Posts in category 'books'

  • Review: Jurassic Park

    Review of Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park #1.0) by Michael Crichton (9780394588162)★★★ #books (

    An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now humankind’s most thrilling fantasies have come true. Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them—for a price.

    Until something goes wrong. . . .

    In Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton taps all his mesmerizing talent and scientific brilliance to create his most electrifying technothriller.

    As a general rule I tend to enjoy Crichton’s writing style (the man had a real flair for action and pacing, which is probably why his work has been so successful), but in this case I couldn’t help but be turned off by his decision to use Ian Malcolm as a mouthpiece for continuously waxing philosophical about the evils of modern science and technology. Of course, one could argue Mary Shelley did the same back in the day, but the difference is she pulled it off with style and panache, while Crichton comes across as heavy-handed and bloviating… not to mention just plain wrong most of the time.

    Now, one could argue that perhaps I’m tainted by the fact that in his later years Crichton became a vocal anti-AGW (human-caused global warming) advocate, and ended up providing large quantities of vacuous, incorrect ammunition for those looking to reinforce their own anti-AGW beliefs. But despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed both The Andromeda Strain and Sphere, and in neither of those cases did I feel I was being preached to. Not so with Jurassic Park.

    So while Jurassic Park was, I think, successful as an action/sci-fi book, those successes were more than offset by Crichton’s total lack of subtlety.

  • On Douglas Adams

    Over the years, I’ve read a reasonably wide range of stuff, running the gamut from comedy and drama to horror and science fiction, both classic and contemporary. But for some reason, whenever I get tired of finding new things to read, or just need to dig into something familiar and light hearted (yet still weighty and thoughtful, if I wish), I return to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. There’s something about Mr. Adams’ brilliant, canted, quirky take on humanity that I just can’t get enough of. Heck, the very title of this blog is an homage to his wonderful work.

    Well, today, I came across a previously unpublished interview with the man (appeared on Slashdot, originally) from back in 1978, before HHGTG really took off, and I am once again reminded of why I enjoy his work so much, and why his loss was such a sad event. One of my favorite quotes is this:

    If The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy makes money, I shall enjoy that. But what I'll enjoy most is having proved that you don't have to underestimate people. I don't like the notion that you set yourself up as saying "This is what people like, therefore this is what we'll do." That's patronizing.

    So for any fans of Adams’ work, or HHGTG, check it out. It’s an interesting read about a man that is sorely missed (a phrase I rarely turn in reference to celebrities).