I finished reading Jurassic Park a few weeks back after borrowing (sort of) the book from my Opa. He loves Crichton and after reading the book I too am impressed. It moved well, was entertaining and also interesting. It combined not just the engaging plot, but also grappled with some hot issues, namely the Earth and our interaction with it. I often tell my students that I have two real fears; things that I think jeopardize our existence on this planet. They are robots and genetic engineering. Maybe I have seen too many sci-fi movies but those two things scare me more than anything else because I see in them the flaws of humans magnified. All of our pride and vanity could be manifest in either robots or genetic engineering because our highest aim in either of those is to be god-like. For all we can do, we cannot create life, at least not life that didn't already exist. Maybe I mean that we cannot create new life. So I see both of these endeavors to be motivated by a desire to be like God. That scares me. Jurassic Park tackles this folly. In the book, of course, it ends up being a bad idea to try and bring back dinosaurs, as cool as it might be, because we cannot control them. This is made supremely evident, and Crichton did a good job of creating characters who clearly wanted to be god-like.
In the end I was very satisfied with where the book went. My favorite character ends up being Ian Malcolm, who in the movie was also good, though as well as he was portrayed in film, I liked his book character even more. He understood the flaw of mankind and expressed it in his mathematical "chaos theory." It was ironic because some of the other characters accused him of being arrogant, and yet they were the ones trying to recreate life that had died out long ago. My favorite line in the book comes from him near the end and fully describes how I feel:
"Let's be clear. The planet is not in jeopardy. We are in jeopardy. We haven't got the power to destroy the planet—or to save it. But we might have the power to save ourselves."
I love this line. This get's at one of my core beliefs—we are not that important. I laugh every time I see a "save the planet" bumper sticker, or hear about global warming because I believe that, as Ian Malcolm stated, we are not significant enough to destroy or save the planet. What we really mean is we are messing it up for us. Fine. But the planet? We couldn't create it, and we can't destroy it. We are not God, though some people apparently think we have his power. I however, do not, and apparently Crichton agrees with me.