Come to RRRRAAAAARRRRRRR party!
Curmudgeonly booknerds will chime in to clarify that it is the 25th anniversary of the film, not the book, and I invite them to come celebrate the book’s 28th anniversary alongside us and we’ll squeeze it all on a cake somehow—Life, uh, finds a way.
These 10 selections are for fans of the books, the films, dinosaurs in general, evolutionary biology, or tales of those chilling things that can happen when scientists play God. Some are fiction, some nonfiction, some of the fiction might become nonfiction if scientists get cocky; it’s a real grab bag. So come on and grab ’em.
Global time rift phenomena result in Freaky Friday-type swappings between past and present, with dinosaur-filled forests appearing where major cities stood just a moment ago, causing great panic in the characters and great delight in the readers. Dinosaurs neither panic nor delight, they just stomp and eat.
Well-researched pop science exploring advances in fields like cloning and de-extinction in both a factual and a “what if” approach, making the material fun and accessible to the lay reader. It’s a humorous book, advertised as employing “both science and willful irreverence.” Because science, irreverence, not taking things seriously, and bringing things back from the dead has never once led to hubris-fueled disaster.
A select group of international VIPs are invited to tour a new, very secretive Chinese zoo before its official grand opening, where it’s revealed that China has dragons. Hundreds. Of. Dragons. They’ve been kept secret for 40 years while a huge theme park has been built up around them and it’s all totally safe, so come marvel at the Dragons of China! They’re excited to meet you. Sorry, bad translation. To “eat” you.
True story: scientists are reviving an extinct species and creating a home for them in Siberia called Pleistocene Park. HOW? by smooshing together DNA extracted from a woolly mammoth and a today-elephant. WHY? Because mammoths were good at preserving the permafrost, which keeps the methane and carbon in. Will we live to rue the day we reintroduced these grass-munching ancient pachyderms to our world? Wait and see!
A fine entry in the “Dear God, Science, what have you done?” genre. Medical scientists have eliminated disease by repurposing the humble tapeworm, with some genetic modifications, into an all-purpose implant that prevents illness and allergies, delivers medication, regulates immune systems, even works as a contraceptive, if desired. It’s a breakthrough that will make humanity great again. Unless the tapeworms object?
The cast and crew of a science-based reality show stumble upon a tiny, previously-undiscovered island in the South Pacific whose ecosystem has undergone a radically different evolution than that of the rest of the world, including a restructuring of the food chain. Spoiler alert: the cast and crew of a science-based reality show are not this particular chain’s apex predators.
This book is called How to Build a Dinosaur. ‘Nuff said.
Here, humans are terrorized by a single beastie, not the herds rampaging through some of the other books, but considering that most of its action takes place in a museum, I think the scale evens out. A DNA-soup of a creature fine-tuned into the ultimate predator follows a scientific team out of the Amazon Jungle to New York City and gives the Museum of Natural History a new live exhibit: hangry beast hunts its prey.
An eminently sensible book that could’ve saved J.P’s InGen a lot of trouble, this book addresses the ethical questions around conservation and de-extinction agendas, and the very tangled nature of the relationship between humans and…nature: how we created vulnerabilities in animal populations, the existing science that could restore or bring them back from extinction and—most importantly—if we should.
This is more of a thematic match than a tonal one. Literature of the Victorian era isn’t going to be as action-packed as Jurassic Park, but Crichton was fond enough of this book to steal its title for his own saurian sequel, and between Doyle, dinos, and that magnificent cover, it’s pretty hard to resist.