Written in the wake of Jurassic Park's phenomenal box-office success, The Lost World seems as much a guidebook for Hollywood types hard at work on the franchise's followup as it is a legitimate sci-fi thriller. Which begs the inevitable questions: Is the plot a rehash of the first book? Sure it is, with the action unfolding on yet another secluded island, the mysterious "Site B." Is the cast of characters basically the same? Absolutely, from a freshly minted pair of cute, compu-savvy kids right down to the neatly exhumed chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (who was presumed dead at the close of JP). 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. And the pulp SF formula Crichton has mastered with Jurassic Park and The Lost World is no exception. --Paul Hughes
From Publishers Weekly
One fact about this sequel to Jurassic Park stands out above all: it follows a book that, with spinoffs, including the movie, proved to be the most profitable literary venture ever. So where does the author of a near billion-dollar novel sit? Squarely on the shoulders of his own past work?and Arthur Conan Doyle's. 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. Only chaos theoretician Ian Malcolm, among the earlier principals, returns to explore this Lost World, six years after the events of JP; but once again, there's a dynamic paleontologist, a pretty female scientist and two cute kids, boy and girl?the latter even saves the day through clever hacking, just as in JP. Despite stiff prose and brittle characters, Chrichton can still conjure unparalleled dino terror, although the wonder is gone and the attacks are predictable, the pacing perfunctory. But his heart now seems to be not so much in the storytelling as in pedagogy: from start to finish, the novel aims to illustrate Crichton's ideas about extinction?basically, that it occurs because of behavioral rather than environmental changes?and reads like a scientific fable, with pages of theory balancing the hectic action. As science writing, it's a lucid, provocative undertaking; but as an adventure and original entertainment, even though it will sell through the roof, it seems that Crichton has laid a big dinosaur egg. 2,000,000 first printing; BOMC and QPB main selection.
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Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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