The Lost World by Michael Crichton – The Folio Society Edition

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It is now six years since the secret disaster at Jurassic Park, six years since the extraordinary dream of science and imagination came to a crashing end – the dinosaurs destroyed, the park dismantled, the island indefinitely closed to the public.

There are rumors that something has survived….

When Folio Society announced that they had a Jurassic Park edition I flipped my lid, I needed that book and I was lucky enough to be able to review it (which you can read here). But with the announcement of Jurassic Park, I knew that soon they would release The Lost World I just had to wait it out!

When I was informed that The Lost World had arrived, I just had to grab hold of that book with both hands. You see the Jurassic Park edition was a thing of beauty, the wrap-around cover was to die for and the slipcase was made to look like dinosaur skin, so I knew that The Lost World would be something similar and I wasn’t disappointed – both of these books are works of art and they look beautiful together on my shelf, so if you’re a fan of the books or the films, these would make excellent gifts to yourself or someone you know that loves them (Christmas is just around the corner).

So, to quote Tom Haverford from Parks and Recreation – ‘Treat. Yo. Self.’

Illustration ©Vector That Fox 2021 from The Folio Society edition of The Lost World

The artwork is a major plus for this book, the artist Vector That Fox who also illustrated Jurassic Park has added his own brand of ingenuity to these stunning editions and with his artwork which is almost comic book (graphic novel) in design, perfectly captures the brilliance of the page and Crichton’s original vision, not that Hollywood feel but the gritty and raw substance of Crichton’s novel. The Illustrations (six in total) add a sense of adventure and horror that these books contain and demand the reader to experience it in all its brilliance. The artwork that is dispersed throughout the book at key points gives the reader wonderfully rendered pages full of colour and detail. Although the images as I have discussed are similar to that you would find in a comic book, they really accentuate the action and bring the words and the world you are reading about to life in an explosion of colour and brilliance. The only downside to this is that I did want more illustrations, and I found that with Jurassic Park too – but that’s me being very picky because the illustrations we get are glorious, and I particularly enjoyed the map, which helps bring the island to life before your eyes.

‘This island presents a unique opportunity to study the greatest mystery in the history of our planet: extinction.’

If your only point of reference to The Lost World is the film, I’d highly recommend that you take this wonderful opportunity afforded to us by Folio Society to check out the book, because the book and what we eventually got on-screen differ vastly from one another and I for one really enjoyed the book, much more than I did the film (although the film was pretty cool when I watched it as a child with no point of reference).

Illustration ©Vector That Fox 2021 from The Folio Society edition of The Lost World

The big differences from the book to the film are story, plot and characters – and this issue originated when Jurassic Park was released into the world and became this huge money-making machine it quickly became. There are lots of videos and written words that go into detail about this time of the development of the film, and many of these mention that the book hadn’t even been written by the time Spielberg had decided to adapt a sequel – and so Spielberg came up with quite a lot of things he wanted to see in the sequel before reading the book which Crichton was working on at the time. So when the book was ready, both Spielberg and his writers read it but had already worked on scenes and the story that they wanted to tell and then they almost shoehorned the book (and Crichton’s original vision) into their already mapped out story. Did it work? Well, the film was a huge success. Did it capture the feeling of The Lost World novel? I don’t think it even came close to capturing the mastery of the novel, not in the slightest.

Illustration ©Vector That Fox 2021 from The Folio Society edition of The Lost World

Where in Jurassic Park we are treated to the manicured but soon somewhat disastrous dinosaur amusement park, what we get in The Lost World is an adventure story that focuses more on the abandoned site B where the park tested and kept their creations – plus we also get to see recurring characters mix in with a new cast of characters, which for me was where the hook of Crichton’s story resides but was glossed over somewhat by the film adaptation. Dr Malcolm returns and again for me steals the show with every scene he’s involved in, his discussions of extinction and the way his character is developed more in this book highlight his importance to the story and the story and drive at the heart of the book.

It’s hard to compare this book to the film because they are vastly different – but if I know one thing, it’s that the book is 99% of the time better than the film, so do yourself a favour and pick up a copy, damn, pick up The Folio Society edition and enjoy this wonderful story in all its rich glory.

It’s like a reading experience in 4K – you will not be disappointed.

Six years ago, John Hammond’s dinosaur park experiment ended in disaster. The parts that were still standing were shut down, and the animals themselves destroyed. But something has survived …  

The last thing Dr Ian Malcolm wants is a reminder of his experiences at Hammond’s park; he barely escaped with his life last time. But the corpses of strange beasts are washing up on islands around Costa Rica, and rumours of a possible ‘Site B’ – a place where the dinosaurs have flourished, alone, away from human interference – are beginning to gain traction. Very soon Malcolm and a team of experts find themselves exploring a new, lethally dangerous landscape. There are no cages to protect them on this island, and every step takes them further away from the world they knew.

The Folio Society of Michael Crichton’s The Lost World, illustrated by Vector That Fox, is available exclusively from www.foliosociety.com

Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton (1942–2008) was born in Chicago and raised on Long Island before studying at Harvard, where he graduated in anthropology and medicine. While still at medical school he began to write novels that were published under pseudonyms. The first book released under his own name was The Andromeda Strain (1969), which became a New York Times bestseller. The novel established Crichton as a major figure in American genre fiction, particularly as the author of enormously popular techno-thrillers which draw on traditions of fantasy adventure fiction stretching back to Arthur Conan Doyle but update them with contemporary scientific and technological themes. Crichton was also a successful writer for film and TV, notably as the creator of ER and Westworld. Many of his books were adapted for the screen, often by the author himself, and the film of Jurassic Park (1993) – released three years after the novel – became the first movie to earn $1 billion at the box office. Its success was followed by The Lost World (1995; filmed 1997) and by several more recent films set in Crichton’s Jurassic Park universe.

Vector That Fox

Vector That Fox is the creative identity of Jo Breese, who graduated with a first-class degree in Graphic Design: Illustration from Sheffield Hallam University, and is now a professional illustrator. Commercial client work began during her studies, with a diverse range of jobs, including spot illustrations for the Wall Street Journal. Following this, Jo quickly took a post as a graphics illustrator at the Sunday Times (2014–18). After leaving London, Jo returned to the north of England and teaches part-time on Sheffield Hallam’s new illustration course, while continuing to freelance and sell artwork online. Jo’s drawings have been featured in exhibitions, including in Berlin and Tokyo, but can mainly be found in editorial contexts, especially magazines.

Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

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