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Contains examples of the following tropes:
- Aborted Arc - The resolution as to whether John Weller was a Chameara (someone with two sets of DNA) and therefore whether or not Lisa was actually his daughter, never occurs in favor of implying that he was poisoned by his wife.
- Author Tract - There's an actual appendix outlining Crichton's views on the subject of genetic engineering and the laws about it.
- Better To Die than Be Arrested - The Bounty Hunter's first target.
- French Jerk - The talking orangutan swears in French, greatly annoying a French tourist who tried to speak with it.
- Half-Human Hybrid - Dave.
- Laser-Guided Karma - Jack Watson, a venture capitalist who had a compromised BioGen lab tech sabotage their research to drive down its stock price prior to purchasing it, then sends bounty hunters to kidnap a family to procure more samples of cancer-resistant genes(which he decided the company "owned" due to Loophole Abuse) he had destroyed as part of that sabotage, dies of a cancer strain the company might have been able to treat if not for the sabotage.
- Loophole Abuse - Jack Watson is able to get a lower court to rule that BioGen owned not only the cancer-reistant genes they purchased from a university, but also the rights to the donor's entire cell line - AKA him and his children. A higher court pretty much crucifies him for attempting to re-institute slavery.
- Four Lines No Waiting - asides from minor stories focusing on politicians or random observers, the four narrative lines of Dave, the Parrot, the bounty hunter, and a pedophile using genes as a defense often intertwine.
- Take That - The politician that Alex mentions prosecuting near the third act? The one that raped his two-year-old nephew and has a "small penis"? The one that's never mentioned again and has zero relevance to the plot? He just happens to share the name and college of a reviewer who was particularly critical of Crichton's previous novel State of Fear'
- They Would Cut You Up - Watson has skilled enough lawyers(and current biotech laws are vague enough) that he actually gets a state court to give him legal permission for this.
- This Is a Work of Fiction - Subverted.
"This novel is fiction, except for the parts that aren't."
- What Measure Is a Non-Human? - Like woah. First off, Dave's subplot is really sad (he's the transgenic half-human, half-chimpanzee). Second off, a gene-engineered parrot saves a family on the run from a bounty hunter by faking shotgun noises.
- You Can Panic Now - Many of the "news report" chapters exist to criticize this kind of news reporting.
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