Michael Crichton didn't really have to get the science right to make sure The Lost World would be a best seller. But he got the science right anyway. Like many of his earlier novels--from The Andromeda Strain, his killer-bacteria thriller that prefigured The Hot Zone by 25 years, to Jurassic Park--The Lost World is suffused with scientific detail that has clearly been lifted from the latest research journals. Yet as a novelist Crichton isn't bound by the usual caveats that academics are forced to issue; he can and does take the most speculative of theories and run with them as if...

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