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Re: Michael Crichton dies
Sure, the movie wouldn't have existed without the book, but what was really
influential was the movie, and for that we have to thank Spielberg at least
as much as Crichton. (Note how utterly different the movie is from the book,
and not just in things like mostly leaving the long ramblings about chaos
the second JP was much more overt, ending the novel with a
full frontal assault on scientific inference, even questioning the
reality atomic theory because you "can't see" sub-atomic particles.
Oh yeah, now I remember. It has Jeff Goldblum posing Ernst Mach's question*
"can you bring me an electron on a plate?" and going unanswered, right? I
remember thinking "of course I can bring you an electron on a plate; it
would be considered part of the plate -- part of a plate with one more
negative elementary charge than before -- but still". In fact, the
elementary charge was measured by putting one, two, three, four etc.
electrons into an oil drop. One more case of Crichton writing about things
as if he knew anything about them.
And then there's the idea in JP the book that sauropods had their long necks
just to counterbalance their long tails. Well, tell that to *Dicraeosaurus*
on the one hand and *Mamenchisaurus* or even just *Brachiosaurus* on the
other. Immediately falsified. The movie seems to agree, what with all the
high-browsing *Brachiosaurus*, one of which even rears on its hindlimbs...
* Except Mach used "atom" rather than "electron". Anytime someone made the
mistake of dropping the word "atom", he immediately countered "have you seen
Sources disagree on whether Crichton believed in spoon-bending. If so,
that's yet another case of confusing knowledge with the lack thereof.
All that said, Crichton was capable of writing in a style that prevented me
from puttings the few books of his I read (JP, Lost World, Congo) down. I
suppose that counts for something.