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September 8, 1993

Jurassic Park

JAMA. 1993;270(10):1252-1254. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510100102043

Since Mary Shelley published her classic horror story Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus in 1818, its motif has been unmercifully recycled—especially by Hollywood film makers who rarely hesitate to cash in on the public's fear of scientists and the unnatural things they do. The book Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton, MD, and the movie of the same name by Steven Spielberg are the latest version of the horror story, albeit with much more interesting monsters. While Shelley's tale of horror involves a scientist who assembles pieces of human corpses to recreate a man, Crichton's scientist assembles pieces of 100-million-year-old dinosaur DNA to recreate extinct monsters, which also turn on their human creator.

If Jurassic Park were just another gory thriller, one might overlook the book's many blatant absurdities, self-contradictions, and falsehoods. But the novel is more than just scary entertainment. It is a morality play about the alleged evils of