21 August 2010

Day 147: The Lost World

The Lost World by Michael Crichton.  ISBN: 9780788737251 (audiobook).

I've gotta say I love Michael Crichton.  Not so much for the pseudo science, although that's part of it, and I definitely like the imagination used in bringing monsters to life and the semi-plausible ways in which to do it.  But that's only part of it.  I think I really like his writing because he raises some excellent moral quandaries about the place of science in terms of our humanity and what certain scientific abilities mean for us.

One of the quandaries presented in The Lost World is the debatable debate on whether or not extinct animals that have been resurrected would actually count as animals.  The idea being that they are technically constructs, created outside of their original time and environment: they no longer have any context in our world.  Crichton poses that this would open up genetically revived species to be used in absolutely horrific manners for product testing and likely many other things I can't even think up because I'm not scientist or a sadist.

While I think this line of reasoning probably wouldn't be followed through, I can definitely imagine pharmaceutical companies, etc. raising from the dead our extinct Cro-magnon relatives and touting the advances to be made, if only we can ignore the fact that these beings might feel pain.  Even if they aren't used for medical exploitation, they would be used for exploitation nonetheless if they were raised from the dead.  How many of us wouldn't want to go to a Jurassic Park to see the giant lizards walk?  To know what we were not meant to know and to see the awesomeness of animals we can only imagine.

But then, wouldn't that take away some of the awesomeness of these creatures?  I think there is so little left in our world that is truly amazing and awe-inspiring.  Let's let the dead rest, and keep our wonderment of the unknown.  It's too hard to respect and fear and be amazed by something you're willing to put in a cage or inject with cancer cells.

The best review I've seen on this is from the now defunct blog, Prehistoric Pulp.


  1. I don't see what the problem is with experimenting on good-for-nothings we already pay to keep alive in this society - specifically, death row inmates. Okay okay, I do see the problem, but really I don't think I'd care if someone decided to cut up a convicted serial rapist to test my shampoo on. The only real problem I have is with our justice system to where there might be some doubt as to the actual guilt of the convict. Buuut....if the evidence stacks up...yeah, a person who has knowingly and willfully taken the life of someone else deserves no rights of their own, in my opinion. (i guess i have to include the clause, "outside of government sanctioned activities such as war, and under no direct manipulation from other peeps.") Of course, this is an armchair opinion, so it's kind of similar to me being all, "noooo don't mistreat them animals!" and then taking a bite out of a big, juicy meat sandwich.

  2. Well, I'm sure in the future we'll be eating nothing but cloned meat that doesn't actually require the entire animal, it'll just be mounds of brainless flesh growing in vats. Tasty. Then chickens and cows will become obsolete and end up in zoos. The future is a horrible place.

  3. Did you see that episode of Better Off Ted where they made a meat blob? It was so sad, it tasted like melancholy.


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