Often when the protagonist of a speculative narrative must struggle against an unfeeling world, that world is represented by a faceless conglomerate, a near-governmental corporation which seems to control facets of society wherever the character looks. So in Stock and Trade, our latest genre fiction feature series, we’re looking at fictional corporations. Today, we’re featuring International Genetic Technologies (InGen).
InGen is the genetic engineering company responsible for the troubles depicted in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic park novels and, to a lesser extent, the films based on them.
In the canon developed in the novels, InGen is founded during a boom in Genetic technology which occurs in the 1980’s due to decreased federal restrictions on genetic testing.
InGen was just one of many Genetic research companies which were all trying to find a viable business plan that centered around the new industry.
InGen’s founder and CEO, John Hammon, had a particular fondness for dinosaurs, second only to his love of profit. This pushed him to develop a method for creating dinosaurs, which he planned to use as the focus of an amusement park. When mostly intact dinosaur DNA was found in some otherwise fossilized mosquitoes, he hires Geneticist Henry Wu, who seems to specialize in genetic reconstruction to complete the partial DNA samples, and create new dinosaurs from them.
The creations are successful, and in 1989, the park is set to open. Hammon brings in one last expert for a final tour of the facility before announcing it to the public, and during that tour, a disgruntled IT guru, who worked on the parks computer networks steals some of the dinosaur embryos, shutting off the security system in the process. The guru is killed by an escaped dinosaur before he can turn the power back on, and the resulting night of terror for those in the park forms the events of the first novel.
The event spells death for John Hammon, but ironically he dies accidentally after the power has been restored to the park, and the people are safe from the dinosaurs, when he accidentally falls into the habitat of a pack of small dinos.
Hammon’s death, and the disaster of the park force InGen to declare bankruptcy, and by the opening of the second novel, InGen is simply a logo on some abandoned buildings and machines.
InGen is a classic nefarious, profit-centric corporation with an obsessed CEO. It really doesn’t diverge much from the archetype, and nearly dissolves into the background as a plot device. Most of the personality of InGen is directly derived from Hammon with other employees either expressing no felling, or sharing the emotions of Hammon.
Come back tomorrow, when we’ll be taking a look at Spacely Sprockets. If you have an idea for a corporation we could feature in this series, let us know in the comments.