The Lost World is an American techno-thriller novel and the sequel to Jurassic Park, written by Michael Crichton, on September 8, 1995. Set 5 years after the events of that novel, the plot sees an expedition led by Ian Malcolm embarking to Isla Sorna, "the Lost World". His and the team's goal is studying the environment and its wildlife and understanding the phenomena of extinction.
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. Although deviating somewhat plot wise, the novel served as the inspiration for the sequel to Jurassic Park.
Six years after surviving the disaster on Jurassic Park, eccentric mathematician Ian Malcolm and rich dinosaur-enthusiast Richard Levine are researching InGen's mysterious Site B, looking for its exact location, after learning of its existence. Site B, an island named Isla Sorna, was the secret "production factory" for Jurassic Park, where dinosaur stock were hatched and grown, before shipment to Isla Nublar. Levine mysteriously disappears, 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 archrival - 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's team 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 Basleton, 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. 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.
Dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures mentioned in the novel
- Gravitholus (Mentioned only)
- Quagga (Mentioned only)
- Troodon (Mentioned only)
- Tyrannosaurus rex
- To be added.
Reviews on the novel were generally positive. GoodReads gave it an 4.09/5 based on 1,515 customer ratings.
The Lost World, however, did receive criticism mainly for the plot that lacked a climax and not having a large enough conflict.
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 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.
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.
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:
- Philip Currie
- Peter Dodson: paleontologist
- Niles Eldredge: paleontologist, who, along with Stephen Jay Gould, proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium in 1972
- Stephen Jay Gould: paleontologist, 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 paleontologists 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: paleontologist 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: paleontologist, 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: paleontologist and a major participant in the modern evolutionary synthesis
- Bruce Weber
- John Wheeler, with lack of additional information he could be:
- David Weishampel: paleontologist
- 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.
- The RVs which the expedition drive are called "Challengers" named after Professor George Challenger, leader of the original novel expedition.
- 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.