Thursday, July 5, 2012

Feeling Ferocious

They stagger, suspended, in defiance of gravity, along the sky blue hunting grounds. Quietly, secretly stalking their prey, they advance with deliberation and patience. Afraid of being spotted, they freeze, stuck to their uncommon perpendicular playing field, steadfast, so as not to give themselves away. However, their inky blackness against the pastel paint yields their location. Sensing motion, hearing noise, they scatter, skittering away, attempting to evade the attack of a frightened, cornered, yet no less powerful, prey.

Yet, the shoe will find them, they will fall, and their spindly spider legs will crumple beneath them, for I am a very territorial creature, and I DO NOT WANT ANY MORE SPIDERS IN MY ROOM.

The heat outside - that rare Washingtonian sun that surfaces for naught but a month or two during the summer - is driving them inwards. The problem is, these are not the dinky, dime-sized variety, but the massive, half-dollar sized ones. I have felled three of these monstrous beasts in the past two days, and I can't help but feel a repetitive scratch, like a little arachnid tap-dance, even when they are not there. It makes me nervous, and itchy. Nonetheless, I am the superior.

This curious sort of bond between biological beings - the question of dominance, the predator/prey relationship - is the most enthralling aspect of my current reading material: The scientific techno-thriller classic, Jurassic Park, by Micheal Crichton. The incredibly popular novel - which spent 3 months on the New York Times Bestseller List before being made into Stephen Spielberg's 1993 tri-Oscar winning major motion picture - was found in the heap of my Dad's books in our garage, but was far more heavily recommended by my younger sister, the Cheerleader, who had read the book earlier this year, after prodding from a dino-minded friend. The two fell so deeply in love with the novel, that they recently attended a lecture in Seattle, at the Pacific Science Center, of one of the paleontologists whose work helped form Jurassic Park. If this novel could cause such a mammoth shift in my sister's reading material - which normally consisted of the likes of Dessen and Sparks -  then it was certainly worth my notice, and I quickly set about making plans for a trip to Isla Nublar, off the coast of Costa Rica.

If you are like me, and have seen the movie before reading the books, then you are prepared for the suspense, and later, gore, that you will find within the lush forests of Dr. Hammond's Jurassic Park resort. If you are not, then you should have paid closer attention to the description on the back of the book, as well as the T. Rex on the cover. This territory is not meant to be tread by children, as you will find readily apparent in young Lex and Timmy's encounters with the dinosaurs. Or even some less steel-hearted adults, as you will see in Ed Regis' run-in. The point is, there's a lot of carnage (if you've braved any of the Game of Thrones books, you're fine). But, even with all of the blood being mentioned, this is not a slasher book.

Crichton doesn't kill based on pure whimsy: there is deep method and research that goes into each of his novels, with major-name consultants whose work in their fields have defined such sciences as paleontology. We couldn't expect anything less than a Harvard Med Grad. The world he has crafted and then set into chaos is so suspenseful and terrifying, because we can recognize the reflections of reality within it. While no one has successfully cloned a dinosaur yet, through Crichton, we can not only see how someone could, but also how they could go horribly wrong. The lifelike components of his characters mirror how people would act in these given scary situations, as well as the various ways they could be eaten by various dinosaurs. The true forte of Crichton's works is found in the skewed, but nonetheless, scientific views, of how our world could shift, and how we would rise up to face the change.

The writing is captivating, and while there is a bit of a slow build-up, once you hit the action, you can't let go. This thrill ride, which takes you through foggy forests and raptor jaws, into what you can only hope is safe territory, is wholly deserving of its Rex-sized reputation. 

P.S. Making bookmarks is a hobby of mine, and you may have noticed the one I prominently displayed on the corner of my Jurassic Park copy. To make your own, follow these simple instructions:

Draw a Dino.
Color the Dino.
Cut out the Dino.

ADD TEETH. the end. <3

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