Literature: The Lost World (1995)

Too much change is as destructive as too little. Only at the edge of chaos can complex systems flourish.
Ian Malcolm

The Lost World is a 1995 techno-thriller novel written by Michael Crichton. This book is a sequel to Jurassic Park.

Six years after the disaster at Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm — who is revealed to have actually survived the events of the previous novel via a retcon — teams up with paleontologist Richard Levine after learning about Site B, the "production facility" where the park's dinosaurs were hatched and grown, on Isla Sorna near Isla Nublar (the Jurassic Park site). When Levine leaves without Malcolm, he plans a rescue, with a team consisting of engineer Jack "Doc" Thorne, mechanic Eddie Carr, and two stowaway children, R.B. "Arby" Benton and Kelly Curtis.

However, not only do they have to contend with dinosaurs, but they have to contend with a rival group consisting of geneticist Lewis Dodgson, Dodgson's assistant Howard King, and biologist/P.R. consultant George Baselton. This group intends to to steal dinosaur eggs for Biosyn, the rival company of InGen, the Jurassic Park company.

In all, it bears only a passing resemblance to The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

Takes its title from an Arthur Conan Doyle novel with a similar premise.


This book provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Oddly enough, continuing one that was set up on the previous book. The first couple of chapters or so are the investigation on the mystery of various animal attacks on Costa Rica and the appearance of strange unidentifiable animal corpses (which are the Velociraptors who managed to escape from Isla Nublar before it was firebombed) and the apparent conspiracy of the Costa Rican government to keep this under wraps. Once the narrative switches to the other characters and they go to Sorna, this is never brought up again (and they don't even know this is going on in Costa Rica).
  • Action Girl: Sarah Harding. Probably she's the physically strongest character in the book. However, in the movie, she doesn't quite fit this trope, though she does give it a good effort.
  • Alas, Poor Mook: Howard King. Compared to Dodgson, he's not a bad guy, and ends up just trying to survive. He ends up fleeing from a pack of Velociraptors, and even gets a Hope Spot when he almost makes it to safety before they bring him down.
  • Author Filibuster: As per usual. There are chapters where we almost get it in stereo, with both Malcolm and Levine discussing and arguing over scientific concepts.
  • Asshole Victim: Lewis Dodgson gets eaten by baby dinosaurs. Considering that he tried to get the group killed, he totally had it coming to him.
  • Base on Wheels: The "Challenger Trailers" (an extensively modified Fleetwood RV).
  • Big Bad: Lewis Dodgson, who had bribed Dennis to steal genetic material in Jurassic Park, has taken on an active role this time around.
  • Bigger Bad: Jeff Rossiter, the head of Biosyn who signs off on Dodgson's expedition while warning that this is Dodgson's last chance to prove his worth.
  • Black and Nerdy: Arby.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Very subtle. In the High Hide, Levine is eating a candy bar and lets the bits of wrapper fall to the ground. Later, raptors kill Howard King, and one of them finds the candy bar he has and eats it, seemingly enjoying it. Afterwards, the raptors march directly under the High Hide, naturally scaring everyone out of their wits, but they don't notice the High Hide and keep going. Until the last raptor notices something on the ground...the candy bar wrapper. Yep, it's the same raptor, and after finding the wrapper, he finds the High Hide, leading to the whole pack attacking it.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Levine does this, saying that (specifically) Thorne was driving too recklessly from the charging Tyrannosaur, and (generally) that he was doing all right on the island and didn't need help anyway. Bear in mind this is after his panicked, static-filled phone call begging for help. His rescuers are not pleased.
  • Continuity Nod: Dr. Sarah Harding, who helped nurse Malcolm back to health and dated him for a while, is implied to be the daughter of Jurassic Park's resident veterinarian, Dr. Gerry Harding. Along with sharing a surname, she mentions that her father had been a vet and a bird specialist at San Diego zoo, which was what Gerry Harding was before signing with InGen. The movies make no such connection. This is probably because the elder Harding's role was so reduced in the film that audiences could be forgiven for not remembering that was his name.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Several. Baselton gets his arm bitten off by a T. rex, which then proceeds to rip him apart until he's nothing but a mass of red flesh, King gets his head bitten off by raptors at the base of the neck, and Eddie gets torn apart by velociraptors, who continue to fight over his remains all the way back to their nest. But Dodgson takes the crown for most gruesome death in the book, as he is eaten by a bunch of baby T. rexes. When he tries to escape, an adult T. rex bites through his leg so that he can't escape as one of the little monsters rips out his cheek and swallows it whole. He finally gets put out of his misery when one of the infants tears out his throat.
  • Cutting Corners: Once again, InGen doing things on the cheap but dangerously impractical rears its head-not only is the island's remaining infrastructure absurdly insecure (see down on Swiss Cheese Security), but the fact that InGen disposed of its failed dinosaur experiment corpses in in the lousiest of fashions (by dumping them all on a spot of the island without even bothering to burn them) has now doomed all of the dinosaurs on the island to die of prion-based poisoning and neural degeneration, because the meat-eaters have gorged themselves on the rotten bodies and the contamination will eventually affect even the herbivores.
  • The Dreaded: The Carnotauruses. Their near perfect camouflage makes them such effective hunters that even the raptors and Rexes won't go near their territory at night.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Richard Levine. He gets his license yanked and is ordered to teach as community service for driving 120 miles per hour in a 15 mile per hour school zone. In his Ferrari.
  • Fantasy World Map: The front and back of the book includes a handy map of Isla Sorna with the location of events in the book marked.
  • Fix Fic: Many elements in The Lost World seem to be Michael Chrichton correcting errors he made (unintentionally or not) in Jurassic Park. Notably, the "Amphibian Visual Cortex" (the idea that dinosaurs can see only movement), and the velociraptors having fully developed pack dynamics after breeding in the wild with no adult raptors to teach them said dynamics.
  • Gadgeteer Genius / Mr. Fixit: Carr could be described as a true Gadgeteer Genius while Doc is more a Mr. Fixit, as Arnold would be.
    Eddie: Violence and technology... not good bedfellows!
  • Handicapped Badass: Malcolm has problems with his leg (because of the previous dino-related injuries and later because on injuries that he gets when the T. rexes attack the camp) but he maintains his usefulness throughout the book.
  • Harmful to Minors: Kelly and Arby both witness some gruesome human deaths in spite of the efforts of Thorne and the others to keep them from seeing those.
  • I Lied: Sarah lies about the number of shots left in the Lindstradt that Kelly is using to kill a raptor so the latter can be better motivated to aim carefully.
  • Infant Immortality: Kelly and Arby both survive, though not unscathed.
  • Just Desserts: Dodgson, who gets eaten alive by baby T. rexes.
  • Karmic Death: Dodgson, who gets eaten by the baby T. rexes, one of which was injured earlier when his team entered the nest.
    Malcolm: You see? There is a God.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The book takes an entire chapter to point out how stupid it is to assume a T. rex can't see you if you don't move, killing a character who tries it. It also handily suggests another explanation for the fact that it apparently worked in the first film and book.
  • Mama Bear and Papa Wolf: The two T. rexes in The Lost World (novel and movie) are not going to let anyone hurt or take their babies away.
    • Double Subverted with the Maiasaurus herd. When Dodgson's team takes eggs from their nesting grounds right in front of them with help from his acoustic weapon, they seem to completely forget that he was even there to do what he did. But later, the herd comes across the jeep he had put the eggs in and completely demolishes it to rescue the newly-hatched calves.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Howard King; he considers it part of his job to rein in Lewis Dodgson's ruthless side, seems truly horrified when Dodgson seemingly murders Sarah Harding, and is the first to acknowledge that maybe this whole egg theft isn't a good idea. It doesn't save him.
  • Mood Whiplash: After a man gets torn apart by raptors, one of them picks up and eats a candy bar the victim drops. It appears to enjoy it.
  • Off with His Head!: Howard King gets his head ripped off by the raptors.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Ian Malcolm.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Exploited by Biosyn. Dodgson remarks that while animal rights activists can easily drum up support for laboratory dogs who "lick your hand and break your heart," reptiles are less likely to garner such public sympathy, particularly genetically engineered ones like InGen's dinosaurs. Hence, his expedition to Isla Sorna for potential experimental subjects.
  • Retcon: Ian Malcolm is supposed to have died in the Jurassic Park book. However, it seems that they were able to save him, and he is now the protagonist of this book.
  • Seldom Seen Species: Soon after reaching Isla Sorna, Levine comes across a Mussaurus, a tiny prosauropod.
  • Super Cell Reception: The Lost World novel has satellite phones that are explicitly extra-durable and specifically made for the island, but it's eventually averted: the phones fail and garble a message, which helps kick off the plot.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: The island's security depends entirely on its remoteness. The characters find this out when their attempt to guess the computer network's password fails and it just asks them to create a new account.
  • Take That: Funny enough, the novel takes a couple of digs to its predecessor (and most especially, the movie adaptation thereof). Look on Viewer-Friendly Interface and Lampshade Hanging for the full explanation.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: The Lost World book parodies this (especially the 3D output from the first film) when the InGen OS turns it into a useless display of cutting edge graphical power that... turns the display into a 3D cube. This angers the characters, who are trying to escape feral raptors. The character eventually gets the bright idea to just follow the cables the computer is running on, which are, quite logically, in a crawlspace so they can be serviced. By the time the raptors get in, they're gone.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Arby and Kelly. Justified in that Arb is a child prodigy, albeit naive, and Kel is very smart and enjoys being with smart people.


Alternative Title(s):

The Lost World 1995