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The Lost World (Crichton novel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Lost World
First edition cover
AuthorMichael Crichton
Cover artistChip Kidd
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction
Horror fiction
Publication date
September 8, 1995[1]
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
813/.54 20
LC ClassPS3553.R48 L67 1995b
Preceded byJurassic Park 

The Lost World is a 1995 techno thriller novel written by Michael Crichton, his tenth under his own name and twentieth overall, and published by Knopf. A paperback edition (ISBN 0-345-40288-X) followed in 1996. It is a sequel to his 1990 novel Jurassic Park. In 1997, both novels were re-published as a single book titled Michael Crichton's Jurassic World, unrelated to the 2015 film of the same name.[2][3][4]

Plot summary

In 1993, four years after the disaster at Jurassic Park, chaos theorist and mathematician Ian Malcolm – who is revealed to have survived the events of the previous novel, despite being declared dead in the epilogue – teams up with paleontologist Richard Levine to search for a "lost world" of dinosaurs following rumors of strange animal corpses washing up on the shores of Costa Rica. In 1995, they learn of Site B on Isla Sorna, the "production facility" where the now-defunct company InGen hatched and grew the dinosaurs for their Jurassic Park theme park on nearby Isla Nublar.

Afraid that the Costa Rican government will find Isla Sorna and destroy the dinosaurs, Levine hastily embarks on an expedition to the island without Malcolm. He arrives with a Costa Rican guide named Diego, but shortly after arriving, the two are attacked by mysterious creatures, later identified as Carnotaurus, who kill Diego. Malcolm eventually learns that Levine has gone missing there. Malcolm goes to the island with a rescue team consisting of Jack "Doc" Thorne, an engineer and retired university professor; Eddie Carr, Thorne's assistant; and two stowaway children, R.B. "Arby" Benton and Kelly Curtis, who were working as Levine's research assistants as part of a school project. Dr. Sarah Harding, an animal behaviorist and former lover of Malcolm's, is also approached to join the expedition. Though she initially refuses, she ultimately decides to meet them there.

The group arrives on the island with weapons and a conjoined pair of heavily modified, and specially equipped RV trailers that serve as a mobile laboratory. They find a geothermal-powered complex of abandoned InGen buildings, including a worker village, and a laboratory that the group explores. They eventually find Levine, who is overjoyed at the trove of information he can glean from this "lost world". Simultaneously, another group—geneticists Lewis Dodgson, Howard King, and "celebrity" biologist George Baselton—learns of Levine's expedition and go to Isla Sorna with plans to steal dinosaur eggs for Biosyn, the rival company of InGen responsible for the sabotage that led to the Jurassic Park disaster. As they are about to leave, they encounter Harding, and offer to give her a ride to Isla Sorna. However, just as they approach the island, Dodgson attempts to kill her by shoving her off the boat, but she survives and meets up with Malcolm's group.

Levine and Malcolm make many observations of the dinosaurs' behavior from the "high hide", an enclosed blind that is set above the ground on scaffolding. They soon learn that Dodgson's group has arrived on the island. Dodgson's group is attacked by a pair of Tyrannosaurus as they try to steal eggs from the animals' nest, resulting in Baselton's death. Dodgson and King become separated after the attack.

While inspecting the T. rex nest, Malcolm finds that one of the infants had been injured and has a broken leg. He instructs Eddie to kill it because it has no chance of surviving in the wild. Unbeknownst to the group, Eddie refuses to kill the injured animal and brings it back to the trailers. When the group discovers the animal, Malcolm and Harding begrudgingly agree to set and cast its leg while the rest of the group returns to the high hide. As night approaches, the nocturnal Velociraptors emerge from the jungle and kill King. As Malcolm and Harding finish setting the T. rex's leg, the parents come looking for their infant and attack the trailers, pushing one of them over a cliff and injuring Malcolm. Thorne rescues Malcolm and Harding, while the raptors attack the high hide and kill Eddie. Malcolm is injected with a high dosage of morphine which makes him relaxed, though not without hallucinating once again. Arby, trapped in a survival cage, is taken hostage by the raptors but is rescued. The group later takes refuge from the raptors in the general store of the InGen worker village. The group attempts to formulate a plan to reach the landing site where the helicopter is set to meet them in the morning. When Thorne ventures out into the village to search for fuel, he survives an encounter with a pair of chameleon-like Carnotaurus.

The next morning, Harding heads out to recover one of the team's vehicles that Thorne had left behind while saving her and Malcolm from the trailer earlier, as it may be the only vehicle large enough to carry everyone to the rendezvous point. However, upon finding it, she encounters Dodgson, attempting to steal the vehicle for himself. Suddenly, a T. rex approaches them, and they both hide under the car. However, Harding pushes Dodgson back out, and the T. rex picks him up and feeds him to her offspring. Harding sets out to reach the helicopter before it can take off without the group, but she is too late. The group then discovers a boat docked on the island and manage to reach it just as the raptors finally break into the general store. As the group sails away, Malcolm reveals information that he discovered in the laboratory: during Site B's active years, InGen fed the young carnivorous dinosaurs sheep extract infected with prions, which causes a disease that shortens the dinosaurs' life spans. Although the scientists contained the disease, it began to spread once again after they abandoned the island. Malcolm suspects that the disease will lead to the eventual extinction of the dinosaurs on Isla Sorna.


After the publication of Jurassic Park in 1990, Crichton was pressured by fans to write a sequel. Following the success of Jurassic Park's film adaptation in 1993, director Steven Spielberg became interested in making a sequel film. Crichton had never written a sequel to any of his novels before, and was initially hesitant to do so. Crichton said a sequel was "a very difficult structural problem because it has to be the same but different; if it's really the same, then it's the same—and if it's really different, then it's not a sequel. So it's in some funny intermediate territory."[5] In March 1994, Crichton said there would probably be a sequel novel as well as a film adaptation, stating that he had an idea for the novel's story.[6]

Despite the character of Ian Malcolm dying in the first novel, Crichton chose to bring him back for the sequel: "Malcolm came back because I needed him. I could do without the others, but not him because he is the 'ironic commentator' on the action. He keeps telling us why it will go bad. And I had to have him back again." Bringing a dead character back was an idea Crichton got from Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes, who had been killed off but was later brought back. Malcolm was also considered a favorite character among readers of the first novel and people who watched its film adaptation.[5] An early draft of the novel included a lengthy tirade by Malcolm regarding God and evolution, but Crichton removed it "because it just didn't seem to fit."[5]

In March 1995, Crichton announced that he was nearly finished writing the novel, with a scheduled release for later that year. At the time, Crichton declined to specify the novel's title or plot.[7] Crichton later stated that the novel's title is an homage to Doyle's 1912 novel of the same name, as well as a 1925 film adaptation of Doyle's novel, also titled The Lost World.[8] Crichton's novel also shares some story similarities with Doyle's novel, as they both involve an expedition to an isolated Central American location where dinosaurs roam.[9] However, in Crichton's novel, the dinosaurs were recreated by genetic engineering, rather than surviving from antiquity. The Lost World was the only book sequel Crichton ever wrote before he died.[5]


The Lost World spent eight weeks as number one on the New York Times Best Seller List,[5] from October 8, 1995,[10] to November 26, 1995,[11] and remained on the list as late as March 1996.[12][13][14]

Susan Toepfer of People magazine wrote, "Action-packed and camera-ready, The Lost World is to its predecessor what microwave dinners are to home-cooked meals: hardly authentic, but in a pinch fully satisfying." Toepfer wrote that "the odd reappearance of Ian Malcolm, when other key characters from the original have been dropped, makes one wonder if only Jeff Goldblum was available to appear in the movie sequel. But even at his most calculating—incorporating two urchins, crafting a feminist hero—the author pleases. Characteristically clever, fast-paced and engaging, Michael Crichton's latest work accomplishes what he set out to do: offer the still-harrowing thrills of a by-now-familiar ride."[15]

Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times gave the novel a negative review and called it a "tired rehash" of Jurassic Park. Kakutani wrote that the novel lacked the "surprise or ingenuity" of its predecessor, calling it "so predictable and unimaginative that it seems to have been intended to save special-effects technicians the hassle of doing new work on the movie sequel." Kakutani said the novel represented "a new low" in Crichton's "attention to character," and criticized the character of Ian Malcolm in particular: "Except for complaining about the injuries he suffered in 'Jurassic Park,' Malcolm makes virtually no reference to his previous visit to dino-land [...]. Instead of even making a half-hearted attempt to turn Malcolm into a reasonable facsimile of a person, Mr. Crichton cynically uses him as a mouthpiece for all sorts of portentous techno-babble about chaos theory, extinction theories and mankind's destructive nature. As for the other characters, they are each given handy labels for easy identification."[16]

Tom De Haven of Entertainment Weekly gave the novel a "B-" rating and wrote that it "is like a videogame in prose — a few hundred frantic pages of run, hide, kill, and die. Over and over again." De Haven criticized the lack of characterization and wrote that Crichton was "clearly off his stride here, right from the start. Without any need to build scientific plausibility into the plot (he did that last time, beautifully), Crichton seems unengaged by his own material, distanced from it, and his cautionary lectures about extinction and natural selection seem halfhearted attempts to legitimize his return to familiar territory. But if there's a lack of freshness to the novel (even the title isn't new; it's borrowed from the granddaddy of all dinosaur tales, by Arthur Conan Doyle), it is still a very scary read."[17]

De Haven felt that the novel's opening chapters were "rushed and contrived. Although it's perhaps a deliberate, affectionate nod to the old let's-get-going-so-we-can-get-to-the-good-parts kind of storytelling that was such a staple of 1950s monster movies, it's still cheesy. [...] No matter how feeble the premise, though, or how shallow the characterizations, I wouldn't dream of talking anybody out of reading the novel. For clarity, terror, and sheer grisliness, the action far surpasses anything in the original book; even better, the suspense is masterfully stretched out, then released all of a sudden — just when you least expect it." De Haven concluded that its predecessor "has earned a secure place for itself in the history of popular American literature. The Lost World, at best, will be a footnote. But still, it made my palms sweat."[17]

Neal Karlen of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Crichton "has done the sequel step just right, keeping the tropes of the earlier novel familiar for the fans while changing the ideas and story line enough to keep even his severest and most envious critics turning the pages to find out what happens next." Karlen noted that, "Once again, the dinosaurs seem the real stars," while writing that the human characters "are introduced as if in shorthand screenplay form". Karlen especially praised the novel's raptors, calling them "seemingly meaner, more loathsome, and once again better developed than almost all of the book's human characters."[18]

Film adaptation

The Lost World: Jurassic Park is a 1997 science fiction film and sequel to Jurassic Park, loosely based on Crichton's novel. The film was a commercial success, breaking many box-office records when released, but received mixed reviews. It has a number of plot differences from the novel and incorporates scenes from the first novel that were not previously filmed, including the scene with Christina (Novel) / Cathy (Film) Bowman being attacked by Compsognathus.

Dinosaurs featured in the novel

(In order of appearance)


  1. ^ "Copyright information for The Lost World". United States Copyright Office. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  2. ^ Crichton, Michael (1997). Michael Crichton's Jurassic World. Knopf. ISBN 978-0375401077.
  3. ^ "Michael Crichton's Jurassic world (information)". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2015-01-28.
  4. ^ "Michael Crichton's Jurassic World: Jurassic Park, The Lost World". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2015-01-28.
  5. ^ a b c d e "In His Own Words". Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  6. ^ Spillman, Susan (March 11, 1994). "Crichton is plotting 'Jurassic 2'". USA Today. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  7. ^ Spillman, Susan (March 22, 1995). "'Jurassic' sequel in sight: Crichton says book will be out this year". USA Today. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  8. ^ Wilmington, Michael (June 8, 1997). "The First 'Lost World'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  9. ^ Armstrong, Curtis (December 24, 1995). "The First 'Lost World'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  10. ^ "The New York Times Best Seller List (October 8, 1995)" (PDF). Hawes Publications. October 8, 1995. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  11. ^ "The New York Times Best Seller List (November 26, 1995)" (PDF). Hawes Publications. November 26, 1995. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  12. ^ "The New York Times Best Seller List (March 3, 1996)" (PDF). Hawes Publications. March 3, 1996. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  13. ^ "The New York Times Best Seller List (March 10, 1996)" (PDF). Hawes Publications. March 10, 1996. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  14. ^ "The New York Times Best Seller List (March 24, 1996)" (PDF). Hawes Publications. March 24, 1996. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  15. ^ Toepfer, Susan (September 18, 1995). "Picks and Pans Review: The Lost World". People. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  16. ^ Kakutani, Michiko (October 10, 1995). "Books of the Times: The Dinosaurs Are Back, and So Is a Late Hero". The New York Times. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  17. ^ a b De Haven, Tom (September 22, 1995). "The Lost World". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  18. ^ Karlen, Neal (October 29, 1995). "Romancing the Raptor: The Dino Finally gets Heroine Status". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 17, 2016.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 October 2020, at 14:59
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