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The Lost World is an American techno-thriller novel and the sequel to Jurassic Park, written by Michael Crichton, published on September 8, 1995. The plot sees an expedition led by Ian Malcolm eighteen months after August 1993 embarking to Isla Sorna, "the Lost World". His team's goal is studying the environment, its wildlife and understanding the phenomena of extinction of dinosaurs.

Michael Crichton had not planned to write a sequel to Jurassic Park and hadn't wrote one prior. However, after the unprecedented success of the film adaptation of Jurassic Park, many fans and Steven Spielberg asked for a sequel, to which Crichton obliged. Spielberg's intention was to adapt the sequel to film as he had done prior. That film became The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

The Lost World was a financial success, spending eight weeks as the number one of The New York Time's Best Seller List. It remained on the list from October 1995 until March, 1996.

Plot

Movie tie-in paperback.

After miraculously surviving the 1989 disaster on Jurassic Park in August 1993, eccentric mathematician Ian Malcolm and rich dinosaur-enthusiast Richard Levine are researching InGen's mysterious Site B, looking for its exact location. Site B, located on an island named Isla Sorna, was the secret "production factory" for Jurassic Park, where dinosaur stock were hatched and grown, before shipped to Isla Nublar. Levine mysteriously disappears eighteen months later, and Malcolm fears he might have discovered the location of "Site B", and in his impatience already set out for it without letting Malcolm know. Custom field vehicle creator Doc Thorne and his assistant Eddie Carr, who provided much of Levine's equipment, deduce the location of Site B, with the assistance of Malcolm and two schoolchildren who assisted Levine, computer whiz R.B "Arby" Benton and his friend Kelly Curtis. They organize a rescue operation and take with them two highly customized RVs, modified for scientific purposes, as well as a solar powered Ford Explorer, a motorcycle, and an observation platform called a 'high hide'. Stowed away with them as they leave are Arby and Kelly, who plan to rescue Levine as well.

At the same time, Lewis Dodgson, geneticist at Biosyn - InGen's arch rival - and two colleagues head to Isla Sorna, hoping to steal dinosaur eggs for their own company. Sarah Harding, a wildlife observer who had a previous relationship with Malcolm, accompanies them on the trip to the island. Dodgson throws Sarah overboard from their ship, thinking she will drown, and continues with their plan. Dodgson locates a nest of the Tyrannosaurus rex and, accompanied by two others from his company, George Baselton and Howard King, walks up to the eggs, carrying a box that makes ultrasonic frequencies which fend off the grown Tyrannosaurs. Dodgson tells Basleton and King to grab the eggs while he holds the adult dinosaurs at bay with the box, but Basleton freezes in fright once he sees the parents. Dodgson is forced to try to retrieve the eggs himself. While walking closer to the eggs, he steps on a hatchling Tyrannosaur, breaking its leg. The power cord for the box is pulled out, leaving the men defenseless. It takes the adult Tyrannosaurs a while to notice that the ultrasonic noise had stopped, but they soon move cautiously forward and grab Baselton, violently killing him. Dodgson makes a run for the SUV King is in, but one Tyrannosaur pushes the SUV partially off the hill before it can drive away. Dodgson falls out of the vehicle but survives. King is later brutally killed by Velociraptors.

Coming across the baby Tyrannosaur, Eddie brings it back to the base camp, where Malcolm and Harding fix its broken leg despite objections made. The absence of the infant is noted by its parents, who track their offspring down by smell, leading them directly to the base camp. The T. rex then pushes one of the trailers off of the cliff, with Malcolm and Sarah inside. Both survive the fall. Meanwhile the group at the High Hide are attacked by Velociraptors, who kill Eddie and kidnap Arby. Thorne and Levine rescue Arby, and the survivors take shelter in an abandoned gas station set up by InGen for the island's workers when the island was still in use. There they encounter two Carnotaurus, but they scare them away with flashlights.

Once daylight comes, Harding attempts to get the Explorer back. There she encounters Dodgson, who is also hunting for the SUV. Harding pushes Dodgson into the mouth of a Tyrannosaur as revenge for his earlier attempt to murder her. He is then taken to the Tyrannosaurus' nesting site, whereupon his leg is broken and he is left for the babies to eat. After Harding fails to reach the helicopter in time, Kelly locates an abandoned building with a still-working boat inside. After making a quick getaway from a group of Velociraptors, the survivors are able to reach the boat and escape the island. While on the boat, Malcolm and Harding tells Levine, to his dismay, that some of the carnivores, including the Velociraptors and the Procompsognathus, are infected with prions, and any animal bitten by them will be infected also. This means that all the dinosaurs on the island are all fated to die due to spread of the prions. With that said, Thorne finally declares that it is time for all of them to go home.

As with the first book, the main conflicts the characters must face is fending off attacks from Tyrannosaurus rex, Velociraptor and Procompsognathus. Throughout the novel, Malcolm and Levine talk about various evolutionary and extinction theories, as well as the nature of modern science and the homogenizing and destructive nature of humanity. The book also discusses the role of prions in brain diseases, which has been at the root of concerns over Mad Cow Disease.

Chapter summaries


Main Characters

  • Dr. Ian Malcolm- Mathematician who participated in the consultation of Jurassic Park. Apparently, he survives the bombing of Isla Nublar. As before, he specializes in the study of complexity theory and refers to himself as a "chaotician". In this novel, he has an alternative view on the extinction of dinosaurs and alternative theories, countering Charles Darwin. Malcolm is an eccentric character who dresses entirely in black and is a friendly opponent to Dr. Richard Levine. He was formerly in a relationship with Sarah Harding.
  • Dr. Richard Levine- A palaeontologist who doesn't care for his own health or the fate for others and is only focused on examining dinosaurs. He doesn't care to know why the dinosaurs on Isla Sorna have not reached adulthood, nor does he bother to focus why there are so many predators on the island. He learned mathematics from Malcolm and argued with him and Doc Thorne.
  • Dr. Sarah Harding- A muscular animal behaviorist whom is idolized by Kelly Curtis. Harding knows how to lead in dangerous situations, survive fight, comfort others, use her build to carry injured people and care for them and mend wounded dinosaurs. Harding used to be in a romantic relationship with Ian Malcolm, however, in the novel, they are simply in a platonic relationship in this novel. It is implied, not determined, that Gerry Harding is her father.
  • Retired applied engineering professor Jack Thorne- Commonly known as 'Doc' Thorne, he constructed specialised equipment for Levine. Despite rescuing Levine, he finds him ungrateful and this continues throughout the novel. Thorne appears like a father to Kelly and Arby.
  • Eddie Carr- One of Thorne's many assistants, he followed Malcolm and Thorne to find Levine in Isla Sorna. Eddie mostly cared for the children and rode a motorcycle. He brought an injured Tyrannosaurus to the trailer, resulting in the parents attacking it. Eddie fought off Velociraptors, yet fell down and was eaten alive.
  • Arby Benton- A child prodigy and computer genius, he skipped two grades to reach seventh grade. Arby dresses well-kept, has rich parents and is the closest friend to Kelly. He worked as an assistant to Levine and using his knowledge, he helped to track Levine down, entered the LAN network on the island and fed information to the adults. He was injured when trapped in a cage.
  • Kelly Curtis- Is the only friend of Arby and is constantly bullied by her classmates for being smart and told not to like math. Kelly idolized Sarah Harding and takes her a a pseudo-mom, following her advice and Kelly manages to kill two raptors. Kelly successfully guides the survivors away from attacking raptors.
  • Dr. Lewis Dodgson- A Biosyn scientist, he plays a much larger role in the The Lost World. His plan was to steal dinosaur eggs from Isla Sorna, however, it disrupted the ecosystem. Dodgson is eventually eaten alive by infant Tyrannosaurus. 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).
  • Howard King- King is Dodgson's assistant and disliked him after her threw Sarah Harding overboard and attempted to steal Tyrannosaurus eggs. Nearly attempting to escape the island, King was eaten alive by raptors.
  • Dr. George Baselton- A 'celebrity biologist', he has appeared on television to correct Biosyn's image. He provided his team with incorrect information on Tyrannosaurus' vision and was eaten alive by one as a result.

Dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures mentioned or appeared in the novel

Reception

Reviews on the novel were generally positive. GoodReads gave it an 4.09/5 based on 1,515 customer ratings.[1]

The Lost World, however, did receive criticism from a New York Times reviewer, Michiko Kakutani, calling it a rehashing of the first novel.[2]

Audiobook Versions

The novel has had three audiobook versions released; an Unabridged Production, another Unabridged, and an Abridged.

The Unabridged Production is approximately 15 hours long and is read by Scott Brick. It was manufactured by Books on Tape, Inc. and was published by Audible. It is quite common and can be found online. It was released in 2006.

The second Unabridged, is around 13 hours, 55 minutes and is read by George Guidall. This unabridged version was released both on cassette and CD; 12 CDs and 9 Cassettes. However, this version is quite hard to come by and was released in 1999.

The Unabridged Production's cover art

The Abridged variant is read by Anthony Heald and is around 3 hours, 51 minutes. It was only released on cassette, but can be found for digital download online.

Film adaptation

The plot and characters of The Lost World: Jurassic Park were only loosely based on the novel.

This is a list of elements from the novel that were used in the film:

  • InGen used another island named Isla Sorna to breed dinosaurs.
  • Two groups travel to Isla Sorna. A group of explorers (Gatherers), and a group who wants to exploit the dinosaurs (Hunters).
  • Among the Gatherers are Ian Malcolm, Sarah Harding and Eddie Carr.
  • The Gatherers live in a trailer.
  • The gatherers tend to the infant T. Rex’s leg.
  • The T. Rex parents arrive at the Gatherers’ trailer in return for their infant.

Acknowledgments

In the afterword of the novel, Michael Crichton says that the science and ideas that appeared in the novel were based on the work and speculations of the following people:

  • John Alexander, this could be John Henry Alexander: scientist and businessman
  • Mark Boguski
  • Edwin Colbert
  • John Conway, with lack of additional information this could be:
    • John B. Conway: mathematician specialized in functional analysis
    • John Horton Conway: mathematician active in the theory of finite groups, knot theory, number theory, combinatorial game theory and coding theory
  • Philip Currie
  • Peter Dodson: palaeontologist
  • Niles Eldredge: palaeontologist, who, along with Stephen Jay Gould, proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium in 1972
  • Stephen Jay Gould: palaeontologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science
  • Donald Griffin: professor of zoology at various universities who did seminal research in animal behavior, animal navigation, acoustic orientation and sensory biophysics
  • John Holland, probably John Henry Holland: American scientist and Professor of Psychology and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Jack Horner: one of the best-known palaeontologists in the United States
  • Fred Hoyle: astronomer and mathematician noted primarily for his contribution to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis and his often controversial stance on other cosmological and scientific matters
  • Stuart Kauffman: theoretical biologist and complex systems researcher concerning the origin of life on Earth
  • Christopher Langton: computer scientist and one of the founders of the field of artificial life
  • Ernst Mayr: one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists
  • Mary Midgley: moral philosopher
  • John Ostrom: palaeontologist who revolutionized modern understanding of dinosaurs in the 1960s
  • Norman Packard: chaos theory physicist and one of the founders of the Prediction Company and ProtoLife
  • David Raup: palaeontologist, contributed to the knowledge of extinction events
  • Jeffrey Schank
  • Manfred Schroeder: physicist, most known for his contributions to acoustics and computer graphics
  • George Gaylord Simpson: palaeontologist and a major participant in the modern evolutionary synthesis
  • Bruce Weber could be this person
  • John Wheeler, with lack of additional information he could be:
  • David Weishampel: palaeontologist

Trivia

  • The Lost World was the only sequel novel written by Michael Crichton.
  • The Lost World takes inspiration from the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel of the same. Aside from being about an expedition to a "lost world" populated by dinosaurs in Latin America, direct references to the novel include:
    • Richard Levine stating his colleague in charge of a Mongolian dig site is named "John Roxton". This is the name of the British hunter / guide of the expedition of the original novel. Roxton in the novel was written as a palaeontologist who incorrectly wrote that Tyrannosaurus rex could only see moving objects.
    • The RVs which the expedition drive are called "Challengers" named after Professor George Challenger, leader of the original novel expedition.
  • In Jurassic Park, he divides his chapters largely into 'Iterations.' In The Lost World, they are largely divided into 'Configurations.'
  • While there is a prologue, there is no epilogue unlike in Jurassic Park.
  • The Lost World was Michael Crichton's second novel to be modeled after a classic genre novel after Congo which was a modern take on King Solomon's Mines.
  • Michael Crichton retconning Ian Malcolm's death was inspired by the famed retcon of the death of Sherlock Holmes. The famous character was created by the original Lost World author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.[3]

Notes and references

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