Remembering Michael Chrichton 1942-2008

You’re in a theme park.  Only this is the theme park of the future where dinosaurs, actual dinosaurs, have been brought back to life through the magic of some really smart sounding science.

And, yes, there’s a giant thunderstorm and yes, things seem to be going wrong all over the park, and yes, your electric tram is currently stopped for lack of power right outside the t-rex’s paddock, but you’re fine.  Everyone is telling you you’re fine.  Because they weren’t being idiots when they built this theme park, lord no, and the massive cable fences that stretch out in front of you and head in either direction as far as the eye can see are electrified.  So you’re safe.

And then there’s a flash of lighting and everyone screams because the t-rex is standing right there, right there in front of you on the other side of the sturdy electric gate.  And his feet are standing atop some bushes and his giant scaly square head is swiveling left to right and his three fingered claw is resting on the top cable.  It’s resting on the cable.  And then it hits you that something is very wrong with this picture.

I must have been, what, twelve or thirteen when my parents gave me Jurassic Park to read.  It had an impact on me that I can’t even measure and sparked a frenzy in me that has rarely been matched.  I would tell anyone who would listen to me about this great book I had read and how they just had to make it into a movie.   And I remember a lot of people looking at me funny, because I’m twelve and I sound like a nerd telling them about this DNA cloning park and monsters eating people and isn’t that cute that the boy seems so into his little lizard book?

Michael Chrichton was one of my favorite storytellers growing up and his snappy pacing combined with slap you across the face visuals was a huge influence.

He’ll be missed.