Book Review:
The Lost World (Michael Crichton)

Reviewed by Stephen Bespalko

Lithosphere (January 1996); Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society, Inc.; Fallbrook, CA


Shortly after The Lost World hit the best seller's list, this reviewer made an exception to policy (to only review books I already own or books the publisher provides for free as review copies) and bought the book. In this case, the breach was a big one since I forked out over twenty bucks for a hard cover edition. Since I liked Jurassic Park, this didn't seem like too much of a compromise; however, after reading The Lost World I wasn't so sure.

In case you've been on another planet for the last few years, I will briefly outline the first book in the series. In Jurassic Park, two scientists, an expert in chaos theory, and two children (one boy and one girl) went to a small island off the coast of Costa Rica to see the dinosaurs which an unscrupulous capitalist and his cronies (the "bad guys") had created without adequate planning. The "good guys" ride around the island in several highly-modified four wheel drive vehicles while being pursued by the dinosaurs. The good guys eventually get out of the mess while the bad guys get eaten. The story drags a little while the reader is made to endure interminable lectures by the chaos expert on the evils of messing with something humans don't quite understand -- which, in this case, might be the entire ecosystem of the planet. The chaos expert almost gets eaten. The reader is happy that all of the good guys get out. At the end we aren't quite sure what will become of the dinosaurs that are left on the island. We already know that the dinosaurs have figured out how to make baby dinosaurs and we know that a few of the dinosaurs have figured out how to get off the island.

In The Lost World, two scientists, an expert in chaos theory (the same fellow), and two children (one boy and one girl -- but not the same two) go to a small island off the coast of Costa Rica (a different island) to see the dinosaurs which an unscrupulous capitalist and his cronies created without adequate planning. The good guys ride around the island in a highly-modified four wheel drive with a trailer while being pursued by the dinosaurs and the bad guys. The good guys eventually get out of the mess while the bad guys get eaten. The story drags a little while the reader is made to endure interminable lectures by the chaos expert on the evils of messing with something humans don't quite understand -- which, in this case, is the entire ecosystem of the planet. The chaos expert almost gets eaten (this time the reader doesn't feel quite so bad about his near demise since the lectures come to an abrupt end). The reader is happy that all of the good guys get out. At the end we aren't quite sure what will become of the dinosaurs that are left on the island. We already know that the dinosaurs have figured out how to make lots of baby dinosaurs and we know that a lot of the dinosaurs have figured out how to get off the island.

If The Lost World seems a bit repetitive, it isn't all that bad. I have to admit that from the time I found out about the book (in the Sunday New York Times Book Review section) to the time I finished the book was under twenty-four hours -- so the book is a page-turner. Unfortunately, it is a page-turner which ultimately does not satisfy. I suppose that one will have to read the book to keep up with the story since there is definitely going to be another sequel. This is bad news for bean farmers in Central America, since the dinosaurs are picking them off in apparently increasing numbers. If the citizens of North America's southern border states were nervous about killer bees marching up Central America, I can't wait to find out what happens when the scourge turns out to be acid spitting dinosaurs instead.

My advice is to borrow this book from the library or wait for it to appear in paperback.

The Lost World by Michael Crichton; Alfred A. Knopf; ISBN 0-67941946-2; $25.95 (street price around $22.00).


Copyright © 1996 by Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society, Inc.

The preceding article was originally published in the January 1996 issue of Lithosphere, the official bulletin of the Fallbrook [California] Gem and Mineral Society, Inc; Richard Busch (Editor).

Permission to reproduce and distribute this material, in whole or in part, for non-commercial purposes, is hereby granted provided the sense or meaning of the material is not changed and the author's notice of copyright is retained.


Last updated: 18 September 2002
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