Crichton, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute when his first science-fiction book, The Andromeda Strain, was published in 1969. Several of his novels have been made into films, including Jurassic Park (1993), The Andromeda Strain (1970), and The Terminal Man (1974).

Crichton’s science-fiction books are usually set in contemporary times, and the plots are based on some plausible scientific premise. In Jurassic Park, he begins with factual information about genetic engineering research and then extrapolates what might happen if certain technologies were more advanced. Some critics have complained that it can be difficult to distinguish fiction from fact; others have found much of the science in this novel to be unbelievable.

In the introduction, Crichton announces the main theme of the book when he claims that biotechnology will be “the greatest revolution” in human history but expresses his concern over how this scientific power will be used. Ian Malcolm, the philosophical center of the book, says that science offers power but no guidelines as to how and when that power should be used. The danger is that people like John Hammond can use that power to create dinosaurs, but they know virtually nothing about the creatures they have created—nor do they care. Moreover, Malcolm claims that although science promises total control,...

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