The first two-thirds of the introduction is a factual account
of developments in the modern science of biotechnology or genetic
engineering. Crichton sounds a warning. He argues that the current
research, with its wide implications for human life, is in the
hands of private corporations, unregulated by the government.
He calls the commercialization of molecular biology “the
most stunning ethical event in the history of science.”
He then uses this factual account to introduce his fictional
company, International Genetic Technologies, Inc. This company
was responsible for what became known as the “InGen incident,”
which took place in 1989 on a remote island off the west coast
of Costa Rica. What happened on that island is the subject of
the account that follows.
Prologue: The Bite of the Raptor
Bobbie Carter, a physician who is working temporarily at a clinic
in the village of Bahia Anasco, on the west coast of Costa Rica.
A helicopter flies in with a badly injured man. He has been
injured during construction of a new resort on one of the offshore
islands. The man carrying him say he was injured in a construction
accident, but from the nature of his injuries, Bobby thinks
he was mauled by an animal. The young man mutters that he was
bitten by a raptor. Bobbie’s paramedic assistant, Manuel,
explains that the man means Hupia, which are said to be night
ghosts, vampires who kidnapped small children. The man dies.
That night, Bobbie looks up raptor in the Spanish dictionary,
finding that it means “ravisher” or “abductor.”
Looking up the same word in an English dictionary, she finds
that it means “bird of prey.”