About the Author

Michael Fuchs

E-Mail: m.fuchs@uni-graz.at

Website: http://www.fuchsmichael.net/

Michael Fuchs is an assistant professor in American Studies at the University of Graz in Austria. He has co-edited three books and authored more than two dozen published and forthcoming journal articles and book chapters on video games, American television, horror and adult cinema, and American post-WWII literature. One of his current monograph projects explores monstrous animals in American horror and science fiction.

Contributions by Author: Michael Fuchs

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth?

Digital Animals, Simulation, and the Return of ‘Real Nature’ in the Jurassic Park Movies

“Visitors will think the dinosaurs look speeded up, like film running too fast,”[1] remarks chief genetic engineer Henry Wu in Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park (1990) when detailing his dissatisfaction with his Frankensteinean creation vis-à-vis Jurassic Park’s founder, John Hammond. Wu’s seemingly unintentional slippage between ontological levels presents an illustrative example of what postmodernism’s poster boy, Jean Baudrillard, referred to as “the generation by models of a real without origin or reality,” for the visitors’ perception of the ‘real’ dinosaurs roaming the park (as imagined by and relayed through Henry Wu) becomes inseparable from the (no longer) extinct animals’ representations in visual media.[2] Writer Michael Crichton embraces the postmodernist play his character engages in, for the man tasked to engineer dinosaurs which resemble an imagined past reality goes on to underline the paradox he is caught in, for “[t]he past is gone. It can never be re-created. What we’ve done is reconstruct the past — or at least a version of the past.”[3]