Having finally gotten a copy of the "proper" Star edition (I used the Tor version for my review despite showing the Star cover), I can now say that I just flat-out do not like Tor's movie tie-in version with its blurb "In the startling tradition of Jurassic Park!"
No, dang it!
Michael Crichton may have already had Jurassic Park as a script he was shopping around since the 70s but he wouldn't actually adapt that into a novel until the 90s! Meanwhile, Brosnan got Carnosaur out in the 80s, independently of Crichton, effectively beating him to the punch without even knowing it (I've found no evidence to suggest Brosnan was even aware of Crichton's proposed movie script and plans to turn it into a novel), so Tor's suggestion that he wrote Carnosaur as a quickie Jurassic Park cash-in (like how and why Roger Corman made the movie) is disingenuous and does a disservice to Mr. Brosnan.
I know the Harry Adam Knight books aren't "high literature," but literature's literature, and Brosnan deserves recognition for getting his "rich guy clones dinosaurs for a private zoo" story out first. And I hate, hate, hate that Corman decided to adapt the book as a Jurassic Park cash-in, making everyone think the book it was (loosely) based on is a Jurassic Park ripoff, too.
...all jokes aside, am I right? I mean, at the time Brosnan did Carnosaur, Jurassic Parkwas a gleam in Crichton's eye and had been for years and did exist as a script, but that script was AFAIK unpublished and he hadn't yet written it out as a book. Unless Brosnan somehow knew about the script, or even its basic idea, there's no way he could've ripped Crichton off, right? In my mind, it was just a case of simultaneous invention where two guys got more or less the same idea.
And boy did they ever take it down wildly different paths! I love Jurassic Park, but also think Carnosaur is a better story. It isn't high literature (neither is Jurassic Park), but it has something Crichton's book lacks - an engaging story and actual characters with personalities. Crichton seemed less interested in telling a story than getting on his usual regressive anti-science "technology is bad" soapbox, and the characters are either mouthpieces (Malcolm), strawmen (Hammond) or just cardboard cutouts (damn near everyone else).
Even with its ruthlessly economical whittling down of the cast and cutting of several major setpieces I would've loved to see on the big screen, as well as the fact it completely ruins two of the few decent characters in the book by having one develop a sudden case of the Stupids and die a lame-ass death ("Clever girl!" being a great line notwithstanding) and reducing the other to cowardly comic relief and having him die, too (and on the toilet, no less!), Spielberg's film is an improvement over Crichton's novel because David Koepp's script drastically reduces the anti-science/technology-is-bad diatribes and mostly avoids using strawmen, except for two instances; Gennaro is always wrong because he's the comic relief but it doesn't matter because he dies the way Star Wars fans wish Jar Jar had, and Hammond is taken to task for Ellie for having the audacity to try and learn from his mistakes and start over.
My problem with how Hammond's desire to start over is ridiculed by an angry Ellie is it's clearly Koepp using an age-old trope wherein scientists and entrepreneurs are apparently supposed to only try something once and then abandon it if it fails because in the minds of conservative Hollywood writers, if something doesn't work the first time out, especially something dangerous, then it wasn't meant to succeed. I also don't like how Koepp reduces how and why the park fails to just "Nedry did it" and ignores the admittedly technophobic but nevertheless more interesting and completely believable problem in the novel that even aside from Nedry's shenanigans, Jurassic Park is understaffed and over-reliant on automation, and said automation is cruddy either because Hammond cheaped out on everything (his constant claims to the contrary notwithstanding) or his programmers were short-sighted (such as programming the computers to only search for X amount of dinosaurs, meaning they didn't realize the damn things were multiplying until halfway through the story).
But even with all these issues, the movie is in many ways, as noted, an improvement over Crichton's work because Steven Spielberg and David Koepp wanted to tell a story with actual characters and not just get on a soapbox, so I'm glad that they toned down Crichton's message. Hell, thanks to Koepp's writing and Jeff Goldblum's acting, Malcolm is my favorite character in the movie vs. the book where he's kind of a self-righteous douche-nozzle (being the author's mouthpiece and all).
But that's the movie. When I put the novelJurassic Park head to head with Brosnan's Carnosaur, Carnosaur wins out because Brosnan has no agenda. John Brosnan just wants to tell a fun story. Mind you, having an agenda isn't necessarily a bad thing. There's plenty of good fiction that has an important message in it, but you shouldn't make the plot subordinate to the message, as Crichton does, and you shouldn't have the kind of regressive, anti-science BS message Crichton does. Seriously, the longer Crichton wrote books, the more obvious it became that he was a hack passing himself off as a legitimate novelist (vs. the kinds of guys who write the books reviewed on heere who admit that they're hacks), considering he went full climate change denier in his 2004 novel State of Fear, and then wrote critic Michael Crowley into Next as a baby rapist (!) with a small penis (!!) after Crowley called rightly State of Fear anti-science, climate-denying garbage. Stay classy, Mr. Crichton.
But enough Crichton-bashing. Returning to Carnosaur, and speaking of movie adaptations, what does everyone here at the Vault think of Corman's movie and the drastic changes made to the story, in particular the decision to relocate it entirely to the US?