is a 1980 science fiction novel by Michael Crichton
The novel starts with an abrupt end to an expedition sent by Earth Resource Technology Services Inc. in the dense rain forests of Congo when the team is attacked and killed by an unknown creature and all contact with them is lost. The expedition, searching for deposits of valuable diamonds, discovered the legendary lost city of Zinj (in Arabic "Zinj" or "Zanj" refers to the southern part of the East African coast). A video image taken by a camera there, and transmitted by satellite to the base station in Houston, shows a peculiar race of grey haired gorillas, to be responsible for the murders.
Another expedition, led by Karen Ross, is launched to find out the truth and to find the city of Zinj, where there are believed to be deposits of a certain diamond, type IIb, which are naturally boron-doped and thus useful as semiconductors, though worthless as gemstones. This time the searchers bring along the famous White African mercenary Munro, as well as a female gorilla named Amy, who has been trained to communicate with humans using sign language, and her trainer Peter Elliot. Time is of the greatest essence, as a rival consortium of Japan, Germany, and Holland has also set off into the jungle after the diamonds, turning the entire expedition into a race to the city of Zinj. Unfortunately for Ross and her team, the American expedition encounters many delays along the way, including plane crashes, native civil wars, and jungle predators.
This book got a film adaptation in 1995 titled Congo
This book provides examples of:
- Cannibal Tribe: The Kigani.
- Chekhov's Volcano
- Corporate Warfare: Presented here as a sort of Cold War by proxy.
- Darkest Africa
- Diurnal Nocturnal Animal: Played with. The gorillas always attack at night, but a very large group is shown feeding during the day.
- Eye Scream: The leader of the first expedition is calling for his friend when something plops next to him. He picks it up and realises he's holding a severed eyeball.
- Hired Guns: Munro is a famous White African mercenary.
- Hollywood Natives: The Kigani tribe run around with spears, bows, face paint and practice cannibalism constantly. They also throw their poop like monkeys for some bizarre reason.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The group has to constantly evade a tribe fighting the Mobutu government.
- Ice Queen: Ross.
- Jungle Opera: An attempt to update the trope.
- Killer Gorilla: On the way to the city of Zinj, Karen Ross's team has to contend with a group of deadly gorillas.
- Parachute in a Tree: This happens to Elliot when the team parachutes into the jungle. Fortunately, he's only four feet above the ground, so he can undo his chute and jump down without getting hurt. It's still a very unnerving experience for him since this is the first time he's ever jumped out of a plane.
- Sign Language: Amy's method of comunication.
- Team Pet: Amy fills this role, yet she's very human in a way.
- Technology Marches On: The book is full of technobabble, which was probably impressive when the book was published in 1980, but is now hilariously dated.
- A particularly amusing example is the 'amazingly sophisticated' computer that has 189K of memory.
- Too Dumb to Live: Ross almost gets the entire team killed when she ignores Munro's warning about how setting off explosive charges near an eruptive volcano is a very bad idea.
- Made even worse when you consider the fact she's a trained geologist and should know better.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue