Jurassic Park: Striking Simplicity (By the Cover)

Usually, I have a hard time choosing which version of a book’s cover to talk about. There are usually more than a few to choose from, all of which good in their own rights. It’s refreshing to find a cover in which most iterations are basically a slightly altered version of the same thing. Makes my life a lot easier.

They’re all basically
just this

Jurassic Park is a story absolutely rife with possibility. Granted, as the movies showed us multiple times, not all possibilities are good or should be taken. But the original story, the very first one, had so much to explore.

This could have made for an absolutely incredible book cover. So many iconic scenes that you could tease to grab your audience’s attention. The t-rex escaping its pen and attacking the cars. The velociraptors reaching for the humans through the bars. The t-rex sniffing for the two kids beneath the waterfall.

But that would imply the cover artist was told to read the book. Which, by the looks of it, they weren’t. So, with nothing to work with but the title, they gave us… this.

It’s a silhouette of a t-rex skeleton on a white background. End of analysis. Goodbye.

Seriously, though, it’s kind of incredible how little there is to talk about here. This cover tells you literally nothing about the story. “But it has a dinosaur on it!” You say. “It tells you that it has dinosaurs in it!” Yes, that’s true. But you know what else does that? The god damn title of the book!

It’s not even that visually compelling. Black-on-white with blue and red text? That’s just about the most basic thing you could possible create. No joke, you could probably recreate this cover in the span of five minutes with Photoshop.

Honestly, I’m surprised they didn’t just start using the movie poster for the cover. It’s still not incredible, don’t get me wrong. But it does have a bit more complexity to bite into.

It uses more visually compelling color scheme of red, gold, and black. The font used on the park’s logo is more distinct and theme-park like. The silhouette of the t-rex skeleton looming over the park is an intriguing and threatening image.

It’s a simple poster, yes. But as were most movie posters of the time. In fact, compared to the competition it had when the film first released, this is actually kind of impressive.

This version would be a much better fit for a book cover. Just replace the cast list with the author’s name, slap “The Movie That Inspired the Hit Motion Picture” at the top, and boom! You’ve got a decent and solid book cover. One that would look much better on the shelf than the original.

Oh well. Most people tend to ignore the existence of the book version anyways. I’d be willing to bet most people don’t even realize that there is a book. So, I guess the cover isn’t doing either version of the story harm; hard to do that when no one realizes that you’re there.

Still, Jurassic Park is an important book in the recent history of pop-culture. It deserves a much better cover than what it has now.


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