Once again, a chapter is devoted to a main character’s introduction: Professor Marsh.
Marsh is a character that is a cliche wrapped in a trope. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of my favorite tropes, but still, it’s a trope.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. What happens as we and Johnson both meet the eccentric paleontologist?
First, Johnson tries to speak to Marsh, even though he only meets with written appointment. One very telling sentence is “Johnson was not accustomed to being denied anything, particularly a silly trip he did not want in the first place.” Johnson is clearly not portrayed as a good character, and frankly despite being the protagonist, I have my doubts about his being the hero.
Anyway, the only way that Johnson can get a meeting with Marsh is to tell yet another lie: that he’s a photographer. Now, in 2017, that might not be a big deal. Anyone and everyone takes pictures. But this is the late 1800’s. Johnson has lied about having a lot of skills and knowledge that he simply doesn’t have. Unfortunately, the only opening left on the expedition is as a photographer, so it’s Johnson’s only way to win his bet.
Now, let’s talk about Marsh. Right away, it seems like Marsh can tell that Johnson isn’t being forthright. But still, he lets him photograph the expedition.
Like I mentioned earlier, Professor Marsh represents a very common trope. This trope is one that I really enjoy when it’s done well. A mentor figure, usually a scientist, who is as eccentric as they are brilliant. Everything from the strange peephole in his office door to his seeming irrational hatred of the city of Philadelphia (it’s as sudden in the book as you would think) fits the trope. Now, time will only tell if Crichton has created a stock character full of one-liners or subvert my expectations to create a well rounded hero.
So far, Dragon Teeth hasn’t beaten around the bush too much, and is easing into the action with a good pace. Hopefully it maintains this pace, as I have come to expect from Michael Crichton.