappointed when there wasn't anything after that.  The ending was very weak. I think I'm finished with Michael Crichton fiction indefinitely. I haven't enjoyed any of the three books I've read. Nevertheless, I'm open to trying out his nonfiction.

"Jurassic Park" review: