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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-12-26 06:53
Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park is Actually Science Porn Disguised as Dinosaur Fiction and Oh. So. Good!
Jurassic Park and Congo - Michael Crichton

 

So. Much. Fun.

 

Saying that about a book where more than half the characters get eaten by prehistoric predators brought back to life through genetic engineering might seem weird. But then, I have never kept my love for dinosaurs a secret!

 

When I first received the book from Online Books Outlet, I wasn’t expecting much from it. However, a cursory glance later, I had spotted graphs in it. They intrigued the scientist in me and I knew that I wouldn’t be waiting too long to read it.

 

Wanting to know if the book had inspired the movie or if it was the other way round, I looked up the date of publication of the book to compare it with the movie release and found out they were both released in the same year. While searching, I came across 20 Things You Might Have Not Known About Jurassic Park on Mentalfloss. Inserting the text from that article below:

Spielberg found out about Jurassic Park while working on ER.

When director Steven Spielberg and author Michael Crichton were working on a screenplay that would eventually become the television series ER, Spielberg asked the writer about the plans for his next book. Crichton told him about Jurassic Park, and Spielberg immediately tapped Universal to buy the film rights in May 1990—before the book was even published. He was so excited that he began storyboarding scenes from the book, even though there was no screenplay written yet.

Mystery solved, I started reading the book. There are quite a few differences between the book and the movie as this article, Jurassic Park: The Book and the Movie’s Differences, will tell you. Comparing the two made me realize that those changes had made for a more entertaining movie!

 

But the book wasn’t any less fun. Here are some quotes that I marked to share:

Dr. Ellie Sattler who was a paleobotanist and one of my favorite characters from the book. She was gutsy and didn’t take any shit from anybody.

jurassic-park-animated-series-ellie-sattlerFrom the cartoon that was never made

 

When Ellie shook hands, Gennaro said in surprise, “You’re a woman.”

“These things happen,” she said

tumblr_mx98m1z44r1rc7tkso1_500A cuter version by Liara K. Crane

And I loved how passionate she was about plants. I’d still have loved a bit more detail regarding prehistoric flora. If I remember correctly, there was some bit about a protocarpus tree and the fern, Serenna veriformans.

 

People were so naïve about plants, Ellie thought. They just chose plants for appearance, as they would choose a picture for the wall. It never occurred to them that plants were actually living things, busily performing all the living functions of respiration, ingestion, excretion, reproduction—and defense.

 

Dr. Alan Grant, my other favorite from the book. Unlike the guy from the movie, this Grant liked kids. I still loved how natural it seemed to him to take it on himself to save the kids. They weren’t his responsibility, yet he didn’t think twice before saving their lives.

2.jpgosd-vont‘s version

 

Grant liked kids—it was impossible not to like any group so openly enthusiastic about dinosaurs… Grant also suspected that was why even young children learned the names of dinosaurs. It never failed to amaze him when a three-year-old shrieked: “Stegosaurus!”

 

Dr. Ian Malcolm was much less fun in the book than in the movie. He was long winded and had a lot to say, which often got boring.

 

jurassic-park-animated-series-ian-malcolm.jpg

This is how he was described in the book:

 

And finally, as if to emphasize their emergence from academia into the world, they dressed and spoke with what one senior mathematician called “a deplorable excess of personality.” In fact, they often behaved like rock stars.

 

Tim was actually the older sibling in the book.

jurassic-park-animated-series-tim

His love for dinosaurs is evident from this scene from the book:

 

His father had looked at a skeleton and said, “That’s a big one.”

Tim had said, “No, Dad, that’s a medium-size one, a camptosaurus.”

“Oh, I don’t know. Looks pretty big to me.”

“It’s not even full-grown, Dad.”

His father squinted at the skeleton. “What is it, Jurassic?”

“Jeez. No. Cretaceous.”

“Cretaceous? What’s the difference between Cretaceous and Jurassic?”

“Only about a hundred million years,” Tim said.

“Cretaceous is older?”

“No, Dad, Jurassic is older.”

“Well,” his father said, stepping back, “it looks pretty damn big to me.”

 

There were some sciency bits that I really loved. Here are some of my very favorite ones:

 

“Actually, dinosaur DNA is somewhat easier to extract by this process than mammalian DNA. The reason is that mammalian red cells have no nuclei, and thus no DNA in their red cells. To clone a mammal, you must find a white cell, which is much rarer than red cells. But dinosaurs had nucleated red cells, as do modern birds. It is one of the many indications we have that dinosaurs aren’t really reptiles at all. They are big leathery birds.”

 

“Reptile eggs contain large amounts of yolk but no water at all. The embryos must extract water from the surrounding environment.”

 

“Many birds and crocodiles swallowed small stones, which collected in a muscular pouch in the digestive tract, called the gizzard. Squeezed by the muscles of the gizzard, the stones helped crush tough plant food before it reached the stomach, and thus aided digestion. Some scientists thought dinosaurs also had gizzard stones.”

You can see the amount of research that the author has put into the book and I enjoyed it immensely!

 

Another thing that I loved about this book was how nature — and dinosaurs — found ways around Wu’s precautionary measures. This:

“We don’t want them to survive in the wild. So I’ve made them lysine dependent. I inserted a gene that makes a single faulty enzyme in protein metabolism. As a result, the animals cannot manufacture the amino acid lysine.”

was countered by escaped velociraptors feeding on lysine-rich sources i.e. agama beans soy, and chickens.

 

Then, there was:

“All the animals in Jurassic Park are female,” Wu said, with a pleased smile.”

Which the dinos took care of through gender transition. I mean, how smart are they?!

 

raptor

Okay then, I will stop sounding so surprised!

 

By the way, the kitchen scene was as scary in the book as it had been in the movie!

 

 

Just cuz:

 

 

I am going to end this review with a different version of Jurassic Park i.e. one that includes kittens!

 

jurassic-park-kittens-12

 jurassic-park-kittens-5

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-12-26 06:33
When is The Last Werewolf not the last werewolf? Reading the Sequel, Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan
Talulla Rising - Glen Duncan

 

9

 

Turn-Offs

 

So, the last werewolf wasn’t the last one by far! In fact, there was a group of werewolves, just waiting to be discovered. Then there were the new ones that Talulla kept making and they arrived at exactly the right moment. One of the things that turned me off about this book.

 

The cliffhanger at the end seemed unnecessary. For me, the story was complete, so why complicate it with the real Remshi’s appearance?

 

8

 

Turn-Ons

I love the covers on all the books in the series.

 

11

 

What I liked was that the author did not shy away from violence, gore, and the other big taboo, sex while in werewolf form!

 

7

 

I wasn’t a fan of Talulla because her inner monologues were just as irritating as I found Dani’s (Fever series by Karen Marie Moning) to be! Well, okay not that irritating but they did annoy me a lot. She may not have been likeable, however, I appreciated that she didn’t try justifying or apologize for who she was.

 

10.jpg

 

Some Favorite Quotes

 

My mother once told me she thought hell would be nothing more than being given a glimpse of God — then having it taken away, forever.

 

6

 

His face was full of masculine prettiness and immensely likeable. Which, by horror’s law of inverted aesthetics, made me sure we were being taken to our death.

 

4

 

Even when you want to stop caring about it you can’t. Even when the solution to knowing they’re going to cut off your left breast is to disown it, you can’t. It’s yours.

5.jpg

 

If you were a woman a portion of your fear was given over, in installments that began when you were still a little girl, to rape

 

 

Did you write The Book of Remshi?

Yes.

When?

When papyrus was new.

 

New Words Learned

 

1

2

3

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-12-26 06:26
This Anthology Proves that Nobody Can Make You Fear & Love Robots at the Same Time as Asimov Can!
The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories - Isaac Asimov

 

I bought this anthology, The Bicentennial Man & Other Stories, from Kitabain. This online bookstore never disappoints when I want something that is different, rare, exotic, or all that and more! The books are amazingly priced and always in good condition. Since I have the beautiful hardcover edition, it was featured in my Library Languishers series, even if its stay wasn’t a long one!

 

the-bicentennial-man-and-other-stories-isaac-asimov

 

This edition compiles 12 short stories by Asimov, centering around robots and other machines. Preceding each story is an anecdote by the author that tells the reader of its origins. The anecdotes are written in an amusing style and make the reader look forward to reading the story. An example:

 

“How is it,” she asked dangerously, “that you wrote a story for that anthology, yet when I ask you for one you’re always too busy?” “Well,” I said apologetically, for Judy-Lynn is a frightening creature when she is moved, “the idea of the anthology interested me.” “How about my suggestions about a robot that has to choose between buying its own liberty and improving its body? I thought you said that was interesting.” At that point, I must have turned approximately as white as talcum powder. A long time before, she had mentioned such things and I had forgotten. I said, “Oh, my goodness, I included something of the sort in the story.” “Again?” she shrieked. “Again you’re using my ideas for other people? Let me see that story. Let me see it!”

 

The Prime of Life

A poem that talks about how most people who met the author exclaimed surprise at his still being alive!

Fun  to read.

 

Feminine Intuition

A dying robotics firm tries to turn public opinion positive towards robots by building a “female” robot.

Susan Calvin was my favorite character, of course!

 

Waterclap

Competing for funding isn’t a laughing matter, whether it is a pioneering experiment on the moon or on the ocean floor.

The ending was expected and completely unneeded.

 

That Thou Art Mindful of Him

“I understand, Mr. Harriman. Enough differences remain to show me that there are here many different forms of plant life.” “Undoubtedly. Dozens.” “And each coequal with man, biologically.” “Each is a separate species, yes. There are millions of species of living creatures.” “Of which the human being forms but one.” “By far the most important to human beings, however.” “And to me, Mr. Harriman. But I speak in the biological sense.” “I understand.”

Just as God is said to have designed humans in a form that resembles him, human beings design robots in their image. Things could undoubtedly get problematic! For instance, look at this conversation between two George robots:

Of the reasoning individuals you have met, who possesses the mind, character, and knowledge that you find superior to the rest, disregarding shape and form since that is irrelevant?” “You,” whispered George Nine. “But I am a robot. There is in your brain paths a criterion for distinguishing between a robot of metal and a human being of flesh. How then can you classify me as a human being?” “Because there is in my brain paths an urgent need to disregard shape and form in judging human beings and it rises superior to the distinction between metal and flesh. You are a human being, George Ten, and more fit than the others.” “And I find that of you,” whispered George Ten.

 

Stranger in Paradise

In a time when being related by blood is an embarrassment, two brothers try working together for the betterment of humanity.

 

The Life and Times of Multivac

A supercomputer, Multivac, has taken over the world and tries to protect humanity from itself. A man thinks his fellow humans want to be free of its influence. Or do they?

Loved the ending:

 

He was gasping, but forced himself steady, and said solemnly, “I have given us our freedom.” And he paused, aware at last of the gathering weight of the silence. Fourteen images stared at him, without any of them offering a word in response. Bakst said sharply, “You have talked of freedom. You have it!” Then, uncertainly, he said, “Isn’t that what you want?”

 

The Winnowing

A global food crisis is starving people of the world slowly when a scientist comes up with a revolutionary lipoprotein. The government, on the other hand, decides to use it as a sort of chemical weapon!

Probably my favorite out of the whole bunch! The ending was expected but still well done:

There’s no cure or antidote, but don’t worry. It’s a quite painless death, and it will be the finger of God, as one of you told me. It’s a good lesson, as another of you said. For those of you who survive, there may be new views on triage.” Affare said, “This is a bluff. You’ve eaten the sandwiches yourself.” Rodman said, “I know. I matched the LP to my own biochemistry, so I will go fast.” His eyes closed. “You’ll have to carry on without me—those of you who survive.”

 

The Bicentennial Man

A robot like no other adopted by a family like no other. The story follows Andrew on its journey from the Sesquicentennial Robot to the Bicentennial Man.

The movie based on this short story remains a favorite of mine. Here are some scenes from it:

 

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Marching In

A musician helps reaffirm the belief of neurologists in the healing powers of music.

Short but sweet!

 

“A revival hymn?” Dr. Cray stared at him, wide-eyed. “Sure. What I used in this case was the best of them all. I gave her ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’” He sang it softly, finger-snapping the beat, and by the third bar, Dr. Cray’s toes were tapping.

 

Old-fashioned

Two astrominers get stuck orbiting a black hole and have to come up with a solution to get help sent to them.

Nothing unique but fun nonetheless.

 

The Tercentenary Incident

The president is a robot. The president killed a robot. The robot killed the president. A robot is the president. Any of these might be true when it comes to what’s going on this story.

Weakest out of the whole bunch.

 

Birth of a Notion

That the first inventor of a workable time machine was a science fiction enthusiast is by no means a coincidence. It was inevitable. Why else should an otherwise sane physicist even dare track down the various out-of-the-way theories that seemed to point toward maneuverability in time in the very teeth of General Relativity?

A scientist tries out his invention in this story.

 

Last Thoughts

The science in a couple of the stories took me by surprise. I used to think that making my stories too sciency might be a bad idea but I enjoyed reading it just as much as I enjoy writing them!

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