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Face the covid-asaurus by reading ‘Jurassic Park’

Matty Ennis / YJI

Maghull, ENGLAND, UK – Many people aren’t aware that the beloved movie Jurassic Park actually originated as a novel by acclaimed author Michael Crichton, but it’s clear that more people should.

In the book, Crichton transports us to a world where scientists have used genetic cloning to create a park filled with dinosaurs on a mysterious Island in Costa Rica. We are introduced to a group of eccentric characters, all from different walks of life, who are all invited to visit the park before its opening. We proceed to follow these characters as disaster begins to unfold around them.

This action-packed adventure was published way back in 1990, so why is it so relevant during the 2020 covid-19 pandemic?

In essence, the story provides us with the escapism we crave during these testing times while also playing on ideas that are particularly prominent in our minds at the moment.

Jurassic Park is an in-depth examination of a crisis, and a biological crisis at that. It pinpoints the key moments in which an action by a person with power changes the course of events and the dramatic consequences that come of this.

It explores how humanity responds to a crisis and the varying measures people will take in order to try and control something that seems inherently uncontrollable.

The author is able to communicate these ideas so clearly because of the book’s ability to captivate the reader. At such an unnerving time it can be easy to lose focus and become distracted, but this book engages the reader from the beginning to the very end.

Opening with the death of a worker said to be involved in a construction accident, with injuries that look suspiciously like an animal attack, then swiftly moving to the discovery of a new three-toed lizard, the story gradually builds up suspense and pace as the reader learns more about the park.

This is supported by a strong scientific foundation. It’s clear that Crichton has undertaken extensive research into paleontology and biogenetics before writing this book. The author goes to great lengths to ensure that everything in the book feels believable and legitimate, such as providing detailed information about the origins and work of his fictional biogenetics company, InGen.

By the second half of the book, the writer has created a setup that is so authentic and convincing that the threat of the gruesome dinosaur attacks seems truly terrifying. This perfectly mirrors the looming anxieties so many of are feeling right now.

The characters in the book are mostly well written. They are interestingly flawed and almost all responsible for the crisis in some way. However, I do feel more work could have been done by Crichton to ensure that they are more likeable and distinctive.

Arguably, the most endearing character is mathematician Ian Malcom, who uses his energetic speeches to articulate many of the key ideas of the book, lecturing the characters on how the animals in the park will never be controlled due to ‘chaos theory.’

Jurassic Park leaves us with a chilling statement about how humans are at the mercy of nature and that, ultimately, whatever crisis we face, the earth will survive.

“The planet has survived everything, in its time. It will certainly survive us,” Ian Malcom warns.

So if you’re desperate for something to read during quarantine: order a copy of Jurassic Park, allow yourself to become invested in the story, then, realize that, somehow, this book from 20 years ago was talking directly to the audience of the 2020 covid-19 crisis.

Matty Ennis is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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