Jurassic Park Wiki

"Novel" redirects here. You might be looking for the novel The Lost World.

Jurassic Park is a novel written by Michael Crichton, the best-selling author of various other books, such as the Andromeda Strain. Jurassic Park was released on November 20, 1990. In the Spring of 1990, an earlier draft of the novel was given to Steven Spielberg, who immediately started the production of a movie adaptation. The movie of the same name was released on June 11, 1993. Michael Crichton wrote the sequel The Lost World on September 8, 1995. It is the first novel in the Jurassic Park franchise.


The narrative begins by slowly tying together a series of incidents involving strange animal attacks in Costa Rica and on Isla Nublar, the main setting for the story, in one horrific incident, three Procompsognathus killed a baby at a hospital in Bahía Anasco. Paleontologist Alan Grant and his paleobotanist graduate student Ellie Sattler are abruptly whisked away by millionaire John Hammond (founder and CEO of 'International Genetic Technologies', or InGen) for a weekend visit to a "biological preserve" he has established on an island 120 miles west off the coast of Costa Rica.

Recent events have worried Hammond's considerable investors, so, to placate them, he hires Grant and Sattler to act as fresh consultants. They stand in counterbalance to a well-known mathematician and chaos theorist Ian Malcolm and a lawyer representing the investors, Donald Gennaro. Both are pessimistic, but Malcolm, having been consulted before the park's creation, is emphatic in his prediction that the park will collapse, as it is an unsustainable simple structure bluntly forced upon a complex system.

Jurassic park logo novel by Henrique

Jurassic Park novel logo created by H.Z. Tomassi

Upon arrival the park is revealed to contain living dinosaurs. The creatures were cloned dinosaurs using ancient DNA found in amber-entombed mosquitoes that had sucked ancient paleo fauna blood. Gaps in the genetic code have been filled in with reptilian, avian, or amphibian DNA. To control the population, all specimens on the island are bred to be female as well as lysine-deficient. Hammond proudly showcases InGen's advances in genetic engineering and shows his guests through the island's vast array of automated systems.

Countering Malcolm's dire predictions with youthful energy, Hammond groups the consultants with his grandchildren, Tim and Alexis "Lex" Murphy. While touring the park with the children, Grant finds an eggshell, which seems to prove Malcolm's earlier assertion that the dinosaurs have been breeding against the geneticists' design (the population graphs proudly introduced earlier were naturally distributed, reflecting a breeding population, rather than displaying the distinct pattern that a population reared in batches ought to display).

Malcolm suggests a flaw in their method of analyzing dinosaur populations, in that motion detectors were set to search only for the expected number of creatures in the park and not for any higher number. The park's controllers are reluctant to admit that the park has long been operating beyond their constraints. Malcolm also points out the height distribution of the Procompsognathus forms a Gaussian distribution, the curve of a breeding population.

In the midst of this, the corrupt chief programmer of Jurassic Park's controlling software, Dennis Nedry, attempts corporate espionage for Lewis Dodgson, a geneticist and agent of InGen's archrival, Biosyn. By activating a backdoor he wrote into the system, Whte rbt.obj, Nedry manages to shut down the park's security systems and quickly steal 30 frozen embryos (2 of each kind). He then attempts to smuggle them out to a contact waiting at the auxiliary dock deep in the park. But his plan goes awry: during a sudden tropical storm Nedry becomes lost and stops his stolen Jeep at a dead end. He exits the Jeep to determine his location. A Dilophosaurus approaches him from afar, blinds him with its poisonous saliva, and then kills him by tearing apart his intestines and bites him in the head. Nedry's plan called for him to secretly deliver the embryos and return to the park's control room within fifteen minutes, but, without him to quietly patch the system, the park's security is left off, leaving the electrified fences deactivated.

Without the barriers to contain them, dinosaurs begin to escape. The adult Tyrannosaurus rex (nicknamed "Rexy") attacks the guests on tour, destroying the vehicles, and leaving Grant and the children lost in the park. During the attack, Ed Regis runs and hides from the adult Tyrannosaur. He falls down a hillside and is eventually eaten alive by the juvenile Tyrannosaur.

Ian Malcolm is gravely injured during the incident but is soon found by Gennaro and park game warden Robert Muldoon and spends the remainder of the novel slowly dying while providing lucid lectures and morphine-induced rants, he tries to help those in the main compound understand their predicament.

The park's upper management — engineer and park supervisor John Arnold, chief geneticist Henry Wu, Muldoon, and Hammond — struggle to return power to the park, while the veterinarian, Dr. Gerry Harding, takes care of the critically injured Malcolm. For a time they manage to get the park largely back in order. But a series of errors on their part plunge the park into greater disarray. The viciously intelligent Velociraptors, referred to by characters as "raptors", finally escape. They soon kill Wu and Arnold, and injure Muldoon, Gennaro, and Harding. Finally, Grant and the children slowly make their way back to the central compound, carrying news that several young raptors, bred and raised in the island's wilds, were on board the Anne B, the island's supply ship, when it departed for the mainland.

Grant is then able to turn the power back on, while Ellie distracts the Velociraptors so that they won't get to him. After escaping from several Velociraptors, Grant, Gennaro, Tim, and Lex are able to make it to the control room, where Tim is able to contact the Anne B and tell them to return. The survivors are then able to organize themselves and eventually secure their own lives. Word soon reaches them that the crew of the Anne B has discovered and killed the raptor stowaways.

Gennaro tries to order the island destroyed as a dangerous asset, but Grant rejects his authority, claiming that even though they cannot control the island, they have a responsibility to understand just what happened and how many dinosaurs have already escaped to the mainland. Finally Grant, Sattler, Muldoon, and Gennaro set out into the park to find the wild raptor nests and compare hatched eggs with the island's revised population tally. Cautious in this pursuit, they emerge unharmed. Meanwhile, Hammond, while taking a walk around the park, decides to salvage and restore the park to its original state, but gets injured, then killed and eaten by a pack of compys. As for the dinosaurs' breeding, it is eventually revealed that the frog DNA used to fill gaps in certain strands somehow enabled some of the dinosaurs to change sex, as some species of frogs can do.

In the end the island is suddenly and violently razed by the Costa Rican Air Force. Survivors of the incident are indefinitely detained by the United States and Costa Rican governments. Weeks later, Grant is visited by Dr. Martin Gutierrez, an American field biologist who lives in Costa Rica, and has found a Procompsognathus corpse. Gutierrez informs Grant that an unknown pack of animals (presumed to be the compys or the raptors) has been eating crops rich in lysine (the molecule the animals were designed to be deficient in) and killing livestock as they migrate toward the Costa Rican jungle. He also informs Grant that none of them, with the possible exception of Tim and Lex, are going to be leaving any time soon.

Chapter Summaries[]


  • Dr. Alan Grant - Paleontologist who participated in the test run of Jurassic Park. John Hammond convinces Grant and his coworker Dr. Ellie Sattler to take a tour of this preserve and later to endorse the park itself. Grant found himself becoming the father figure and hero for Lex and Tim. He developed a better understanding, not just of children, but also of the consequences of interfering with nature.
  • Dr. Ellie Sattler - She is Dr. Alan Grant's graduate student, and joined him on the tour of InGen's dinosaur preserve. She is engaged to another doctor.
  • Dr. Ian Malcom - Mathematician who participated in the testing of Jurassic Park. He specializes in the study of the chaos theory and refers to himself as a "chaotician". Malcolm is John Hammond's primary critic, accurately predicting the instability of Hammond's creation. Malcolm is seriously injured in the first book, and is even presumed dead - but in the second book, The Lost World, he returns alive, but crippled. Malcolm is an eccentric character who dresses entirely in black; he is described as having the mannerisms of a rock star in the original Jurassic Park, but is sobered by his experiences there and returns as a more measured man in The Lost World.
  • John Hammond - Hammond is the creator of Jurassic Park and founder of InGen. He is likened to Walt Disney and his Disneyland. He is depicted as a mean-spirited CEO, solely interested in profit and (fatally) lacking interest in the technicalities of genetic engineering. Hammond is killed by compys; therefore, he does not appear in the novel The Lost World.
  • Dr. Lewis Dodgson - A Biosyn agent, he plays a much larger role in the second book, The Lost World. He was seen briefly in a meeting with Dennis Nedry. Dodgson's name was created from the combination of a famous Victorian author's pen name (Lewis Carroll) and his real last name (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson).
  • John Arnold - Arnold, ran the main control center from within the visitor's center. After Dennis Nedry turned off the power to the park, Arnold volunteered to go outside and restore it, subsequently falling prey to a Velociraptor.
  • Robert Muldoon - Hammond's alcoholic game warden from his nature reserve in Kenya. Muldoon was in charge of guarding the Velociraptors before they escaped from their cage. Muldoon survives and leaves the island after having shot many dinosaurs with a rocket launcher, putting a "needle" (tranquilizer dart) into the larger of the two T. rexes which eventually caused its death by drowning, burying Ed Regis' remains, and locating Dennis Nedry's rotting half-eaten corpse.
  • Dennis Nedry - The second main human antagonist in both the novel and the film. Nedry worked for John Hammond and was in charge of networking Jurassic Park's computers. Nedry didn't know what InGen was actually doing, and was ordered to program without many details. Eventually Lewis Dodgson found out that Nedry was in discomfort and offers him $750,000 to steal the dinosaur embryos. Nedry is poisoned and subsequently killed by a Dilophosaurus.
  • Dr. Henry Wu - Wu was the chief geneticist in Jurassic Park and head of the team that created the dinosaurs. He proposes genetically altering further Saurian creations to make them more manageable, something that Hammond opposes. Eventually he is killed by having his intestines ripped out of his body by one of the Velociraptors.
  • Ed Regis - A Public Relations manager for InGen who was present during Dr. Grant's visit to the park, and acted as a tour guide he later runs away when the T. rex breaks out Leaving Tim and Lex. He is later killed when he returns to the road where he is played with and later eaten by the juvenile T. rex.
  • Donald Gennaro - Gennaro was the lawyer that accompanied the first group to Isla Nublar. Gennaro survives, but is mentioned as having died of dysentery sometime in between the first novel and its sequel, The Lost World. He is physically fit, young, intelligent and occasionally brave.
  • Lex Murphy - Lex is Tim Murphy's younger sister and John Hammond's granddaughter. She is a sporty young girl who loves baseball and hates dinosaurs and teases her brother.
  • Tim Murphy - Tim is Lex's older brother and John Hammond's grandson. He is very intelligent for his age and is easily annoyed by his younger sister. He is interested in Computers and Dinosaurs.
  • Dr. Gerry Harding - Jurassic Park's chief veterinarian. It is not made clear whether he is related to Sarah Harding but there are several hints.
  • Dr. Marty Gutierrez - A biologist from the United States who moved to Costa Rica. He is the one who identifies the compys and at the end tells Grant that some dinosaurs may have escaped.


George Poinar, Jr. and his wife Roberta Hess were the first scientists who came up with the idea that ancient DNA could be extracted from insects fossilized in amber. The idea that extinct animals could be recreated from paleo-DNA quickly arose afterwards.

Michael Crichton started to use this notion as a plot element for a story. In an interview Crichton said that it took "10 years from start to finish" for this novel. Since the novel was published in November 1990, it was in 1980 that his first ideas formed.

In 1983 Crichton wrote a screenplay about a young graduate student who genetically engineered a pterodactyl from fossil DNA. Crichton said in an interview, "the screenplay didn't work out. It was too fantastic an event to be kept secret, which was what happened in that story." Crichton worked for years to make the story more convincing. "The problem always with these creatures is that once you have them, then what do you do with them? I mean, what is the story after they exist? It wasn't very satisfactory in that way, and I gave it up."[1][2]

Michael Crichton also stopped working on "Jurassic Park" in the early 1980s also because "America was in the grip of a dinosaur fad . . . I decided to wait until the fad waned to resume work on my fantasy story."[3]

Crichton also didn't believe at first that it was possible to recreate dinosaurs, and that was one of the main reasons why he abandoned the idea. But during the following years "there was more and more research that suggested that it wasn't so unlikely, and I began to take it in that way more seriously."

Crichton did years of research before he started to write the story. In the acknowledgments section of the novel Crichton listed some of his sources for the novel.

"I have drawn on the work of many eminent paleontologists":

"I have also made use of the efforts of the new generation of illustrators":

  • Kenneth Carpenter: Paleontologist at the Denver Museum of Natural History
  • Margaret Colbert: 2D paleoartist from 1970s [4]
  • Steven Czerkas: 3D paleoartist in 1970s-00s
  • Sylvia Massey Czerkas: 3D paleoartist in 1970s-80s
  • John Gurche: artist known for his paintings, sculptures, and sketches of prehistoric life, especially dinosaurs and early humans [5]
  • Mark Hallett: influential paleoartist
  • Doug Henderson: illustrated many books on dinosaurs and extinct life
  • William Stout: fantasy artist and illustrator with a specialization in paleontological art

The discussions about Chaos theory were inspired by books like Mathematics and the unexpected[6] of Ivar Ekeland and Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick.

All characters for the novel where "based even loosely on real people". The works and the personality of physicist Heinz Pagels provided the inspiration for the character of Ian Malcolm. Alan Grant was based on the paleontologist Jack Horner. John Hammond "is the least based on anybody".

Crichton started to write the actual novel by the time that his daughter Taylor was born in 1989. Crichton said that there was a causal link between the two events. "I bought a lot of stuffed toys, and they were all dinosaurs because that was what was available at that time. My wife didn't like it. She had a colour scheme for the nursery and I was disrupting that. There were all these large, brightly colored animals. So we had a kind of agreement that I wouldn't buy any more but then I bought some more. It was clearly obsessional. I had to begin to wonder, at some point, what it was about dinosaurs that fascinated me so much or why I thought that they were so tied to childhood. And some of those concerns found their way into the book."

One problem that Crichton had to solve was why the dinosaurs would be recreated in the first place. "Although I believed that it was possible to genetically engineer these creatures ... I couldn't see who would pay for it. Because it's not a cure for cancer. You know, it's very entertaining, and the only thing I could think of was that it would be some form of entertainment." This was why the novel took place in a theme park. Crichton wrote the story from the point of view of a young boy who was present when the dinosaurs escaped.

When his first draft was finished he sent it to the usual five or six people who read his drafts. But all of them hated the story. Crichton got angry reactions like "Why would you write a book like this?" But when he asked what was precisely wrong with it, they couldn't point at something particular. "They just hated ... every bit of it." Crichton wrote two more drafts but the response was the same.

Then one of the readers said that the most annoying feature of the story was that it had a child's point of view. They said, "I want this to be a story for me." Then Crichton rewrote his novel, this time it had an adult point of view. And then everybody liked it.


The book became a bestseller and Michael Crichton's signature novel. It was also given good reviews by critics. GoodReads has given it a 3.82 out of 5 based on 404,831 ratings.[7]

The success of the book was sparked again by the film adaptation. Paul Bogaards, Knopf's director of promotions said "We've sold over 70,000 copies this year (1993) alone. And there's a tremendous demand for Michael Crichton's books."[8]

Notable Versions[]

The Gift Edition[]


In August 1993, publisher Alfred A. Knopf released 15,000 copies of a special-edition hard-cover printing of Jurassic Park named Jurassic Park - The Gift Edition. It was packaged with a transparent vinyl jacket, colored endpapers, a preface by Michael Crichton and Crichton's autograph. The book also contained 12 color paintings of dinosaurs.[8]

Audio Version[]


Cover Art for the Complete and Unabridged Version

The first novel had three audiobook versions released; two Complete and Unabridged versions and an Abridged version.

The Unabridged is read by William Roberts, and is approx 13 hours, 55 minutes and is on 12 CDs. However, this variant was only released in the United Kingdom, and is thus very difficult to find. It was released in early 2000.

The Abridged version is somewhat easier to find, but was released on cassette only. If you look online, you can find digital versions of this variant. It is read by John Heard and is approx. 2 hours and 51 minutes.

A 25th Anniversary unabridged audio edition narrated by Scott Brick was released in May 2015. The digital version is readily available.

Cover art[]

Dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures[]

The following prehistoric creatures were featured in the novel.

The following prehistoric creatures were only given a passing mention in the novel and are neither featured alive or seen on the head count (All The Dinosaurs That Remained Perished In The Costa Rica Napalm Bombing, However, The Six Cearadactylus Created By Ingen May Have Survived The Costa Rica Napalm Bombing And Migrated To Sorna).

Named Dinosaurs[]


  • The novel chapters are largely divided into 'Iterations.'
  • Dinosaurs in the novel are not just cloned from the Jurassic period.
  • The novel is another version of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus tale where humanity creates a creature without knowing the impact.

Inspiration in other works[]

  • In the video game Jurassic Park: The Game, mercenary Billy Yoder told his fellow survivors while at the Marine Facility that the U.S. military is going to bomb Isla Nublar if they don't get off the island soon. Despite this, this is no evidence this actually occurred.
  • Ian Malcolm's line, "All major changes are like death, you can't see the other side until you are there." is similar to Ian Malcolm's line in the movie Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, "Change is like death. You don't know what it looks like until you're standing at the gates".
  • In the film canon web series Camp Cretaceous, Yasmina, while in front of the derelict Visitor Center, scares Kenji by telling him that the original owner of Jurassic Park broke his ankle there and was eaten alive by Compys. Darius then proceeded to correct her and asked her where she had heard it. She then tells him that she had read it somewhere.


Further reading[]


  1. Jurassic Park, M. Crichton notes
  2. Beyond Jurassic Park interview
  3. Jurassic Park - The Gift Edition, preface by Michael Crichton.
  4. Colbert Bios at vertpaleo.org
  5. gurche.com
  6. amazon
  7. Jurassic Park, GoodReads.com, information retrieved 10-12-2013.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Warren T., Jurassic Park strikes again. The Baltimore Sun, August 20, 1993. Link.