Jurassic Park: Fourth Iteration
The Main Road
It is raining hard. Since the power is off, the visitors are stuck in their Land Cruisers. Tim is the first to see the tyrannosaur, looking over the fence at the vehicles. The tyrannosaur roars, and Regis is so frightened he gets out of the vehicle and runs away. Tim realizes that the fence is no longer electrified. The dinosaur pulls free of the fence and stands between the cars. Then it bangs on the hood, shattering the windshield. It bites the spare tire on the back of the Land Cruiser, and then comes close to Tim’s face, through the windshield. Then it turns the Cruiser on its side. The dinosaur lifts the car, and Lex falls out. The car rests high in a palm tree as the animal lets go of it. Malcolm tries to escape from the other car, but he does not get far before the dinosaur tosses him into the air. Grant gets out of the car, facing the dinosaur. But Grant keeps absolutely still and the dinosaur fails to see him. The dinosaur kicks the car over and Grant flies through the air.
Harding, Gennaro and Ellie, out in the park in a Jeep, are forced to turn back because a tree blocks their path. Back in the control room, Arnold frets about the whereabouts of Nedry. He knows that Nedry has meddled with the control system.
Nedry heads for the east dock to deliver the embryos to Dodgson’s boat. The storm rages. He takes a wrong turn. Getting out of the Jeep to find out where he is, he discovers that he is at the jungle river. He decides to abandon his plan and return to the control room. But before he can get back into the car he encounters a ten-foot-tall dinosaur which spits at him. The spit is poisonous. Having blinded its prey, the animal attacks and kills him.
In Hammond’s bungalow, Wu realizes that Hammond is refusing to face up to the situation that is unfolding in the park. Hammond keeps insisting that children are going to love it. He speaks of plans for more Jurassic Parks in other parts of the world and expects the company to make twenty billion dollars a year. And he insists that he owns the island and no one can stop him from opening the park. Meanwhile, Harding and Ellie are near the jungle river, where they see compys gathering, attracted by the smell of a dying animal. They decide to go and investigate.
Tim lies in the Land Cruiser, slowly drifting back to consciousness. The car is lodged in the tree, twenty feet above the ground. He manages to open a door and wriggle out of the car. He slides down a few feet and then falls the remaining twelve feet to the ground. He gets to his feet and tosses a rock to ward off a stegosaur. There is no sign of Grant or Malcolm and he wonders where everyone has gone. Meanwhile, Wu enters the fertilization room and notes that someone had been in the freezer within the last thirty minutes. He also does some work on the computer and realizes that all the dinosaurs have some frog DNA. He suspects this is why they are able to breed, but he does not understand how it happens.
Tim finds Lex unhurt, curled up in a drainage pipe. Then he sees with relief Grant approaching them. Regis, who has been hiding, now realizes that the dinosaur has gone and that the other people are probably alive. He is ashamed of having run away. Meanwhile, Grant decides that the safest thing to do is remain with the kids until help arrives. They watch as Regis is attacked and killed by the juvenile tyrannosaur.
Harding and Ellie return to the Safari Lodge. In the control room, Hammond yells at Arnold to get the park under control. Arnold does not understand the system as well as Nedry, so it is going to be a tough job. He has to examine the computer code.
Muldoon and Gennaro take the Jeep into the park to look for the Land Cruisers. They find Regis’s severed leg lying at the side of the road. They reach the wrecked Land Cruisers, and Muldoon thinks it likely the children are dead. But then he finds a watch and reasons that one of the children took it off after the dinosaur attack. Then they find the badly injured Malcolm and carry him back to the Jeep and take him back to the hotel.
Hammond still tries to minimize the unfolding catastrophe. Meanwhile, Arnold has figured out that Nedry has meddled with the computer code. He tries to trace the steps Nedry took. Arnold finds that Nedry turned off the safety systems, and that he also inserted a command into the system that gave him complete access to every area of the park by linking the perimeter and security systems and switching them off. Muldoon breaks the bad news about Malcolm to Ellie, and says she must help take care of him. They cannot call out for a doctor, so they must make do with Harding, the vet.
In the Park
Grant, Tim and Lex enter the forest by moonlight. They climb a fence and then find themselves standing waist-deep in water at the bottom of the moat. They climb up the embankment to a service road that leads to a maintenance building. They enter the building and fall asleep on the hay.
Arnold finally finds a way to restore the original computer code. The lights go on, and the electrified fences are working again. The motion sensors are working again too. Muldoon takes the maintenance crews out to repair the broken fences and get the animals back into their paddocks. Malcolm’s condition seems to be improving, and he explains to Ellie and Gennaro how the dinosaur attacked him.
Muldoon and his crew set to work on the fences, and Arnold is happy that the park is almost back to normal. He explains to Gennaro why he disagrees with the chaos theory that Malcolm advocates. He thinks that instability is essential to all living systems, and indicates that the system is healthy and responsive. Meanwhile, Harding has recaptured a small dryosaur by tranquilizing it, and prepares to take her back to her paddock. Arnold reports that the tyrannosaur went into the sauropod paddock, but Muldoon refuses to go in there until daylight. Hammond insists that he goes in that night, but still Muldoon refuses. He says there is no equipment strong enough to tranquilize the animal.
Grant awakes. It is near dawn. He finds Lex feeding hay to an infant triceratops. Its mother appears and they both walk off into the fields. Grant and the children leave the building, and walk past a peaceful scene near a lagoon. In the distance they hear the roar of a large animal. Back in the control room, Arnold is still unable to get the phone lines working. He knows that Nedry deliberately jammed them. He reluctantly decides to shut down the system and restart it, but he is not certain that everything will come back on. In the park, Grant and the children run as a tyrannosaur attacks a herd of hadrosaurs. Arnold switches the main power back on, and works to switch everything on again manually. The hadrosaurs charge in the direction of Grant and the children. They run to escape, and climb a tree.
Grant studies the hadrosaurs, one of which come up close to him as he watches from the tree. After the hadrosaur moves away, Grant, Tim and Lex descend from the tree. They go to towards the dock at the edge of the lagoon, hoping to find a raft there. Their aim is to take it down the river, hoping to quickly cover the eight miles back to the hotel, where they need to raise the alarm about the boat heading for the mainland with the baby raptors on board. But before they get to the raft they see the tyrannosaur only twenty yards away. The animal is asleep, and the humans go past it to the raft and set off in the lagoon. The dinosaur wakes and comes after them, swimming in the lagoon. But it turns back when it sees the juvenile tyrannosaur on the shore, crouched over a dead sauropod that the adult tyrannosaur had killed.
Having created the groundwork for the novel in the preceding sections, Crichton now begins to quicken the pace. Adventures follow one after another at a fast pace, and the ongoing themes of the vulnerability of high-tech computer equipment and the danger of irresponsible genetic engineering continue to gather strength.
This section provides another example of Crichton’s willingness to invent details for which there is no scientific basis. Grant manages to save himself from the tyrannosaur by standing completely still, realizing that the animal can only see objects when they are in motion. As the Academy of Sciences website states, “There is no fossil evidence to suggest that the T. rex relied on movement to locate its prey” (http://www.calacademy.org/casnews/oct96/feature1.htm). Crichton invents the detail because it helps him create intense drama and suspense—the tyrannosaur can get very close to Grant, and yet he can still escape. Crichton uses the idea again in describing Ed Regis’s death. Regis makes the fatal mistake of waving his arms to ward the dinosaur off. His movements seal his fate.
Pointing out these inventions is not to criticize Crichton. He is writing a novel, not a scientific paper, and there is no reason at all why he cannot invent whatever details he likes, as long as they are convincing in the context of the story, and most readers would agree that they are.
This section is also notable for the way Crichton points out the dangers of a reckless alliance between business and science. The chapter “Bungalow” makes it clear that Hammond created the park for the money he could make from it. He eagerly looks forward to making twenty billion dollars a year. When this level of greed is allied to scientists who pursue their work without considering ethical or safety questions, the results may be disastrous.