Crichton, Michael: The Lost World
(researched by Dena Twain)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
1. The book was first published in New York, NY in 1995 by Alfred A. Knopf, INC, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. SOURCE: *1st edition of the book www.google.com
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first American edition is published in slate gray trade cloth binding, colored black at the spine, and a glossy white dust jacket (for dust jacket information see "other". SOURCE: *Gaskell, A New Introduction to Bibliography, p.61
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
208 leaves, [12] [ix-x] xi [xii] [2] [3-4] 5 [6-8] Main body of text officially begins on page 7. From pages 7-393, a specific pattern continuously applies. Even pages are never numbered. Odd-pages are numbered with the exception of pages carrying a chapter title or "Configuration" heading (see question 6). Chapter titles and "Configuration" headings always appear on (implicitly) odd numbered pages. Official notation of pagination appears in a continous sequence as follows: 9 [10] 11 [12] 13 [14-15*] *15 being page labeled with "First Configuration". After page 393, pagination ends as follows: [394-400] SOURCE: *1st Edition of the book
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
The novel is not edited. Includes publisher advertisement for other books by Michael Crichton in second fly leave. Novel is dedicated to Carolyn Conger. Further research did not glean personal details. Presumably part of neither introduction nor prologue (as the beginning of each is clearly stated), the text is preceded by three quotations. Finally, the novel does include a formal "Introduction", yet it is signed neither by the author nor a guest editor or writer. Instead the Introduction text appears to be the "introduction" to the novel's text. SOURCE: *1st Edition of the book
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
The body of the novel is illustration-free. The endpapers are illustrated with models of dinasaurs, drawn by Gregory Wenzel., and maplike diagrams of the presumable "lost world", done by David Cain. On pages marked First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Configuration, on pages 15, 65, 99, 159, 255, 321, and 389 respectively, black and white colored geometric designs appear prostrate to the text. On page 380 there is a designed table of what seem to be computer icons, done in various grades of black and white, this same table is iterated on pages 381, 382 and 383 in varying angles and positions.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
Size of page: l. 9.1 inches (w. 6.2 inches) Size of text: 4.5 inches across Size of type: 81R Readability is excellent; margins are approximately 1.1 inches across giving the text a more readable, less intimidating feel. Individual lines of text are .2 inches apart, allowing the reader to read with ease. Text contains no illustrations save for those on front and end pages, and on "First-Seventh Configuration"s. Book is without chapters but is divided into sectional "configurations", numbered one through seven, and into titled sections within these "configurations". The copy I examined seems to be in excellent, perhaps brand-new condition. The jacket is crisp though somewhat crumpled at edges due to commute of book. Serif type. SOURCE: *Gaskell, A New Introduction to Bibliography, p. 9
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper is white, smooth, deckle-edged. The paper used is thicker than most typically used for the printing of novels; when face down, the type of the next page cannot be seen through. The edges of each page are somewhat uneven--some leaves are evidently centimeters shorter/longer than others. The paper is woven with a granulated texture. All pages are virtually stainless, untorn, no foxing. SOURCE: *1st Edition of the book *E.J. Labarre's Dictionary and Encyclopaedia of Paper and Paper-Making. 2nd ed. 1959, pp. 36, 76
11 Description of binding(s)
Bindings done in black cloth, dotted-line grain binding. Colors: Hues: bluish Lightness: dark Neutral shades: black Binding is unsigned. Transcription of Spine: MICHAEL CRICHTON | THE LOST WORLD | [perpendicular] | [artwork design] | KNOPF | All stamped in silver. Transcription of front cover: blank except for artwork design, stamped in silver. Endpapers: Illustrated on colored paper, red ink, paper is off-white. SOURCE: *Gaskell, A New Introduction to Bibliography, p. 238
12 Transcription of title page
The Lost | World | A NOVEL BY | MICHAEL CRICHTON | [Knopf Publishing icon] | ALFRED A. KNOPF New York 1995 |
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
None found--though a search was made using both Google and RLIN research systems. SOURCE: www.google.com RLIN database
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Dust Jacket Information: Colophon states that text of novel was set in Electra, designed by W.A. Dwiggins (1880-1956). Author/editor goes on to claim that typeface is not based on any historical model, nor does it echo any particular style or period. Typeface avoids extreme contrasts applicable to more "modern" faces, attempting to give this typeface a feeling of fluidity, power and speed. Colophon goes on to describ The dust jacket appears complete with raised/embossed title, author and an etching of a dinosaur head. Further investigation of colophon does not reveal illustrator (though dinosaur illustrations on endpapers were done by Gregory Wenzel). Book is without inscription, though presented as birthday gift in 1997.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
Research extended to WorldCat and RLIN to check genuinity, both state that Knopf/Random House published no further editions after the initial first edition in 1995.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
xi, 393 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Random House, Incorporated, 1996, Mass Market Paperback, 430pp
6 Last date in print?
According to Whitaker's Books in Print, the novel is still in print.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
Listed as one of the top selling books of 1995 however after extensive research an exact figure of copy sales was not found. However, there is a first printing figure of 2,000,000.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
Unknown.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
A text advertisement found in Publisher's Weekly, Sept 1995 reads as follows: "On an island off Costa Rica there exists a hush-hush colony of giant animals which attracts the attention of two expeditions. The first one, including children, is led by a paleontologist, the other is made up of evil scientists who want to do experiments. The animals rout both without much concern for their motives." The same appears in the WorldCat database. Barnes and Noble offers the following tagline for the set: "Michael Crichton's Jurassic World" (see question 11): "Now at last in one volume, Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park and The Lost Worldóthe two incomparably suspenseful, supremely scary, utterly unputdownable, worldwide best-selling return-of-the-dinosaurs novels, which together constitute Jurassic World."
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
"The Lost World" is available as a set with its prequel, "Jurassic Park", in a set entitled "Michael Crichton's Jurassic World". Publisher: Knopf Alfred A Pub. Date: September 1997 (see question 15 for more information on "Jurassic Park") Crichton has borrowed from Conan Doyle before-Rising Sun was Holmes and Watson in Japan-but never so brazenly. The title itself here, the same as that of Conan Doyle's yarn about an equatorial plateau rife with dinos, acknowledges the debt. More enervating are Crichton's self-borrowings: the plot line of this novel reads like an outtake from JP. Instead of bringing his dinos to a city, for instance, Crichton keeps them in the Costa Rican jungle, on an offshore island that was the secret breeding ground for the beasts.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Audio Cassette: 4 Cassettes, Random House, Incorporated Pub. Date: August 1995 read by Anthony Heald
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
Crichton's prequel to The Lost World, entitled "Jurassic Park", was an extremely important factor in the success of "The Lost World". Michael Crichton, "Jurassic Park", Publisher: Ballantine Books, Inc. Pub. Date: November 1991
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Please see the entry for The Great Train Robbery for a general biography of Michael Crichton. It is undeniable that Crichton's personal life, and the events during the era in which he lives, are fodder for his creative work. Much of his work was an attempt at much-needed financial respite. Thus Crichton seems not an untouchable, high-profile superstar, but like anyone else, struggling to fiscally stay afloat. To help pay for tuition and living expenses, he began writing paperback thrillers on the weekends and during vacations.Much of his early success, including The Andromeda Strain, was written while Crichton was still at Harvard medical school, obviously a product of a young man in pursuit of an alternate career than fiction writing. After graduating from Harvard summa cum laude in 1965, with a major in anthropology, Crichton, then twenty-three, was a visiting lecturer in anthropology at Cambridge University, in England. Crichton also won a Henry Russell Shaw Fellowship and got to travel in Europe and North Africa for a year. Yet after the success of The Andromeda Strain, he soon realized that anthropology and doctoring was not for him. Another interesting aspect to Crichton's professional life is his operation under various pseudonyms. Crichton's work as John Lange has seen financial success though on a less ubiquitous scale than the work under his real name. Primarily short stories, his work as John Lange can only be found in individual libraries, specifically the New American Library in New York City. Such a venue is a far cry from gargantuan-chain bookstores across the world. Another pseudonym, that of Jeffrey Hudson, has published some work, also in the New American Library, but "Hudson's" successes are less widespread.) Perhaps it is his "typically American" persona that has in part brought Crichton such universal success with so many different audience genres. Though he is best known for his work in science fiction, it is obvious that Crichton's success has bled through to popularity in other media. He has the ability to bridge the gap between many genres of literature. He is often deemed "the father-figure of the techno-thriller" (3) , suggesting a literary identity that cannot be boxed in by typical clear-cut lines drawn by genre classification. Much of sci-fi can be deemed as difficult to understand or untouchable. Yet Crichton brings a familiarity to his work that is absent in so many works of science fiction. He can blend the tight plot and suspense of the thriller with the technical emphasis of science fiction has made him a favorite with readers of all ages. Author Robert L. Sims agrees: "His importance lies in his capacity to tell stories related to that frontier where science and fiction meet. . . . Crichton's best novels demonstrate that, for the immediate future at least, technological innovations offer the same possibilities and limitations as their human creators." (4) He is able to write successfully and grippingly about subject matters other than science fiction. Crichton relinquished the world of science in Rising Sun, a political thriller. Yet the huge success of Jurassic Park as a book and a film inspired Crichton to re-visit his scheming raptors and vicious tyrannosaurs in The Lost World. Time magazine wrote about The Lost World, "Michael Crichton didn't really have to get the science right to make sure The Lost World would be a bestseller. But he got the science right anyway." Despite the grim outlook of both his films and novels, Crichton once revealed in that his primary intention in making movies and writing books is to "entertain people." He has a considerable film career?twelve of his books have been made into films. Coupled with the fact that he is the creator of the ragingly popular television series ER, such success in media other than literature is an uncommon feat for even bestselling authors. He thinks very highly of public opinion of his work?not necessarily about whether or not it makes the bestsellers list, but about peoples' own personal enjoyment of what they are reading or seeing. That may be why he leapt into the screen adaptation of his books?to enhance his audience's pleasure of the subject matter. He states, "It's fun to manipulate people's feelings and to be manipulated. To take a movie, or get a book and get very involved in it--don't look at my watch, forget about other things?" (4)
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
A great deal of the initial hype or public reaction to Michael Crichton's The Lost World was due to the author's best-selling prequel, Jurassic Park. It is hard to accurately tell how the amount of The Lost World's success would change had it not been preceded by Crichton's smash hit. It is also important to bear in mind Michael Crichton's emerging success in other media of public entertainment. Because the movie version of Jurassic Park had/had not yet come out in theaters (creating a box office smash hit), perhaps the general public, and Crichton fans in general, would have taken interest in The Lost World solely in hopes for another hit science fiction film. In addition, the hit NBC TV series ER, of which Crichton was a co-creator, had hit "Must-See TV" Thursday night lineup status and was taking America by storm. This was another reason for Crichton's surge of heightened popularity that may have been reflected into the contemporary reception of his new novel, The Lost World, in 1995. Yet the same success that The Lost World gleaned by riding in on the triumphant wings of its prequel may have placed seeds of doubt into the minds of its potential audience. One reviewer wondered, "[one of] the inevitable questions: Is the plot a rehash of the first book? Sure it is..." Undeniably, though, the novel was initially received with high marks in the entertainment quality. Such reception was one of Crichton's primary goals in writing his novels (see Assignment 3 for The Lost World). As the New York Times Booklist states, "Crichton adroitly combines popular scientific colloquy and ripping good, blood-and-guts (literally) action once again. Is the cast of characters basically the same? Absolutely. But is it fun to read? You betcha. Hollywood (and Michael Crichton) keeps telling us the same old stories for a very good reason: we like them." Commenting on the "predictability" aspect of Crichtons' writing, the Booklist goes on to add: "If it all seems rather predictable, remember that the pleasures of familiarity and referentiality rank high among the rewards of popular fiction." And before it was even officially ranked a bestseller, The Washington Post Book World claims "the mega-best-selling author of such exciting novels as Disclosure and Congo" is "certain to be a surefire bestseller!" It is arguably every author's goal to succeed in at least one genre of literature. It is an even greater feat (and an extremely rare one) for an author to succeed in more than one, for example, both romantic fiction and autobiographical non-fiction. Indeed an author faces the danger of being boxed in to only belonging to one genre if he writes too many novels of the same literary "niche". The Lost World's success in 1995 followed the very similar success of Jurassic Park only years earlier, not to mention Crichton's previous science fiction novels, all strikingly similar to his more recent bestsellers. Critics of Crichton could easily posit his writing as being all too similar.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
A great deal of the initial hype or public reaction to Michael Crichton's The Lost World was due to the author's best-selling prequel, Jurassic Park. It is hard to accurately tell how the amount of The Lost World's success would change had it not been preceded by Crichton's smash hit. It is also important to bear in mind Michael Crichton's emerging success in other media of public entertainment. Because the movie version of Jurassic Park had/had not yet come out in theaters (creating a box office smash hit), perhaps the general public, and Crichton fans in general, would have taken interest in The Lost World solely in hopes for another hit science fiction film. In addition, the hit NBC TV series ER, of which Crichton was a co-creator, had hit "Must-See TV" Thursday night lineup status and was taking America by storm. This was another reason for Crichton's surge of heightened popularity that may have been reflected into the contemporary reception of his new novel, The Lost World, in 1995. Yet the same success that The Lost World gleaned by riding in on the triumphant wings of its prequel may have placed seeds of doubt into the minds of its potential audience. One reviewer wondered, "[one of] the inevitable questions: Is the plot a rehash of the first book? Sure it is..." Undeniably, though, the novel was initially received with high marks in the entertainment quality. Such reception was one of Crichton's primary goals in writing his novels (see Assignment 3 for The Lost World). As the New York Times Booklist states, "Crichton adroitly combines popular scientific colloquy and ripping good, blood-and-guts (literally) action once again. Is the cast of characters basically the same? Absolutely. But is it fun to read? You betcha. Hollywood (and Michael Crichton) keeps telling us the same old stories for a very good reason: we like them." Commenting on the "predictability" aspect of Crichtons' writing, the Booklist goes on to add: "If it all seems rather predictable, remember that the pleasures of familiarity and referentiality rank high among the rewards of popular fiction." And before it was even officially ranked a bestseller, The Washington Post Book World claims "the mega-best-selling author of such exciting novels as Disclosure and Congo" is "certain to be a surefire bestseller!" It is arguably every author's goal to succeed in at least one genre of literature. It is an even greater feat (and an extremely rare one) for an author to succeed in more than one, for example, both romantic fiction and autobiographical non-fiction. Indeed an author faces the danger of being boxed in to only belonging to one genre if he writes too many novels of the same literary "niche". The Lost World's success in 1995 followed the very similar success of Jurassic Park only years earlier, not to mention Crichton's previous science fiction novels, all strikingly similar to his more recent bestsellers. Critics of Crichton could easily posit his writing as being all too similar.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Dena Twain 11/28/02 ENTC 312-Bestsellers A critical analysis of Michael Crichton's bestselling novel, The Lost World, and the nature of its success Throughout this study of Crichton's bestseller, research has proven that The Lost World is unable to exist without the stigma of being a sequel. Yet despite the flack that the novel so often gets, from its critics and readers too, for being "too much like" Jurassic Park (see previous Assignments 3 and 4 on The Lost World for more information on critics' responses), perhaps this branding is a blessing in disguise. While there decidedly is a lot about this novel that jumps off and is able to take flight from Crichton's earlier one, The Lost World is not solely a product of Jurassic Park's success. Rather, in It is a combination of both these factors?having a successful parent novel and being uniquely strong on its own?that made The Lost World one of 1995's top bestselling novels. It is undeniable that The Lost World takes much from its predecessor, but one must remember that that is the nature of sequels. In both novels, many characters overlap. Although Ian Malcolm, the mathematician and Lewis Dodgson, one of the bio-tech baddies from the preceding book, are the only characters to reappear, most of the other characters, right down to the kids, are reincarnated in some form or other. Plotwise, The Lost World from its start admittedly takes off of much of its predecessor. In fact, many critics have the feeling that The Lost World was part of Crichton's first draft of Jurassic Park and that it was cut due to redundancy. The story of The Lost World takes place six years after the original Jurassic Park disaster. The book starts out with Ian Malcolm giving a speech on his theory of extinction at a place called the Santa Fe Institute. As he's talking, a tall man stands up. His name is Richard Levine. He's a paleontologist, and he is fairly wealthy. He interrupts Ian to tell him that he doesn't think dinosaurs are really extinct. He believes there's a lost world on an island somewhere off Costa Rica. "I'm quite serious. What if the dinosaurs did not become extinct? What if they still exist? Somewhere in an isolated spot on the planet?" (5) Ian tells him this is nonsense, and continues on explaining his theory. It is this scientific hypothesizing and discussion that is the premise for the rest of the novel, and is the very concept which makes it so potentially controversial. What is perhaps the most interesting--and potentially controversial--point of The Lost World plotwise, is Dr. Ian Malcolm's extinction theory. In his novel, Crichton offers some decidedly contentious ideas of nature and animals, ones that may even challenge what the general public holds as true. But one must assume that those who read The Lost World are average Americans, one who fit under the basic trends of possessed knowledge. What kinds of things does this average reader know? We can assume that the average American reader is one who holds a basic understanding of science and the study of dinosaurs and related ancient phenomena. Almost everyone knows basic truths about dinosaurs as a species: when and where they existed, basic trends of the behavioral trends of each type, and when they became extinct. Crichton's novel offers a picture of dinosaurs that may or may not be true, and it is in this uncertainty that ambiguity lays. In a scene set in Sorna, one of five islands known as the "Five Deaths", Satellite evidence indicates to Richard Levine (who serves as antagonist to Malcolm) that a volcanic island in this area may be home to nests of living dinosaurs. Before Levine leaves for the island, he hires a local guide, named Diego, who visited the island frequently as a child and claims to have knowledge of the island's trails and primitive roads. Once on the island, in the undergrowth around him, Diego notices several small, chicken-sized dinosaurs. Levine warns him that even though these dinosaurs are small, it's possible that they could have a venomous bite. Diego quickly pulls his hand back just as one of the dinosaurs jumps at him and tries to bite him. At this point, the reader of the novel is forced to pause and question the facts he previously held as truths. Is this a total fabrication? Or is there a glimmer of truth in Crichton's words? Is Crichton telling an accurate story of present-day dinosaur existence? Ultimately, we are not sure. For that is the beauty of being a writer of fiction and not a sworn piece of non-fiction. It is up to the jurisdiction of the author to weave a tale; it is the author's decision to make his story as true to real life?or as far from it?as he or she decides. Crichton continues with this ambiguity by personifying the dinosaurs in such a way that they, in an almost human-like way, control the scene and the emotions of the humans involved, though they are mere animals. After their debate about the potential danger of these small dinosaurs, Levine and Diego watch the little dinosaurs begin to chirp and become skittish. They quickly scatter into the underbrush and disappear. Levine looks around worriedly for some sign of what has frightened the diminutive dinosaurs. As he glances around, he can tell something is wrong, but he can't put his finger on what it is. Suddenly, Diego is jerked from his feet and dragged screaming into the surrounding bushes. Levine fills with panic and blindly begins running into the jungle. He doesn't make it far, however, before he is smashed from behind. Back in San Francisco, Malcolm picks up a ringing phone only to hear static and the words, "Help...trapped...Isla Sorna." They recognize Levine's fear-stricken voice immediately. Then the connection goes dead. Here Malcolm's?and the reader's?knowledge of what exactly happened on Sorna ends. It is curious that these small dinosaurs?commonly believed to be primitive, inhuman creatures?control the suspense of the scene and hold both the fictional characters and the readers in suspense. It is almost as if Crichton has painted them as more than solely primeval organisms; that they have a greater, innate genius or intuition. In fact the novel ends on a similarly uncertain note, again, ambiguous not because of human activity, but on account of the dinosaurs. In the very last scene of the novel, Kelly and Thorne, two of the novels' main characters, are discussing the nature of the extinction of the dinosaurs they have spent the entire novel investigating. "'Can you bring me [a photon]?" (393) Thorne challenges Kelly. When she replies in the negative, Thorne continues: "'And you never will, because those things don't exist. No matter how seriously people take them?A hundred years from now, people will look back at us and laugh. They'll say, "People used to believe in photons and electrons. Can you imagine anything so silly?" They'll have a good laugh, because by then there will be newer and better fantasies?The sea?the salt?the sunlight?all of us together?that's real. It's a gift to be alive, to see the sun and breathe the air. And there isn't really anything else. It's time for us all to go home.'" (393) Thus the novel ends, with the humans?knowledgeable, talented scientists at that?in question of the nature of the very existence of the animals it is their life's goal to study. Were the dinosaurs ever real? If so, how can we know? This is a debate that lays at the very core of The Lost World. In this course we have been primarily taught that while movie replicas may be good and entertaining, they should never be held as replacement for the original novel. In examining Michael Crichton's work as a novelist, it is hard to ignore the fact that his bestselling books--The Lost World in addition to Jurassic Park-- were made into successful, box-office smash hit films. Obviously there are many factors to the film's popularity--most prominently, the initial success of the novel. But the fact that Crichton succeeded in obtaining the acclaimed filmmaker Stephen Spielberg to direct the movie version of the film could not have hurt ticket sales. A reviewer of "The Lost World": the film version, comments on this choice of including Spielberg in the creative process. He points out that Spielberg has made mechanical movies before, movies where he coasted on his skills, content to simulate a sense of wonder rather than conjure one up. But, as he claims rather controversially, "The Lost World is the first time he's ever treated an audience contemptuously." Watching "Jurassic Park," it was tempting to see Richard Attenborough's loony visionary as Spielberg's unconscious self-portrait, a man who wanted to give the world something extraordinary and produced monsters that mindlessly gobbled up everything in their path. The Lost World doesn't allow for such generosity. The reviewer obviously has no holds barred regarding the director: "It's appalling that the filmmaker who more than any other has shown sympathy for the fantasies of children should so ruthlessly exploit their nightmares...If Spielberg has any counterpart here, it's the dinosaurs." In a sense it seems as though the reviewer feels that Crichton was perhaps selling out by choosing such a household name to direct the movie replica of his bestselling novel. But shouldn't a best-selling novel be able to engender a popular film, regardless the ways and means in which this end goal--a lucrative box office smash--was obtained? The Lost World says a great deal about many of Crichton's choices as an author in terms of character development. About his work, Crichton has stated that: "My stories are not character driven. Usually I have the story first, and make the characters follow the story I have prepared for them. Sometimes the characters refuse. They can be troublesome." Here Crichton clearly states that his novels are not character driven. If characters' motivations are not his primarily thrust in his writing, then obviously, by default, plot lines and action must take precedence. And this declaration is not solely made by Crichton himself. Rather, his critics have stated as much: "Crichton has been criticized in the past for creating high concept, non-character-driven stories." He goes on to speak specifically about Ian Malcolm, the protagonist of both Jurassic Park and The Lost World, proving that the above generalization holds true in his most recent bestselling novel: "...in Jurassic Ian Malcolm wouldn't shut up. I wanted him to say a paragraph or two, but instead he rambled on for four or five pages! And I would look at this stuff and think, it's pretty good, but I don't really need all this." Thus the argument could be made that Ian Malcolm works mainly as Crichton's voice in the novel--yet he is more or less ignored in the action parts of the movie. The argument that Crichton's novels are not character driven connects well with criticism of Jurassic Park: the movie, saying that the characters are only there to help the "Dinosaur Story" forward. This assignment is one based fundamentally on one best-selling novel: that of The Lost World. Yet it is important to realize that this novel can be best understood in light of its preceding forefather of a bestseller: Jurassic Park. By observing the patterns that Crichton continues to develop in his later novel from continued trends from his first, and by analyzing the changes that ensue, one can better understand Crichton as a novelist and his literary technique. A pattern of sorts is certainly eminent in the leap from Jurassic Park to The Lost World. The reader can get the idea that many aspects of The Lost World were taken from its extremely successful predecessor. Parts of it seem to be a plausible first draft of Jurassic Park and that it was cut due to redundancy. Although Ian Malcolm, the mathematician and Lewis Dodgson, one of the bio-tech baddies from the preceding book, are the only characters to reappear, most of the other characters, right down to the kids, are reincarnated in some form or other. An interesting aspect to Crichton's novel is the inextricable influence of another novel of the very same title, written decades before Crichton's very birth. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created the first "lost world", and oftentimes his work is confused with Crichton's more modern, twentieth-century adaptation, or vice versa. In truth, however, the "first" version of the novel--by Conan Doyle--does have some legitimate sway over Crichton's "second". Most people do tend to know the basic story of The Lost World, and even the lower-case letter version of its name, by virtue of it's being one of the main dinosaur-story templates. Everybody knows the story of the lost world where some explorers go, meet some dinosaurs, and maybe bring one back so that it can bring a reign of terror upon civilization. Unfortunately, sometimes this familiarity can backfire. All too often the story of "The Lost World"--both Conan Doyle's version and Crichton's--are misdiagnosed as "obvious[ly] a ripoff of Jurassic Park." Crichton is very fond of slightly faulty science - perfect, but only on the surface. Perhaps his books are a really good reflection of modern science, perhaps not. Unfortunately, as many "old-school" fans of Conan Doyle's original science-fiction novel would argue, this classic and important piece of literary and film history has ended up utterly forgettable, in light of the more recent bestselling hit of the same title. Throughout this course we have learned that a novel becomes a bestseller only by a combination of factors. First and foremost, its plot must be spot-on interesting and brilliant, capturing the interest of potential readers who are the ones who create the gross sales that provide for the novel's popularity. The novel's characters must show personal development and be innately interesting, for no one wants to read a novel with a dull protagonist. There must be a healthy balance between dialogue and description, the author cannot rely too heavily on either form of expression or else the reader's interest will undoubtedly stray. Yet there are factors independent of an author's writing and words themselves that play into its status as a potential best-selling novel. And in this day and age, some of the most important are publicity, reputation in the media and word of mouth. Some critics, readers, and aficionados of classic, pure literature may be against this nature of a novel's success. They may argue for an age when a novel became a bestseller and was classified as "a great book" solely by the quality of its content. But we live in a world that is inextricably intertwined to print-news, television and cinema. If a book succeeds in all of these media?if it is touted as successful in magazines and newspapers, reviewed well on the news, and is replicated in a popular motion picture, not to mention being the sequel to a wildly successful novel, then it is on its way to being a bestseller. Crichton's The Lost World certainly is a product of such multi-faceted success.
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